Julie Gossett has accepted her first overseas teaching position at The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) in Oman, and we think she did everything right! Before following in the footsteps of her older sister who had taught in Istanbul and Mumbai, Julie was an English teacher in Texas. It was her sister who gave Julie the courage to decide to move overseas and showed her the way. Julie explains,
"My sister, Amy, found her first international position through Search Associates. I'm so grateful she encouraged me to join… It's overwhelming enough searching the globe for employment through an agency. I can't imagine attempting it on my own. Additionally, there are some schools that hire solely through agencies like Search Associates, so those doors would have been closed to me had I not joined."
Julie registered for the Search Cambridge Job Fair and began to use the website. She describes the value of searchassociates.com:
"I was on the website so often during the time my account was active, that once I signed a contract and deactivated my profile, I felt a bit of a loss as to what to do. The entire website is so well organized, that despite the mass of information available, tailoring inquiries to my specific needs was easily done. The information provided on the school profile pages was incredibly helpful in narrowing the focus of my employment search. The website is more than comprehensive; therefore, I see no need for improvement."
Julie didn't stop at just browsing the website. She followed the advice of her Associates, John and Susan Ritter, who encouraged her to keep an open mind and to become as well-informed as possible about her options. She conducted extensive research on every school of interest and every administrator who contacted her, scanning international school review websites and news feeds for information about the schools and locations in question. By the time she arrived at Search Cambridge, Julie was already quite prepared, which surely contributed to her positive experience at the fair. She exclaims,
"I would absolutely encourage every first-time candidate to attend a job fair. It's a crazy and intense few days, but the experience I gained was invaluable. It was worth every penny I spent, and it's an investment I'd make again."
An initial interview with an administrator at TAISM proved that the school was a great fit. What sealed the deal for Julie, though, was the longevity of the administrative team at TAISM, and the opportunity she was given to Skype privately with a teacher at the school, who gave Julie a firsthand account of life in Muscat. This open communication gave Julie the utmost confidence that she had found a location and school community in which she would thrive. Julie has some advice to those considering teaching abroad:
"Your Senior Associates… truly mean it when they tell you to maintain an 'open heart, open mind' throughout the job search. Be willing to set aside preconceived notions in an effort to find the school that will best fit your needs. Be sure to make a list of your priorities. Determine what you absolutely want or need in your professional environment, and what you're willing to compromise on. Then, research schools, locations, and administrators as thoroughly as possible before making a decision. And finally, have fun!"