Zimbabwe – Time Difference

One of the biggest immediate challenge was simply the time difference. Zimbabwean business hours in Central Standard Time were between 2:00am and 10:00am. Since I had 9:00am classes every day, my calling window for research was quite limited. It reminded me of when I attended a conference hosted by the College of Engineering, and one of the sessions touched on the benefits and drawbacks of international work. One of the panelists said that she worked on a team that literally could not all meet at once because of the time differences, with members of the team in at least three different parts of the world. As a result, I felt as though I gained good experience with that aspect. I adjusted my sleep schedule accordingly—at least the best I could, anyway—and did my best to force myself into becoming a morning person. Or, some nights, a more extreme night owl. While it worked out ok and I was able to have around 20 different interviews over Skype with people in Southern Africa, it did take a toll on my energy levels. Some weeks I just couldn’t bring myself to wake up at 5:00 several days in a row when my homework and involvement was causing me to go to sleep well after midnight. However, I prioritized sleep when I was less busy so I would have the energy when the going got tough, and that way I was able to commit the time and energy I needed to allow the project to succeed.

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