Information for Members

The total comments in all the Benefits Information sections: 12207!

January 14, 2021


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2180+ school profile pages on our website has four comments and information sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information.  Our members are encouraged to submit comments and information on one or all of these sections if they currently work at an international school or have worked at one in the past.  It is important that we all share what we know so that we can in turn help other new teachers make a more informed decision before they sign any contract! *Additionally, for every 10 comments you submit (which are anonymous by the way), you will automatically get one free month of premium membership added to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

So, what are the recent statistics about the Benefits Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the Benefits Information section is 12207 (out of a total of 39249+ comments); that is up 1503 comments from around 13 months ago (Nov. 2019).

There are 20 subtopics in the Benefits Information section on each school profile page.  Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out the total number of comments in that specific sub-topic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.

• Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year? (1415 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Salary is paid regularly each month directly into your bank account which the school will help you set up. It is paid in $US…” – Northbridge International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – 59 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities? (1414 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Rent prices went up all over Shanghai in the past 1-2 years and even places near the school cost more now, as landlords start seeing that there’s many expats in the area willing to pay more…” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 481 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. (761 Total Comments)

Example comment: “A teaching couple could easily live and travel on one salary and save 100% of the other.  Savings opportunity is obviously significantly less on one salary, but still possible…” – Singapore American School (Singapore) – 309 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? (1236 Total Comments)

Example comment: “$4000 per teaching couple moving allowance (once you arrive in cash), optional $10,000 loan from school interest free (to buy car), annual flights home…” – American International School of Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria) – 21 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals. (1085 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Teachers must pay for their own health insurance here as Switzerland doesn’t have a social health care program model. Some of the staff’s partners are actually the local doctors in Leysin, so expect to get seen or have your children get seen by them..” – Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland) – 113 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.). (523 Total Comments)

Example comment: “As the April 6, 2016 comment below states, there are many opportunities for increasing your monthly pay. Other than that, it is illegal to work for anyone but your visa provider (the school) in China. Lots of teachers tutor or work otherwise on the side anyway, but it is illegal.” – Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan, China) – 82 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents. (825 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Teachers with dependents need to pay some fees. These vary and are at the discretion of the school so they could conceivably become higher each year. They do not like to hire people with dependents.” – MEF International School Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey) – 162 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Professional development allowance details. (617 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The PD allowance allows you to travel and pay for one IB workshop (or any conference) per year. Or you can do two IB online workshops…” – The International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal) – 181 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Pension plan details. (676 Total Comments)

Example comment: “It is not a pension. Due to Brazilian law, each teacher pays 8% of their salary each month into a guarantee fund. This is more or less an unemployment insurance. At the end of your contract, the school agrees to “fire” you, so you can access that fund. Based on the exchange rate at that time, it can vary in USD. At the beginning of my contract is was estimated around $12,000. But, now it will be much closer to $7,000. There is no way to know how much it will actually be in the end.” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) – 78 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Describe your experience bringing pets. (310 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Some teachers bring their pets from the USA (and other countries like UAE and Qatar). Some do it via the airlines or a pet relocation service. You need to make sure you pet has their up-to-date shots and whatnot to avoid certain delays and hassles along the way. The shorter your flight to Egypt the easier it might be to get your pet to Egypt.” – American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 62 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?). (617 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Each teacher is paid differently. No pay scale. Some teachers with lots of experience paid less than teachers with little experience. Men get paid more than women…” – American School of Durango (Durango, Mexico) – 54 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city? (393 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The pay is lower than other international schools in the area but the school fees are also lower. It is the mid range between the “posh” international schools and the ones that don’t hire internationally trained teachers.” – Ican British International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – 74 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• How is the school calendar? Is there ample vacation time? (592 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Point of contention. Clearly we are in a Muslim country so we have to abide by the holidays, but as Ramadan keeps pushing up 2 weeks every year, so does Eid (which usually falls in the first term. But we are in one of those awkward times where Eid is falling the first week of school so that means no break from the start of school until December. There is only one week at xmas this year, because we have to make sure to finish school around the start of Ramadan, it will be too hot to come to school while the kids (majority) will be fasting or they just won’t attend school. We will still have a week in Feb and a week in April. No long weekends here. 3 months off for summer.” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (Doha, Qatar) – 97 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• What are some things that you need to buy/pay for when you first arrive at the school that you didn’t know about beforehand? (330 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you have a pet you have to pay an extra deposit to the landlord, not covered by school…” – Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine) – 162 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school. (169 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Women get 12 weeks at 80% pay. She can take more time off, but without pay and at the business’ discretion. I think men don’t get any time off to be with their newborn.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 59 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• What is the process of getting reimbursed for things? (226 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Fill out a simple form, submit the receipt, and the money is deposited into your account after the purchase has been approved. If you are concerned as to whether or not you will be reimbursed, seek out approval first. I have never been turned down.” – Daegu International School (Daegu, South Korea) – 25 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Details about new teacher orientation. (270 Total Comments)

