How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #3: Send money home every month (Mortgage, College Debt, etc.)

May 25, 2014


We all hear about the big possibility of saving money while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t save much of any money.  So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #3 – Send money home every month to pay your mortgage, college debt, etc.)

DSC_9710Not all teachers decide to move abroad because they have a sense for adventure. It is because they need to save some money to pay off their debts; which we all know is something hard to accomplish as a teacher back in your home country!

Do you have a similar story?  You just finish getting your Bachelor’s degree and teaching license at a good university (working part-time as well of course). Then you take out one loan (a big one at that) to do your 15-month Master’s degree programme (while continuing to work part-time!).  Finally you receive your license and luckily get a teaching job straight away. You just start getting into the world of the working adult while just starting to pay off your student loans. The payment is so small each month, you hardly see any of your loan amount going down. Then you hear about a programme that states if you work continuously in a school of high poverty for five years, that your government will take some money off of your total loan amount. Finally after working six years and getting a part of your loan paid off by the government, you find it is the right time to finally teach abroad like your friends are doing.  Unfortunately, you DSC_4746still have some of your student loan left to be paid (even after you receive the help from the government).  Also during this time, you bought a house and now have a mortgage payment as well.  Deciding it might be a good idea to rent out your house while you teach abroad, you continue to own it while you set off to your first placement.  To make a long story short, you have two monthly payments that are not going to stop anytime soon.

So the big question is, do you work abroad to save money to pay off your loans or do you work abroad to enjoy the wonderful expat life of traveling and exploring the world?  Can you do both?  Many of us try!

Your original goal of paying off your debt with all this extra money you are making teaching abroad might not happen as quickly as you had originally hoped.  I mean there is always another break coming up and a trip to be planned! And I don’t need to remind you that you might also find your travel money dwindling away as you continue to make those student loan and house payments.  Thus the cycle continues; whatever savings you start to have to help you pay off your loans just gets sucked away into whatever you need to pay for at the time.  There are always things that come up here and there that you need to put your savings towards: deposit for your new apartment, helping a family member in need, etc.

Of course, the easy answer to finally pay off your loans is to just simply stop traveling and going out to eat all the time, but of course that is easier said than IMG_0061done.  Maybe you can earn some extra money by tutoring some kids at your school, but then that takes away from that wonderful expat life as well…causing you to stay late at your school.  I guess there needs to be some give and take somewhere to help you achieve your goal. Where are those international schools again where you can have it all (paying off debts while continue to live the wonderfully exciting life of an expat)?  I’m not for sure they exist.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Maybe after 8-10 years of working abroad you finally have your financial situation under control. You find that you have enough extra savings to make a one-time payment to pay off the rest of your student loan.  Yes, you’d rather use that money to take a trip to the Seychelles, but you know it is something you must do and the time is finally right to do it.

The goal of finally being debt free is a good goal to have. Can you just imagine the life of an expat international school teacher who is debt free?  Now at last you will be saving thousands each month!  {If only it were that easy!}

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10250675_670889319613030_1138008231_nTo save you some money, we do have a comment topic on our website related to this theme.  It is in the benefits section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Average amount of money that is left to be saved.

‘Depending on lifestyle and housing expenses you could save around $10,000US a year.’ – Green School Bali (Denpasar, Indonesia) – 44 Comments

‘The amount that can be saved depends entirely on how teachers choose to spend their money. It’s entirely possible to eat at nice restaurants daily and stay in accommodations that cost 50,000 baht per month or more. However, it’s also possible to stay in a decent condo or apartment for 20,000 – 30,000 baht per month, and spend much less on food and other necessities.’ – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 29 Comments

‘You can save about 1000 USD a month once you are settled and are able to budget yourself. Of course, the less you do, the more you save.’ – Canadian International School Bangalore (Bangalore, India) – 18 Comments

‘A single person, if they choose to live modestly, could easily save $1000-$2,000 a month. The EPF program also is an automatic savings (retirement) which is an additional savings of $1,000 a month through school and self contribution. That money also earns interest while you live in the country.’ – Mont’Kiara International School (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 27 Comments

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #12: Richard Yates (Olive Green International School)

May 14, 2012


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Richard Yates:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?  Where have you worked?  What experiences have you had living abroad?

1. I started my overseas teaching at Colegio San Silvestre in Lima Peru — that was 30 years ago — as Head of Economics and Teacher of History. I was fortunate that Mr Derek Pringle was Head of History who went on to be one of the leading ‘lights’ of IBO in South America. In 1982 posts were difficult to get in the UK and the Headmistress of San Silvestre Mrs. Beryl Milburn gave me a chance — for five years!

