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The Journey to School: Al Hada International School in Taif, Saudi Arabia

April 9, 2014

The journey to work is indeed an important one.  The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers, when looking for jobs at schools and cities/countries to which they have never been.  So let’s share what we know!

One of our members, who works at the Al Hada International School, in Taif, Saudi Arabia, described her way to work as follows:

The Walk to School
Before the newness of my morning routine fades away into complacency, I thought it wise to describe how I spend 15 minutes every morning during the school week.

The walk starts off by getting ready to leave my apartment (Bldg 23, room 102a). I throw on the abaya, swing my book laden day pack on my back, drape my catch-all satchel with my all important water bottle, small notebook where I scribble Arabic words and phrases, ID, working pens and an English-Arabic dictionary over my shoulder, and gather my fist full of keys.


Instead of using the elevator, I opt to take the stairs close to my door and down a flight and leave the building. Once outside I walk by white plastic plates that have been left out with cat food to feed the 101 some odd stray cats by the building. I spy a cat or two sleeping in the brush or gnawing on discarded chicken bones. Outside of the female restricted apartment zone, I turn left and head up the hill.

This is a pleasant walk because of the scenery and views along the way. I come to very tall bushes and walk on the sidewalk. I came to very tall bushes with white and pink flowers. These bushes were prevalent in the bay area along Foothill Expressway and 280. The name of the bush escapes me now (bougenvilla) but seeing them here brings comfort in the form of familiarity and bringing back fond memories of living in the Bay area.

The bushes border the Arabic school for boys. If my timing is off, I walk past the school when the boys are being dropped off around 7:05 AM. The left side of the hill I walk up is mainly vegetation consisting of eucalyptus and scrub brush. This is a very dry & arid climate so unless something gets watered all is very brown and barren. As a whole compound does have nice landscaping although some places are unkempt.

Past the boy’s school, there is a row of trees lining the sidewalk and here are some pine trees. Also from this spot is a nice vista overlooking the hospital, the entrance with a working fountain and in the background there is a high rocky ridge that has some buildings together in a cluster.

roses-of-taifAfter the row of trees I uses the cross walk to access the stairs that cut up the hill to the school and a mosque. This hill is rather steep and the 85 steps leading to the top gets the heart racing. This area is also a pleasant one because of the many trees and some flowering bushes. On some occasions coming back from school when it is prayer time, I sit on the steps to admire the setting sun against rocky and hilly landscape while the chanting of the prayers emanate from the mosque. There have been afternoons when the sun is blood-red and there is a yellowish hue in the sky.

The top of the steps lead to the mosque and a parking area. Many times I have seen groups of men sitting under a tree in the parking lot in the midst of a picnic. Mind you this is around 700 AM. I cross the parking lot and then a road and arrive at the gate to the school.

The peace and quiet of the walk to school is just what I need before I turn into, Miss – the teacher.

Currently, we have 33 international school listed in Saudi Arabia on our website.  16 of them have had comments submitted on them by our members.  Check out which ones here by using our school search feature and ticking the box ‘schools with comments’.


So what is your journey to the international school you work at?  Earn 6 free months of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’.  Email us here if you are interested.

The Journey to School
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Blogs of international school teachers: “Tip of the Iceberg”

October 18, 2011

Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 9th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Tip of the Iceberg.”  This international educator seems to be quite experienced in the international school community, having worked at international schools since 2001.  Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who is now working in Singapore at United World College South East Asia.

Entries we would like to highlight:

My Journey to Work

“I was kindly tagged by Kim Cofino in this blog meme of sorts, (via Jess McCulloch) which involves documenting how you get to work. It’s an interesting one, because I love seeing the diverse lifestyles of my friends around the world – check out the journeys of Kim, Jess & Clint, by way of example.  The journey starts at the elevator, where my son Griffin (more often than not wearing only PJ top & underpants) waves us all goodbye. Scarlett, Miles & I love this part, because he makes us smile as we leave.”

This photo journey idea is a great one!  It has the staff at International School Community very interested in trying it out ourselves.  How great if we all shared our journeys with each other.  For sure that would help prospective teachers get a better idea of what life is like traveling to and from the teachers’ homes to the international school they work at.

Lessons from outside the ballet class

“One (Singaporean) parent said she had found the perfect school for her daughter. I was intrigued! Her criteria? The teachers had been teaching at the same school for over 20 years.  I know fabulous teachers (as I’m sure you do) who have been teaching for more than 20 years, and I do not mean to take anything away from them. I also know fabulous teachers who are only just beginning their careers, and I feel the Mum who judged a good school by the fact that the teachers had been there a long time was missing the boat.  Longevity does not necessarily equal a good teacher.  Longevity at an international school doesn’t equal a good teacher either! The cynic in me might think (upon hearing a teacher has been at the same school for 20 years), what’s the package like at THAT school?”

Great topic to think about.  Indeed, what was the package like at the international school where teachers stayed for 20+ years?  All the international school teachers that have been at the same international school for more than 20 years have of course married a local….maybe staying for such a long time doesn’t appear to be the result of wanting to reap the wonderful benefits of a benefits package.

*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

Blogs of International Teachers
benefits, benefits package, blog, international educator blog, international teacher, journey to work, longevity, Singapore, tip of the iceberg, United World College South East Asia,

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