As a couple, Vince Dimatera and Nikki Brianne Ragos (Bri) love traveling and meeting people from different walks of life. They enjoy taking photos and making videos of their adventures. Bri calls them “big foodies” as well, sampling different cuisines of the places they visit. So, it was natural that this couple gravitated to international teaching. Their first jobs after university were as local hires at the Brent International School Manila (BISM). There, they befriended many colleagues from different parts of the world who shared stories about their experiences as expat teachers abroad. Vince and Bri knew that teaching internationally would be their next step.
Vince feels lucky to have been born into a family of educators. He to go beyond what they think they are capable of, just like his grandparents did. He explains,
“When I was young, I would always tag along with my grandparents who were teachers, and I would get the opportunity to meet the students as well as the alumni whom they taught. It was nice to see graduates giving my grandparents credit for their success because my grandparents were very dedicated and went the extra mile.”
Bri was inspired to become a teacher during high school. Caring for her cousin with special needs, she could see all that he was able to accomplish with the aid of his therapists and teachers. Bri recalls,
“I found myself thinking that this is what I wanted—to give all children the opportunity to learn and be successful in life. And it truly feels rewarding to be a part of their journey.”
Bri and Vince taught at international schools in the Philippines, their home country, for some six years before they sought new adventures. With the help of Search Associates (SEARCH) they moved to Italy and positions at the International School in Genoa. Bri says,
“Having great people like Senior Associate John Ritter and his SEARCH partner, Susan Ritter, as our support contributed a lot since they gave us feedback and guidelines regarding the hiring process. We really appreciate all the support that they have provided since day one…The website served as a platform not only to see job openings, but also to conveniently know the specific details about the requirements and benefits of working in each school.”
On their searchassociates.com dashboards, Vince and Bri relied extensively on the My Schools and My Job Search functions. Vacancies matching their desired teaching positions were displayed there, making it very convenient to focus their search by visiting particular school websites. As they sought advice from their Associates and colleagues on what to do and how to go about it, Vince and Bri kept their options open.
Bri and Vince contacted teachers already working at the International School in Genoa, with the encouragement of their prospective school’s director. The couple received honest feedback on what to expect if they worked there. Descriptions of the excellent level of community support as well as living conditions in Italy were important factors in this duo’s decision to say yes. Vince exclaims,
“Plus, you really can’t go wrong with a place where you can have a glass of wine or beer by the beach after a long hard day of work!”
Vince and Bri met in 2008 while studying for their undergraduate degrees in special education. Their friendship blossomed into a wonderful relationship, and on August 4, 2018, they married. Vince shares an interesting detail about his proposal:
“I would usually ask Bri to do a fake proposal pose when we travel as a prank to our relatives who would view the photos. Little did she know that I would finally pop the question as we watched the sunrise in the Sahara.”
Though their wedding was held in the Philippines, Vince and Bri wanted friends and family to experience a touch of Italy. They celebrated at Palazzo Verde, an Italian-inspired wedding venue, complete with gondola!
The Dimateras’ adventures continues! Bri and Vince look forward to attending their first Search Associates job fair January 2019 in London. They have been told that life as international educators wouldn’t be complete without having attended one.
This vibrant pair has advice for prospective international educators:
“It might be a cliché, but fortune favors the bold. Don’t focus on the uncertainty, but instead focus on what you will gain. Teaching internationally will help you grow as a teacher and as a person. You will meet people, travel places, and experience different cultures. If you are a fellow educator looking for a sign if you should teach abroad, then this is it. DO IT!”