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You know you went to an international school when…

This is an old post that I found in my “drafts” folder. It dates from way back in 2009, when I first joined Facebook. I wrote it in India, but never posted it. It is cute and still timely, and I figured that it deserves to see the light of day! So here goes:

My students are all into Facebook, and so they convinced me to sign up for it. While I don’t really spend all that much time exploring it (there are plenty of other time-wasters on the internet, thank you very much), it has been kind of fun to run into old acquaintances in the virtual world.

One of the other things a person can do on Facebook is join any number of different groups, and one of the first that I saw was called “You know you went to an international school when…” There follows a list of more than 80 ‘indicators’ of someone with an international school background – some of which I agreed with, and some of which I didn’t.

In any case, here is my personal list of those criteria that best fit my experiences:

You know you went to an international school when:

  • It is hard to answer the question “Where are you from?”
  • Your life story uses the phrase “Then we went to…” five (or six, or seven) times…
  • Your school memories include those days that classes were canceled due to tear gas, riots, demonstrations, or bomb threats.
  • Police guarded your school…carrying machine guns
  • School trips meant going to a different country
  • You could walk into a bar and order a drink without being questioned
  • You got excited when someone sent a video tape of regular TV with commercials.. in ENGLISH!
  • You never had a job until you reached college
  • Class reunions are not at your school – not even on the same continent!
  • You run into someone you know at every airport
  • You don’t think its strange that you haven’t talked to a friend in a couple years, but you know you will always have a unique bond
  • You have a time zone map next to your telephone
  • You know the geography of the rest of the world better than that of your own country
  • You speak in many broken languages when you are drunk
  • You go home for vacation.

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