2. Then moved on to the Gulf in Kuwait and taught at the NES and KES for two years — very hot and very dry.

3. Moved to Malaysia and again spent 5 years at Sayfol International School as first teacher then Deputy Head and finally Head. Was asked to set up a new school Mutiara International Grammar School again in KL. Later I was recruited to set up another International school at Malacca but after 6 months preparation it failed to take off due the the economic downturn.

4. In between most of these contracts I returned to  the UK to ‘update’ myself on current trends but sadly the UK was in educational decline as it still is.

5. Recruited to India to set up a school in Pune called the Lexicon International School and after two years was then asked to Head a new school just opened in Ahmedabad, Gujarat called Springfield International School.

6. The school’s name was changed to Olive Green International School and we are authorized for IB PYP and CIE IGCSE. We are currently in the process of candidate school for IB MYP and in two years will apply for DP.

7. All schools are unique and all have their own ‘feel’.

8. Culturally all countries are different and have both pros and cons. For me this diversity is both rewarding and gives immense satisfaction.

9. Do I have one favourite school? the answer is no. I have enjoyed all and hope that my many students have benefited from their interaction with me.

10. To use an old cliche “Education is for Life” — and for me each day is a new experience.
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Thanks Richard! Want to know more, feel free to check out his profile page on our website.

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to teach at an international school in India like Richard?  Currently, we have 42 international schools listed in India on International School Community.  Some of our members have left comments and information on the following schools in this country:

École Mondiale World School (7 Comments)
Dhirubhai Ambani International School (5 Comments)
American School of Bombay (5 Comments)
Canadian International School Bangalore (8 Comments)
Stonehill International School (India) (7 Comments)
International School Aamby (6 Comments)
International School of Hyderabad (8 Comments)
• Kodaikanal International School (15 Comments)

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: India’s most admired international schools

December 30, 2011


Within the hearts and minds of the uninformed, there is considerable prejudice against India’s small but growing number of new genre international schools. Left intellectuals and fellow travelers who dominate Indian academia and have considerable influence in the media, naively dismiss them as elitist and expensive. Yet contrary to popular opinion, the country’s estimated 105 low-profile international schools — of which number only 25 were sufficiently familiar names to over 20 sample respondents in the regions in which the international schools included in the EW-C fore Survey of Schools 2009 are sited — serve several useful social purposes.

For one, international schools — defined for the purposes of this survey as schools majorly affiliated with international examination boards such as the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), Geneva; Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), UK and The College Board, USA — discharge  the vital role of raising primary-secondary education standards. Delivering high-quality school education benchmarked with the latest innovations in Western countries where pedagogies and learning outcomes are seriously researched, they have already helped to upgrade the quality of K-12 education in India across the board. If today there is a new awareness of the importance of pedagogic concepts such as learning through understanding, joyful learning, introduction of ICT (information communications techno-logies) in education, counseling and pastoral care, India’s small minority of  international schools with their well-trained teachers and excellent infrastructure, have contributed greatly in creating it.

Moreover it’s important to bear in mind that although high-priced by Indian standards, they provide world class primary-secondary education at a fraction of the tuition fees levied by their counterparts abroad. Little wonder that a growing number of children from countries around the world are flocking to India’s international schools for the high quality English medium instruction dispensed by them.

Middle and upper middle class India has also been quick to appreciate the high market value of internationally benchmarked foundational education in a rapidly globalising world. Therefore it’s no surprise that the Woodstock School, Mussoorie (estb. 1852), which over the past 150-plus years has acquired a global reputation for dispensing high quality classes VI-XII education in the pristine Himalayan foothills to its 454 students, has retained its premier ranking as India’s most respected international school in the EW-C fore Survey of Schools 2009. Highly rated on the vital parameters of academic reputation, leadership/manage-ment and infrastructure provision, this American-inspired institution of academic excellence has outdistanced its former sister school  — Kodaikanal International down south, ranked second (again) this year — by a considerable aggregate score margin.

“We are delighted that for the second year running, Woodstock has been ranked the top international school in the country in the EW-C fore Survey of Schools 2009. But while Woodstock celebrates past achieve-ments, we continue to invest in the future. We are planning additions to the school’s academic programme over the next year, and we will continue to invest in our facilities and staff to fulfill our mission of producing world citizens and leaders. Our curriculum will also feature an enhancement of the outdoor education programme with specialist-led expedi-tions and skills-building exercises such as rock-climbing and wilderness first-aid. A challenging and exciting future awaits the next generation, and Woodstock will welcome the future with them, striving to provide education for a world of difference,” says Dr. David Laurenson, principal of Woodstock School, Mussoorie.

