We are starting this blog because we are pursuing moving abroad to work at a school called the Black Forest Academy. BFA is in Kandern, Germany,which from photos looks like a quaint little puzzle you might put together with your family at Christmas.
Many of you know that we have both been interested in working and living abroad since… well before we even met each other! In fact it was something that attracted us to one another! After we got married the question became when will we go? We thought about it, and prayed about it, and decided it would be wise to wait to pursue opportunities abroad until we had been married for a year, this gave us some time to transition into life together! And time to enjoy our friends, family and new marriage!
Well, we celebrated our 1 yr anniversary this past May! We decided to dive into exploring our options! All sorts of questions came up! How? When Exactly? Where? Doing What?
After doing some research We decided to pursue working with the organization Teach Beyond. Teach Beyond partners with people who want to serve at international schools around the world and helps to place them in a school that will fit their skills and personality best. They also help through the process of applying to schools and raising support to go. Yup. We have to raise support… don’t worry, we’re not there yet. So there was the answer to How, TeachBeyond!
You might wonder, why international schools? Good question! Currently we both work with kids, I work as an art instructor and Jamison is a community support specialist, Jamison meets with “at risk youths” in the community and helps them develop life skills and self confidence! We both really love working with kids. I dare say, it is even something we are good at! At an international school I could teach art, this means my skills and strengths would be being put to good use! Jamison is great with helping kids understand who they are, and helps them work on the things they want to be better at. At an international school he could be a guidance counselor. Long story short, working at an international school gives us both the opportunity to serve together at the same place, in different ways, using our skills!
We were very fortunate in our initial inquiry with TeachBeyond, One of their recruiters, was going to be in the area soon and we set up a coffee date with him. At this point we didn’t have any clue about the when? aspect of things, we were given a few schools who were in need of both art teachers and counselors for the coming 2011 school year. One of which was BFA, We were really drawn in BFA! When we met up for coffee with TeachBeyond’s recruiter we had a great time talking about the different schools and opportunities as well as the practicalities like raising support, and when we would go. He knew a lot about BFA because he had spent several years working there. After talking about the practicalities we decided to aim at leaving this coming summer of 2012. We planned to apply to TeachBeyond and BFA, begin raising our support, live intentionally this coming year with our family and friends and hopefully be set to leave for the 2012 school year! So there was the When and potentially the where!
Teachbeyond encouraged us to contact BFA to let them know of our interest. Amazingly enough their recruiting liaison was going to be in our area in a few weeks. (crazy? or crazy awesome?) We got to meet with her and talk more about our potential fit at BFA. It was really a joy and a blessing to get to meet with both of these individuals, talking with them gave us such an excitement to pursue working at BFA and also gave us both a strong feeling of affirmation that we were headed in the right direction. BFA’s recruiting liaison gave us a lot of insight into what life at the school could be like for us. She told us about different roles we might fit into at the school and a little about the kids there too!
We began the long process of applying to both Teachbeyond and BFA. There were pages and pages of questions and essays and we had many references to ask for! Thanks to everyone who sent in a reference for either of us! It has been several months of applications and then finally a 2 hour+ phone interview each! We were recently notified that we have been accepted by Teachbeyond to serve at BFA!
We are now in direct contact with the school, BFA, to work out the logistics of what their needs are for the coming school year and where we will fit in. We are anxious to get everything rolling and begin the more concrete plans like plane tickets! However, we know everything will come together when it is supposed to.
We greatly appreciate your support through out this process! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue pursuing this dream! Keep checking back to hear more about our journey and get the latest updates on where we are at!
<3 J and J Loop