Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Japan (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

May 21, 2013


Traveling Around: Japan

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Can you relate?

• Traveling around on trains using the Japanese Rail Pass, and having unlimited access for the entire trip.
• Enjoying the beauty of cherry blossoms, called ‘sakura’ in Japanese.
• Paying good money for a few pieces of delicious fatty tuna sushi. Worth every penny!
• Being offered dessert from a kind group of Japanese young people, after they catch us checking out their food.
• Having a group photo, soon after, with this same group of young people.
• Seeing Hello Kitty everywhere!
• Noticing that everything is so darn cute in Japan.
• Walking for miles in search for the perfect bowl of tempura.
• Wondering what is going on when every few people you see are wearing medical masks, and discovering that though some people wear them when they are sick, others wear them to hide a blemish or their emotions!
• Entering a store dedicated entirely to chopsticks, some running in the hundreds of dollars.
• Visiting Kyoto in hopes of seeing at least one, elusive geisha, and being lucky enough to see one after another, after another.
• Walking around to look at all of the beautiful temples, and constantly being passed by fast walking, little old ladies, who may even be in their 90’s! There’s longevity in this country.
• Watching some very strange TV programs while in the hotel room. Was it a game show, a reality show, a talk show?  It was all in Japanese, so who knows!
• Walking around the bottom floor a fancy department store, which was devoted all to food, including perfectly wrapped strawberries which cost about $50, and a watermelon which cost $100.
• Taking the train to Osaka just for dinner.
• Spending the last night in the Tokyo neighborhood of Shibuya, and trying to cross the busiest intersection in the world.
• Asking myself, since I live in Korea, why it has taken me three years before visiting Japan?

Currently we have 39 international schools listed in Japan on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profile pages:

Hiroshima International School (23 Comments)
Canadian Academy (Kobe) (10 Comments)
Kyoto International School (14 Comments)
• Nagoya International School (12 Comments)
American School in Japan (20 Comments)
Seisen International School (33 Comments)
Horizon Japan International School (9 Comments)
St. Mary’s International School (14 Comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.com with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give 6 free months of premium membership!

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Serbia (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

April 17, 2013


Traveling Around: Serbia

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Can you relate?

• Finding out that the local phrase for a cold, snowy March is called a grandma March.
• Eating a local dish again that you had 6 years ago, but in a different country, and being VERY pleased!
• Being accosted at all the local green markets with the vendors talking to you in their local language and you just smiling as you walk by…not knowing exactly how to look or respond to them.
• Searching and successfully finding some original, reasonably-priced artwork to purchase.
• Trying out many items from a relatively new brand of food products to the country.
• Learning many new words in the local language and finding a favorite one (Kikiriki = Peanuts).
• Wandering around the city and finding many couples making out in public everywhere (not such a common sight in other countries!).
• Reading about a cultural norm of the country beforehand and then, after talking to many locals, finding out that it is not necessarily their “norm”.
• Seeing huge buildings and structures and being in awe of the time, energy and money it must have taken to create them.
• Hearing from a person before meeting with them that it is culturally acceptable to be up to 15 minutes late!
• Listening to different perspectives about the history of this region of the world; most Serbians would like to go back to being one big country again (Yugoslavia).
• Choosing a person at a market to finally buy some produce with, but still thinking the person was upset with you while you were at their table, and then ending up getting a free loaf of bread as a thank you gift because you purchased a lot of items from them.
• Walking with a local and learning that another country (Azerbaijan) purchased the whole exercise/walking path that was along the river for the city of Novi Sad.
• Noticing the charm of smaller cities/towns in a country and possibly enjoying them even more than the bigger cities. (Note to self: get out of the big cities more when traveling!).
• Checking out the local graffiti artists’ work on the many walls and buildings in the city.
• Fumbling at the many check-out counters, not being able to figure out using the local currency fast enough before the cashier takes over and just grabs the correct amount from your hands.
• Arriving at the local airport at a very early hour in the morning and feeling very glad that you had pre-arranged for a driver to pick you up and bring you straight to your hotel.

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Currently we have 4 international schools listed in Serbia on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profile pages:

Britannica I.S. (Belgrade) (11 Comments)
British International School (Serbia) (10 Comments)
Chartwell International School (3 Comments)
International School of Belgrade (26 Comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.com with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give 6 free months of premium membership!

