Ten Commandments of Relocating Overseas

Ten Commandments of Relocating Overseas #1: Learn as much as possible about…

August 14, 2022


Learn as much as possible about the host country in order to have realistic expectations.

How much can you learn about a host country before you arrive? Yes, thank goodness for the internet and its endless (and sometimes tiresome) list of websites that try and shed light on the many facets of the host country’s culture and language.

A type of website that might be the most informative: personal blogs of expats that live in the host country.  Certainly, they are the best type of website to gather information about the host country.  The blogger typically is very explicit and candid about their day-to-day experiences living there.  Personal blogs of international teachers are even better.  I love reading from their entries even before they arrive in their new country to when they have been there three years later.  Some of the international teacher blogs that we have highlighted on International School Community so far:

• Education Rickshaw (China)

• Expat Heather (South Korea)

• Josefino Rivera (Bulgaria)

But I must say that I knew close to nothing about the country I am currently in, and the people from where I am from knew even less.  Sometimes you just got to go there yourself to see about the culture and language of the host country’s people.  When I go home now, I am inundated with questions about what life is like there…and some of the questions are really unbelievable (but I was once in their shoes I’m sure). 

I think it is hard to get away from the stereotypes that we have about each culture group in the world.  The issue is, as we all know, that the stereotype might actually be true for the majority of the people in the host country.  However, it is NOT true for EVERYONE in the country.  You cannot group everyone in one culture group together.  I just read recently that due to the Danish cultural norms Danes don’t try and make good friends with people that they work with.  I’m sure that there are a few Danes that hang out with their co-workers outside of work and call them their best friends.

Realistic expectations? This will take some good research I think.  Every time I go to a new location, one of the things I do is buy the latest Lonely Planet for that country/city.  For sure after reading a bit of that travel book I can have my expectations be a tiny be more realistic, if not even make them a bit more exciting.  I don’t know about you though, but I am quite sensitive to culture shock.  So, even if I have realistic expectations and am ready to expect the unexpected, I am still subjected to embarrassing mood swings about the things that in theory I had already expected.  One of the joys of living abroad I suppose.  By the way, I subscribe to the idea of cherishing all emotions: the good and the not-so-good.

Last thing that I know about how to find out the most I can about my future host country: talk to people that currently work at the school.  Not the administrator, the human resources department, etc…the real people that work there who will really tell you how it is.  I’ve always received a few contact email addresses of some teachers that I can contact during the summer.  I have even had a Skype call with one of them which really helped I think get my expectations to be a little more realistic.  It is key to talk to people and gather as much information as possible. 

This article was submitted by a guest author and ISC member.

Right now on International School Community you can get in contact with a number of our members who know about more than 1300+ international schools, and the list of schools our members know about is growing!

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1988 (Budapest, Johor, Berne, Bordeaux, Hanoi, Rome, etc.)

December 25, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1988

Utilizing the database of the 1018 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 10 international schools that were founded in 1988 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Koc International School (Istanbul, Turkey)

“Founded in 1988 by the Vehbi Koç Foundation, the Koç School has quickly become one of Turkey’s most selective and competitive university preparatory schools. It attracts an outstanding academic staff of Turkish and foreign teachers, and students who score at the highest levels of entrance examinations. Koç School seeks to be a leader and a pioneer in Turkish education and to set standards for other schools to follow.”

Bordeaux International School  (Bordeaux, France)

“Bordeaux International School, also known as BIS, is a private (fee-paying) international school for ages 3–18 located in Bordeaux, France, established in 1988 by the non-profit making Association Linguistique et Culturelle Internationale. Students are from both France and other countries. The medium of instruction is English and French in the primary streams and mainly English in the secondary school. The school moved to new premises in rue Judaïque in August 2005.”

British School Bern (Berne, Switzerland)

“The British School of Bern is an English-speaking, International day school established in 1988. It is for pupils of all nationalities from the ages of three to twelve years. It is an independent, nonprofit day school located in Gumlingen, a suburb of Bern. The school provides a modern British curriculum. The teaching allows each child to develop to his/her particular need through both same-age and cross-age groupings.”

International School of Budapest (Budapest, Hungary)

International School of Johor (Johor, Malaysia)

United Nations International School (Vietnam) (Hanoi, Vietnam)

“The United Nations International School of Hanoi is an international school in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1988 with the support of the United Nations Development Programme in Vietnam (UNDP) with the aim of providing an education to the children of UN staff and others. It now caters to the children of diplomats, aid workers, businessman, and other expatriates living and working in Hanoi. Classes range from pre-school to high school, and the IB Diploma is available to students in grade 11 and 12.”

