Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Sofia, Bulgaria (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

July 20, 2017

Traveling Around: Sofia, Bulgaria

Can you relate?

• Passing by a house that had a whole car in its front yard as a lawn decorative item!
• Going through a city market, not a big touristy one, and enjoying all the little shops there; had a great “conversation” (many language barriers) with one store owner/worker about her honey, jams and nuts.
• Checking out the biggest city park in Sofia and realizing how amazingly big it was. There were also some martenitsas tied to a number of the park’s trees. Didn’t know what those were, but now I know; interesting tradition.
• Having a nice walk through the downtown area of Sofia and running into some of the most beautiful buildings on a nice sunny day!


• Walking through the city neighborhoods and spotting a really cool local bird that was grey but with fluorescent blue markings on its wings.
• Seeing a bunch a stray dogs and cats lounging around all the streets and sidewalks.
• Watching a local group of little school kids and their teachers walk in line together as they go along their field trip for the day.
• Smelling the amazing smells of a local bakery. Geez, how could you not stop and check out their goods?!

• Choosing one of the many day trips that I could have taken and doing it with 4 strangers and having a great time.
• Checking out the nearby mountains, thinking that there would be some green nature and then finding out that it was all snow still there.
• Being immersed in a completely silent place surrounded by beautiful trees and nature.
• Challenging myself to walk up a steep mountain incline, getting to the top and enjoying the view!


• Finding a really little Mexican restaurant on one of the streets in Sofia (didn’t eat at it), a kind of restaurant that looks like a food truck but was actually part of the nearby buildings. You could only order through a window.
• Checking out the main market in Sofia and deciding what I wanted to buy. I ended up going to a local lavender farmer and buying two jars of their lavender honey.
• Shopping in Sofia is great because the price of certain produce and products is so cheap!
• Enjoying the fact that I can read most Cyrillic letters and some basic Russian, so I wasn’t so in the dark when confronted with an important street sign or store sign for example.


• Seeing certain produce items (omg, the tomatoes) that I can get in my host country, but not as tasty as these ones looked! Feeling very jealous of the expats living here.
• Noticing that some of market stands had a really long line of people wanting to buy their specific produce. The locals know who to buy from I guess!

• Going to an out-of-the-way restaurant, walking in and realizing nobody else was there. Started talking to the owner and worker and learning about their lives and the life of the restaurant. Great, unexpected cultural exchange.
• Deciding to take a short cut to get to a certain place while using Google Maps, but only to realize I was getting myself into a bit of a dangerous area for walking pedestrians (really close to a fast highway).  Making it out safe, and happy because I found a really cool spot to take a picture of some graffiti.

Currently we have 106 international schools listed in Eastern Europe on International School Community. 55 of them have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few of those schools:

Albanian International School (Tirana, Albania)19 Comments
International School of Azerbaijan (Baku, Azerbaijan)39 Comments
QSI International School of Sarajevo (Sarajevo, Bosnia)18 Comments
Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria)49 Comments
American International School of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia)29 Comments
International School of Brno (Brno, Czech Republic)25 Comments
International School of Estonia (Tallinn, Estonia)22 Comments
Britannica International School Budapest (Budapest, Hungary)19 Comments
International School of Latvia (Riga, Latvia)33 Comments
American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland)89 Comments
Wroclaw International School (Wroclaw, Poland)46 Comments
Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)66 Comments
International School of Belgrade (Belgrade, Serbia)59 Comments
Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine)122 Comments

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at 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 you 6 free months of premium membership!

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Anglo American School of Sofia

May 28, 2017

The journey to work is indeed an important one.  The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers when they are looking for jobs at schools in cities/countries to which they have never been.  So let’s share what we know!

One of our members, who works at the Anglo American School of Sofia (Bulgaria), described her way to work there as follows:

The road to Anglo American School of Sofia…

Some teachers drive to work. It is not that far from the center of the city. The school is location in a more residential, countryside area. These pictures of from a spring day with lots of sun!

Sofia, Bulgaria
The best part of the school’s location is of course the amazing view of the nearby mountains. The school grounds are also pretty to look at and walk around in as they are well-landscaped. In the spring a number of the plants are flowering.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Walking towards the school’s main entrance.

Sofia, Bulgaria

There are huge sports fields for students to play in.

Sofia, Bulgaria

There is a sense of community as you walk around the campus. There is even an outdoor amphitheater. This day the school was using it during their Bulgarian cultural week.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Here is the road leading out of the school campus.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Here is that same road looking back towards the school.

