New School, International School of Georgia, began in 1999 when we founded a private Georgian school with 30 students. In 2003 the school moved into its new, purpose built premises in Bagebi, a green residential suburb of Tbilisi. In September 2007, New School International School of Georgia became a bilingual international school when we opened the Elementary English Section. This made it possible for us to offer parents the option of educating their children in English or Georgian.
In September 2008, the Middle Years English Section (grades 6 – 10) opened enabling New School to provide IB education to both English and Georgian speaking students from ages 3 to 16. From September 2010, students from Grade 11 had the opportunity to study in English through the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.
Now we have grown into an international body of over 650 pupils representing more than 30 different nationalities, and a permanent staff of 80. We are the first and only school in Georgia fully authorized to offer all three International Baccalaureate programmes (Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma Programmes) for pre-school through grade 12.
Georgia: Georgia doesn't quite know if it is in Europe or Asia, neither does the rest of the world. In maps it can be described as a part of Europe, the Middle East or Asia. As the crossroads of these areas it has elements of all three, though Georgians regard themselves as Europeans.
Georgia is a small country of around 5 million people. It is situated in the Caucasus and has a northern border with Russia, eastern border with Azerbaijan and southern border with Armenia and Turkey. The Black Sea coast also forms one of Georgia's frontiers. Until 1991 Georgia was a republic within the Soviet Union, whereupon it gained its independence. The government is very westward looking, and the people are enjoying their new freedom in the cafes, bars, theatres and galleries of Tbilisi, the capital, with a population of 1.4 million.
Climate: Although Georgia encompasses five separate climate zones, including alpine, semi-desert and subtropical, it is fair to say that Tbilisi typically has a Mediterranean climate, with two long seasons and two short seasons. Spring starts in March and is reasonably warm, with possibilities of rain. By May the temperature is getting higher and in July and August temperatures can reach up to 35, sometime s40 degrees Celsius. Autumn tends to be warm and lasts from September to late November. December sees the start of winter, which is often dry, has little snow and can be mild or cold (seldom below 0 degrees Celsius) depending on the day.
Language: Georgian is the spoken language. It is a unique language that belongs to a separate “Kartvelian” group of languages. It has its own alphabet, which is one of 14 distinct alphabets in the world. The language is rather difficult to master (though not impossible) as many of the sounds are unfamiliar to an English speaker, are difficult to pronounce, uses very distinct word formations and has a very complex set of rules governing its verbs. Nevertheless, one can learn some basic Georgian to get by. In addition to Georgian, most people in Georgia speak English, Russian or another European language. English has become a second language among the younger generation.
Culture: There are many theatres and venues in Tbilisi, the performances are in Georgian and are translated into English. There are also numerous galleries, museums and festivals. Georgian singing is unique, as is the exceptional national dancing, which is really worth seeing.
Georgians are predominantly Orthodox Christian and there are many beautiful churches. Other religious denominations are also practiced here in full freedom. Due to religion and civic festivals there are many celebrations, which involve lots of food and drink. In Georgia a lot of importance is placed on social eating and drinking. Georgians are very friendly and hospitable and believe that they have a serious duty to make their guests feel as welcome and comfortable as possible.
Dining: Georgian food is generally fresh and tasty with lots of herbs and spices. A traditional "Supra" is very common. A Supra is a ritual of toast-making with lots of food, such as Kebabs, Salads, Khachapuri (cheese-bread) and Georgian wine. Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. The fertile valleys of South Georgia house the source of the world’s first cultivated grapevines and Neolithic wine production, from over 8,000 years ago. Due to the many millennia of wine making in Georgian history, and its key economical role, this tradition is inseparable with the country's national identity.
Tbilisi: Tbilisi has been the capital of Georgia since the 5th century. It is a beautiful city, situated on the banks of the River Mtkvari and surrounded by green hills and mountains. Old Tbilisi is crowned by Narikala Fortress, which affords excellent views over the city. Below Narikala are old cobbled streets with old wooden houses, many finely carved balconies, sulphur baths, ancient churches, a mosque and a synagogue.
Rustaveli Avenue is the main street and has many shops and cafes. Nearby are Sharden Street and Perovskaya Street, with numerous bars and restaurants, from Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Scandinavian, Spanish back to Georgian. There is an active cultural life from Georgian singing and dancing, to Shakespeare, Chekhov, ballet, opera, galleries and festivals and concerts of internationally famous singers.
Neighbourhoods are well fitted with grocery stores and supermarkets, pharmacies, as well as local merchants selling fruits and vegetables. There are also numerous large shopping malls.
Outside Tbilisi: Georgia is blessed with a beautiful countryside including mountains, forests and rivers. It also has many old churches and monasteries that are worth visiting. There are numerous hotels on the boarder of Turkey, in Batumi and other smaller resorts. In summer most people head to the seaside, Batumi, Kobuleti, Gonio, Kvariati or Chakvi on the Black Sea or Mestia and Ushguli in the magnificent mountains covered with snow all the year round. In winter the ski resorts of Bakuriani and Gudauri are popular because of the excellent hotels, skiing facilities and the beautiful mountains.
There are several options for gyms and fitness. Vake Swimming pool and Fitness Club (not far from the school) has ultra-modern equipment and an Olympic size pool. They have many types of classes and personal trainers. Tennis, bowling and basketball facilities are also available. For those who enjoy running, Vake Park and football stadium as well as Turtle Lake are options.