Lessons From Your Country

Five Lessons I Have Learned From Living in Barbados

January 7, 2022

I regularly pinch myself, particularly on my commute to school, where I pass turquoise waters and white beaches, green monkeys crossing the roads, and fruit vendors offering coconuts and pineapples. Do I really work and live here? I do, but of course, like all places, there are always lessons to be learned!

Lesson #1: Barbados is not the place to save money

You will be told before you arrive: Barbados is an expensive place. Of course, like anywhere, it depends on your lifestyle, but it is true that most things here are pricey. Your rent, car, and grocery shopping will dent your balance the most and are unavoidable expenses. Not having a car here is not an option, and I quickly learned that my romantic idea of having a little scooter in Barbados is absolutely not an option due to the conditions of the road here.

Lesson #2: People do get bored

During my interview, the principal told me that people have left in the past because they got very bored here. At the time I thought to myself “Who in their right mind would get bored of living in paradise??”. However, what I didn’t consider is, that an island like Barbados might only be a paradise for people like me. I spend every spare moment in, on or under the water. I surf, scuba dive and sail almost on a daily basis and if I didn’t have all these hobbies there may be a chance that I would actually get bored, too. Leaving the island is not as easy as I thought when I first got here, which may have been another reason for people to seek other locations.

Lesson #3: You have to accept ‘island time’

I am a very patient and laid-back person, so this has not really
been an issue for me personally, but I know that some people
struggle with this. Whenever you need to go to an office or
government facility (eg. bank, car registration, national ID office),
it takes a long time. We are talking about hours and hours of
queuing, often outside the building you are trying to enter. This is
often due to the local processes, which still include the filling in
of paper forms, rather than the digitalisation of processes. You will
often find yourself trying to get any of the bureaucratic jobs done
during the school holidays, as it is almost impossible to fit it into a workday, without having to take time off.

Lesson #4: Stay connected

Barbados is a very small island and although there are some private schools, there is only one International School, so there are no local collaboration or networking opportunities. Although there are some international schools in the region, there are no existing links or connections to any of them, so I have had to make much greater efforts to stay connected to colleagues than ever before.

Lesson #5: You do get to live in paradise

Despite the few things that one might have to get used to, Barbados truly is a paradise. The sun shines every single day, even during the ‘rainy season’, the ocean is always warm and there is a lot of fun to be had, especially if you enjoy getting to know the local spots. I moved here as a single female, and I have had no issues making friends and feeling connected, especially through my hobbies. There may not be a huge package with the job, but one of the benefits is certainly that I live a fairly relaxed life in the Caribbean!


This article was submitted by a guest author and ISC member who currently works at The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados)in St. John, Barbados

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Discussion Topics

9 International Educators Share How Close the Beaches are to Their International Schools

June 6, 2021

Who wouldn’t want to live next to or very close to the beach? Better yet, a beautiful beach with amazing sand and turquoise water!

International school educators could only be so lucky!

But this actually does exist in the world of international schools. There are a number of international schools around the world that are very close to the beach.

Some are on islands and that life has its pluses and minuses, but other international schools are simply just located on the coast of their continent.

Either way, you could be listening to the crashing of the waves as you walk home from a day’s work at your future international school next to the beach!

After searching the keyword ‘beach‘ using our Comments Search function on our website (premium access required), we found 331 comments. Here are 9 of them that give some insight into the hospital experience in different countries around the world.

Al Sahwa Schools (40 total comments)

“The school has not changed their site since the comment. They are close to the beach and the school has a new building on each side plus a new astroturf pitch. The older buildings are in need of some upgrading…”

Qingdao Amerasia International School (56 total comments)

“The ample outdoor activities available within the comfortable confines of a modern city: 40km boardwalk, beaches, mountains – tons of opportunities for outdoors enthusiasts…”

American School of Recife (27 total comments)

“American School of Recife 10 minutes to the nearest mall. Uber taxi is the most popular transportation in Recife. You can hire Uber to get you to the nearest beach area i.e Paiva or Porto Galinha. Single teachers are housed in a fully-furnished flat (considered a hotel in the city). The flats are only a one-bedroom apartment with a nice view of the beach and 7-10 minute walk to the school. The flat is also nearby small groceries where you can get most the things you may need in terms of food…”

UWC Thailand (107 total comments)

“There are many awesome beaches for different tastes. Bang Tao and Layan are popular with the school community. They are within 30 min of driving from campus. Ao Yon and Karon in the south are also popular…”

Lucaya International School (30 total comments

“The relaxed vibe on the island, friendly people, and absolutely stunning beaches, on which you may not see another person. It’s like having your own private beach. If you love deserted, pristine beaches, you will enjoy living here…”

United Lisbon International School (12 total comments)

“Lisbon is near to the Algarve area which is a popular beach destination for Europeans. Once can get there by car in 2.5 hours and by train in 3 hours. Porto, the other large city in Lisbon is 3.5 hours away with train service as well. Then there are smaller cities all accessible by good roads and trains…”

International School of Western Australia (28 total comments)

“The school is in the lovely suburb of Doubleview. Not to far from the city and quite close to the beach. There are a few nice cafes nearby that are great and quick to get lunch for school. It is quite expensive to rent or buy near the school – most teachers live 15-20 minutes away and drive to work.”

The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (83 total comments)

“West and South Coast are great places to live and go out. Lots of restaurants, bars and beautiful beaches to enjoy after work and on weekends.”

Cayman International School (6 total comments)

“There is no housing allowance. Rent is extremely high if you intend to live on or near a beach. Traffic can really be a problem, especially if you live on the south end of the island. A two bedroom apartment will run about $2,000 away from Seven Mile beach, $3,000 on the beach.”

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