15 September, 2014

International school: what is that?

David and I have just been talking about how little Australians seem to know about "international" schools. We're guessing it is because few have had any direct contact with one at all.

I write "international" in inverted commas because that word often means "American-style school in a country that isn't America". Though there are British-style international schools out there also. 

Our boys aren't missing falling over on this playground.
No grass at CAJ (typical in almost all Japanese schools.

Many who've experienced both CAJ (Christian Academy in Japan) and truly American schools will tell you that CAJ isn't truly American. But it is closer to an American school than any other type of school. Certainly, those of us who don't come from that background find there are many culturally-related things to learn, including terminology.

Each international school, like any school, has it's own unique culture. Some of which is usually picked up from the culture in which it is situated. For example, the K-5 students at CAJ have indoor and outdoor shoes. Everyone has shoes they only use in the gym.

Here are some basic facts about CAJ, as an international school.
This was published in last year's school

  • It is a K-12 school.
  • There is no boarding facility attached to the school.
  • Instruction is in English.
    • But many of the students receive extra support because they come from non-English speaking families, or have previously attended Japanese-language schools. In the lower primary classes, well over 50% of students fall into this category.
  • There are Japanese students at the school. But it really is a mixed student body. In this manner, the school is international:
    • 22% of students have both parents Japanese
    • 37% of students have dual passports (parents have different passports)
    • 15% have both parents with American passports.
    • 17% have both parents Korean.
    • only 42, out of 450 students last year had both parents from a country other than North America, Japan, or Korea. Our boys are very much in the minority.
  • Student Mobility rate: 25% (one quarter of the student body changes every year). Yes, we say lots of hellos and goodbyes.
  • All the teachers are Christians and most consider themselves missionaries.
  • Many of the teachers are direct hire: they applied directly to CAJ for a job.
  • The rest, like us, are seconded from mission agencies.
  • Most of the staff are North Americans (66% last year), 22% are Japanese and other nationalities was 12% last year (we're in the minority again).
  • The curriculum is mostly American, with modifications.
  • The school year begins at the end of August and goes through till early June.
  • They don't have regular term breaks, like Australian schools, the only week-or-longer holidays are Christmas-New Year (about 2 1/2 weeks), Spring (end of March for 1 week), and Summer (about 10 weeks).
Want to know more about the Christian Academy in Japan? Here's their website: http://caj.or.jp

What other questions do you have? Ask away!

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