Discussion Topics

9 MORE International Educators Share their Hospital Visit Experiences from Around the World

February 5, 2023


There is much to be potentially nervous about when going to a hospital in your host country.

Once I asked a doctor in China who was servicing an infected open wound on my leg, “what are you putting in my wound?” He replied, “I don’t think you would want to know.” I told him to tell me. He said, “Cockroach juice!”

Luckily, I was open to Chinese medicine and thought how cool is this?! Also thinking, this would never happen in a hospital in the USA! (My wound healed up very nicely, by the way.)

But this experience is just one out of many, many experiences of expats going to hospitals in China. So to learn more about what hospital experiences are like in China, you would need to keep asking around to learn more and more.

The hospitals around the world do vary and so does the health coverage that international school teachers receive while they are working abroad.

There are so many factors that can affect your experiences: payment, language, cultural differences, location, etc

After searching the keyword ‘hospital‘ using our Comments Search function on our website (premium access required), we found 286 comments. Here are 9 of them that give some insight into the hospital experience in different countries around the world.

I-shou International School
(75 total comments)

“A visit to the doctor is usually $150-$200TWD ($6-7USD). That is all you’ll pay. If you need to stay overnight in the hospital a quad shared room is free, a double shared room is $1000TWD, and a private room is $1500TWD ($60USD!!!)…”

Vienna International School
(86 total comments)

“Austria has state-maintained (public) hospitals and private hospitals. The best-known type of hospital is the general hospital, which is set up to deal with many kinds of disease and injury, and typically has an emergency ward or A&E department to deal with immediate threats to health and the capacity to dispatch emergency medical services. All hospitals, with the exception of some private clinics, are open to all insured patients. Normally doctors transfer patients to a hospital and control of treatment is then managed by a doctor there. When going to a hospital or clinic, you need to take your e-card with you. If you are ever admitted to hospital, your health insurance will cover the costs of that stay. All hospitals run a special accident and emergency department (Notaufnahme), where you go if you need urgent and immediate medical attention at any time.”

Xian Liangjiatan International School
(84 total comments)

“Local hospitals can be quite crowded, especially the lab-collection sections. Definitely a different atmosphere than American hospitals/clinics…”

International School of Bucharest
(70 total comments)

“Private health insurance is provided in-country only, although this also grants you emergency care throughout the EU c/o the government. Romanian hospitals are certainly not the best! Some medical care however is surprisingly good; it really just depends what it is…”

Bishkek International School
(81 total comments)

“Most avoid local hospitals and usually pursue treatment in private medical establishments. For many routine things, the prices are so low that there is no reimbursement. There is at least one clinic with US doctors and there may be more with other foreign-trained staff. Some Turkish doctors/clinics are available, they often know English and provide high-quality care for a reasonable price.

Avoid using state-run healthcare, mostly because they are short-staffed, often underfunded, and have many other burdens. There is no major problem, especially if you just need a simple infection or issue checked out, but you will have a difficult time communicating.

Be wary of some private clinics that will try to get extra money from you for extra services. Some places offer interpreting and a steep cost. It might be better to take a trustworthy friend or colleague to help you and offer them a nice meal…”

Surabaya Intercultural School
(98 total comments)

“Great medical insurance. Local hospitals are nice but it is recommended to take a local with you. Appointments often involve a lot of waiting. If you need serious surgery people usually fly to Singapore. Some vaccines are unavailable…”

Canadian International School (Hong Kong)
(185 total comments)

“CDNIS have steadily increased the quality of medical benefits available to faculty and staff. In addition, employees have access to inexpensive optional dental insurance through Quality Health, which has a large network throughout the city. Local hospitals sometimes have long waiting times so in emergencies some choose to go to private hospitals and pay the difference out of pocket. Other times, local hospitals are the best option because they are ridiculously inexpensive and the staff are very often highly specialized in certain treatments or procedures…”

TASIS The American School in Switzerland
(40 total comments)

“We don’t know Italian very well, and we had to recently call the hospital because our baby was feeling sick. We asked the person on the phone if they knew how to speak English, and she said know. We asked if she could speak Swiss German, and she said no. Then we asked if she could speak Serbian (we are from Serbia) and she said ‘si!’ and then we continued the conversation in Serbian after that. There are a lot of Serbs here…”

Inter-community School Zurich
(81 total comments)

“My experiences at hospitals here have been excellent, way better than my time in France for example. You do need to pay, of course, for this insurance. You can shop around many choices for health insurance here. There is something for everyone, but you’ll need to pay for it. I chose one for CHF 3000 a year, but I do have a deductible that I need to pay off when I receive the services…”

Check out the first “9 International Educators Share their Hospital Visit Experiences from Around the World” ISC blog article here. And log on to the International School Community website today and share your experiences going to the hospital in your own host country!

continue reading