Living abroad can be full of many surprises. Even more so when your host country is in the current world news (typically for something unfortunate). What happens then is that your friends and family from your home country (or other countries around the world where your international school friends live) write to you to see if you are safe or to ask how things are going there.
In this entry, we have 4 international school teachers sharing what is going in their host countries. They also share details about what they are experiencing and how they see things from their perspective.
“I recently returned to busy Causeway Bay, Hong Kong (my home for nearly 6 years), after three weeks away for Winter Break. The roads were packed with shoppers, outside vendors, and people enjoying chestnuts and sweet potatoes on the street corner. These are not the media images shown these days about Hong Kong. Yes, a lot has been going on in this city during the past 7 months, but depending where you live, you may see very little of the chaos. My school is on the south side of Hong Kong island where (as far as I know) there has been zero protest activity. The majority of our student population live in this area as do many teachers. Life carries on as usual for the most part in this part of Hong Kong. I, on the other hand, live where most large scales demonstrations begin and where there has been much protest activity and police presence. Despite this, I can sometimes go for weeks without feeling the affects of the protests. When my family and friends see the violence in the news, they are surprised to hear that most of the time, it is business as usual here in Hong Kong. Most pro-democracy/anti-government gatherings are easy to avoid if you choose to do so.
My first night back in Hong Kong in 2020, I went to dinner in Wan Chai. Restaurants were full and all felt normal- though normal has a different feel here these days.”
“There is a lot of news coverage about the bushfires in Australia these past few weeks, and there are definitely tremendous problems associated with them. There are numerous areas in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia that are being destroyed by all of these fires. They are still going on at the moment, with barely any relief (like rain) on the way. I have been traveling around many of these states for the past month, and I must say that I haven’t seen or gone through the parts of those states that have been damaged or destroyed. Life goes on pretty much as normal in all the parts that I’ve visited recently. Many of my friends and family abroad have messaged me about my safety and if I’m near the fires. I tell them no, and that I’m safe. When I turn on BBC and CNN, I can see why they would think I’m in trouble here as their reports are indeed showing a lot of danger and devastation. But people do need to realise that Australia is a huge country. And even though the fires are in numerous locations, they are not in the big city metropolises that the majority of Australians are living in. That is not to say these big cities aren’t feeling the effects of the fires. On certain days, the fire smoke is definitely hovering over the cities here and causing a lot of air pollution. Some days the air pollution is worse than cities in nations like India and China, but it is only at that level a day or two and then the air quality usually returns back to safer levels.
It is important to mention though, yesterday at a store in Sydney, I overhead two people saying things like “I didn’t think these fires were going to affect me and my house, and then it did…” it made it more real to me hearing that story in person and that these fires are indeed affecting many people here.”
“I have been living in Qatar with my family for 9 years. Originally moved here as my husband was offered a job (he is in construction) and I found a teaching job at one of the many international schools here. My school is located in the West Bay area where a lot of expats live and is surrounded by tall buildings, offices, hotels, restaurants, cafes and shopping malls.
Two years ago, an air, land and sea blockade was imposed on Qatar by four other neighbouring countries which cut diplomatic and trade ties with Doha. About 60% of Qatar’s food supplies came from the countries causing the blockade. There was chaos at the supermarkets at the time. Shelves were emptied fast. While Qatar was trying to figure out alternative ways to import goods people were finding it difficult to find certain foods at the supermarket including milk. I remembered it last yesterday that I struggled, at that time, to find milk for my kids. It was a crazy couple of months.
Qatar actually imported tens of thousands of cows to ensure milk supplies.”
“Cambodia. The first thing I hear is “where?” Then I hear, “oh, yeah, Tomb Raider, right?” But my everyday life as a principal is so much more than ruins (although we’ve got plenty). Regular life is the open-air tuk-tuk rides to school, counting dogs with my six year old daughter. Regular life is using smiles and a mix of Khmer and English to negotiate for fresh vegetables for dinner. It’s the warm greetings from the owner of our favorite restaurant when we make our weekly visit, and the warm croissants from the corner bakery. It’s having friends from all over the world, who teach my daughter new words in their languages and invite us to their homelands for holidays. Most of all, my regular Cambodian life is about balance, because I can leave work at work, and enjoy my family and friends. Cambodia may be challenging in some ways, but it ultimately is about being able to relax, be yourself, and enjoy the ride (especially in a tuk-tuk).”
If your host country is in the world news at the moment and your family and friends are contacting you about what’s happening, please write to us and share your experience for an upcoming article in the blog series. We’d love to know what it is really like living in these countries all around the world. You will receive 6 months of premium membership for contributing 1-2 paragraphs about your host country.continue reading
Random year for international schools around the world: 2002
Utilizing the database of the 889 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found schools that were founded in 2002 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):
The International School of Macao (Macao, China)
“TIS was established in 2002 to provide a Canadian curriculum and accreditation to local and expatriate students. English is the primary language of instruction.
TIS opened with an initial total enrolment of 58 students on the campus of Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) in 2002. By 2006, the School had grown to over 500 students and had become accredited with the Alberta provincial (Canada) government. Students graduate from TIS with an Alberta High School diploma that is accepted in universities around the world.”
Northfield International High School (Port Louis, Mauritius)
“Northfields International High School (NIHS) is a privately owned secondary school situated in Mapou, district of Pampelmous in the north. From its small beginnings in 2001 NIHS has now over 280 students.”
