An Insider's Story

International School Design Teachers: An Insider’s Story

February 22, 2020


How it all started…

I was in middle school in the 1980s.  At this time ‘shop’ or ‘industrial arts’ was still being taught with wood, bandsaws, glue and sandpaper.  During my high school years things began to change in the ‘vocational’ teaching world. Computers were growing in popularity and had become more affordable.  I distinctly remember sitting in front of the green tinted screens typing in measurements and coordinates to create 2 dimensional drawings on an early version of AutoCAD.   Wow! How far we have come in 30 years! In high school I did the minimum to get by. I didn’t push or challenge myself very much. It just wasn’t that interesting to me. The only exception to this rule was during my “Tech Ed” classes.  My teacher, Coach Vander Velde, challenged me to inquire and question traditional ways of thinking.  

After graduation, I pursued a B.F.A. degree in TV and Radio Production.  After college I was hired to work at a local TV studio. I started working the ‘graveyard’ shift which involved taping satellite feeds, organizing broadcast files and so on.  I was making a bit more than the minimum wage. I asked myself, “Did I really go to college to just make a bit more than minimum wage?” An opportunity presented itself to me in the form of a Masters degree in Technological Studies.  This degree gave me the skills I needed to teach ‘vocational’ classes in middle and high school. I completed my student teaching and started a job in an urban high school near Atlanta, Georgia.  

I enjoyed teaching during my first year of teaching, but one afternoon, during my drive home, I heard an advertisement on the public radio station for teaching English in China.  Being that this was over 20 years ago, China was in the process of opening up to the rest of the world. I contacted the company and the following August I was headed to China for the first of many times since!  I taught at a university in Beijing for one year. That year I traveled all over China and caught the ‘travel bug’. After a two year stint back in the USA, I returned to China where I eventually landed in an international school and was introduced to the International Baccalaureate curriculum.  I taught ESL and ‘MYP Technology’. I realized then that teaching IB was a natural complement to the ‘inquiry-based’ teaching approach of vocational education.  

I have taught in several IB schools since then.  In all of these schools I have been involved in ‘Design’ teaching and planning.  One thing that I have noticed about young people is that whether I am teaching woodworking or 3D printing, students love to be hands-on!  Additionally, careers have changed so much over the past 20 years that teaching student ‘technology-related’ content is outdated. As teachers we all need to be teaching inquiry-based critical thinking and problem-solving skills.  The subject of “Design” is the perfect crossroads for all of these things to be taught, practiced and mastered. In the school where I currently work, the students are able to experience robotics, podcasting, filmmaking, 3D printing, digital photography, graphics design, digital illustration, architectural design, fashion design, laser cutting/engraving, website design, coding and programming, drone operation, electronic music production and so on!  All of this is within the Design curriculum.  

One of our soundproof recording booths
Drone photo of the campus
Inside the school TV studio
The laser cutter
TV studio control room
One of the many sewing machines
A couple of the 3D printers
Midi keyboard for making original music
One of our small tool benches

An average day…

On any given day I will teach between 20-50 students depending on the schedule.  Students will be in various stages of development working towards a completed design project.  All of our projects start with an investigation or inquiry into some sort of issue, situation or problem.  This should include an account of some sort of interaction with the client or target audience for the project.  The students will continue to follow the Design Cycle and provide evidence of their work throughout. Most of my day involves checking on equipment, supplies, and so on.  I have informal conversations with the other members of the department to see if everyone has the materials and access to the spaces that they need. Currently, the members of the Design department are content experts in programming, podcasting, filmmaking, photography, materials processing, Computer Aided Design (CAD), and textiles, just to name a few.  

How to get involved…

If a teacher has some experience with similar disciplines and wants to get involved in an international school teaching ‘Design’, then I would highly suggest doing it!  Make a list of your priorities, regions you would like to live and work in, salary range, among other things. It is ok to target schools that you are interested in as Design teachers are often difficult to find.  Whether the school uses IB, AP, Cambridge, or something else, there is always a ‘design’ equivalent course that can be taught!

Giving back to the professional community… 

Since 2008, I have been part of the IB Educator Network or IBEN.  This means that I have conducted school visits, served as a consultant to candidate schools, lead subject-specific workshops, and other various IB related events.  This involvement outside of school has been a key part in my professional development. I have met hundreds of like-minded educators that I am in regular contact with and we share best practices/project ideas with each other.  This keeps my own teaching exciting and relevant to my students.  


Jason Reagin is currently the IB Career-related Programme Coordinator and Department Chair of Design & Visual Arts at Chadwick International School in Incheon, South Korea.  He taught in the US, Bermuda and China prior to coming to South Korea. Jason’s passions include being a live-long learner, coffee drinker and a cinephile. He has experience in curriculum leadership and development in several different school ecosystems.  Connect with him on Twitter @diskon4no

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Costa Rica

April 30, 2018


Around the world, there are countries (like Costa Rica) 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.

Some countries, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, 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 city.

costa rica

Costa Rica

Currently, we have 13 schools listed in Costa Rica on International School Community.

