From Agony to Ecstasy

July 31, 2010

August can usher in a period of dynamic lifestyle changes and major transitions for International Educators. A new country, new culture, new colleagues, new students, an unfamiliar campus and admin, new schedules, new challenges and new expectations top the list of what lies ahead—whew! It may all seem completely overwhelming and agonizing.

Add to all this “newness” the feelings associated with leaving behind friends, family, established jobs and lifestyles and you could experience some unexpected emotional turmoil, even a few serious chinks in your self-confidence and potentially some lonely times outside the school environment.

So, tell us, ISR readers: What advice and tips can you share with International Educators relocating overseas, perhaps for the first time? How do you advise acclimating to a new school environment and local community? How do you keep yourself strong, positive and emotionally healthy as you head to work as a stranger in a strange land?

For some, going from Agony to Ecstasy may require no more than experienced International Educators sharing experiences and wise words of advice. Thank you, ISR readers, for offering the helping hand a fellow colleague may be looking for!


Help with International Shipping

July 26, 2010

 It’s been our experience that shipping agents, used-car salesmen and politicians have one description in common: ‘If they’re breathing, they’re probably concealing something from us.”

Shipping companies are particularly dangerous because once they have your precious, personal belongings in their “care”, they will hold them hostage until you pay all additional, trumped up charges. Everyone at ISR recalls being taken advantage of by a shipping company during one or more of their many international moves. This prompts us to endeavor to keep you safe with our article titled,  Don’t Get Burnt with International Shipping. We strongly recommend you give this article a read if you’re in the process of moving overseas or returning home.

“On my last move oversees the school’s shipper told me I would need to bribe customs $600 to retrieve my shipment due to missing documents. It turned out the documents were just “misplaced” when I produced a receipt proving they had been delivered by UPS to the same man asking for the money. On the return trip home 3 years later, the Stateside company tacked on a $300 sea inspection charge. I imagine that involved looking to see if my sealed crate was still on the boat mid-journey. Thieves!!!”

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing your “big” international school has clout with their shipping company and this will keep you safe. The truth is, your school’s shipping company only contracts with the company that packs and sends your belongings overseas, and receives them on the return trip. Your school’s shipper may treat you right while in country, but they don’t have reciprocal agreements with companies around the world and commonly use a phone directory to choose the company that handles your goods in your city.

“I got an email this morning, from a shipper which said I need to approve the costs before they proceed with packing. The quote had me paying over $1400! My school provides 3.5 cbm which I thought was plenty, but the quote estimated I would need 5.0 cbm. I’m only shipping 2 office chairs & six or seven boxes. All my stuff is in a storage unit that’s less than 3.5 cbm and I’m probably using 20% of the space. What is going on!?”

It’s important to stay pro-active to avoid being ripped off by unscrupulous shippers. Those of us who have navigated the ordeal of shipping our belongings overseas are here to offer advice to teachers new on the circuit. If you have a question, advice or a good anecdotal story about shipping your goods overseas this Blog is the place to post it.