Growing up in New Delhi, Binita Dey was exposed to many different aspects of Hispanic cultures and people. Her father, a professor of Comparative English Language, was chosen by Prime Minister Nehru, when India won its independence, to be part of a team of foreign language experts who would build much-needed communication between India and other countries. This opportunity moved Binita’s father to Madrid to earn a doctorate in Picaresque Literature. He returned to New Delhi with a plan to establish the very first Spanish department in India.
Years later, inspired by her father’s work to become an international educator, Binita enrolled in the university for a Spanish Master’s program of language, literature, and interpretation. All of her professors had been her father’s students!
Binita’s passion has always been to connect students to the Spanish language through the exploration of different countries, cultures, and people. She describes the thrill of teaching overseas:
I have felt very fortunate to have small numbers, to be more creative and adventurous in and outside of the classroom. . . The students, along with their varied experiences in different countries, have brought enormous learning through their different backgrounds and cultures. . . Above all, being an international educator has brought me an experiential understanding of how we truly belong to one world.
Binita taught briefly at the American School in New Delhi before a late-in-the-year offer of a scholarship compelled her, with a heavy heart, to give notice at a school she loved, and move to Madrid. There, she pursued a two-year, post master’s degree at Complutense University while also working every weekend as a tourist guide and, at times, as an interpreter.
Binita felt fortunate to land a position at the Vienna International School from 1998-2001, delivering the Spanish International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme in both middle and high school. This happened after a colleague had made her aware of the vacancy, and Binita’s application secured her successful interviews in London.
Joining Search Associates (SEARCH) and working with Senior Associate Harry Deelman and his SEARCH partner Margaret at the London Spring fair in 2002 was a turning point for Binita. For their support, which has led to excellent professional choices over the years, she is deeply appreciative:
Their warmth, wisdom and no-nonsense, candid and practical advice, were integral to my accepting a position at the French American School in San Francisco as a Spanish teacher in the IB program, mostly in high school. It was there that I also became an IB examiner, an experience full of satisfaction and growth, as it allowed experiences with other students and teachers across the globe.
After 17 years of teaching internationally, Binita took a two-year sabbatical that extended to three for family reasons. As soon as she was ready to seek a new position, she saw a compelling vacancy on the SEARCH website. She says,
Once again, both Harry and Margaret offered me their advice and support in making the decision to teach where I am now, at the International School of Myanmar, an experience with many rewarding moments.
Because she has had such a positive experience with Search Associates, Binita recommends you enlist SEARCH as “your ally” for a career in international education. She also reminds us of key traits that thriving overseas teachers share:
Bring an open heart, along with an open mind, with a big dose of flexibility and humour.