Meet the Team: Andy’s International School Journey

From Red Square to the Beaches of Boracay and back to the UK

My love for adventure and travelling started at a young age, however, it grew into a passion when I went interrailing around Europe for a month with a school friend at the age of 17. A year later, I was backpacking around the wonders of Thailand with my brother. After university, I took myself off to southern South America for six months. I explored the coldness of Patagonia to the heat of the Atacama desert in Chile; flying over the mystical Nazca lines to hiking to mysterious Machu Picchu in Peru; the sticky jungle (and going on the scary death road) to the magical Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia.

I then worked in the UK for a few years but never really enjoyed or connected with the jobs I had. I decided to take another 6 month backpacking adventure in Southern Africa. Again, I explored the scintillating Sossusvlei sand dunes to the clicking San tribe in Namibia; Victoria falls in Zambia; Lake Malawi in Malawi and the delightful Ilha de Moçambique in northern Mozambique.

However, on this trip, something great happened! Whilst living with the San Tribe on the Namibian/Angolan border, I started to teach in the one room village school. The village had no electricity or running water but the community were always so happy. I taught once a week for three months whilst I helped the chief of the tribe with many jobs around the community. I really enjoyed the teaching, interaction with the children, and seeing their progress and  passion to learn.

As soon as I got back to the UK I had applied and successfully started my PGCE in London. Near the end of the course, I found myself interviewing and accepting my first teaching role in Moscow, Russia in a Year 1 class at the British International School of Moscow. I had two incredible years there and enjoyed the -30 to +30 weather conditions. The lifestyle was a complete adventure and something I will never forget. I really enjoyed getting invited to the locals dacha’s and eating the yummy schaschlik. I also met my wife in a bar next to Red Square!

We then moved to Kuala Lumpur and worked at the British International School of KL. This was a splendid school where I learnt so much. I also fell in love with not just KL and Malaysia but also SE Asia. The food, the sights, the street culture, the people, the travelling opportunities and the easy lifestyle were all so appealing. We managed to travel around Bali, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia (including Borneo) and Singapore whilst living in KL. This is also where my craving for mango lassi and roti canai began.

After three years in KL, my wife and I decided to move to the UAE. We lived in RAK and worked at RAK Academy. My wife fell pregnant in our first year there and our daughter was born in Dubai. The UAE was again a wonderful place to live especially during their winter season. The temperature was amazing and we spent lots of time walking around admiring the architectural marvels of the UAE. The mountains of RAK were also a magical place to visit and I enjoyed the drive through the desert to Farjurah.

From there, I completed my NQT year in the UK and then continued our adventures at the stunning school of Kinabalu International School in Kota Kinabalu (Malaysian Borneo). This is a truly community centred school where the teachers know all the children as well as the parents. I also managed to complete many wonderful trips and CPD opportunities with the school. I took the Year 5 & 6 children to the FOBISIA games in Thailand for three years in a row which was one of my educational highlights. I also represented the KIS primary department at the FOBISIA teachers conference in HCMC. Kota Kinablu, again was an amazing place to live and work, the people, culture, food and lifestyle was magical as well as living in the most incredible location. I still miss climbing Kinabalu mountain, jungle trekking and the mighty Kinatangagan river. It was an amazing place to call home for three years. Going back to food, my wife and I were talking about the excellent variety of restaurants in KK and the large range of cultural delights.

We then went to the Nord Anglia International School in Manila for one year but returned to the UK due to COVID. Whilst there we did manage to visit the islands twice and for us Boracay was a true highlight.

This is when the next incredible turning point happened in my life. I met Will and Lydia and I was lucky enough to join INTA Education as a senior consultant. From this point, I haven’t looked back and I am loving working for such a personal, friendly, progressive and forward thinking company. INTA Education is a young company but we work with so many top international schools around the world and we have just joined COBIS as a supporting associate. I have a true passion for the company, international teaching and schools and adventure.

If you would like to chat to me about any of the schools or locations I have been to or in fact any international school then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.