8 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few that have the most submitted comments:

United World College of Costa Rica (28 Total Comments)
The British School of Costa Rica (31 Total Comments)
Marian Baker School (33 Total Comments)
Lincoln School (San Jose) (36 Total Comments)
Country Day School (26 Total Comments)
Costa Rica International Academy (40 Total Comments)
Blue Valley School (21 Total Comments)

Hiring Policies

“Apply through email, interview through skype. Typically hire American/ Canadians for English positions. Hire from other countries as well, especially for Spanish speaking positions.” – Costa Rica International Academy

“You can email with your resume attached and they will contact you if they are really interested. Otherwise at ISS fair in Atlanta.” – Country Day School

“All teaching positions require instructional fluency in English, minimum University Bachelor’s degree with a major or concentration in the field of specialty(24 university credits in the field), 12 University credits in Education, valid teacher’s license, two-year successful teaching experience. Preference is also given to candidates who will be positive role models to students within the context of a traditional Latin American school community.” – Lincoln School (San Jose)

costa rica

School Campus

“Small school setting with beautiful views of the central valley overlooking downtown San Jose and surrounding mountains (you can even see the national stadium!). Nice outdoor spaces with lovely flora and even nice bird species which fly around like the Oropendola and Motmot. School is not far from Parque del Este which has really nice rainforest hiking trails, and a few local restaurants nearby. San Jose itself is not a pretty area, but up on the mountain where Marian Baker is it is a sort of oasis.” – Marian Baker School

“It is mainly open plan with low level buildings surrounding a football pitch. There is a small theatre, gym and an on site soda selling food for the staff and students. The primary school has a couple of outside play areas with equipment. The surrounding area is residential with the domestic airport close by. You can see the mountains of the Central Valley in the east and the west, including Volcan Poas. It is situated on a broad but quiet road with little traffic.” – The British School of Costa Rica

“The campus is relatively small for a residential school, but the grounds are beautiful and quiet. It feels like a private community. The residential buildings are in a separate area from the academic buildings. Students live three to a room, 24 to a residence. The residence coordinators live in small houses next to each residence building. The Academic area is in the middle of the campus. There are eight one-story wings of three classrooms each, plus some offices for administration and teachers. There is plenty of light and space for class sizes between 8 and 20. Near the entrance to the campus is a large soccer field and a social center.” – United World College of Costa Rica

Housing Information

“None provided.” – Blue Valley School

“Furnished apartments available on campus – not luxurious but reflective of typical Costa Rican style housing. Can be comfortable, very secure. Off campus housing ranges in cost – no housing allowance provided. Off campus housing can range from $700 – 2000 a month not including utilities.” – Costa Rica International Academy

“An allowance is provided for teachers…” – Country Day School

“Housing allowance is $750 per month for singles or $1,000 a month for teaching couples…” – Marian Baker School

costa rica

Health insurance and medical benefits

“There is a national health plan that is high quality but slow (and generally in spanish) that all teachers and their families get. The school also helps pay for (pays 50%) of Private health care, which is faster but not necessarily better. They also pay for a MediSmart private health care discount card that can cover 30-80% of other health care (dentists, orthodontists, etc). Health care in general is pretty good in the country, but with private you have to do some research.” – The British School of Costa Rica

“The health insurance has worldwide coverage with emergency evacuation. No life or dental insurance.” – Marian Baker School

“All teachers get Costa Rican life insurance (Aprox $15000). The insurance provided has world-wide coverage. Teachers can get a visit with the school doctor when needed at no cost for teachers.” – Lincoln School (San Jose)

“Local is great, especially for specialities, if you have the time. Private is sometimes not as good.” – Country Day School

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

costa rica

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

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Brazil

August 26, 2017


Around the world, there are cities 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.

Some cities, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, 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 city.

brazil

Brazil

Currently, we have 22 schools listed in Brazil on International School Community.

13 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few that have the most submitted comments:

International School of Curitiba (11 Total Comments)
Escola Beit Yaacov (14 Total Comments)
Escola Americana de Campinas (12 Total Comments)
American School of Brasilia (15 Total Comments)
American School of Belo Horizonte (46 Total Comments)
Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo (39 Total Comments)
Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador (23 Total Comments)
Pan American School of Porto Alegre (25 Total Comments)
School of the Nations (32 Total Comments)

Hiring Policies

“Single teachers and teaching couples with out dependents are preferred. Maximum age that they can hire is 60 years old.” – Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador

“You would have a hard time getting hired at this school if you have a non-working spouse.” – Pan American School of Porto Alegre

“They go to Atlanta, UNI, and they use Search Associates as well as TIE sometimes. You may also write the school directly and interview over Skype.” – School of the Nations

brazil

School Campus

“The campus is beautiful, but the current buildings are struggling to meet the demands of the growing student population. A new main building is planned in the next 5 years. The area around the school campus is nice. In the past two years many bars and restaurants have been popping up all around the neighborhood.” – American School of Belo Horizonte

“School is located in a residential neighborhood, near all important amenities. School is close to a lake.” – American School of Brasilia

“Surrounding the school there are nicely taken care of garden areas. There are what seems to be full-time people going around and taking care of the greenery.” – Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo

Housing Information

“Staff are housed in nice apartments right next to the school. Everyone lives in 1 or 4 buildings in the same complex. You are responsible for your electric bill, which is usually not significant.” – American School of Belo Horizonte

“The dwellings come with basic furniture and appliances.” – Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador

“Furnished apartment provided with utilities included: electricity, water, condo fees.” – American School of Brasilia

“Total US dollar equivalent of annual benefits comes to approx: $15,800. The School provides modestly furnished housing for teachers on temporary visas who are single, providing a one or two-bedroom apartment depending upon single or shared accommodation; (b) for a married teaching couple with no children or with one child, and who are temporary visa holders the School provides a two-bedroom apartment or equivalent. All housing contains the following appliances and furnishings: stove, refrigerator, beds, sofa, dining room table and chairs, washing machine and basic kitchen utensils. The School will retain ownership of these items, which will be kept in good condition by the Teacher. The School will pay the rent, condominium fees, and property taxes related to the apartment/house. The employee is responsible for all other expenses, such as utility bills (water, electricity and telephone bills) but installation and maintenance charges for these utilities as well as Internet connections (not usage) shall be at the School’s expense.” – School of the Nations

brazil

Health insurance and medical benefits

“Medical insurance, which includes dental and life/disability insurance.” – Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo

