Survey results are in: How much does your school pay for your housing benefits?

May 18, 2012

The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community don’t receive any housing allowance at all in their current placement at the international school at which they work.  The survey also shows though that there are just about the same number of teachers that are receiving housing benefits with many getting the rent and all utilities paid for by their school.

Some of my international school teacher friends don’t get any housing allowance, namely those that are living in Western Europe.  The ones that aren’t getting a housing allowance in these countries in Europe have a variety of different salaries too which is important to note.  Those in schools on the Mediterranean have lower salaries and many have to actually have a roommate so that they can more easily afford the local rent.  Those international school teachers working in Switzerland and in Scandinavian countries have higher salaries and are able to live more comfortably in a nice apartment all by themselves.  In turn, if your school doesn’t offer a housing benefit to you, then make sure to do your research on the local rental situation in the city that you will be living in.  Also, make sure that you look at your actual monthly salary and minus the rent that you will have to pay.  Then you will get a good indicator on what your actual salary will be after you pay your monthly rent bill.  After you deduct the costs of the rent, you still might come out fairly well when you compare your school with other international schools that actually offer housing benefits.

Which brings us to the international schools that do offer housing benefits.  How cool is it to not have to pay for your housing?  Without having to pay for your rent, you definitely have a different mindset about your money and how you spend it while living abroad.  If you don’t have a rent payment each month, you can more easily travel sometimes, you can go out to eat more often, and take taxis everywhere through out the city.  Basically the rest of the regions of the world are offering some sort of housing benefit: SE Asia, Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, South America, Caribbean, Central America, etc…They do vary though from region to region and whether they include the costs of your utilities or not.  All things to make sure you understand completely when considering a placement in these areas.  The quality of housing varies as well from region to region and city to city, even the housing that is available more for the expats living there.  Many times too, if your housing is included, you will most likely be living in already furnished housing.  Do you enjoy living in an apartment with used furniture (sometimes quite old, ugly-looking and rundown)?  Some international school teachers enjoy the fact that they don’t have to buy furniture during their placement (and have to worry about getting rid of it/selling it when they leave).  Some teachers though enjoy collecting/buying their own furniture, thus possibly having a more “homey” feeling in their home.

So, what does the future hold for the kind of housing benefits that will dominate in the future for international schools in 2013?  Maybe we will see less international schools offering this benefit, maybe some will offer it more.  How important is it to you, the housing benefits, when considering a job at an international school? Some consider it the most important as your rent is usually the biggest chunk of your monthly expenses.  Without that payment to make each month, you have much more money to spend on other things….namely traveling!