Rome International School (Rome, Italy)

“RIS opened its doors to its first elementary school students in September 1988. We offer an international education to children aged 2 to 18. The Middle School opened in September 2001 and the High School in 2007. The school is located in a fully equipped campus comprised of classrooms, ample sports facilities, science labs, music rooms, libraries and computer labs, next to several acres of a public park, Villa Ada.The location is well connected by public transport.”

Khalifa School (Safat, Kuwait)

“Khalifa School, founded in 1988, is recognized as the first private educational institution for special needs students in Kuwait. Motivated by her grandson, Khalifa, Mrs. Lulwa Khalifa Alghanim established Khalifa School with the vision of providing equal opportunities for special needs students. The school combines the latest teaching methods and state of the art technology to provide appropriate educational opportunities for the students. The school is located in the capital area of Kuwait and is accessible from all locations of the country.”

German-American International School
 (Menlo Park, California, United States)

“The concept of a German-American School in the Bay Area in order to promote the German language and culture started in May 1980, with an ad-hoc committee under the leadership of Dr. Liedkte, Professor of German at the San Francisco State University. He was assisted by a group of dedicated parents and Mr. Rothmann, the German consul at that time and the Swiss consul, Mr. Frey. The result of many years of dedicated work, the German American School (GAS) was created by a small group of parents wanting to provide a good bilingual education for their children.”

Adana Gundogdu College (Adana, Turkey)

“Adana Gündogdu College was founded in 1988 by Mr. Yunus Gündogdu. It started with 88 students and now there are approximate 2000 students. Our school is located in Adana, which is located in southern Turkey. Adana is the city in the south of Turkey and has a university and several colleges. We have many attractions, a lake and not far from the center is the ocean. Our school includes a kindergarten, an elementary school and one comprehensive school.”

Check out the rest of the more than 1018 international schools listed on International School Community here.

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Recently Updated School Profiles

School profile highlights #10: Int’l School of Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai Rego Int’l School and Colegio Nueva Granada

November 17, 2011


Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments and information on the following international schools:

International School of Kuala Lumpur (2 new comments) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

New information or comment in the School section: “English is the primary language in the hallways. There are a number of EAL students, but are not the majority. The largest single cultural group is Korean (24%) but there is a cap of 25% per class year of any one particular cultural group, ensuring an international make up to the school community.”
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Colegio Nueva Granada (2 new comments) in Bogota, Colombia

New information or comment in the City section: “If you either speak or at least try to speak Spanish they will love you. It is a great city to learn the language and the people are very happy to speak to foreigners about their own countries, etc.”

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Shanghai Rego International School (6 new comments) in Shanghai, China

New information or comment in the Benefits section: “This year the school has given another option for housing. It’s a place called Royal Garden and everyone seems quite impressed with it! I’m still happy though with my own choice in the city but its good to have another option.”

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Starting my 30′s in Malaysia”

September 28, 2011


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

Check out the experiences of another international school teacher from the day before they left to their new country to what they are writing about after a few months working abroad.

Our 8th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Starting my 30′s in Malaysia“   This teacher seems to be new to the international school community.  The part of their blog that we would like highlight is about their experience living in Malaysia working at International School of Kuantan.

Entries we would like to highlight:

The Night Before
“Once I get there I am sure the excitement will set in again. I am sure I will still have periods where I am homesick. I am so glad that the internet, cell phones and skype have all been invented, and I have access to them.”

What a wide range of emotions that you go through the day before you get on the flight to your new host country.  Thank goodness for Skype to help you stay in contact with your loved ones and also with your other international school teacher friends!

2nd Day- What amazing sights
“Tonight we went out to dinner at Restran Khalsa Baru and we ate roti naan ayam, tandoori- non-bread with sauces chicken curry, dahl, mint, and tandoori chicken. This is also an Indian restaurant so it was similar to what we have the other morning for breakfast. Instead of a crepe like food it was more like a flat bread. Again we ate with our fingers, and washed our hands at the end. With the chicken they just chop it up and don’t pay attention to bones, so one must be very careful when eating the chicken not to eat a bone.”

Oh, the first restaurant experiences in the host country; how memorable they will be for international school teachers!  Everything that is different from your own country becoming very vivid and apparent.  Westerners are not so skilled in the art of putting a piece of meat in your mouth and being able to work around the bone to spit that part back out.

Getting to know the school
“The schedule here is quite interesting and confusing right now. They have an 8 period day, but periods 1 &2, 3 & 4, and 6 & 7 are block periods. Periods 5 and 8 are single periods. They also do not have the classes the same time everyday.”

It takes some time to get used to new timetables.  Each school seems to have its own rules in how they come up with them.  It is hard not to immediately revert back to how the timetables worked at your last school that you worked at and how they did them there.  Especially if your new timetable only allows for you to have a 30 minute lunch each day with a 30 minute duty after you eat!

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

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