Selecting an international school: Tip #2 – Location: Is the school conveniently located?
July 19, 2012
What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons for why teachers choose to work at a school abroad as well? There are many kinds of international schools and they are all in different situations. Finding out where exactly your international school is located and where you will be located is very important to know, before you make any big decisions to move or choose a school to attend or work at. So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend or for you to work at? Our new blog series will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.
Tip #2 – Location: Is the school conveniently located?
The American School of London (see picture to the left) and the United Nations International School are conveniently located, but not all international schools are in the same situation. Some international schools are built way outside of the city center, far away, especially if you plan on living in the city center. Sometimes your journey to work might be around 1 hour, one-way; an important thing to know before you decide on signing a contract to work at an international school.
If you don’t mind living in a 3rd ring suburb, maybe it wouldn’t be such a big of an issue that your school is so far away from the city center. However, if you like to enjoy city life and prefer to live there as well, then it might not be the best fit to work at an international school that is not centrally located.
If you are a teacher with children that attend the school, living closer to school also might be a positive thing. Maybe if you have children, you wouldn’t mind working at a school that is way out in the suburbs because that is always where you would prefer to live anyways.
Before signing a contract, an international school teacher definitely needs to evaluate their current situation and what their living-situation needs are. Make sure to ask the right questions at the interview about how your current situation and needs match with the location of the school and where you would most likely be living in relation to that school.
If you had a choice, what would be the preferred way for you to and from work every day? Would you rather ride your bike, take a bus, take the school’s bus, ride on a train, walk, drive your car, take a taxi, or a combination of 2-3 types of transportation? What amount of time is an acceptable journey length: 10-15 minutes, 15-30 minutes, 45 minutes, or over one hour?
One colleague friend of mine worked at a school that was more than a one-hour journey from their apartment. Most of the teachers there were taken to and from the school on one of the school’s buses “for teachers.” One positive thing this teacher took away from that experience was that many teachers were forced to not work so long at the school. Because of the fact that the school’s bus for teachers left at a specific time, you had to get on that bus…otherwise you would be stuck at school with limited options to get home! Sometimes teachers do need to stay long at school to get work completed, but often teachers don’t really need to stay for hours and hours. If you are forced to end your workday at a certain time, you would be surprised how much of your work gets done during that time constraint.
Another colleague friend of mine lives in the city center and their school is very conveniently located in relation to the city center. Many teachers at this school also live where this teacher lives, and the journey from home to school is around 12-15 minutes by train and 20-25 minutes by bike. Many of the teachers at this school are quite pleased that they at least have the option of living in the city center and also have a relatively easy commute to work. There are also many options to get to work based on the needs and situation of each teacher. It is nice when there are many transportation options available to the meet the needs of a diverse staff.
We have had hundreds of comments and information submitted about this very topic on a number of international schools on International School Community’s website. For example on the Shanghai Rego International School‘s profile page there have been three comments submitted so far:
On the Misr American College school profile page, we have one rather informative comments about the school’s location:
If you are an international school teacher currently working abroad, please share your comments about if your school is conveniently or NOT conveniently located.
Additionally, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com as you are able to check out our over 830 members. Many of our current members have listed they work at over 200 international schools around the world. Feel free to send these members a message with your questions about where most teachers are living in relation to the school and the city center.