We started this blog in 2012 when we moved 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!
We didn’t quite make it to the 1 yr mark before we dove 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 had to and continue 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! We both worked in Portland with kids, I worked as an art instructor and Jamison is a community support specialist, Jamison met with “at risk youths” in the community and helped 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 BFA I teach ceramics and AP Art, this means my skills and strengths are being put to good use! Jamison is great with helping kids understand who they are, and helping them work on the things they want to be better at. At BFA he is a guidance counselor. Long story short, working at an international school like BFA 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 to 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 the upcoming 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! After several months of applications and a 2 hour+ phone interview each! We were notified that we had been accepted by Teachbeyond to serve at BFA!
We then went thru a whirlwind of support raising and training in the next few months. August found us on the plane bound for Germany and a new chapter in our lives working at Black Forest Academy! We would not be where you are without the support of so many. Friends, Family and even some strangers (not strangers anymore!) are responsible for getting us to where we are. We are so grateful to have so many people behind us!
We have been working at BFA now since 2012 and plan to stay at BFA for a few more years, most likely a total of 5 years. We are constantly looking for more financial supporters. You can support us on a monthly basis (the best way!) :) or you can support us with one time gifts! (also very helpful!!) Just follow this link to fill out forms to commit to giving for Jennifer and Jamison Loop… www.give.teachbeyond.org
Keep following us here on the blog for stories and experiences from teaching at Black Forest Academy, living in Germany, and occasionally traveling Europe!
<3 J and J Loop