AFTER EIGHT YEARS AS A COUNSELOR AT AISG, JENNY OSTERMILLER IS TAKING HER TALENTS TO THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN JAPAN THIS FALL. BEFORE SHE LEAVES, SHE CHATS ABOUT SMALL APARTMENTS, BACHELOR DEGREES AND WHAT SHE WILL MISS ABOUT GUANGZHOU.
“This April I finished my Psychometry degree. I have a BSc in History, a Master and a Specialist in School Counselling and Guidance, another Master of Educational Administration, plus now another Master of Psychometry,” she says. “I don’t have children. I have cats and degrees!”
For the past eight years, Jenny has put her vast knowledge to excellent use at AISG, first as Middle School Counselor, and then as Elementary School Counselor. “Both positions have been the best. In Middle School, I loved seeing my students go from not knowing what life was about, to adults with big dreams and big accomplishments. In Elementary School, there is so much acceptance and love from the students, that has been a fantastic experience. I wouldn’t trade either of them.”
A Dynamic Place
Jenny’s career has taken her from the US to Venezuela, Valencia and Dubai, but Guangzhou gave her her first experience of Asia, one that she has thoroughly enjoyed. “This is the longest I’ve lived anywhere as a grown up!” she says with a laugh. “I love going out and walking by the river. There are so many changes happening, it’s such a dynamic place, and that’s been really interesting to experience.”
And that feeling is not just because of the city, it’s because of the community Jenny discovered at AISG. “I love coming to work in the morning and the relationships I have with the kids. They care about me just as much as I care about them. Sometimes in Asia, there can be too much competition, but here everyone wants the kids to grow as individuals, just not at the expense of others. That’s exciting to see.”
And so her next move, to become Elementary School Counselor at the American School in Japan, is bittersweet. “This feels like my home now, and so it’s going to be really hard to leave. I’ll really miss the connections I made here, but I am excited about the challenge of a new department and new team. The school is working towards becoming a center of social and emotional learning, which as a counselor is really exciting to take forward.”
She does admit to one particular worry about life in Japan. “I’m still wrapping my head around the idea of living in an apartment half the size of my current one!” Still, once she’s settled in, we’re sure Jenny will blossom in her new life in Japan.