Example comment: “We were picked up at the airport by a school driver who drove the Superintendent there to meet us. We were taken directly to our house, and someone had purchased some staple foods for the refrigerator. There were new towels, sheets and pillows. Other teachers/admin in the neighborhood came to greet us that evening and brought over hot food for dinner. It was an excellent welcome. We immediately felt very much at home…” –Lahore American School (Lahore, Pakistan) – 193 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school? (403 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Everyone leaves because the salary scrap and administration is crap. If you had any moral integrity you would also leave after a week.” – Colombo International School (Colombo, Sri Lanka) – 64 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about? (250 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Read carefully. 3 page contract is very vague and WILL be used in favor of the administration against you. Expect them to try and keep as much of your money as they can. Hence the 2 month salary withholding which you are assured you will get at back end of contract. This does not usually come to fruition.” – Pan Asia International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 70 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Information on trailing spouses. Can they work under spousal visa (also availability of work) or is it possible to live only on one salary? (95 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Trailing spouses can only be sponsored if you are earning a certain amount. It is not very easy to get a job in some professionals; however, this might change soon with the sponsorship system changing often as we near the World Cup 2022.” – The English Modern School (Doha) (Doha, Qatar) – 91 Comments

continue reading

Information for Members

What are some of ISC’s Many Unique Features?

January 5, 2021


So many prospective international school teachers are always looking to answer these two questions: “What is it like working at XXX school?” and “What is it like living in XXX country/city?”

It is not so easy though to find answers to these questions.

At ISC, our mission is to show that information to these prospective international school teachers in a clear, easy-to-find format that is hopefully very informative to them.

But we don’t just stop there, we have added many unique features that make finding their answers faster, more interesting and fun. In this article, we would like to give an overview of the many unique features that ISC has to offer to its premium members.

School Comparison: School vs. School

Around three years ago, our dream came true when we launched our School Comparison page.

We placed each school’s submitted comments side by side so that our members could make an easy comparison. It is a common request to know “which school is better?”, especially if you are considering two job offers at two, sometimes very different, schools.

The School Comparison page does just that. It places two schools “against” each other to see which one comes out on top. We are not aware of another website that does this!

Compare School Salaries

The number one thing prospective teachers want to know about is “How much money will I make working at XXX school?”

Why then is it almost impossible to find information about salaries before you are offered the position?

Yes, we have 1000s of comments about the salary details of 100s of international schools on the ISC website. However, we took it further and made a unique page so that our members can compare these school salary details side by side with other schools. If you are considering working in Shanghai, China, you can now easily search for only schools in Shanghai on this page and quickly compare which school has a better salary package for you.

Check out our Compare School Salaries page today.

School Vacancies History

Many websites deal with posting international school job vacancies, but ISC has brought this to the next level as we leave expired vacancies on our website so that you can see which vacancies have been posted on a specific school over time.

If you really want to work at a specific international school and you see that they have recently hired your position during the last school year, it could give you some more insight about whether that position will be available for the next school year.

Check out all of our most recently posted Job Vacancies here.

Comment Search Feature

Only ISC allows its members to search for specific comments. We have over 38000 comments that have been submitted on 1150+ international schools, but sometimes you just want to search for specific comments on many international schools, especially if you are open to working at a number of international schools in different parts of the world.

If you are looking for a school that often hires teaching couples, you can easily search those keywords to find 100s of comments related to that topic. Or if you are a single international school teacher, you might want to search these keywords as well to see which schools might discriminate against single teachers and that prioritize hiring teaching couples.

ISC actually has even more unique features, but here are four that really make our website stand out. Of course, new features are always in the works. If you have a suggestion for another feature for the ISC website, contact us here. Otherwise, stay tuned for more unique features in the near future.

continue reading

Top 10 Lists

10 things to do when you are stuck in your host country for the holiday break

December 28, 2020


We can all agree that 2020 was a very strange year for international school teachers. Every country has been affected by all of the pandemic craziness. Many countries have gone through a number of “waves” this year when the infection rates got quite high. Though countries have responded differently, many have decided to put their residents under a lockdown.

