International School Community Member Spotlight #11: Sonya terBorg (Riverstone International School)
April 20, 2012
Tell us about your background. Where are you from?
I was born and raised in the South Island of New Zealand.
How did you get started in the international teaching community?
A friend told me about Search Associates, I tried it out, loved it and was hooked!
Which international schools have you worked at? Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.
Vientiane International School in Laos, Bonn International School in Germany, New International School Thailand (NIST), Yokohama International School in Japan and Riverstone International School in Boise, Idaho, USA.
Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
For the first time since leaving New Zealand, I have a car. That also meant taking the driving test again – not only the written test, but the practical portion too! Boise is a pretty rural place and on the testing day, we were driving around when my instructor pointed out a family of deer off to the side of the road, over the hill a bit. I wasn’t sure if it was a trick – would she take her eyes off the road? – or if he was just excited to share the local wildlife with this crazy foreigner. Either way, I played it safe and just nodded and “Hmmmm-ed” enthusiastically. And passed the test!
What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
A great leader is really important to me. I try and find out about the school leadership so I know that I am putting myself in a position where I feel I will be challenged and encouraged to grow as a learner. My priorities change a lot sometimes though. When I got the job at NIST it was my first time as an Art Specialist – I needed someone who would take a chance on an unknown. For my current job, it was my first time ‘hunting’ for work as part of a couple so options for my husband to work were high on the list. Now we have a third member of our family, our dog, Abby. Somewhere dog friendly will be a definite requirement for our next move – whenever and wherever that may be!
In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
The job of a lifetime.
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Want to teach at an international school in the United States like Sonya? Currently, we have 37 international schools list in United States on International School Community. Some of our members have left comments and information on the following schools in this country:
• International School of Monterey (12 Comments)
• Atlanta International School (4 Comments)
• British School of Washington (3 Comments)
• The Dwight School (NYC) (3 Comments)
• The Newman School MA (4 Comments)
• Lycee International School of Los Angeles (2 Comments)
• German-American International School (2 Comments)
• St. Timothy’s School (4 Comments)