Every year, dozens of educators from around the globe move to the Columbia area to teach in local public school districts. For many, this move marks their first time in South Carolina or perhaps even in the United States. Not only must these teachers quickly settle in and adjust to a new country and city, they must also learn to navigate cultural differences in the classroom and learn about resources available to support students’ learning experiences.

As a response to the unique challenges faced by this subset of educators, Richland One and EngenuitySC held the inaugural International Teacher Discovery Day on Thursday, June 6. The goal of the day was to address three major concerns impacting international teacher retention: access to personal resources in the Columbia area, knowledge of and strategies for addressing poverty issues affecting students within Richland County, and knowledge of regional assets for personal and professional enjoyment.

A total of 18 international teachers who had just completed their first year of teaching in Richland One participated in International Teacher Discovery Day, experiencing some of the best that Columbia has to offer. The day’s itinerary included a tour of Riverfront Park, a visit to the SC State Museum, lunch at the Vista’s smallSUGAR, and a stop at Nickelodeon Theatre to learn about its education programs and upcoming films. While at the Nick, Dr. Gloria Boutte of UofSC’s College of Education presented on working with students in poverty from a strengths-based perspective. The day ended at Richland Library, where participants took a tour and met librarians, social workers, and other staff who shared information on accessing the library’s many free resources and then helped teachers register for their own library cards.

EngenuitySC is grateful for the opportunity to support these dedicated teachers in our community and to show off just a few of our favorite things about living in Columbia. Many thanks to Richland One and our many wonderful vendors and hosts for making International Teacher Discovery Day possible!