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Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

International Education: Stories From the Field
By Eryn Sherman
Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

In this collection of stories, international educators share their unique experiences, insights, and perspectives. These accounts include how some began their international school career, things to consider if you’re curious about the international teaching landscape, what they’ve learned along the way, and the unparalleled journeys on this career path.

Join us as we delve into the stories of these inspiring educators and gain a deeper understanding of the transformative power of education across borders.



Hi, my name is Erin Sherman. My pronouns are she/her and I currently live in Helsinki, Finland. I've lived in diverse countries all over the world teaching different subjects from early childhood all the way up to Grade 5. I believe in a culture of inclusivity and belonging, which is why I've taught in different places. Right now, I currently live in Helsinki, Finland.

How did you get into international education?

I went to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio [United States of America] and my senior year I was invited to teach abroad as part of my student teaching. So, I went to South Africa and learned more about the culture and the experiences of education and post-apartheid South Africa. And I was able to understand a little bit more about what children are experiencing all over the world and what their experiences are, and it made me question what else children are experiencing in other parts of the world. So as part of that inspiration, I did a year in the US and then I was off to the Middle East to teach there and that just kind of continued a cycle of love of learning and understanding diverse cultures and empathy, and just really wanting to help others and learn more.

What is your message to teachers who have not taught internationally?

I think it's important to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. You're often leaving things that keep you grounded, and you have to be okay with not knowing where things are, not being able to find things at the supermarket that you know that you love. So, it's an adventure. And if you're willing and open to take on that adventure, that does mean being uncomfortable. If you're open to other diverse perspectives, different than your own, and being vulnerable and acknowledging your bias and your privilege from where you are from, then teaching abroad is definitely for you.


Eryn Sherman (she/her) is a PYP Coordinator and Lower School Librarian at The International School of Helsinki (ISH) in Finland. She previously worked in Malaysia, Chile, Dubai, and the United States of America. This is her fourth year in leadership and 11th year of teaching internationally. She has her master’s in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University, certificate in Advanced Leadership from Harvard University, and is a New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) team visitor.

In every leadership role, Eryn balances her time with teachers and classroom support. She advocates for subject integration within the Units of Inquiry and designs collaboratively with teachers to enrich units, most recently, through the lens of literacy. Eryn is passionate about curriculum, particularly surrounding inquiry and DEIJ. She utilizes Universal Design for Learning (UDL) when working with students, prioritizing low floor-high ceiling tasks that can ignite student genius.


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