“International health insurance is subsidized 100% by the school, and the medical facilities in Porto Alegre are often superior to those found in North America. International coverage is through Clements.” – Pan American School of Porto Alegre

“Medical insurance is provided which includes dental coverage as well. Excellent local health care and also for international travel.” – Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador

“All recruited foreign hire, be they on temporary visa or permanent residency visa, are covered by both a local health plan administered by the world’s largest insurance company, the Allianz Group, as well as an international health plan when traveling abroad, administered by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. Medical and hospital treatment abroad is covered up to US$ 100,000 and no limit is stipulated for treatment inside of Brazil. Basic dental care is also provided.” – School of the Nations

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

brazil

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

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #31: Lauren Kohlhoff (A teacher at the American School of Madrid)

April 2, 2014


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Lauren Kohlhoff:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

989362_10151961808925686_1496660034_oHi there! My name is Lauren Kohlhoff and I currently teach Drama and Grade 7 World Geography at the American School of Madrid. I’m originally from the Atlanta area – a southern girl born and raised! After earning my degree in Early Childhood Education, I relocated to Northern Virginia where I taught third grade in the Prince William County district for three years. During that time I got married to my then boyfriend of eight years. It wasn’t long before we were itching for a new adventure.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

If I’m being honest, becoming a teacher in the international community was a complete fluke. My husband had received a job offer in Barcelona in the spring of 2008. I knew nothing about international schools or how to get my proverbial “foot in the door”.  So, I committed an afternoon to surfing the net and literally googled “american schools in Barcelona” just to see what my options were. The first hit was the American School of Barcelona. Bingo! I clicked the link, browsed the site, drafted a cover letter, and submitted a resume despite the fact there were no posted positions. Within days the director at the time contacted me, one thing led to another, and I had a grade 6 Humanities job faster than we could say, “Well, it looks like we’re moving to Spain!” I had contacted the right school at the right time; it was all about timing. It’s been six years and we haven’t looked back.

10152146_10151961815280686_736214447_oWhich international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

The American School of Barcelona is alive with energy. The school is small by comparison to other international schools, which allows the faculty, students, and families to foster a community that in many ways feels more like a family. I have truly never worked in a school where there is such passion for kids and their well-being beyond just academics and the walls of a classroom.

Having just recently moved to Madrid, I am still discovering what makes ASM a special place to work. There is certainly a greater sense of calm, which is something that stands out in a country like Spain! The campus is beautiful and features two new facilities dedicated to sports, sciences, and the performing arts. I am impressed with the number of programs that are on offer for our students, especially when it comes to performance and music. We have a very talented team of teachers who work tirelessly to guide our students to do amazing things!

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

If there’s one thing I have come to love about the Spanish culture, it’s the laid-back “mañana” attitude towards, well, everything. Really, it’s a wonder anything ever gets done around here! But this love and appreciation did not come easily or swiftly that first year. I mean, it took nearly a month before we had internet! Businesses close early and open late, and you can forget running errands on Sundays. It took us the entire first year to adjust our expectations and learn to simply stop swimming against the current. We weren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto. We slowed our pace and eventually came to embrace the “mañana” outlook on life ourselves. Mealtimes are perhaps the embodiment of Spanish culture. Sharing a meal with others is an event that can last hours; there’s no such thing as “fast food”. Even long after the table has been cleared, conversations will continue to flow and the wine will too. This is known as the “sobremesa” and what I think is most special about dining the Spanish way – enjoying your company is just as important as enjoying your meal.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

10152851_10151961811710686_564378207_nThis is a tough question to answer because I’ve been in such a unique situation. My destination was chosen and I was fortunate enough to land a job there. If there’s anything I’ve learned about job hunting over the last six years, however, it’s that geography weighs heavily on my happiness and well-being. The destination must speak to me and resonate in a way that fulfills me beyond the school’s campus. Yes, job satisfaction is very important, but it’s only part of the experience. International teaching is also about exploring who you are, learning your limits, and discovering what you never knew about yourself. So much of this happens off campus, and it would be tough to be in a place that stymies that personal growth. For me, Spain is perfect and I’m not sure that I’ll ever need to look anywhere else. I have spoken to a number of colleagues over the years who were not happy in their former placements because the location wasn’t right for them. If I had a dime for every conversation about this topic that included the phrase, “The school was great, but…”, I would no longer need tutoring hours!

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Lifelong learning at its finest!

Thanks Lauren!  You can check our more about Lauren at her blog.

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in the Spain like Lauren?  Currently, we have 26 international schools listed in Spain on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• American School of Barcelona (119 Comments)

• Benjamin Franklin Int’l School (49 Comments)

Sotogrande International School (6 Comments)

American School Madrid (27 Comments)

American School Valencia (21 Comments)

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Video Highlight

Video Highlight: International school of Boston

September 29, 2012


There are so many international schools in the United States.  Which ones are good places for international school teachers to work at?  How does the international teaching community view the international schools there?

International school of Boston

What an interesting bilingual school to work at!  Seems to be a truly international population there as well.

There have been 2 comments and information submitted on this international school on our website.  Want to know more about what life is like as a teacher at this international school?  Take a look a their profile page on our website – International school of Boston  If you currently work at this school or have worked at there in the past, sign up to be a member of International School Community today and share what you know.

Additionally, you can check out the school’s website here and their employment page here.