You do need to pass through some security. Even taxis are not allowed through when you get visitors. This day I was actually leaving via an arranged taxi going to the airport. It was very cheap and quick. I think I was there in 15-20 minutes that day.


This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author and International School Community member.

What to know more what it is like to visit and live in Eastern Europe?  Out of a total of 105 international schools we have listed in Eastern Europe, 55 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Pechersk School International Ukraine, Kyiv 122 Comments
International School of Belgrade Serbia, Belgrade 34 Comments
Anglo-American School of Moscow Russia, Moscow 66 Comments
American International School Bucharest Romania, Bucharest 20 Comments
Wroclaw International School Poland, Wroclaw 46 Comments
American School of Warsaw Poland, Warsaw 89 Comments
International School of Latvia Latvia, Riga 33 Comments
Anglo American School of Sofia Bulgaria, Sofia 49 Comments
International School of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan, Baku 39 Comments

So what is your journey to the international school you work at?  Earn one year free of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’.  Email us here if you are interested.

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Blogs of International Teachers

International School Teacher Blogs: “Josefino Rivera” (A teacher that works at Anglo American School of Sofia)

April 15, 2017

Are you inspired to start-up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?

Our 47th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Josefino Rivera”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who works in Bulgaria:

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

Moving to the Balkans

“This time, the butterflies in my stomach flapped gingerly. Perhaps it was the recondite Cyrillic which I struggle to understand. Perhaps it was the confused responses upon sharing the news of this job in stark contrast to other locations. Perhaps it was the skills I’ve developed in finding home within myself and not necessarily a location.

On the individual screen from my aisle seat, I watched The Time Traveler’s Wife, empathizing not with the intended wife, but with the time traveler himself: the false sense of control, the naked vulnerability in each travel, and the excitement that comes with such profound experiences…”

How interesting that this international school educator experienced a different reaction from his friends based on the location of the place he was moving to. There are a lot of misconceptions about certain locations and cultures in the world. These people typically haven’t even visited the location that you are moving to and they strangely still have such strong opinions about it!

Related to arriving in your new city/country, we have 60 comments that have been submitted on this comment topic on our website: “Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations?”

Here is one of them from Qatar Academy (Sidra): “We did trips to the malls and Ikea to buy things. There was one staff lunch at the Rec Center before the whole staff joined but that was it. There are no xmas parties or anything like that. There was an iftar (meal at sunset during Ramadan) but it was in Education City and in the evening, which isn’t convenient for the staff who live outside Education City. There is a social club that tries to organize events for the staff-some drinking and non drinking events and events for families too.”

“Today, the new hires of 2016–2017 stepped foot on the campus of the Anglo-American School of Sofia, home of the wolves. The campus is located on the southeast outskirts of the capital of Bulgaria. It is nestled at the foot of the Vitosha mountains.

Before any new group of educators can work towards a common mission, we have to know each other because eventually we will rely on each other. In the field of education, we are not islands. I can teach a phenomenal course within my work day, but if, vertically, my colleague doesn’t continue developing on the same skills in the next course, we haven’t done our job well. Or if horizontally, I don’t communicate with a student’s other teachers to understand his low performance in my class or what makes her excited in another class, we haven’t done our job well.

Thus to break the ice, our head of school, Jim Urquhart, modeled a community building activity to help remember each other’s names called “Appellation Alliteration”. We stood in a circle, each making an alliteration of our own first name with an alliterative adjective or phrase. In addition, we had to identify a movement that represented that phrase…

New teacher orientation is super important and definitely has a lasting effect on the new teacher. We have a number of  articles (14) that have been submitted in our blog category called “New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves“.  Here is a blurb from our latest one titled “A sit-down with an admin to go over each part of your contract”:

Contract details can be easily overlooked. They are not overlooked because you are not interested in them (because of course you want to know ALL the details when you are in the initial stages after being offered a contract), but because there are too many fine details to fully understand everything you see.

Contracts can also be easily misunderstood. Maybe you already “read” the contract, but it would be safe to say that you would not completely understand everything you “read”.  International school teaching contracts definitely contain parts that are using language you may not be familiar with. If it contains parts that are specific to the rules/laws of the host country, then it is very possible that you might not be so familiar with that jargon in terms of what a certain part is really trying to say…”


Want to work for an international school in Bulgaria like this blogger?  Currently, we have 7 international school teachers that have listed that they currently live in this country. Check them out here. We also have one member that is from this country.

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

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