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Interview With Ydo Jousma, Cambridge Principal, International School Eerde

Ydo, you're the Cambridge Principal of the International School Eerde in Ommen. Tell us a bit about your role – what does your day-to-day routine look like?

I share my workload with Mr Justin Hughes, the IBDP principal at our school. We start with a short team briefing to update ourselves and our staff regarding issues of the day and their priority they take. Afternoons are spent with longer term planning.At International School Eerde we find long term planning of the utmost importance for our learners in order to create a learning curve that contributes to 21st Century learning. In addition to the leadership role I play, I am true to myself and continue to teach Geography and Global Perspectives. As a Principal I find it important to stay in contact with all of our students and therefore teaching those students is vital for me to have a personal overview of my students’ learning and welfare. I reinforce this approach by dining with a selection of students each week to keep up to date with their thoughts and feelings.

What educational options are currently available at International School Eerde?

We offer all Cambridge programmes from Primary level to IGCSE and AS level in our older year groups. Additionally we offer the IBDP (International Baccalaureate) programme for our final two year groups.

International School Eerde runs an International AS & A Level Travel & Tourism course. How many people are currently studying the course, and what life skills does it teach them?

We currently have 50% of our Form 4 and Form 5 students studying AS Travel and Tourism along with AS Global Perspectives. This group of students does it in addition to their ICE diploma. The AS Travel and Tourism course is a great forum for learners to work in a team with a clear goal that requires them to illustrate organizational skills while they organize an event, illustrating how they can be effective in achieving the event’s objectives. They learn how to reflect on their own role within the team and effectively how to learn in a corporate business model.

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What is the most challenging aspect of running an international school?

The most challenging aspect is to be aware of the importance of international mindedness in our every day routine. As an international community we must show understanding and appreciation for one another. This is the overall generic learning goal in International Education. Subjects such as Global Perspectives, as offered by Cambridge, is extremely helpful. It directs our focus to the key concept of international mindedness. Being different is a virtue rather than a burden.

In your opinion, what are the advantages of studying abroad as a teenager?

Especially in your teen years it is so important to be in contact with and exposed to other cultures, ideas and opinions which are different than the ones from your comfort zone. As a teenager you develop your understanding and appreciation of the outside world. What better stage is there for such an important skill than the stage of International Education in a foreign country? In an international school one can create a network that literally goes beyond national borders.

How does International School Eerde help to integrate children and their families into the local community?

We use our existing network of sports clubs, municipality officials and other local schools. We actively participate in local school tournaments.

We also invite the local community into our community. We are proud to host annually an International BBQ bringing all our stakeholders: local, national and international, together.

Finally, when you're not working, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I am an avid bee keeper and thoroughly enjoy restoring classic cars. I enjoy the environment of the wetlands in which I live with my wife and four dogs.

Ydo Jouma is Cambridge Principal of the International School Eerde in Ommen, which provides day and boarding options from primary through secondary school. Find out more on the website.

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