Meridith Borchert: Wyoming-born, Headed to Bahrain
Meet Meridith Borchert! Born and raised in Wyoming, Meridith caught the international travel bug in high school and has chased the dream to live abroad since. This fall, Meridith is headed to Bahrain to teach fourth grade and make her dream reality! Catch up with her, take in some advice, and enjoy the journey that’s leading her to a brand new chapter of life and culture.
Hello Meridith! Please introduce yourself and describe what led you to teach overseas. What was the compelling call behind it all?
Hello! I was born and raised in Wyoming. Both of my parents were teachers, so I developed a love for learning. When I was in high school I was granted an amazing experience to travel to Europe on a two-week tour with Wyoming Ambassadors of Music. This trip opened my eyes to a whole new world. When applying to college one of the requirements I had was not only to have a great education program but also the opportunity to go overseas. I found everything I wanted at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM). As a sophomore, I was able to do a semester abroad at the University of Newcastle in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. After an amazing semester, I returned to MSUM to finish my degree, but not before heading overseas one more time! I had the opportunity to do my student teaching at International School of Basel, in Basel, Switzerland. Ever since returning I have dreamed of living overseas again. I finished my Master’s degree last year so it is now time to make that dream a reality.
What inspired you to sign up with a service like ISS, and how has your experience been?
I contacted my mentor teacher whom I taught within Basel asking her about overseas teaching (as she is originally from Canada but has taught overseas). She gave me a couple of ideas, one being International School Services. After looking into the different options I decided to begin an application with ISS. So far I have had a great experience with ISS. Every question I have had has been answered, it is nice to have someone to help me navigate this process.
Congratulations on your new position at Bahrain Bayan School! What excites you most about your role? How did you know when you found the right fit?
I am excited to learn about a completely different culture. When I first started this process I was hoping for something familiar. But after receiving multiple offers to locations I had never been, I began researching the new places. While it is a little nerve-racking going someplace so different, I am very excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity to try something new. I was scared about accepting a position but once I made up my mind and signed the contract, I have not had one regret. I know this is the right fit for me!
What research did you do before accepting your job?
I did a great deal of research and still doing research! It helped that I know people who have done this before and that I have lived overseas before. Contacting my mentor teacher helped, she was able to contact people who taught nearby. They gave me a lot of good information. I did multiple google searches, as well as looked at the Secretary of State website. Finally, I asked the principle many questions and asked to be in contact with another teacher at the school. It was helpful to talk to others experiencing the same things I would be going through.
What advice would you give to educators looking to recruit overseas for the first time?
Take your time, there are many positions out there so no need to rush your decision. Don’t be afraid to say no to interviews or job offers. Ask many questions during the interview, or email questions after the interview about the school and about life in the community you would be living. One idea that I did not do, but would be smart is to use social media to connect with teachers who have taught overseas before.
Thank you so much for sharing your journey to this point, Meridith! We look forward to seeing the many great experiences that await in Bahrain!
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