Music teacher Matthew Tavares turned a yearning for home in Indonesia into a reality, and he made it happen through passion, focus, and a gratitude that attracts good fortune. Search Associates was happy to be of service. July 2020 will mark the end of Matthew’s first full year of international teaching at the Sekolah Buin Batu on the island of Sumbawa, and he reflects,
I had felt that international teaching would be a great fit for my life after I visited Indonesia several times (to see my then girlfriend) and got to know the people and the atmosphere. Indonesia has some of the most wonderful people in the whole world, and it was a place that I just felt I belonged. I was lucky enough to find out about this as a real possibility, and I know it is what I want to do for years to come.
Since the age of 13, Matthew has wanted to emulate his music teachers, “selfless people who really cared about their students’ success and well-being.” In the field of education, he earned his B.A. from Berklee College of Music and his master’s from the Boston Conservatory of Music. For 21 years, he taught some delightful students in great schools and organizations in the U.S., and Matthew feels his choice of profession has truly paid off. As a music teacher, he has the opportunity to teach students over a long period of time. He adds,
Watching them evolve into confident, happy, well-balanced students and adults has got to be my most loved part of my job. No concert or piece of music replaces the look children give me when they realize they have surpassed their own expectations and become better. They realize their own potential a little more and know they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.
Matthew discovered Search Associates (SEARCH) inadvertently when his co-worker's former principal landed a new position in an international school in China—with the help of SEARCH—and invited her to join his staff overseas. Though she declined the offer, she helped Matthew pursue his dream. Matthew explains,
Her former administrator was so happy with the process of finding work in an international school and had nothing but great things to tell her about Search Associates, and she passed that information on to me.
After promptly registering with SEARCH, Matthew was assigned Chief Executive Officer Jessica Magagna as his Associate. He truly felt fortune smiling on him. He immediately began combing the SEARCH website for positions in Indonesia, and he attended the Search Cambridge fair 2019, which he describes as “an outstanding experience that you must attend to believe. So many amazing schools and educated people all in one location.”
Matthew did not see an international teaching position for him at Search Cambridge, however. Not one school at Search Cambridge was from Indonesia, and he wanted Indonesia and only Indonesia. Jessica reminded him that even if he did not get placed during the fair, there would always be more options. Matthew explains just how right she was:
When I went home there was a job posting for a music educator position in Indonesia, and the rest, as they say, is history. Fate has a funny way of working out.
Ultimately, it was the SEARCH website that brought Matthew’s chosen corner of the world to him. He had been using it a lot and admits being “impressed by the level of professionalism and details that Search Associates puts into its site.” Nevertheless, Matthew did not say yes until after four weeks of deliberation and a lot of internet research to explore the uniqueness of the school and the island of Sumbawa, which he describes as “exotic, beautiful, and challenging.” What ultimately convinced him was the human connection:
The current principal seemed the type of person who genuinely cared about students and their education. He took me on a virtual tour of the school and let me meet both faculty and students alike.
To prospective international educators, Matthew has this to say:
If you are considering teaching abroad, be open to anything and everything. Your life will change in many wonderful brilliant ways, and you must be ready to change and adapt to your new life, but if you are open to change, it is the most rewarding experience you will ever have. At my current location, for example, I think now I fly more than I drive. I love my new family at Sekolah Buin Batu, and I cannot thank Search Associates enough for making it possible.