There are different levels of lockdowns, but a number of countries are under the strictest level at the moment during the Christmas holidays. Typically international school teachers will go to their home countries to be with their family, while others go on vacation to take advantage of their 2-3 week-long break. But for many of us, it is not possible to travel anywhere during this holiday break. It can be quite depressing! But being that we can’t solve the pandemic anytime soon, it is good to try and stay positive with the situation we are dealt with.

So if you too are stuck in your host country during this Christmas break, here are some things you can do to enjoy your holiday, be productive, stay positive, etc:

Video chat with many friends from around the world.

Now is the best time to catch up with friends that maybe you don’t video chat with so much during the school year. These could be friends from your home country or your friends from past countries in which you’ve lived. Set up times to chat with these friends and you will be surprised with all the things you will talk about. It is certain that some conversations will go over 2-3 hours!

Invite your current work colleagues over for a dinner

Many of us have been meaning to invite some of our cool work colleagues over to our place. Now is the time when everyone is available because they are all locked inside your country as well! Once a dinner time is scheduled, maybe find a new recipe that you can make so you can broaden your repertoire of meals to impress your guests. Who knows, maybe this dinner will bring you and your colleague’s friendship even closer!

Clean/organize small parts of your home every day

Let’s face it, even though you clean your house regularly, there are still parts in your house that get dirty and disorganized. One day, clean out and organize your silverware and cooking utensil drawers. They will look so nice when you are finished! On the next day, attack the drawers and shelves in your bathroom. It feels so good to know things are organized in your life! Marie Kondo!

Go through your clothes and donate

Why do closets get so full sometimes?! Take a moment to go through your shirts, pants, coats and shoes. If you haven’t worn some of those things in awhile, donate them. If there are some things that don’t fit anymore, donate them. Then take your bag of donations to your nearest thrift store/donation center. Done! And now you have some more space for more things, just kidding!

Get outside every day

It is not good for your well-being to be stuck inside all day. The weather plays a big factor in you wanting to actually go outside. But even if there is a bit of rain/snow or cold weather that day, get yourself outside! Especially if you go walking with a friend, you’ll forget about the gross weather anyway. There is something about some fresh air, checking out the locals, and taking in your local surroundings that do a body and brain good.

Allow yourself to get into a new tv series

The worst thing is that you run out of episodes of your current favorite tv-series (let’s say, Schitt’s Creek) and then have nothing on the horizon to watch. Ask your friends what they are watching and check those ones out next. Or have a search online to see what is popular at the moment in the world/in your host country. Here is one to spark your interest: “How To With John Wilson” (HBO).

Look up some informational videos about dream cities you’d like to live in for your next placement.

Well maybe this is not the best thing to do while you are stuck in your home country, but it is sure fun. Melbourne, New York, Barcelona, etc. There are many videos on youtube that people have made showing you what life is like in your favorite cities. How much does one spend in a week there, a video tour around the hip parts of the city, a person visiting and trying out some of the best food options there, etc…

Keep up your workout routine

This is a hard one if your gym has been closed by your local government. If that is the case, some people find that they can do a pretty good workout outside, maybe even using the free workout equipment at the local park. Even others bite the bullet and buy some free weights and other workout equipment for their home. Some gyms have even offered online training sessions to their members, so why not try some of those out??

Practice your local language

Now is the time to start up a productive routine of learning (more) of your local language. We all dream of being proficient in speaking, listening, reading and writing in our host country’s language, so make a plan to get closer to that goal. You are lucky if you language is on Duolingo, as that is a great, free way to start. Give just 10-20 minutes of your time to focus on language learning and that surely will go along way in your quest to be more fluent.

Be nicer to your family/Find cozy time with your partner

It is easy to get caught up in the endless surfing the internet or browsing your social media walls, but that sometimes shuts other people out. Make sure to spend time having good conversations, making and eating food together, or even just watching a movie together on the couch. These are special moments that we shouldn’t take for granted, and sometimes these things need to be planned.

This article was submitted by an ISC member. If you’d like to earn free premium membership by submitting an article as a guest author on our blog, write to us here.

continue reading

Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Kazakhstan

December 21, 2020


Around the world, there are countries (like Kazakhstan) that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.

The big question always is…how do the comments about each school compare to each other?

This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same country.

Kazakhstan

Currently, we have 12 schools listed in Guatemala on International School Community.