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 39 international schools listed in the United States with 2 of them being in the city of Boston.  The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right the link to each school.  Here are a just a few of them:

• International School of Monterey (12 Comments)
• Atlanta International School (4 Comments)
• British School of Washington (3 Comments)
• The Dwight School (NYC) (3 Comments)
• St. Timothy’s School (4 Comments)
• Riverstone International School (13 Comments)
• German-American International School (2 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in the United States, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  If you submit more than 30 comments and information, then you can get 1 year of premium access to International School Community for free!

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Art Teach Travel.”

July 25, 2012


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 21st blog that we would like to highlight is called “Art Teach Travel”  Check out the blog entries of this school teacher who has lived and worked in the United States for many years teaching art.  She has aspirations to join the international school community in the very near future.  She has written some great insight related to the different kinds of international school recruitment fairs currently on offer to people looking for a job at an international school.

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

ISS (International Schools Services)

“Since 1955, International Schools Services (ISS) has been dedicated to providing international students access to a premier Western education. It is difficult for ISS to give me data regarding how many art positions are available each year because, unlike UNI, they have continual, year-round recruitment fairs at various locations around the world. Currently, ISS has five recruitment conferences scheduled in 2012-13 to include Philadelphia; Nice, France; Atlanta; Bangkok and San Francisco. There will be more posted as dates are confirmed.

In 2010, a variety of schools, in countries such as China, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland, UAE and Vietnam, needed art teachers but each year the represented schools and countries are varied. There is no way to predict how many schools from how many countries will need art teachers each year. When I recently inquired there were 11 positions most recently available…”

I think about this too. For most teachers looking for a job at an international school, in any given year, always must take a gamble.  The gamble is just how this blogger described: you never know what vacancies are going to be available the year you decide to look for a job abroad (and in the city or country you most want to work in).  Some more experienced teachers in the international school community do tend to wait until the right job comes up (usually found out through their extensive network of international educator colleagues) and then they decide to leave their current school.  However, there are a number of teachers that don’t have that luxury and they take a big chance that the perfect job will present itself the year they decide to look. Going to the recruitment fair is fun though really.  If you are luckily, you have many interviews to consider at the fair.  I think I went to about seven interviews at the last recruitment fair that I attended.  They say to even go to the ones that you are pretty sure you are not interested in…because “you never know.”  Also, it is quite interesting to learn more about the many different international schools around the world and what they are doing and have to offer.

It is good to check how many positions are available on the recruitment fair’s website before you get to the fair, but it is also good to know that things can change very quickly.  The vacancies listed on their website can change….a lot, so be prepared as you are walking around during the first round robin session and checking out their vacancies posters. Though on the other hand, if you have contacted a school beforehand and they have shown interest in you about a vacancy, still go up to the table and get the latest update (if you don’t see the vacancy listed on the poster), as you never know what has happened and the position might indeed be available again in a day, a week, etc…

Should I stay or should I go? (Part 1 of 3)

“So now, years later, I’m asking the same question: Should I stay or should I go? This time, I’m talking about my job, the Dallas art scene, my home in Texas and my country. I’ve been exploring how to combine my love of teaching with my love of adventure and travel. Teaching art in an international school may be my way to do that.

Although there are many educational placement companies, I have narrowed my search down to three: UNI (University of Northern Iowa), ISS (International Schools Services) and SA (Search Associates). Although I’ve never taught internationally, I have read many others’  personal accounts through various forum blogs…”

Waiting for the right time to enter the international school community can take awhile for some people.  Taking the risk of leaving your current job in your home country, leaving your friends and family, and then ultimately leaving your home country itself is quite the challenge.  I remember my teacher friends being ready years before me.  I had many things that I had to deal with first, and it took me six years (after I first started teaching with my teaching license) until my life was ready to finally go to a recruitment fair.  I don’t remember thinking that staying (in my current job and home country) really was option anymore…once I had finally made my decision to teach abroad.  Luckily, things worked out well and I got the job of my dreams at the first recruitment fair that I had ever been to, with no prior international school teaching experience.  I think the “power” was definitely in the candidate’s favor back then!

Now I am currently at my third international school, and I still ask the questions to myself “Should I stay or should I go?” Even though most contracts are for two years, it is always good to stay a little bit after that initial contract and sometimes there is a nice financial incentive to stay longer too!  Your school in your home country probably wouldn’t be offering you any bonuses to stay with them!  One of the many perks teaching at international schools versus teaching in your home country.

If you are also interested in starting your career in the international school community, feel free to check out the 1245+ international schools that are listed on International School Community here. Also, don’t forget to check out our latest submitted comments and information about these schools.

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1985 (Copenhagen, Tehran, Istanbul & Riyadh)

July 13, 2012


Random year for international schools around the world: 1985

There is much history in the international teaching community.  We have international schools with founding dates of 1838 and 1854 and we also have many, many international schools with founding dates in the 21st century.  The numbers are increasing for sure.

Utilizing the database of the 1238 (13 July, 2012) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 10 international schools that were founded in 1985 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Atlanta International School (4 Comments) (Atlanta, USA)

1985 AIS was founded by a group of parents, international educators and members of the business community whose aim was to provide the Atlanta area with the kind of international educational opportunities found in major cities throughout the world. Support from major corporations and public figures was obtained because of the school’s importance in the development of Atlanta as the premier international city in the southeastern United States.”

