What do a recent Canadian university graduate, a widow from Seattle, and a Texan married to a Nigerian gentleman have in common? Read on to find out!
Before becoming a missionary, I was aware of very few “international schools”. In fact, Wikipedia only lists 60 “notable” such schools in my home country of the U.S. However, since living overseas, I’ve learned of international schools that welcome children of missionaries, military personnel and diplomats. They are also available to other families able to pay their generally higher tuition and school fees. Some of these schools offer globally recognized International Baccalaureate programs and serve hundreds of students, while others may be significantly smaller and serve a less diversified community, perhaps not even using “international” in their names.
What part of such a school is “international” anyway? I used to think it meant simply a school that was located someplace besides the US and had an ethnically varied student population. Certainly there are international schools around the world. But, what about other personnel involved in the school besides the students and their families? From where do the staff and faculty come from? They are likely to come from different countries, as well. Often, the traits of being international, or multinational, describe more than its student body.
Such is the case at the school where I just began teaching. This year’s faculty come from at least six different countries. And, when the staff is included in this tally, the number of ethnic groups represented likely triples. The school’s students alone represent more than 16 nationalities. We are a mini U.N. on campus!
So, back to the original question. What commonality does the southern belle, my Seattle neighbor, and the Canadian graduate have? They are all teachers with whom I have the privilege to work this year. Sometimes the international part of “international schools” is unexpected!