International School Community Blog

50000 Comments Milestone: Get 20% off ISC Premium Subscriptions!

It is a time of celebration for International School Community as we now have over 50000 comments (and over 28250 members on our website)!

coupon code for international school community website

To celebrate, all members can get 20% off of all premium membership subscriptions from 19 Feb – 1 March 2024 (ending 23:59 PST).

The 20% off coupon code is: 50000CMM24

Even if you are a member with Premium Membership already right now, you can still add more premium membership during this 50000 comments promotion. Just log in to our website and go to the Manage Subscription page, choose the membership option that you’d like, and then enter this coupon code (50000CMM24)Next, click on the Make a Payment button to pay with your credit card.

Once you have premium membership access, please take this time to submit some comments on the schools you know about on our website. For every 10 comments you submit, your account will automatically be updated with one free month of premium membership. There is no limit, too. So if you submit 40 comments, then you will get four months of premium membership added to your account for free!

International School Community’s website was launched back in February 2011.  When our first newsletter came out in May 2011, we only had 49 members!  On average, we have been getting over 300-400 people signing up to become new members each month.  We hope this trend continues!  The more members we have, the more people you have to network with.

international school community website

International School Community’s goal is to be the largest online community for international school educators.  Our website provides a useful, informative, and celebratory environment for networking with other international school teachers and learning about different international schools around the world.

We created a website that would highlight the ins and outs of working at international schools (the benefits, the school itself, the city, travel information, etc.).

Another major goal of this website is to provide experienced teachers the platform to share what they know so that prospective and seasoned international school teachers can make more informed decisions as they venture out to a new international school.  Making connections and gathering information about international schools in our community has never been easier!  Whether you are looking to make new friends, network with other international school teachers, or learn more about the wonderful world of teaching at international schools, International School Community is the place to be.

We want members to provide real specific information; information that is related to all the different topics we need to know about before signing a contract. International School Community offers up-to-date information in a highly organized, easy-to-use manner.

You can search our vast collection of international school profile pages to find that specific international school you want to know about. You can also search our member profiles and be able to find a contact to send a private message to so that you can get firsthand information about a school that the member has worked at.

We also offer vast information and links related to the world of teaching at international schools and education in general via our blog.

While the focus of the site is to serve the international school teaching community by providing real and useful information about international schools, we have specifically organized our website to encourage our members to leave comments and information that are useful for everyone.  Enjoy being an active member of our website!

We strive to have the largest collection of resources and services for the international teaching community.  International School Community really wants to take writing reviews and comments about international schools to the next level.

Here is what some of our current members are saying about International School Community:

“It’s really useful…it’s a really good way to find out practical info about schools when you’re looking for jobs. If you are interested in particular schools, you can just contact any member from that school to find out insider info! It’s also good if you just want to find out what life is like for teachers in other cities! Really unique idea!” (An international teacher in China)

“International School Community is a great resource for international school teachers. Whether you are doing research for a new job, or just connecting with other teachers, this site is has a plethora of great information. I especially love that this site has a positive feel to it, rather than a place for teachers to vent. I really recommend registering to be a part of this great idea.” (An international teacher in South Korea)

“You have an amazingly wonderful website and seeing these comments is extremely helpful to me.” (A teacher looking to teach abroad at international schools)

“I am very impressed for a website to take the time to do this. You have a great resource that I certainly could have used when I first set off overseas teaching in 1998!! The site works well and it is nice to get a good background on almost every school I’d wish to work in. You are doing a fantastic job with your website, keep it up!” (A veteran international school teacher)

“I truly love being an international educator and researching and comparing schools, as well as discovering great schools that aren’t as well-known. I am grateful for ISC having a platform that makes it all so easy.” (Another veteran international school teacher)

Ten Commandments of Relocating Overseas #10: Do not allow negative comments and attitudes to darken your outlook.

Surround yourself with positive people. Do not allow negative comments and attitudes to darken your outlook.

negative comments when teaching abroad
Image by 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay

It is hard to stay positive, but when culture shock is at its worst, it is very easy to slip.  Sure the other new teachers at your school (and the veteran ones) have a lot to say to you about the host country and culture, but you just might find yourself joining in with them. Commence the inevitable negative thought process!

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller

It is hard to know exactly about the meaning behind those negative comments from your coworkers (or from yourself).  Are they saying those things because that is just what you do and say when you are an expat, even if it is said like it is only a joke?  On the other hand, people say things as a joke under stressful times and there is usually much truth behind their negative comments.

Some things are small and people are easily quick to be negative about it.

“Why do I have a pay this media tax? I never had to pay this in any of the other countries I’ve lived in.  I don’t even have a TV.  I refused to pay this stupid fee!”

“Seriously the internet in this country is so slow. You can’t even access Facebook and YouTube here.  Now I have to pay for a VPN service, which usually makes my internet connection even slower!”

negative comments when teaching abroad
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

“Nothing is open around here.  Good luck finding a store open after 18 hours here.”

“Arg! It is so dirty here. I open the windows to my apartment and one hour later the floors are covered in a thin layer of dust. I can’t wait to move back to a cleaner country!”

There are many more things to talk negatively about when living in another country.  We forgot too, under the influence of culture shock, that there are many negative aspects to living in our home country as well (e.g. getting a cable service repair person to come to your home to fix your internet or cable). 

People complain and obsess about negative aspects of their lives in their home countries too.  But some might say that is your country so maybe you are “allowed” to say negative things every once in a while about your own culture and way of doing things.  Is it different or the same then when living abroad?  When you are in a host country, the country is your “host.”  Certainly, we all would agree that you should try and be gracious to your host.

Some things though are NOT small and can be quite important concerning your life abroad.