Al Hekma International School (9 Comments)  (Sanad, Bahrain)

“Al- Hekma International School (AHIS) is a co-educational international school offering an American curriculum to classes from Preschool through High School (PS-Grade 12). The school was founded in 1985 and is fully accredited by the Bahraini Ministry of Education and the Middle States Association for Accreditation of Colleges & Schools (MSA) in the U.S.A. AHIS is also affiliated with worldwide recognized educational institutions, that provide professional development and support for improvement and growth such as (NESA, NBOA, ASCD, AAIE, PTC, NAIS). Students in high school are also trained and tested to receive ICDL certificates through the schools accreditation with ICDL organization to provide students with the latest computer skills required for the future.”

A’takamul International School (0 Comments)  (Al-Rumaithiya, Kuwait)

“A’Takamul International School (ATIS) was founded in 1995, with our first graduating senior class in 2002. ATIS strives to provide a high quality international education based on the American-curriculum, while maintaining an Islamic ethos and Kuwaiti values. ATIS is a private, independent college preparatory school, and we enroll students from pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. Students are encouraged to take part in as many different school activities as possible and to excel in all of their endeavors. ATIS is a member of Kuwait Foreign Schools Activities Conference (K.F.S.A.C.) and participates in sporting events throughout Kuwait.”

International School of Stuttgart (6 Comments)  (Stuttgart, Germany)

“The International School of Stuttgart, founded in 1985, is a co-educational, English-medium day school, serving the needs of the international community of the state capital of Baden-Württemberg in Germany.”

Stafford International School (3 Comments)  (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

“Founded in 1986 as an independent and private educational institute, Stafford is a coeducational, international school. It follows the British curriculum which prepares the students for the London University IGCSE and Advanced (A/S, A/L) Level examinations. High performance in these British exams qualifies students for entry into British and other foreign universities. The curriculum is stringent and comprises a broad and balanced range of subjects.”

Chaing Mai International School (5 Comments)  (Chaing Mai, Thailand)

“Missionaries returning to work with the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) after World War II established a school for their children in Chiang Mai. Classes began on June 1, 1954 with eight students. In 1958, construction was begun on the present campus for “The Chiang Mai Children’s Center.” As more expatriate families moved to Chiang Mai and sought an English-language education for their children they, too, were accepted at the school.

In 1984, representatives of the Thai Foreign Ministry and the CCT agreed that the formal establishment of an international school in Chiang Mai was a necessary step to achieving the school’s legal status. Classes under the new name, “Chiang Mai International School” (CMIS) began in September of 1985 for Kindergarten to Grade 8. High School grades were progressively added from 1992 to 1995.”

The International Philippine School in Riyadh (IPSR) (0 Comments)  (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

“ The school originally started in the mid 1950’s with about a dozen pupils. It was government run, and was housed in a succession of buildings in Central Honiara. By the early 1970’s the need for a new school was recognized, and in the later half of the 1970’s, a new Woodford School project was included in the Solomon Islands National Development Plan. This project recognized “That a primary educational system offering a curriculum meeting international standards is a critical infrastructure requirement necessary to support Solomon Islands objectives of attracting investment and technical expertise.”

ISTEK Schools, Istanbul (8 Comments)  (Istanbul, Turkey)

“The İSTEK Education and Cultur Foundation was established in Istanbul on the 5th April, 1985 by a group of  eminent persons and institutions on the initiative of the former mayor of the municipality of greater  İstanbul, Mr.Bedrettin Dalan. It is an educational trust, aims to develop productive, creative and responsible  attitudes in individuals while adopting the principles and reforms of Atatürk. Working in national and  international contexts, aiming to make positive contributions to both the country and the world’s future,  and giving priority to scientific thought defines İSTEK as a foundation apart.

We currently operate ten K-12 schools and three separate kindergartens. In 1996, the Foundation also  established a university, Yeditepe University, which has now grown to become Turkey’s biggest university.  The Medical Faculty of the University runs one of the top rated hospitals in the region as well as  ophthalmology clinics. The School of Dentistry has a hospital on the Asian side and a clinic on the European  side of the city.”

Amager’s International School (0 Comments)  (Copenhagen, Denmark)

“AIS was founded in 1985 by teachers and parents who where concerned about the decline of educational standards.  It is located on the island of Amager (Copenhagen) which is joined to the mainland of Zealand in Denmark.”


Tehran International School (0 Comments)  (Tehran, Iran)

“T.I.S was established in the year 1985 with the goal to build educational links to other countries and render educational services to foreign students in Iran . Since its establishment, the school has been continuously involved in the educational progress where numerous foreign students are continuing their education in much the same manner as in their previous schools with most satisfactory results.”
Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1238 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #11: Sonya terBorg (Riverstone International School)

April 20, 2012


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Sonya terBorg:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I was born and raised in the South Island of New Zealand.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

A friend told me about Search Associates, I tried it out, loved it and was hooked!

Which international schools have you worked at?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.

Vientiane International School in Laos, Bonn International School in Germany, New International School Thailand (NIST)Yokohama International School in Japan and Riverstone International School in Boise, Idaho, USA.

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

For the first time since leaving New Zealand, I have a car.  That also meant taking the driving test again – not only the written test, but the practical portion too!  Boise is a pretty rural place and on the testing day, we were driving around when my instructor pointed out a family of deer off to the side of the road, over the hill a bit.  I wasn’t sure if it was a trick – would she take her eyes off the road? – or if he was just excited to share the local wildlife with this crazy foreigner.  Either way, I played it safe and just nodded and “Hmmmm-ed” enthusiastically.  And passed the test!

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

A great leader is really important to me.  I try and find out about the school leadership so I know that I am putting myself in a position where I feel I will be challenged and encouraged to grow as a learner.  My priorities change a lot sometimes though.  When I got the job at NIST it was my first time as an  Art Specialist – I needed someone who would take a chance on an unknown.  For my current job, it was my first time ‘hunting’ for work as part of a couple so options for my husband to work were high on the list.  Now we have a third member of our family, our dog, Abby.  Somewhere dog friendly will be a definite requirement for our next move – whenever and wherever that may be!

