Tim seems to be finding his "niche" here in Norway...his third year into this Scandanavian adventure. He has a couple of really close friends (Canadian and Italian) and is really just poised for success this year. I know the year is still in its infancy, but he has had a really great start..on his own...no big brother in the way (or better yet, forging it for him).
I went to the International School of Stavanger Middle School open house last night. I got to walk in Tim's shoes and go to all of his classes for 10 minutes. I found out some pretty interesting information that I wanted to share with you. None of it is particularly about Tim...but about his grade level here at ISS.
First off, there are 63 kids in the 8th grade this year at ISS. There are four homeroom teachers. Tim has 16 students in his homeroom class. They are from 9 different countries and speak a total of 11 different languages fluently. The countries that are represented in Tim's homeroom are: Belgium, Serbia, Scotland, U.S.A., England, Estonia, Germany, Norway and Finland. There are 40 countries represented within the staff and student body at ISS. Each Wednesday morning in homeroom, one of the kids has to create a short quiz about his/her home country to give their classmates. This is to create an understanding about the culture and history of each of the different countries represented in their homeroom and get to know their fellow students better.
Evidently, this class is very beloved to the staff....the 8th grade team has been hearing about this class and how nice they are for the last couple of years...and have been looking forward to spending the year with them.
Tim's social studies teacher is from Belgium. He is married to a Scot, who happens to be the MS principal. (and she is fabulous!) This teacher also is Tim's homeroom teacher and advanced Spanish teacher. (he is fluent in something like 5-6 languages with Flemish, or Dutch, being his primary native tongue) He requires 4 poster research projects every year. The first one was assigned the first week of class...with the topic being anything historical from their home country. He mentioned that so many of our international students eventually move back to their home countries and seem to know the least about it (historically speaking). I know that this is certainly true for my children. They (and most of the kids at the international school would be this as well) are called 3rd culture kids. These kids are very tolerant and are good global citizens. Studies have shown that 50% of these 3rd culture kids end up working in world markets where they travel a great deal. Borders are much more blurred for them...they consider themselves belonging to several different countries, even if they merely have one passport from one nation.
I have had several friends that have moved back to the U.S. after extended tours overseas and their kids had a hard time adjusting to life in the U.S. again. I know that my Joe can't wait to go back to the U.S., but it will have been 5 years (and 5 very formative years at that) that he has been gone. Life will be very different for him in the U.S. The crime rate is higher, the likihood of drugs being available,etc...I think he's in for a bit of a shock.
Anyhow, I wanted to share this info with you. I don't ever regret giving my kids this global experience. The world is leaning this way (more global)and I think they have a "leg up" on seeing the world in a clearer view. Now if I could just get them to sit down and learn things they need to know about the U.S..... :o)