These two top-ranked institutions which have retained their rankings apart, there’s been considerable rearrangement of seating at the Top 10 table. The low-profile Hebron School, Ootacamund and Indus International, Bangalore have vaulted from sixth and twelfth to third and fourth respectively this year. And while the British and American embassy schools have retained their last year’s rankings, the high-profile Pathways World School, Gurgaon has moved up two places to No. 9.

“I’m very pleased to hear that indus international has risen from last year’s 12th rank to No. 4 this year in the EW survey of international schools.  I attribute this to the excellent leadership our chief executive Gen. Arjun Ray has provided the school, strong support from our parents’ community, and our cooperative and enthusiastic student body. I am especially pleased by the high ratings we have received under the parameters of individual attention to students and academic reputation. All this is the result of substantial investments we have made in terms of time and resources in teacher recruitment and training during the past year,” says Sarojini Rao, principal of the Indus International School, Bangalore (estb. 2003).

Among the schools which for mysterious reasons have slipped badly in the international schools league table this year are Mallya Aditi, Bangalore (3 to 11); Good Shepherd International, Ootacamund (3 to 5); The International School, Bangalore (8 to 15); Mahindra United World College, Pune (9 to 17);  Canadian International, Bangalore (10 to 18); Calcutta International School (13 to 21); DRS International, Hyderabad (17 to 23) and International School of Hyderabad (18 to 24).

On the other hand, three institutions which hadn’t made it to the international schools league table last year have made respectable entries in 2009 — Mercedes Benz International, Pune (16); Billabong High International, Mumbai (19) and Sreenidhi International, Hyderabad (22). Regretably the Trivandrum International School, ranked 16 last year, has slipped below the public radar and didn’t qualify for ranking this year.

Taken from the article at: http://educationworldonline.net/index.php/page-article-choice-more-id-1923

Check out the latest information and comments submitted on the 37 international schools listed in India on International School Community.

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.05 – 10 September, 2011

September 10, 2011



v2011.05 – 10 September, 2011:

School is back now in session. Many teachers have been at work and teaching students for a few weeks already.  A teacher just wrote to us talk to share what life was like starting year #2 at their “relatively new” international school.  Things on the teacher’s mind during the first few weeks so far were related to the following topics:
Getting to know the new director starting this year, knowing the school’s curriculum better now, knowing where things are located in their city and not being new to everything like in year #1, feeling more at home now that their apartment is already decorated, getting used to all of the school’s new equipment and materials, working with new teams of teachers at school and also getting to know the new teachers, making a bit more money now that they are moving up the pay schedule a bit, planning new holidays and vacations to explore more of their region of the world, going to the new shops and stores that have opened up in their city which is making shopping for certain things a lot easier and lastly, getting to inherit the old things of departing teachers from the previous school year!


Recently updated schools:

· 10 Sept  American Bilingual School (14 new comments)
(Kuwait City, Kuwait)
“ABS accommodations are single-occupancy only. Staff members are not allowed to invite a roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, driver, maid, etc. to live with them in ABS housing. You must pay…”
· 09 Sept  Dalian Maple Leaf International School (9 new comments)
(Dalian, China)
“There are several modern department stores and shopping malls in Dalian. In addition to Chinese chain stores there are Walmarts from the USA, Carrifours from France, and MyKals from Japan. There is a…”
· 05 Sept  Naseem International School (Bahrain) (20 new comments)
(Riffa, Bahrain)
“Be sure to bring enough cash to get you through to your first pay check at the end of September. There will be a settling in allowance of …”
· 05 Sept  Dhirubhai Ambani International School (5 new comments)
(Mumbai, India)
“The campus is situated at Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai, which is a fast emerging business district. Just off Bandra-Kurla Complex Road, it is accessible to students and teachers living in different…”
· 04 Sept  American School of Barcelona (3 new comments)
(Barcelona, Spain)
“I miss the students at ASB. They were so full of energy and character. I have worked at two other international schools now and the students at ASB are definitely the…” 

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· Featured article: Moving Overseas with Children by Teachers International Consultancy (part 1)
“Moving abroad with children requires a lot of planning in advance to make the transition as easy as possible for everyone. There’s no doubt that you’ll be faced with hitches along the way, but everything…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #1 – Bad interviews are good things
“No matter the reputation of the school, the people sitting across from you in the hotel room asking you questions in that school’s name are a stronger indicator of how it would feel to work at that school …”

· Member Search Feature: What positions do International School Community members have?
“After using the member profile search feature on the main homepage of International School Community, we found the following results…”