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

The job of a lifetime.

Thanks Sonya! Want to know more, feel free to check out her blog:

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!

Want to teach at an international school in the United States like Sonya?  Currently, we have 37 international schools list in United States on International School Community.  Some of our members have left comments and information on the following schools in this country:

International School of Monterey (12 Comments)
Atlanta International School (4 Comments)
British School of Washington (3 Comments)
The Dwight School (NYC) (3 Comments)
The Newman School MA (4 Comments)
Lycee International School of Los Angeles (2 Comments)
German-American International School (2 Comments)
St. Timothy’s School (4 Comments)

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 2002 (China, Mauritius, Egypt, etc.)

September 25, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 2002

Utilizing the database of the 889 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found schools that were founded in 2002 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

The International School of Macao (Macao, China)

“TIS was established in 2002 to provide a Canadian curriculum and accreditation to local and expatriate students. English is the primary language of instruction.
TIS opened with an initial total enrolment of 58 students on the campus of Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) in 2002. By 2006, the School had grown to over 500 students and had become accredited with the Alberta provincial (Canada) government. Students graduate from TIS with an Alberta High School diploma that is accepted in universities around the world.”

Northfield International High School  (Port Louis, Mauritius)

“Northfields International High School (NIHS) is a privately owned secondary school situated in Mapou, district of Pampelmous in the north. From its small beginnings in 2001 NIHS has now over 280 students.”

Canadian International School of Egypt (Cairo, Egypt)

“The Canadian International School of Egypt (CISE) opened its doors on September 15, 2002.  It is the first Canadian school certified by the Ministry of Education of Ontario in Egypt and the Middle East.  The Egyptian initiators of this project chose the Province of Ontario, Canada’s most populated province, to provide the curriculum and most of the teaching staff for the school.”

Al Jazeera Academy (Doha, Qatar)

“Al Jazeera Academy opened its doors to students in September 2002. It is a modern international educational institution which comprises three separate schools within a single campus to cater for all students from Preschool to Year 13.”

Vale Verde International School (Burgau, Portugal)

“After the acquisition of a property suitable for the conversion of a school in 1997, the De Beer family developed the idea to fruition.  In 2002, Vale Verde International School was founded following years of investment required to bring the buildings in line with Ministry of Education requirements.”

International Montessori School of Prague (Prague, Czech Republic)

“The International Montessori School of Prague (IMSP) was established as a private school in 2002. It was originally located in the Blatenska campus of Prague 4. IMSP started with 16 children in two classes : Toddler (1.5 – 3 years), and Primary (3 – 6 years).  In September 2003 the school was moved to a much larger facility in the Hrudickova campus of Prague 4. That school year we started with three classrooms: one Toddler, one Primary, and one Elementary.  In 2005 a second Primary class was added, so now IMSP had 4 classrooms: Toddler, Primary 1 and Primary 2, and Elementary. In 2006 the Primary program extended its afternoon component with Yoga, Music and Movement, Arts and Crafts, and Czech languge and culture.”

Logos International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

“Logos opened its doors in September 2002 with an enrollment of 58 students ranging from pre-kindergarten to grade seven.  At that time,Logos consisted of a single renovated house and an adjacent empty lot where a basketball court and small swimming pool were soon built.  Since that time,Logos added an additional grade level each year.  In the spring of 2008,Logos held its first graduation ceremony for 13 seniors.  Logos’ brand new campus consists of a basketball/volleyball/hockey court,athletic field,playground,library,cafeteria,2 computer labs,2 science labs,multi-purpose assembly room,and a swimming pool.  All of the classrooms are air-conditioned and equipped with essential teaching tools.  Our new facility is twice the size of our former location. We are very excited about this new provision.”

New Zealand International School (Jakarta, Indonesia)

“On 14 April 2003 Mr. Chris Elder, Ambassador of New Zealand to Indonesia, officially opened the School and the enrolment reached 35 students. The school grew quickly, and in August 2004 space was secured at LPPI, The Banking Institute, on Kemang Raya, to house the Senior Secondary Students. Since that time our enrolment has steadily increased in all aspects. The growth had the effect of moving expansion plans ahead of schedule; the search for additional premises has been an exciting time.”

Bromsgrove International School (Bangkok, Thailand)

“From the vision of the school founders Riza Sripetchvandee and Ian Davison, a new school was opened in 2002 under the name of Windsor International School and ownership of Windsor Education Co. Ltd. The School was constructed at Soi 164 Ramkhamheang Road, Minburi, in Eastern Bangkok. Over the course of the next two years pupil numbers grew steadily.  A new building was opened in September 2004 to meet the demand from Early Years students. In April 2004, the School became affiliated to the prestigious and world famous Bromsgrove School UK and changed its name to Bromsgrove International School Thailand (BIST). Bromsgrove School UK was founded over 450 years ago and is a leading co-educational independent day and boarding school for some 1,500 pupils and is situated in the English Midlands and provides a first-class education with excellent facilities and resources, as well as enjoying considerable distinction in Sport, Music and the Arts.”

International School of Wuxi (Wuxi, China)

“International School of Wuxi (ISW) is part of the International Schools of China (ISC) – an organization that, for the last 20 years, has offered academically excellent programs to meet the intellectual, physical and emotional needs of students.”

