Primary teacher, Nicole Brand moved from South Africa to teach in the International Academy Amman in Jordan in 2008. Eighteen months on and Nicole describes her past year as "an adventurous time, academically, socially and richly gained experience".
Working with an excellent staffing team in the school "made my year one to remember forever," says Nicole. "I worked with two highly experienced teachers; a teacher from America and a teacher from the Netherlands. What an experience, sharing ideas from their different backgrounds and me being able to share the knowledge I have from South Africa."
Teaching in such an environment has helped Nicole not just academically but culturally too. Sporty Nicole got involved in many activities that enabled her to make friends from all over the world and experience Jordan in a whole new light. This year's experiences for Nicole have included snorkelling in the Red Sea, running with a team of 10 people from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea to raise money for UNICEF, and riding Camels through the desert.
Like many teachers at international schools who, after a year or two move on to explore and teach in a new country. Nicole is now doing the same. "I only wanted to teach abroad for one year and now the bug has bitten me and I want to see more and gain more experience. I taught in Jordan for eighteen months and now I'm starting a new teaching position in Qatar," says Nicole.
Her experience in Jordan will help her settle into her new job at the International School London, Qatar. Nicole admits "the first six months were difficult trying to cope with new culture, new language, new curriculum, and being far away from my loved ones". But after her first summer holiday, Nicole says she came back refreshed and ready for the academic year. "Being so far away from home the expats always support each other and soon you form your own expat family" says Nicole.
She offers advice to other teachers considering working in an international school: "come for the children and the rich experience."
There are now more than 5,000 English-medium international schools around the world and that number continues to grow. As a result, the job opportunities for skilled English-speaking teachers are vast.
Nicole worked through Teachers International Consultancy(TIC); a specialist organisation that works with teachers such as Nicole from all over the world, in particular those from South Africa, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
TIC is a free service for teachers, designed to prepare them well for their move abroad. To register as a potential candidate and for more advice about teaching in international schools go to www.findteachingjobsoverseas.co.uk or call TIC on +44(0)2920-212-083.