The desire to move overseas to teach, explore different places, and new cultures leaves you breathless—with excitement, eagerness, and surely apprehension. That is why our team at Search Associates (SEARCH), with an aggregate of over 600 years of service in international education, is there for you. For over 30 years, SEARCH has walked candidates through every step of the process of finding positions in international education.
Special education teacher Tiffany Washington is no fraidy-cat, freely admitting, “I love when I am unexpectedly placed in a situation that is not for the faint of heart.” This daughter of a devoted educator found her “soul’s purpose” during a college internship as a speech pathology/audiology student working with individuals with special needs. For 16 years, Tiffany has attained a sense of peace working with her colleagues to teach students with disabilities in an environment of connectedness and caring.
Ready to expand her horizons, Tiffany began to envision teaching abroad. Three years ago, however, after being introduced to a teacher who described her recent move to teach in Dubai, Tiffany stalled:
As a single woman and the youngest of three children, I knew that process wasn’t going to convince my mother that moving abroad would be a great career opportunity. However, I prayed for God to align my path to meet the right person for guidance.
In September 2019, Tiffany’s interest sparked anew when she saw a Facebook posting from a childhood friend now teaching abroad. This friend was not only a person with whom Tiffany had attended grade school, but she was also one of Tiffany’s mother’s favorite students. A sign, Tiffany thought. But again, she heard descriptions of this friend’s process of moving overseas through another organization. Tiffany soon learned that the difference between a pipe dream and the realization of her dream of teaching in an international school would be her choice of agency.
That winter, a colleague connected Tiffany with a friend teaching in Singapore, who recommended Search Associates. It took many nights of video-conferenced Q&A sessions to assuage Tiffany’s fears. Her New Year’s resolution: Register with SEARCH! When she experienced the personal touch for which we are celebrated, all her apprehension became excitement. She exclaims,
It has by far been the greatest personal [decision] of my life! . . . Search Associates is an incredible program that superseded my expectations, and they are 100% on target with aligning their actions to the organization mission.
With the help of former Senior Associate Bridget McNamer, Tiffany registered and began navigating the website for various countries of interest before matching her experiences with required criteria of schools of interest. She says,
I couldn’t believe the wealth of information that Search Associates provided the candidates. The links were appropriately visible for searching specifics, and I was able to peruse with ease.
Tiffany also attended the Search Cambridge job fair, where she reveled in “camaraderie amongst fellow candidates, opportunities to attend school presentations, and the meet and greet gala.” During the event, Tiffany received updates on the Job Fair link on the website, and she loved the ability to access all information regarding benefits of each school that was or was not in attendance. Before arranging a meeting or interviewing with a school, she was grateful for the ability to review school information online quickly. Of course, invaluable to Tiffany was the emotional support she received from Associates and support staff. Tiffany couldn’t be happier:
Search Associates embodies the fundamentals and know-how “Master Class” for an incomparable job fair experience! . . . I couldn’t imagine having a sane mind without having the precise information, on-site workshops/coaching for preparedness that was offered. . . It was also an honor to hear and see how Jessica Magagna has expanded her father’s foundation for a remarkable and seamless experience for all candidates aspiring to develop their expertise abroad.
At Search Cambridge, Senior Associates Julie Ryan and Bridget McNamer advised Tiffany on finding the best fit to meet her needs and make an informed decision. They introduced Tiffany to a previous administrator who had worked for her school of interest. By the fair’s end, Tiffany accepted a position at the American School of Dubai (ASD). She knew it was the right choice after her interview with Dr. Jake Dibbert and Human Resources Director Pery Awad. Along with sharing his personal story, Dr. Dibbert spoke specifically about the position, the culture/climate of ASD, and opportunities for professional growth. Tiffany shares the details very important to her that those recruiters addressed:
Dr. Dibbert arranged for me to speak with a professional that reflected my demographic, and ironically, she was from North Carolina as well. However, Pery was phenomenal with communicating everything regarding packing up my home to every single detail regarding the onboarding process. Her presentation was unwavering, and she explicitly explained the benefits package precisely.
Tiffany Washington transformed her job search experience and found a fantastic outcome; she wants the same for you! She recommends you link up with an international Facebook group in your area of interest and that you make sure your destination of choice will provide the best opportunities for exploration and experiences for you and your family unit. Tiffany has this to say about what has been most important in her momentous decision to teach abroad:
Begin your process by joining Search Associates organization. In order to make a life-altering decision, I believe one must have a solid supportive agency that is with you from the beginning to no-end. Although Search Associates has guided me to obtain a contract, I also know that they are always waiting on the horizon for any point of need.