International Community School (Atlanta) (Atlanta, United States)

Kongsberg International School (Kongsberg, Norway)

“Kongsberg International School is a non-profit foundation established in 2002 by Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS, Kongsberg Automotive ASA and Kongsberg Nærings- og Handelskammer (Chamber of Commerce and Industry). The school opened its doors in August 2003. The purpose of the school is to serve Kongsberg and its surrounding communities by providing a high quality international education for students, based on the International Baccalaureate Programme (www.ibo.org), using English as the principal medium of instruction. Although many of our students are Norwegian, a growing international community in Kongsberg and Buskerud has provided enrolment of students from over 22 nations.”

Access International Academy (Ningbo) (Ningbo, China)

“The AIAN student body is comprised of students from over 20 different nationalities.  Faculty members are predominantly from the United States.   The teacher-pupil ratio is approximately 1:4, which promotes individualized instructional practices.”

Singapore International School (Indonesia) (Jakarta, Indonesia)

“With the help of international consultants, SIS was able to redesign, construct and eventually turn an “abandoned” clubhouse into a school that is the talk of the town, in a housing complex of Bona Vista, South Jakarta. Located in a quiet neighborhood bordering the elite Pondok Indah real estate, the School is only two minutes from the Outer Ring Road making it accessible from many parts of Jakarta. The SIS complex boasts of an open, airy concept amidst lush, contoured gardens. In Bona Vista, SIS is able to enjoy all the amenities in this complex and this includes a competition-sized pool, soccer field, basketball courts and tennis courts. After a busy construction schedule, SIS finally opened its doors in its new complex in January 2002 with bigger classrooms and better facilities. The enrollment today includes a student population coming from at least 25 different nationalities.”

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Information for Members

Which Regions of the World Have the Most Comments on ISC?

July 12, 2021


Finding comments and reviews on the schools we want to know about is a top priority for most ISC members.  We have a number of features on our website that help our members do just that!

Using the School Search feature on the ISC website, members can specifically search only for the international schools that have had comments submitted on them. All members need to do is use the filter feature + tick the “schools with comments” box. Here are the current results we got (from 12 July 2021) along with five random schools from that region:

Asia: 69 Schools

American International School Dhaka (130 total comments)
American Embassy School New Delhi (39 total comments)
Good Shepherd International School (409 total comments)
Kodaikanal International School (53 total comments)
Indus International School (Pune) (43 total comments)

Caribbean: 24 Schools

The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (83 total comments)
Somersfield Academy (44 total comments)
The Bermuda High School for Girls (41 total comments)
International School St. Lucia (West Indies) (21 total comments)
International School of Havana (20 total comments)

Central American: 32 Schools

International School Panama (64 total comments)
Lincoln School (San Jose) (54 total comments)
Marian Baker School (33 total comments)
The British School of Costa Rica (31 total comments)
The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (75 total comments)

Central/Eastern Europe: 73 Schools

International School of Belgrade (59 total comments)
Anglo-American School of Moscow (69 total comments)
Wroclaw International School (46 total comments)
American School of Warsaw (161 total comments)
International School of Latvia (33 total comments)

East Asia: 225 Schools

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (168 total comments)
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (180 total comments)
Hong Kong International School (157 total comments)
Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan) (82 total comments)
Keystone Academy (129 total comments)

Middle East: 155 Schools

American International School of Kuwait (74 total comments)
International College Beirut (121 total comments)
Awsaj Academy (43 total comments)
Qatar Academy (Doha) (71 total comments)
Dhahran Ahliyya Schools (103 total comments)

North Africa: 41 Schools

Alexandria International Academy (79 total comments)
American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (64 total comments)
Cairo American College (196 total comments)
Misr American College (53 total comments)
George Washington Academy (97 total comments)

North America: 51 Schools

American School Foundation of Guadalajara (133 total comments)
American School Foundation of Mexico City (72 total comments)
American School Foundation of Monterrey (129 total comments)
International High School of San Francisco (37 total comments)
Atlanta International School (31 total comments)

Oceania: 9 Schools

Woodford International School (12 total comments)
Port Moresby International School (8 total comments)
Majuro Cooperative School (16 total comments)
Kwajalein Senior High School (24 total comments)
International School Nadi (9 total comments)

SE Asia: 187 Schools

Ican British International School (74 total comments)
Northbridge International School (59 total comments)
Green School Bali (168 total comments)
Sekolah Victory Plus (143 total comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (135 total comments)

South America: 66 Schools

The American Int’l School of Buenos Aires (Lincoln) (48 total comments)
Colegio Nueva Granada (60 total comments)
American School of Asuncion (145 total comments)
Colegio Internacional de Carabobo (114 total comments)
Uruguayan American School (32 total comments)

Sub-Saharan Africa: 72 Schools

The American School of Kinshasa (59 total comments)
International Community School Addis Ababa (80 total comments)
International School of Kenya (52 total comments)
Saint Andrews International High School (41 total comments)
American International School Abuja (77 total comments)

Western Europe: 172 Schools

American International School Vienna (81 total comments)
International School of Paphos (123 total comments)
Copenhagen International School (395 total comments)
International School of Stuttgart (78 total comments)
Berlin Brandenburg International School (87 total comments)

Well those are all the regions of the world on our website. In total, we now have over 1176 international schools that have had comments and reviews submitted on them! Our goal is to keep that number going up and up. Thanks to our hundreds of Mayors as well for keeping their schools consistently updated with new comments and information every one or two months.

* To access these school links you do need to have premium membership access. Become a paid member today!  Or if you would like to become a Mayor and get free unlimited premium membership, send a request here.

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Information for Members

The Total Comments in All the City Information Sections: 6457!

May 30, 2021


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2201+ 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 automatically get one free month of premium membership added on to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

FOR UNLIMITED FREE MEMBERSHIP, BECOME A MAYOR OF A SCHOOL TODAY!

