Succeeding in your new school Search Associates ANZ picture taken of man wearing a turban in front of small home

Starting off successfully

From international school teachers


  • “Study the culture… observe… understand and accept… do not judge that your own culture is “better”… learn the language… try the new dishes” Carolyn
  •  “Listen first… talk later, embrace the differences, after all, isn’t they why you are here? Be nice to the secretaries! They probably have the answers to just about every question you might have!”  Karen
  • “Expect after the initial ‘honeymoon’ period of starting a new position overseas to be homesick. This is normal but it won’t last. Usually, after the Xmas (winter break) you come back feeling part of the school and community. (plenty of studies on this that should be looked at before you depart)” Chris and Mick
  • “You are there for the children first, the country second, but the country has a lot to offer. It all depends if you stop and listen to the positive, because all countries have negatives, yes all, but it’s everyone’s perception that changes, according to everyone’s attitude. 

“If you have a positive attitude, you will have a positive experience” Andrea

  • “Help students accept each other’s uniqueness (culture, experience of moving around the world) and resist the pressure to fit into one mold. Help them see the world beyond the International School enclave” Antonia
  • “Absorb the culture you are in….share your culture too and always be open to new ideas, do not prejudge another culture, be accepting and tolerant! “Joni
  • “Treat your new accommodation just like you would if you were moving to a new house in your home country. Buy things that make you feel comfortable and a real haven after a hard day’s work” Chris and Mick
  • “Be open to other’s perspectives and consider there is more than one ‘right’ way to do things. Talk – share – listen – celebrate!” Karen
  • “Learn a little bit of the local language and culture. Even the smallest connections to your environment can make a huge difference!” Ashley
  • “Accept students where they are academically and challenge them to grow… work your rear end off! Start every class with the joke of the day!” Pat
  • “Always have a sense of humor, a sense of adventure, and a sense of openness to new things, new ‘thinks’ andnew ways of doing things. And if you look really closely, you’ll see that there are a lot of common threads and it’s not so different from what you’re used to” Mayan
  • “Focus on the needs of the students. Success at that will make all the rest easier” Joe
  • “Understand that international school children have very distinctive characteristics of their own and try to get to know them for who they are without imposing attitudes and presuppositions that worked with kids “back home” Karen

“Learn to say in this order: hello, sorry, thank-you, beer & bathroom” Mike

  • “Most people appreciate relationships with others and the sense of community and family it provides, particularly in an international setting. There’s so much to learn from one another, to be inspired by, and to become curious from. I’d extend this beyond students to include their families, too. Happy beginnings!” David
  • “Accept every invitation you get to social events in the first few months to find out as much as you can about your new home and colleagues” Chris and Mick

Succeeding in your new school Search Associates ANZ happy child in Hong Kong standing in front of shining red lanterns in the evening


  • Succeeding in your new school Search Associates ANZ two children smiling as they model traditional Chinese clothing “Don’t expect a similar system as your national or state system at home such as policies or referral of students or processes. They will be different and that is fine. But many international schools have incredible resources at your disposal” Chris and Mick
  • “Don’t continually say … home we ….” Alice
  • “Don’t expect all your national brands to be in your local shops or supermarket. There will be plenty of alternatives. Experiment” Chris and Mick
  • “Don’t worry about what you used to do at your old school. Embrace the here and now and learn as much as you can!” Betty
  • “Don’t think ‘oh that’s strange’, think ‘that’s different. I wonder why?’. Be open to differences of all kinds” Chris and Mick
  • “Don’t make comparisons – instead be fascinated by the novelty of all the things that are new for you. At the same time, don’t be afraid to indulge in a little taste of home (whatever that may be!) every once in a while to ward off homesickness” Betsy
  • “Don’t think you will return from your overseas experiences the same person. You won’t. In 99% of cases, it will transform your life and improve your understanding of the world that travel by itself can never do” Chris and Mick

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