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Shining Light on A Safe Harbour - The Journey Matters

To Reach a Port We Must Sail
As members of our international community, we enter harbors that we’re seeing for the first time. By living and learning internationally, little by little we become part of a mosaic of people that feel at home in the wider world. For some of us, home has become a plural concept and life in the wider world has started to feel natural as we’ve expanded the walls of our hearts to include new places, traditions, cultures, people, and languages.

At ASH, the journey matters. It is the journey that counts with the wealth that comes from the many experiences on the way. These are the riches of a fulfilling and fulfilled life. Here, through our transition program, we delve into our past, march into the future and celebrate the strides that we have made together. 

At ASH we understand that starting a new learning journey can be both exciting and challenging, especially for families relocating from overseas. For more than 20 years, through our signature A Safe Harbour Program, we have been curating a customized experience for our new students, families, and staff to help them transition and adapt to learning, working, and life in the Netherlands. Likewise, we engage the same network of support for those of us leaving ASH. The mission of our A Safe Harbour transition program is to help support the growth and well-being of our community crossing cultures and maximize the opportunities new harbors bring through international relocation.

A brief history
In spring 1998 a group of ASH staff and PTO representatives responded to an invitation from the school counselors to work on organizing and systematizing a variety of transition-related activities around the school. It was important to this group to address the needs of students, staff, and families at all stages of the transition process: pre-arrival, new arrival, staying/here, pre-departure, and after leaving. This group worked to shape the first cohesive transition program at ASH and A Safe Harbour saw the light.

A Safe Harbour today…

Supporting Students - Student Ambassadors

Our ASH student ambassadors are an integral part of new student orientation at ASH. Student ambassadors provide comfort and support to new students as they transition to and from ASH. The aim is to support students through all phases of the moving cycle, from arriving to staying, to leaving. Our student ambassadors contact new students through email prior to their arrival. When students begin during the school year, they are also welcomed into the ASH community via a student ambassador.

“Communication with new students is key to connecting with them and helping them feel welcomed into our community. We hope to ensure that they are not feeling lost or isolated during the first weeks of school.” - Manami K. and Elena P. (middle school student ambassadors)

Supporting Staff - Staff Ambassadors
Our staff ambassadors act as “social buddies” and provide support to staff who are arriving and leaving to cope with the effects of mobility across cultures. A Safe Harbour would not be possible without the support of our ASH counselors, our leadership team, the PTO and the many volunteers from our ASH community who make the transition to or from our school such a special part of the #ASHexperience.

Supporting Parents - Parent Ambassadors
Our Parent Ambassadors provide welcome tours of the school and act as an informational resource to new families. They also host a range of activities like coffee mornings for new and returning parents and are also very involved during the new family orientation week on campus, clearly identifiable in their orange “Parent Welcomer” t-shirts to offer a helping hand for those who need it.

During their weekly meetings, the PTO’s Monday Morning Networking group also provides parents with practical information and resources needed to help smoothen the transition to the Netherlands. In addition to the committees dedicated to supporting transitions, the PTO offers several programs for parents to become involved in the community during their time at ASH, including Adult Education classes, Spirit Wear, and Friends of the Arts.

Supporting Alumni - Alumni Ambassadors
Membership in the ASH community is for life, even long after leaving, be it as student, parent or staff alumni. We routinely check in with our students and families about their settling in after graduation or relocation, and to share their life experiences with current community members. We also welcome alumni back on campus for school tours and reconnecting with the ASH community, and organize events such as BBQs, anniversaries and reunions to help nurture and strengthen our alumni network. We also tap into our alumni community to mentor current students via career days at ASH, where alumni share their experiences as university students and professionals.

#ASHexperience #ASHsafeharbour
The Journey Matters
University preparatory program for ages 3-18. Fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

American School of The Hague