· Great link: Want to work at an international school in Thailand?
“We are often asked for ‘foreign schools’ in Bangkok and Thailand. None of the international schools in Bangkok and Thailand is really a ‘foreign school’ since they are all accredited by the Ministry of Education in Thailand…”

· How to Break into International School Teaching
“Some of the applications for recruitment fairs like Search and ISS can take months to complete.  Especially the confidential references that you need to get your references to submit….”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 61 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 135
School profiles: 877
Surveys: 5
Blog entries: 92
Posted comments and information: 939


Posting comments and information:

We encourage you to take some time to fill out some comments and information about this schools you know about.  Remember, posting in done anonymously. The more information we share, the more other members will know and be able to make more informed decisions if they are considering employment at an international school.  Also, the more members we have, the more people there are to leave information and to network with.  Please refer your international school teacher friends to join our community and to share what they know!

Officially, we also have 85 likes on Facebook and on Twitter we have 135 followers!


New members:

·Taylor Smith (Garden International School)
·Todd Bowler (Canadian International School – Singapore)
·Krista Wolfe (International School of Elite Education)
·Annette Harvey (Almaty Haileybury)
·YooKyung Shim (Seoul International School)
·ana De Anda (Monterrey Colegio Ingles Monterrey)


Current Survey Topic:
Vote here!


Member spotlight:

If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Highlighted Link
TIC website. Highlights from this page: TIC provides a personalised, reliable and responsive recruitment and training service tailored specifically to international schools and teachers worldwide. TIC are experts in international schools having over 25 years experience in international education. They have a huge network of contacts in great international schools all over the world; this enables them to help you find your perfect overseas teaching job. They offer a tailored recruitment service whether you are a teacher looking for a job overseas or a school looking to recruit.
Facebook page:
A great facebook group page for international school teachers.  Check it out here.  It is a community of educators working in international schools across the globe.  TIST is a site dedicated to a number of interests:
– Sharing instructional strategies
– Integrating instructional technology
– Insights on international teaching
– Questions and concerns about IB
– Cross-curricular and cross-continental collaborative projects
– Job fairs and the recruitment process
– Advice about future teaching destinations and cultural adjustment
– Keeping up with old colleagues and making new contacts
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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1969 (Hong Kong, Seychelles, Madagascar, etc.)

August 28, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1969

Utilizing the database of the 850 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found  schools that were founded in 1969 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

German Swiss International School (Hong Kong, China)

“The German Swiss International School Hong Kong (GSIS) was established in 1969 by German Swiss families who were looking for a bilingual German-English education in an international setting. From these early beginnings, GSIS has grown into one of the leading international schools in Hong Kong. The school’s main campus is strategically located in the picturesque and prestigious setting of The Peak, Hong Kong.”

American School of Antananarivo (Antananarivo, Madagascar)

“ASA was founded in September, 1969 as an independent, non-sectarian, co-educational day school. Its function is to provide an excellent education in an international setting to children through the twelfth grade.”

International School of Seychelles (Victoria, Seychelles)

“ISS has grown to nearly 700 students from a small beginning of nine students in 1969. ISS continues to be a vibrant learning community with students excelling themselves both academically, in sports and in many other ways.”

International School Moshi (Moshi) (Moshi, Tanzania)

“Established in 1969 to serve the needs of the expatriate and local communities, the school has grown to provide a fully accredited international education for children from age 3 to age 19, offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma, Middle Years and Primary Years programmes.”

Sir James Henderson School (Milan, Italy)

“The Sir James Henderson British School of Milan was founded in 1969 by British parents who wanted to provide a British education to their children. The school was named after Sir James Henderson, a British businessman who started up Coats in Italy after WW1. He also founded the British Chamber of Commerce and the first Rotary Club in Italy. His wife provided a generous donation to start the school.  In 1969 the school had just over 90 students (84 in the lower school,12 children in the upper school). In 1994 it had 380 students and currently the school has over 770 students (440 in the lower school, over 330 children in the upper school).”

Bangalore International School (Bangalore, India)

“Bangalore International School, or American Community School as it was once called, was started in 1969. In the 60s and the 70s, although there were hundreds of American and Canadian families living in the city, there were no local schooling options that offered a North American curriculum and instruction style. The only available choice would have been boarding school. And luckily for us, this idea did not appeal to Eloise R. Bennett and her family, the founders of BIS. On contract through the University of Tennessee for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Bennett family moved to Bangalore for two years between 1969 and 1971. Finding no suitable schooling options, they decided to open their own, and so the American Community School was born, in a garage on Millers Road.”

Medan International School Sumatra (Medan, Indonesia)

“Medan International School began in 1969 and has being operating from its present site, approximately 10km for the centre of Medan, since 1980. Medan is a large city of over three million people, although the expatriate population is relatively small.”

