Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes

Much of what’s been happening in our lives lately hasn’t been able to be posted on the blog. However, now that decisions have been made, we’re ready to share with the world:

Come July, we’ll be leaving this beautiful Caribbean island for a beautiful Mediterranean one!

This was not a decision we came to lightly, but rather through a lot of work!

First, I need to say, though, how much we have loved living on Tortola! It was a little rocky at first perhaps, but we’ve adjusted quite well to island life with its slower pace and beautiful scenery. I think we’ve really taken full advantage of our time here, and now that I know we’re moving on, I feel I can appreciate it even more.

As much as a part of us really wanted to stay here, we also knew that job searching in the international community is an involved process, and one that would need to be started early if we wanted to have a choice of where we would be for 2013-2014. So, we began the first parts of our job search in September. We knew where we wanted to go, so we began searching through the school web sites of each European international school that we could find. From there we compiled a list of schools we were interested in and began sending emails to introduce ourselves to each school. That meant each email included a personal message to the Head of School, as well as a personalized letter of introduction, our CVs, and a photo. We (read TONY) put in hours and hours of emailing! In October we asked our Heads of School for references in order to update our Search Associates profiles. Search Associates is a company that helps international teacher candidates match up with international schools. It’s the same company we used to land our jobs here. Anyway, most of the schools we contacted required a bunch of information with the application (copies of teaching certificates, letters of reference, college transcripts…). Going through Search allowed us to gather that information only once and each school that was registered with them could view our information.

By December our Search profiles were completely up-to-date, and we began to get some feedback from schools. Several said we looked like great candidates, but didn’t know about their openings yet, so it was a real waiting game. Each morning we’d receive an email with all the positions that had opened up around the world over the last 24 hours. We’d scour the emails for schools that had both middle school English and upper elementary positions in Europe.

Making this all the more difficult was the fact that Tony had also applied to graduate schools in the US. He’d really like to earn a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy. Doing so would allow him to be a Principal, Head of School, or work for an educational think tank somewhere. He searched and searched and found a few programs that would offer him a full fellowship, including tuition and a living stipend, upon acceptance. The problem was timing. Doctoral fellowships would be awarded mid-March, while job offers would need to be accepted in early February. The discrepancy made for some tense emotions in the Snethen household!

In the end, the offer from the American International School in Cyprus fit with most of our goals for our next job posting, plus it’s on an island, which we love! Here are a few of the things we’re excited about:

1. We’ll still be on an island, so beautiful beaches will be accessible. Now, they won’t be 5 minutes down the road anymore, but at least they’ll be there. (Cyprus is MUCH bigger than the BVI!)
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2. Cyprus was an important part of nearly every great empire, so there is a TON of history there, and lots of ancient ruins. It will be pretty cool to be able to explore what’s left of some of the world’s most influential ancient civilizations.

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3. Cyprus is large enough that it has a major mountain range running through it and there is even a little skiing available in the winter! The hillsides are dotted with old villages and ancient monasteries, so hiking and climbing will definitely be a part of our weekend plans.

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4. We’ll be living and working in Nicosia, Cyprus’ capital city. With a population of around 300,000, it is a proper city, so it will be a very different experience from living in Carrot Bay, BVI!

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5. We’ve also heard great things about the fresh food that’s available in Cyprus, not to mention all the travel opportunities. We’re already envisioning the trips to Egypt, Italy, and Greece, which will all be within an hour or two flight!

In other good news, we’re hoping to be back in Kansas for about a month between locales! I’ll keep you posted with any details. And, I hope you’ll stay with us as this blog transitions from Caribbean to European!

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9 Responses to Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes

  1. Nancy Kline says:

    Congratulations to both of you. How exciting!!! Jami told me last week about your news. I can’t wait to read your blog about Cyprus. Sounds like there will be so much for you to do there!

  2. Pamela McNicoll says:

    While I have become accustomed to Tortola as my tri monthly travel spot, I look forward to seeing the world with you through Cyprus!! So happy for you both that this tough decision is behind you.
    Proud of you both and your careful consideration.
    See you on Tortola next week!!
    Love, Mom

  3. Faith Bandler says:

    Wow, that is so exciting, can’t wait for the posts when you get there. I love reading about all you guys are doing!

  4. olsonrobin says:

    You guys are amazing! What a great opportunity to experience a totally different island way of life. Will be keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers for a smooth transition and perfect placement for Tony.

  5. Beth Schuurmans says:

    Unbelievable! Congratulations! You two are among the bravest,most exciting and interesting young couple we know! What a tough but so very exciting decision!!

  6. Congratulations to both of you! You will have so many new experiences. Take advantage of this time to see the world!

  7. Mike McNicoll says:

    Thanks for a great update! I know you don’t have a Cyprus guest room yet but I would like to reserve it for Sept. 27th thru Oct. 1st, 2013. Not looking forward to the 20+ hour flights but looking very forward to seeing the two of you in your new home.

    Love,
    Dad

  8. Becky Waters says:

    Soooo excited for you two!! What a grand new adventure!!!

  9. Aaron Bennett says:

    I’m glad that things have come together for this next phase. Maybe I’ll be able to make it to visit you on your next assignment, since I haven’t been able to get to the BVI.

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