So, what are the recent statistics about the City Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the City Information sections is 6457 (out of a total of 40745+ comments); up 939 comments since January 2020.

There are 17 subtopics in the City Information section on each school profile page.  Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out out the total number of comments in that specific subtopic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.

• Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city. (720 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Going to check out and relax in the church that was made in rock (Temppeliaukio) is a great thing to do on a rainy (or sunny) day. They play relaxing music as you just sit in one of the pews and look up to see the copper-designed ceiling. So beautiful!” – Helsinki International School (Helsinki, Finland) – 41 Comments

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• Locations in the city geared towards the expat lifestyle (grocery stores, bars, etc.). (585 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Taipa has a lot geared towards expat. The local Park’n’Shop grocery store is full of imported things.” – The School of the Nations (Macao, China) – 20 Comments

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• Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc. (599 Total Comments)

Example comment: “You could definitely get a good main dish at a nice restaurant for 6-8 EUR. The public transportation is free for the locals, but for tourists, it is .80 to 1.60 EUR a ride. Of course there are cheaper tickets, like days passes, etc.” – International School of Estonia (Tallinn, Estonia) – 22 Comments

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• Detailed info about lifestyles: singles vs. couples, gay vs. straight, nightlife vs. quiet and big city vs nature. (485 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you like riding your bike around everywhere, there aren’t always the best bike paths in the city. In turn, you need to be alert at all times! With regards to nature, there are super green parks spotted all around the city center. There is also the Wisla river has some “beach” areas where people hang out on a warm day. It is a bit smelly there, but still nice.” – American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland) – 161 Comments

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• Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there. (616 Total Comments)

Example comment: “On a scale from 1 to 5, English level is somewhere around 3+. Not everyone speaks English, so knowing German is a big advantage.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 62 Comments

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• Sample activities that you can do around the city? Including ones that you can do with a family (children)? (446 Total Comments)

Example comment: “During the summer don’t miss out on Treptower park with Badeschiff (not good for those with children). There is an artificial tropical island not far away from Berlin and many people take their kids there during winter, or to Wannsee during summer. Should you want to go and do the recreational swimming, Berlin Bade Betrieb is there for you on numerous locations.” – Berlin International School (Berlin, Germany) – 12 Comments

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• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year. (650 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Nov. 15 – March 15 is when the government heat is on in the apartments. That’s pretty much when temperatures are below freezing all the time. Over the weekend the weather changed to 5 – 10 degrees above freezing. Spring is about six weeks long. Then summer is hot.” – Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 182 Comments

• Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals. (312 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Walmart and Kalea (like Ikea) has just about everything you’ll need to set up house. El Martially in zona 14 sells used furniture but bring a Guatemalan friend to negotiate for you. You can also by hand-made furniture off the street very cheaply.” – The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (Guatemala City, Guatemala) – 75 Comments

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• Describe a funny culture shock moment that you’ve had recently in this city. (150 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Babies and toddlers with open butt pants and shorts are always fun to see pee all over the place. Trying to cross the street without getting killed is fun as well.” – QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China) – 64 Comments

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• Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations? (210 Total Comments)

Example comment: “When you first arrive, the school sets up a week-long itinerary. . .shopping at many shops, eating at a variety of restaurants. It’s one of the highlights of coming here. Many of the places seen during orientation are too expensive for people to return to often.” – The American School of Kinshasa (Kinshasa, Congo (DRC)) – 59 Comments

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What is the best part of living in this city for you? (315 Total Comments)

Example comment: “I love the ease of getting what you want, when you want.” – Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 157 Comments

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What advice can you give on how to set things up like internet, phone, experience dealing with landlord, etc.? (270 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Internet’s been funky lately but that’s just the new reality in China at the moment. Nobody can do anything about it.” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 481 Comments

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• Tell your experience moving your items to this city. What company, insurance policy, etc. did you use? (110 Total Comments)

Example comment: “SOS International is a popular choice and you can use it at their clinics here. It’s pricey, though.” – Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – 76 Comments

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• Tell about your experience with the local banks and dealing with multiple currencies. (273 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Most local banks charge $10-$20 for an account. The government now also charges 10% of any fees charged by the bank. Most banks then charge you 1% to withdraw dollars, even if you have a dollar account. This is because their exchange rate is horrible, so people take out the money in dollars then walk to an exchange bureau and get a much better rate. IST has a few agreements in place so that the first $1000 a month does not get charged the fee. Other than that, the banks are okay. Nothing to write home about and you have to watch for random fees, but you can usually get it sorted. Some people just use overseas accounts and you can get money from the ATM, but people often find thousands of dollars missing from accounts when they do that.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments

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• What are some locals customs (regarding eating, drinking and going out, family, socializing, etc.) that you find interesting for expats to know about? (182 Total Comments)

Example comment: “When you receive something in person, from somebody else, it is best to take it using both hands, not just one. Do it with two hands to show respect and appreciation.” – Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China) – 67 Comments

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• Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites. (233 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you are from an Asian country I would suggest finding an H Mart. The Buford Highway farmers market has country specific named aisles with all of the countries. The Dekalb farmers market has a lot of unique fruits (think durian) and vegetables that you won’t find in a typical grocery store as well. All of these markets are worth a visit, especially the Dekalb Farmers Market (don’t go on a weekend!) and are huge.” – Atlanta International School (Atlanta, United States) – 31 Comments

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• What is the most challenging/difficult part of living in the city? (301 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The Spanish spoken here is very difficult to understand. There is a lot of slang and people speak very fast.” – Santiago College (Santiago, Chile) – 72 Comments

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