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1996 (China, South Korea, Moldova, etc.)

July 4, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1996

Utilizing the database of the 827 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 24 schools that were founded in 1996 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Shanghai Community Int’l School (Shanghai, China)

Shanghai Singapore International (Shanghai, China)

Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)

“The SSIS was established in 1996 to provide quality international education to children of expatriate families in Shanghai. Currently, there are 2 campuses in Shanghai, MinHang Campus and XuHui Campus.”

Luanda International school (Angola, Luanda)

Busan Foreign School (Busan, South Korea)

“Busan Foreign School opened its doors to the Busan community and its surrounding areas in October of 1996. With only two students originally, it has since expanded to encompass nursery to twelfth grade, currently educating over 220 students from 25 different nations. In addition to the increase in enrollment, the curriculum has developed into a highly rigorous American standards-based program that offers students a wide variety of courses and activities.”

Tall Oaks International School (Accra, Ghana)

“The nursery was established in August 1996, to provide a safe, healthy and happy learning environment for children aged between 12 months and 5 years.”

Lekki British International School Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria)

“Welcome Lekki British School is the original British School in Nigeria. We opened our doors in 2000 to students and parents who are looking for a truly British School experience.”

Ocean of Light International School (Nukuʻalofa, Tonga)

“In 1996 as a response to a need from the community and as a social and economic development project, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Tonga established the school and registered it as a non-profit institution offering an international standard of education to the population of Tonga. Licensed by the Ministry of Education the school is now a well-known institution in Tonga.  The school opened its doors on March 3rd, 1996 with nine students, one teacher and one assistant teacher, covering classes one, two and three. By the end of the year the roll increased to 20. The following year approval was granted by the Ministry of Education to add classes 4, 5, and 6. More teachers were hired and the roll increased to 56.  By then the Board realized the difficulties of enrolling children to class one from the grass root level with no English background.”

American Academy for Girls Kuwait City (Salwa, Kuwait)

“The Al Jeel Al Jadeed Educational Institute opened The American Academy for Girls (AAG) in September 1996 to only 79 students from kindergarten through to grade five. Today, AAG has approximately 860 students from pre-kindergarten through to grade twelve.”

Qatar Academy (Doha, Qatar)

Jeddah Knowledge International School (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

Horsholm International School (Horsholm, Denmark)

The International School of Azerbaijan (Baku, Azerbaijan)

“Since its foundation in 1996 TISA has served both the expatriate community and those in the local community who are seeking an international education.”

Qsi International School of Chisinau (Chisinau, Moldova)

“QSI International School of Chisinau, a non-profit institution that opened in September 1996, offers high quality education in the English language for pre-school (beginning at age three years), elementary students (through the age of 13 years), and an expanding secondary program (currently to age 15).  The primary purpose of the school is to meet the needs of the children of foreign expatriates living in Chisinau who require this type of education with a view to continuing their education in their home countries with a minimum of adjustment problems.”

The International School of Bucharest (Bucharest, Romania)

ISB was founded in 1996 in a rented building with a total of just 17 pupils to meet the needs of the English-speaking community. Within a couple of years the school had grown in both size and scope. In order to serve an increasingly mobile international community, the curriculum gradually took into consideration the practices and requirements of a number of different systems.”

Pechersk School International (Kiev, Ukraine)

Canadian International School Bangalore (Bangalore, India)

Hanoi International School (Hanoi, Vietnam)

“In 1996 a joint venture company was launched following an agreement between the Centre for Education Technology (CET) and International School Development Inc. (ISD). The joint venture ship was on the basis of 30% interest to CET, which is the Vietnam side, and 70% interest to ISD, the US side.  The company then opened Hanoi International School in late 1996 using premises leased from the school next to today’s HIS. The student roll at the end of the first year was 54 from Pre-School to  Grade 11. Within that first cohort of students, 15 nationalities were represented. On the teaching side there were 13 teaching staff, including the Principal, and 16 Vietnamese support staff.”

Sekolah Ciputra (Surabaya, Indonesia)

“Much has been achieved since Yayasan Ciputra Pendidikan founded the school in 1996. Today Sekolah Ciputra is an international school and one of the most highly regarded IB World Schools in Indonesia. We believe that our International IB students are truly global citizens.”

International School of Skopje (Skopje, Macedonia)

St. Andrews I.S Green Valley (Pattaya, Thailand)

Arqam Academy – Doha (Doha, Qatar)

Dasman Model School (Kuwait City, Kuwait)

British International School (BIS) Phuket (Phuket, Thailand)

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