Navigating an ISS iFair

November 19, 2016

Greg set his alarm for 6:00am to see if his ISS rep responded to his request to join the iFair. There was no reply, so we continued to sleep in. A few hours later I got up to learn more about the database. Greg’s email was still up from the night before and I noticed that his ISS rep replied to him just after 7:00am. Now it was nearly 10:00am! The fair ended at noon, so we had very little time to spring into action. I made his coffee and breakfast while he showered and spruced up in case he ended up Skyping with any schools. Just after 10:00am we were able to enter the iFair and suddenly our international job search reached the next level!

How an iFair works:


Each school has a “virtual room” you can enter to learn more about them as well as see any available job openings. Then, you get in line to chat with a school representative. You can be in numerous lines at the same time. Once you reach the front of the line you are catapulted into a chat window where you have exactly 10 minutes to chat with said representative. It is suggested to do a ton of research on participating schools you are interested in prior to the fair so you can go into it prepared. We were at such a disadvantage not knowing he could join until midmorning. He needed to prepare an “elevator statement” introduction that he could copy and paste into conversations as time is precious.

I started checking out schools with Social Studies openings that were in attendance. I took notecards and wrote down basic information about each school. Country, class size, compensation, basic benefits, etc. I then passed the note cards to Greg so he could get in line with each individual school. He chatted right away with a school in the UAE but they wanted someone with IB (international baccalaureate) experience. No go. We were running out of time but a second school from the UAE showed some more interest. The chat went well enough and the principal wanted to pass Greg’s information onto the next level. That’s positive. The iFair ended shortly after the second conversation. At 12:00pm on the dot, the virtual conference kicked everyone out and shut down. So not as productive as we had hoped, but it was a great introduction to this crazy new world.

Afterwards, we had a discussion on whether or not we thought Greg should become IB certified. After some research, Greg discovered that Bethel is a go-to university that offers a five-month online IB certification program. Even if we do not get a position abroad for the 2017-2018 school year, perhaps he can find an IB job in the Twin Cities. We decided to delve into this a bit deeper and perhaps this can become a reality over the summer. At least he’ll have something to keep him busy.

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