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

March 7, 2013


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Traveling Around: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Can you relate?

• Realizing that the expat life there can be very, very nice!
• Enjoying the Middle Eastern cuisine and wishing it was the cuisine where I live.
• Going to mall after mall after mall after mall.
• Feeling jealous about how big the grocery stores were there compared to my host country, so many products that I would buy if I lived there.
• Walking along the corniche.  Corniches in the Middle East are just cool places to walk around, especially during sunset.
• Stopping many times in a taxi as my taxi driver asks stranger after kind stranger if they know where to go to find my friend’s house.
• Checking out the new, modernized souk and conversing with a souvenir store manager about where I could find original artwork. (Fail)
• Pulling up to hotels and restaurants and there always being a valet person to park our car for us.
• Meeting expat after expat and asking them many questions about their lives living in Abu Dhabi.
• Thinking how interesting that all the restaurants have a mock-tail menu rather than a regular cocktail menu (alcohol is prohibited in this country).
• Getting accustomed to taking taxis around town or driving in my friend’s car around town.  Still a bit strange sometimes when many international school teachers live their lives abroad car-less.
• Hearing all about the different customs related to the clothing of the UAE man and woman.
• Being amazed at how diverse the city is. The majority of people here appear to be from India.
• Choosing almost not to go into the grand mosque because I wasn’t dressed appropriately. (I did end up going in and wearing the free robe on offer at the mosque entrance)
• Having a moment of surprise when finding out that the weekend here includes Friday and Saturday, not Saturday and Sunday.
• Taking a trip out to the desert and doing a dune bashing ride as our driver drove crazily around and on top of really high dune hills.
• Buying some excellent dates at the date market.  Felt happy about my purchase until somebody reminded me that I should have bargained down the price!

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Currently we have 14 international schools listed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profile pages:

Al Raha International School Abu Dhabi (5 Comments)
American Community School Abu Dhabi (12 Comments)
American International School (Abu Dhabi) (11 Comments)
Sheikh Zayed Private Academy (7 Comments)
Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi (10 Comments)
• Institute of Applied Technology (Abu Dhabi) (12 Comments)
GEMS American Academy (Abu Dhabi) (37 Comments)
Horizon Private School (10 Comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.com with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give 6 free months of premium membership!

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Myanmar (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

October 21, 2012


Traveling Around: Myanmar

Can you relate?

• Carrying all of your spending money around with you, including money for hotels and inner country flights, in US dollars, because there are no ATMs, and credit cards are not excepted.
• Making sure that this cash is only brand new, crisp bills, because otherwise, they will not be excepted.
• Feeling like you are in India or Bangladesh, because Myanmar borders both of these countries.
• Seeing Burmese people wearing a white powder on their face, and discovering it is actually their traditional sun screen and moisturizer.
• Realizing that this is such an exciting moment to be in Myanmar due to their fledgling democracy and the recent release of Aung San Suu Kyi.
• Talking to amazing locals, who are so happy that you have chosen to visit their country, especially after years of tourists bans.
• Traveling by horse and cart……because this is an actual mode of transportation in Bagan, Myanmar!
• Using a paper ticket! No e-tickets in this country.
• Actually going to the airline company to buy this paper ticket, and then waiting as the agent hand writes each ticket!
• Visiting Bagan, where there are more than 1,200 temples which sounds amazing until you realize that this country used to have more than 13,000!
• Being super impressed by the service at the airports, considering that tourism is just starting up again.
• Trying the traditional food, which is shared style, and the food keeps coming until you are full!
• Sadly, seeing a neighborhood slum right next to a brand new high end grocery store. Seems very wrong.
• Arriving in Heho, traveling one hour by car, and then one hour by boat, to Inle lake, and realizing it was worth every minute of travel.
• Staying in cottages on stilts which are right in the middle of the lake.
• Seeing the milky way at night.
• Hanging out at the Strand Hotel

Currently we have 6 international schools listed in Myanmar on International School Community:

• Yangon International School (10 Comments)
International School of Myanmar (10 Comments)
International School Yangon (6 Comments)
Total Learning Academy (9 Comments)
Myanmar International School Yangon (8 Comments)
Yangon Academy (0 Comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.com with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give 6 free months of premium membership!

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