“Be ready to not get paid on time.  Last year, we didn’t get paid until three weeks after the salary payment date! Why don’t we get paid on time?  There is nothing we can do about too.”

negative comments when teaching abroad
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

“The building management in our apartment complex steals our money.  They are giving us bills that are way more expensive than the locals that are living in our building.”

“I have been waiting for six months to get reimbursed for things that I purchased for the school!  I am also waiting to get reimbursed for my flight allowance….for LAST YEAR!”

“My last school didn’t have this much work to do.  It is unbelievable about much I have to work at this school.  I don’t know if I can handle working until 19:00 every day after school!”

When there is something negative related to your home, your salary, or your money (in general), then it is very easy to be sensitive to these situations.  Maybe then you are allowed to voice your concerns (i.e. be a bit negative).  Hopefully, though there is something that you can do about it; get your school administration involved, the local police, etc.  Also, it is important to remember that these things might be temporary as well, inconveniences that will pass after a few weeks or months.

“Don`t be trapped by Dogma – which is living the results of other people`s thinking.   Don`t let the noise of others drown out your inner voice.   And most important, dare to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs.

So, knowing that there are going to be negative comments heard and negative comments coming out of your mouth at some point, the key is to try and stay positive as much as possible.  Don’t let the negative thoughts and comments take over and take control of your thinking.  Your life in your new country will be full of ups and downs, that is a given.  Realizing that simple thing, could dramatically keep your negative thoughts to a minimum.  Also, maybe think twice about sharing all of your negative thoughts with your friends and coworkers, some might be best to keep to yourself anyways.

How do you try and stay positive in your current placement?  Share your comments with the rest of the International School Community readers.

This article was submitted anonymously by an ISC member. Check out the rest of the 10 Commandments of Relocated Overseas here.


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New International School Essentials #8 – Check If Teachers Are Qualified

Image by steveriot1 from Pixabay

Tip #8 – Are the teachers fully qualified?

Do teacher certificates actually matter?

Image by Angel Chavez from Pixabay

If you are an International School Community member with premium access, log on today and submit your comments about the international schools you know about!

If you are not a member yet, make sure to join and become a part of our over 27600 members. Many of our current members have listed that they work at over 1200 international schools around the world. Feel free to send these members a message with your questions about an international school’s qualified or not-qualified teachers and get firsthand information about how the accreditation process is going for them.

Six lessons have I learned about Zambia 

  1. Language 
  1. Weather
  1. Adapt to the Pace
  1. Crime
  1. Safaris and Wildlife

6. Weekend Markets

Top 10 Tips for Your International Teacher CV

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

1. Your Contact Info

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

7. Your Professional Development

Andrew Hallam: How Are Int’l School Teachers Stacking Up?

Money and sex. Culturally, we don’t talk about either. Some would say that’s OK. Keep our bedrooms closed and our finances locked. But wouldn’t you like to see how you stack up…financially speaking, that is?

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

As an international teacher, you aren’t likely contributing to a defined benefit pension.  If you’re American, you aren’t contributing to Social Security, either. Whether the older person within you eventually sinks or swims depends on what you’re doing now.

How much are you investing?  Do you have revenue-generating real estate? How much money do you have, so far?

My friend Dr. Jeff Devens and I created an anonymous survey for international teachers. Please take two minutes to access the survey here.

So far, the results are eye-opening, and we’re planning to share them with you once we’ve broadened the database.  

We’ll soon know, for example, what percentage of teachers have student loan debt.  We’ll have the breakdown by age.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

We’ll know how much the typical 30-year-old teacher is saving and how much money they have for retirement. We’ll have figures for teachers within every age bracket.

After speaking at more than 90 international schools, I’ve learned that individual results will differ wildly. You might expect that, depending on how much the teachers earn. But there’s much more to it.

For example, I have friends I’ll call Bob and Margaret. They taught for 25 years at one of the highest-paid international schools in the world. When they “aged out” they were forced to retire.

Bob and Margaret earned great salaries. While working, they didn’t have to pay for housing. They received enough “home leave” allowance to fly home twice a year.

Today, they collect Social Security payments. But it’s a fraction of what they would have earned if they had stayed in the United States. They have a small investment portfolio. But they don’t earn much from that.

Bob and Margaret are almost broke.

Image by dietcheese from Pixabay

Other friends of mine worked at a school that didn’t pay as well. Like Bob and Margaret, they raised two children and helped them pay for college. Like Bob and Margaret, they traveled and enjoyed dining out. They also laughed and smiled with the same ease as Bob and Margaret.

But similarities end there. This second couple, also in their late 60s, has almost two million dollars.

No matter what school you work at, I’ve learned that there’s a huge chasm between how much money your colleagues have. Some are doing well. Others are living underwater.

You might not notice their lifestyle differences. It can be really subtle. For example, in my book, Balance, I mentioned that my wife and I enjoyed weekly massages for 12 years. 

We don’t regret that expense. But those massages cost our retirement portfolio about $750,000. Small costs, if they are invested instead of spent, can add up to huge amounts.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Now what if somebody had a weekly massage and twice-daily coffees at Starbucks? That might not sound like such a big deal. And it isn’t. But over a working career, such small decisions would cost them more than $1 million…if that money were invested, instead.  That’s why two teachers can have vastly different wealth, even if they spent a career at the same school.

No, you don’t have to live like a pauper.  And yes, you could enjoy massages, weekly restaurant meals and Starbucks every day.  But when we do, we should cut back on other things.

Once again, our anonymous survey is live, and can be accessed here.

You’ll soon be able to see how you stack up.

But more importantly, this data will provide a framework for discussion.

We can help each other, cheer each other on, and support our quests for financial wellness.

Thank you, in advance, for completing the survey.

We look forward to sharing the results.

Andrew Hallam is the international bestseller of Millionaire Teacher, Millionaire Expat and Balance.