International School Manila

Integrity - Service - Merit

Information for New Students

Counselors' Welcome

Welcome to ISM!  Whether you are going home or moving on to another new place, making the transition can sometimes be difficult.  Perhaps you are a person who enjoys change and you are looking forward to a new situation, or returning to the old one.  Maybe you are a person who groans at the thought of “settling in” and having to make new friends.  Either way, when you move you are bound to feel a little “out of it” in the beginning and that’s normal.

Changing schools and/or countries is especially stressful for teenagers.  At ISM we have a comprehensive program for helping students adjust to their new surroundings while making friends and getting involved.  One of the most important things parents can do is ensure that you bring with you final, official transcripts and other school documents.  These documents should be given to the Admissions Office and will assist the registrar in determining the credits your child has earned toward graduation.

Additionally, here are some tips just to help you know what to expect and also some suggestions for dealing with those days when you wonder, "What am I doing here anyway?"


Before You Leave Your Current School

Say goodbye.  Talk to those you are close to and exchange addresses and phone numbers.  People who have not had your experience won't understand it and may not want to hear about it.  But a friend you knew here would be glad to hear from you.  Write or call when you're feeling low.  Saying goodbye also helps you disconnect on this end and may, therefore, make it easier to connect again in your new place.  Saying farewell is important!

Take care of unfinished business before you leave.  Make a list of things you need to do.  Such lists might include returning a (toy) or piece of clothing, returning a borrowed book, or sending photos that were promised to a friend.  On another level, a Things To Do Plan might include resolving a problem with a teacher or classmate, apologizing for hurting someone's feelings, or saying thank you to someone who was helpful in the past.  Tying up these loose ends in your life is sort of like cleaning out a locker or desk before moving on to a new grade.

Take time to reflect about leaving.  What things have you enjoyed and what aspects do you want to take with you?  What has been difficult?  How do you feel about leaving - sad, happy, mixed?  Take time to sort out some of those feelings with someone you trust and who listens well.

Take time to examine your expectations of your next destination.  Is it a place you consider home?  Are you expecting things to be the same?  Is there a new language?  New culture?  What have you learned in past moves to make this move easier?  What special things could you be sure to take with you that help you feel at home?  Is it a place that has been familiar in the past?  Beware — it may no longer be the same place.

Take time to balance.  Be neither too positive (this will be a breeze) nor too negative (I'll never feel at home here), because it drains your energy.  Try to be open to a new adventure and experience.  Assume that good things await and that stressful feelings will pass in time.  Make sure you take time to relax and do things that you enjoy.  It's important to leave plenty of time for this!

Take time to talk to your family.  They've shared your experience abroad and this can be a natural time to draw closer together.  Chances are that they will share a lot of your feelings.  Also, you need some support to help you manage - we all do.  Your family is a great place to start.  Realize that your parents have their own feelings about the move.  Listen as well as talk.


At Your New School

  1. Go over to the school before classes begin and get a feel for what it's like.  If possible, take your report cards and talk with the guidance counselor or an administrator.
  2. Decide what extracurricular activities you enjoy and get involved in one or two.  It's a great way to make friends who have the same interests.  Unfortunately, it's unlikely that you will find someone to invite you to get involved — SO TAKE A RISK and go to the first meeting on your own.
  3. Look quietly for a person you would like to know, and then take the initiative with that person.  Use the fact that you don't know things to make contact with people.  Ask all kinds of questions — a natural way to talk to people!
  4. If it gets hard, find a teacher or go talk to your counselor.  That's what they're there for - for you.  Take advantage of it.

If you feel out of touch, remember that it takes a little time to adjust.  Don't demand or expect too much from yourself right away — you only add to the stress.  Be confident that your present sense of feeling out of it is a NORMAL passing phase.  It may pass more quickly that way!  It's a natural feeling in your situation — but it doesn't last.

Best wishes for a smooth move and an easy transition,
The High School Counselors