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How to help new international teachers navigate culture shock

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Culture shock is a common experience when moving to a new country or region. It can be especially challenging for new teachers and faculty at international schools who are not only adjusting to a new environment but also to a new school system and potentially a new language.

As an international school leader, there are several steps you can take to help new teachers navigate culture shock and feel supported during their transition.

 

1: Provide orientation and training

Provide a comprehensive orientation and training program for new teachers. This should cover not only the basics of the school and its culture but also the local customs, traditions, and language.

It’s also helpful to provide practical information such as how to navigate the local transportation system, where to find essential services, and how to connect with the local expat community.

 

2: Assign a mentor or buddy

Another effective way to support new international teachers or faculty is to assign them a mentor or buddy who can help your new hire to navigate their new environment by providing guidance, advice, and support.

When choosing a mentor, ensure they have been part of the school community for a number of years, and are familiar with the culture, customs, and expectations of the local community.

 

3: Encourage cultural immersion

Encourage new international teachers and faculty to explore the local community, try new foods, attend cultural events, and learn about the history and traditions of the area. This will help your new hires feel more connected to their new home and reduce feelings of isolation and alienation.

 

4: Provide emotional support

Moving to a new country can be a lonely and overwhelming experience. As a school leader, it’s important to provide emotional support for new international teachers and faculty.

Be sure to check in with your new hires regularly and provide a safe space where they can share their feelings and experiences. This can be done through regular meetings, social events, or access to counselling services.

 

5: Foster a sense of community

Foster a sense of community among new international teachers and the wider school community will help your new hires to feel more included and supported, and reduce the sense of culture shock they may be experiencing.

This can be done through social events, cultural celebrations, and team-building activities. Encourage new teachers to connect with their colleagues, join clubs or committees, and get involved in school life.

 

Helping new teachers navigate culture shock is an important responsibility for international school leaders. Not only will taking the above steps benefit your new international teachers and faculty, it will contribute to a positive and inclusive school culture.

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I have been a school-level user of Schrole for recruiting for the last three hiring cycles and have found the platform they provide to be intuitive and comprehensive. The user interface stands out from others in the market as a crisp interface with the right level of features included at the right places. For me, the top two features are the ability to create school-specific application questions for applicants, and the availability of a short and long form applicant documentation PDF. If you’re looking for a recruiting platform, I highly recommend considering Schrole.

Dr. Richard Granger Deputy Principal of Secondary School
Taejon Christian International School
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