9 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:

Haileybury Almaty (31 Total Comments)
Haileybury Astana (57 Total Comments)
Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan (110 Total Comments)
Miras International School (Almaty) (21 Total Comments)
Miras International School (Astana) (13 Total Comments)

Amount of Money Left to be Saved

“One can save unto $3000 per month with a fairly decent lifestyle…” – Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan

“You can definitely save at least 1000 USD a month…” – Miras International School (Almaty)

“Many staff are paying off a mortgage back in England on their second house…” – Haileybury AstanaA

School Campus

“In June 2017, Kazakhstan hosted EXPO 2017, the theme of which was “renewable energy”. This was a fantastic undertaking, and the legacy of the program is that many new buildings were constructed fairly close to the NISA campus. These buildings include a new mall called Silkway, which has a wide variety of shopping and dining experiences AND a cinema complex that features English-language movies fairly regularly…” – Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan

“Large square building of three stories with ‘quad’ in the centre. Football pitch, swimming pool, assembly and dance halls, two libraries. To the south edge of town, in a still-developing area…” – Haileybury Astana

“It is a purpose-built campus, so it is inspiring to work in. The classrooms have Smart Board like boards which is nice. The fields are lovely and new and there is a wonderful view of the nearby mountains. I can also see the mountains from my classroom…” – Haileybury Almaty

Housing Information

“The school provides housing and they also pay for your utilities. Housing comes furnished…” – Miras International School (Astana)

“Housing allowance is 1200 USD. Teachers live all over the city. Finding an appropriate apartment can be a challenge though. Some teachers have the utilities included in their rent…” – Haileybury Almaty

“You can choose to live on or off-campus. There is a housing allowance if you live off-campus. You also get a monthly allowance to pay for utilities. All apartments come furnished…” – Miras International School (Almaty)

Pension Plan Details

“We get 10% extra in-lieu of a pension…” – Haileybury Almaty

“No retirement plan for teachers…” – Miras International School (Almaty)

“There is no retirement plan…” – Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan

Are the Expectations High of Teaching Staff?

“Yes, most teachers have to do a compulsory 2 after school classes a week all year round, no pay. The workload can be heavy at times…” – Haileybury Almaty

“It depends upon many moving parts, but it is expected due to Covid that the class sizes will be increased and the expected hours will be near 30ish; but, it really depends upon department what that means for actual teaching…” – Haileybury Astana

“The expectations of the international teaching staff is very high, as they are seen as the experts in their fields, and are expected to share that knowledge. This means that much of the unit planning, detailed lesson planning, and teaching falls on the shoulders of the international teachers. This is in addition to a greater number of teaching contact hours than a local colleague…” – Nazarbayev Intellectual school in Nur-Sultan

(These are just 5 of the 66 different comments topics that are on each school profile page on our website.)

If you work at an international school in Kazakhstan, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited free premium membership!

continue reading

Information for Members

Become the ‘Mayor’ of Your School and Get Unlimited Free Premium Membership!

December 14, 2020


Our mission for the International School Community website is to have the most updated information about what it is like to work at the numerous international schools around the world. One way to help us achieve that mission is to have Mayors.

Being a Mayor is super easy, and the best part is that you get unlimited free premium membership to our website!

Mayor Responsibilities:

• Submit at least 3-6 new comments on your school every 1-2 months (on the 66 different comment topics). It takes like 5-8 minutes of your time to do this. It will take a Mayor 2 years to submit one comment in all 66 comment topics.

• Make sure to check on your school’s Wall and occasionally post updates about their school (any big changes to the school that are happening, good tips to know about, recent events at the schools, etc.)

• Make sure that their school has the most updated and correct information (e.g. basic info, links, Facebook page, Youtube video, etc.) on the Overview and Social Media tabs.

• Submit job vacancies that are currently available at your school.

Here are just a few of the almost 700+ schools that have or have had a Mayor on our website:

Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 481 Comments

NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 298 Comments

Tarsus American College (Mersin, Turkey) – 222 Comments

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China) – 155 Comments

American School Foundation of Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico) – 129 Comments

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 180 Comments

Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 140 Comments

Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 387 Comments

Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 172 Comments

American International School Dhaka (Dhaka, Bangladesh) – 113 Comments

International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 135 Comments

Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 176 Comments

Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 148 Comments

The more Mayors that we have on our website means the more our members will be informed; as there will be more up-to-date information on the schools they want to know about!

Become the Mayor of a school you work at (or have worked at) today!

Screenshot 2015-10-20 18.23.34

Please note that being the Mayor of a school is anonymous and that all comments and job vacancies submitted on our website are also done so anonymously. Posting on the school profile page wall though is not anonymous.

continue reading