Canadian International School of Egypt (Cairo, Egypt)
“The Canadian International School of Egypt (CISE) opened its doors on September 15, 2002. It is the first Canadian school certified by the Ministry of Education of Ontario in Egypt and the Middle East. The Egyptian initiators of this project chose the Province of Ontario, Canada’s most populated province, to provide the curriculum and most of the teaching staff for the school.”
Al Jazeera Academy (Doha, Qatar)
“Al Jazeera Academy opened its doors to students in September 2002. It is a modern international educational institution which comprises three separate schools within a single campus to cater for all students from Preschool to Year 13.”
Vale Verde International School (Burgau, Portugal)
“After the acquisition of a property suitable for the conversion of a school in 1997, the De Beer family developed the idea to fruition. In 2002, Vale Verde International School was founded following years of investment required to bring the buildings in line with Ministry of Education requirements.”
International Montessori School of Prague (Prague, Czech Republic)
“The International Montessori School of Prague (IMSP) was established as a private school in 2002. It was originally located in the Blatenska campus of Prague 4. IMSP started with 16 children in two classes : Toddler (1.5 – 3 years), and Primary (3 – 6 years). In September 2003 the school was moved to a much larger facility in the Hrudickova campus of Prague 4. That school year we started with three classrooms: one Toddler, one Primary, and one Elementary. In 2005 a second Primary class was added, so now IMSP had 4 classrooms: Toddler, Primary 1 and Primary 2, and Elementary. In 2006 the Primary program extended its afternoon component with Yoga, Music and Movement, Arts and Crafts, and Czech languge and culture.”
Logos International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
“Logos opened its doors in September 2002 with an enrollment of 58 students ranging from pre-kindergarten to grade seven. At that time,Logos consisted of a single renovated house and an adjacent empty lot where a basketball court and small swimming pool were soon built. Since that time,Logos added an additional grade level each year. In the spring of 2008,Logos held its first graduation ceremony for 13 seniors. Logos’ brand new campus consists of a basketball/volleyball/hockey court,athletic field,playground,library,cafeteria,2 computer labs,2 science labs,multi-purpose assembly room,and a swimming pool. All of the classrooms are air-conditioned and equipped with essential teaching tools. Our new facility is twice the size of our former location. We are very excited about this new provision.”
New Zealand International School (Jakarta, Indonesia)
“On 14 April 2003 Mr. Chris Elder, Ambassador of New Zealand to Indonesia, officially opened the School and the enrolment reached 35 students. The school grew quickly, and in August 2004 space was secured at LPPI, The Banking Institute, on Kemang Raya, to house the Senior Secondary Students. Since that time our enrolment has steadily increased in all aspects. The growth had the effect of moving expansion plans ahead of schedule; the search for additional premises has been an exciting time.”
Bromsgrove International School (Bangkok, Thailand)
“From the vision of the school founders Riza Sripetchvandee and Ian Davison, a new school was opened in 2002 under the name of Windsor International School and ownership of Windsor Education Co. Ltd. The School was constructed at Soi 164 Ramkhamheang Road, Minburi, in Eastern Bangkok. Over the course of the next two years pupil numbers grew steadily. A new building was opened in September 2004 to meet the demand from Early Years students. In April 2004, the School became affiliated to the prestigious and world famous Bromsgrove School UK and changed its name to Bromsgrove International School Thailand (BIST). Bromsgrove School UK was founded over 450 years ago and is a leading co-educational independent day and boarding school for some 1,500 pupils and is situated in the English Midlands and provides a first-class education with excellent facilities and resources, as well as enjoying considerable distinction in Sport, Music and the Arts.”
International School of Wuxi (Wuxi, China)
“International School of Wuxi (ISW) is part of the International Schools of China (ISC) – an organization that, for the last 20 years, has offered academically excellent programs to meet the intellectual, physical and emotional needs of students.”
International Community School (Atlanta) (Atlanta, United States)
Kongsberg International School (Kongsberg, Norway)
“Kongsberg International School is a non-profit foundation established in 2002 by Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS, Kongsberg Automotive ASA and Kongsberg Nærings- og Handelskammer (Chamber of Commerce and Industry). The school opened its doors in August 2003. The purpose of the school is to serve Kongsberg and its surrounding communities by providing a high quality international education for students, based on the International Baccalaureate Programme (www.ibo.org), using English as the principal medium of instruction. Although many of our students are Norwegian, a growing international community in Kongsberg and Buskerud has provided enrolment of students from over 22 nations.”
Access International Academy (Ningbo) (Ningbo, China)
“The AIAN student body is comprised of students from over 20 different nationalities. Faculty members are predominantly from the United States. The teacher-pupil ratio is approximately 1:4, which promotes individualized instructional practices.”
Singapore International School (Indonesia) (Jakarta, Indonesia)
“With the help of international consultants, SIS was able to redesign, construct and eventually turn an “abandoned” clubhouse into a school that is the talk of the town, in a housing complex of Bona Vista, South Jakarta. Located in a quiet neighborhood bordering the elite Pondok Indah real estate, the School is only two minutes from the Outer Ring Road making it accessible from many parts of Jakarta. The SIS complex boasts of an open, airy concept amidst lush, contoured gardens. In Bona Vista, SIS is able to enjoy all the amenities in this complex and this includes a competition-sized pool, soccer field, basketball courts and tennis courts. After a busy construction schedule, SIS finally opened its doors in its new complex in January 2002 with bigger classrooms and better facilities. The enrollment today includes a student population coming from at least 25 different nationalities.”continue reading