Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in India

December 27, 2018


Around the world, there are countries (like India) 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 country.

India

Currently, we have 133 schools listed in India on International School Community.

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

American Embassy School New Delhi (39 Total Comments)
American School of Bombay (34 Total Comments)
Good Shepherd International School (409 Total Comments)
Hebron School (35 Total Comments)
Indus International School (Pune) (43 Total Comments)
Kodaikanal International School (35 Total Comments)
Oberoi International School (36 Total Comments)
Woodstock School (95 Total Comments)

Amount of Money Left to be Saved

“It depends on lifestyle. If you like the posh life, your money will be spent quickly at Mumbai’s many hotels and bars. However, if you live a more modest lifestyle and travel around India, you can easily save half of your salary. Expat couples with no kids can live on one salary.” – Oberoi International School

“Bonuses paid to expat staff who renew contracts are the main savings or opportunity to pay down student loans. Very little savings monthly, most people spend it during the generous breaks sightseeing Asia. Comfortable cost of living in India.” – Woodstock School

“See above for monthly salary – due to the unique nature of the school and it’s ethos, this really depends on your own situation, budget, and spending habits.” – Hebron School

School Campus

“The school has a beautiful green campus in the heart of Delhi’s diplomatic district. There are three elementary buildings, and separate MS/HS buildings. In addition, there are shared spaces for PE and athletics, swimming, Performing Arts, cafeterias, etc. The neighborhood features many embassies and other compounds, but there is also a “camp” with a large population of squatters across the street from the on-campus faculty housing complex.” – American Embassy School New Delhi

“The campus is beautiful. It is probably the best thing about the school. It has its flaws, but it is a terrific environment for living and learning.” – Kodaikanal International School

“Not much changes in the Fernhill Campus, the reason is that the Junior campus will soon move together with the Main Campus.” – Good Shepherd International School

Housing Information

“The school owns all the apartments and they are all beautiful safe and guarded either inside the campus or walking distance from the school” – Good Shepherd International School

“School provides furnished housing for expat teachers.” – Oberoi International School

“Cold winters with little indoor heat – wood stoves most common. Think rustic and adventure and you will not be disappointed. Some of the homes updated, others have more historic character. All require walking/hiking to work and to town. Utilities negligible, except cost of fuel for heat in winters.” – Woodstock School

“There is an allowance for housing which covers expenses as well.” – American School of Bombay

Health Insurance and Medical Benefits

“Fine for minor things. Setting not recommended if specialist consultation is required or for faculty with ongoing medical conditions. The hillside alone requires a decent level of fitness (or will soon provide an opportunity for fitness!).” – Woodstock School

“Health cover within India is included, and if need be can include arrangements for travel to home country in extreme circumstances. There is on site team of nurses who provide care in a ‘hoz.’ Local clinics and hospitals are surprisingly good for India.” – Hebron School

“They will count your absence when you are sick as deductible unless you have worked during your day off or exeats which translate to 7 days a week of work. Even the car that you used to go down to a decent hospital will be charged to you.” – Good Shepherd International School

“There is a doctor on site but in general the schools’ medical services are not well respected. Staff can now go to other local hospitals for medical treatment.” – Kodaikanal International School

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

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

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: American Embassy School New Delhi

March 15, 2018


The journey to work is indeed an important one.  The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers when they are looking for jobs at schools in cities/countries to which they have never been.  So let’s share what we know!

One of our members, who works at the American Embassy School New Delhi (India), described her way to work there as follows:

The road to American Embassy School New Delhi…

I have been working at the American Embassy School (AES) in New Delhi for the past year. My journey to school starts every morning at 7:45am (March 2018) when I leave my apartment. I consider myself pretty lucky because the whole commute takes less than ten minutes and I can walk.

I am currently living at the Embassy of Bulgaria. apparently, Bulgaria had a huge delegation in India in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, but due to some financial issues, the delegation has shrunk considerably in recent years. Thus, many of the apartments at the Embassy that used to be occupied by Bulgarians are now occupied by teachers from my school. Out of twenty-one apartments in the complex, eleven are occupied by AES teachers and ten are occupied by Bulgarian diplomats.

Journey to School

(The gardens on the Bulgarian Embassy grounds.)

The grounds of the apartment complex are quite beautiful. When I leave my apartment, I can hear birds chirping and see the sun shining (at least, I can in the spring and summertime – in the fall and winter there is quite a bit of pollution). But, this time of year, March, the sky is blue and there is bougainvillea blooming everywhere. The bright pink flowers bring a profusion of color to the landscape.

Journey to School

(Bougainvillea along the walls of the Bulgarian Embassy Compound.)

The gardener waves to me as I walk past. He’s busy feeding some of the many cats that live on the compound. There is a mama cat with four kittens who always say hi. They like to hang out in the backyard of the building. Every apartment comes with a terrace and garden, which is quite nice. There is also a pool that we can use, some barbecue grills, and a playground with a trampoline for kids.

Journey to School

(The pool at the Bulgarian Embassy – it’s filled from April to September.)

The apartment complex is a walled compound and there is a guard at the entrance 24/7. On my way out of the complex, I say to the guard “Namaste, Aap kaysayhey?” and he replies “Mayen tikh hoon.” I step out of the quiet of the Bulgarian and on to the street. There is color everywhere and the bees are humming around. It’s warm and breezy, maybe 70 degrees fahrenheit, and the high for the day will be close to 90F.

Journey to School

(The outside of the Bulgarian Embassy.)

I turn right and start walking. Along the way, I pass yellow and green auto-rickshaws (the traditional mode of transport in Delhi, very similar to the tuk-tuks of Bangkok), city taxis, motorbikes, and the ever ubiquitous white Suzukis that are used by Uber drives. Uber has recently become the preferred method of transport in Delhi and the white cars are everywhere. That’s one of the reasons why the traffic in the city is so bad. The proliferation of Uber. Thankfully, I don’t have to drive to get to school.

The walk is lovely. I pass the grounds of the Russian Trade Federation and the Ravi Shankar Foundation. There are bushes and yellow flowers and everything has been newly trimmed and smells like cut grass. I think most people who come to Delhi would be surprised by how green the city is. Although it’s home to twenty-five million people, there are quite a lot of trees.

Journey to School

(The entrance to the Russian Trade Federation.)

A sweet yellow dog comes up to me and says hello. Delhi has lots of street dogs and they are, for the most part, super cute and very friendly. I give yellow dog a pat on the head and continue on my walk. I pass a giant banyan tree, it’s roots all twisted and gnarly. I like the way the sunlight looks when its coming through the leaves. Everything is golden and shimmering.

Journey to School

(Yellow dog outside the British School.)

The traffic on the street in the morning is heavy because the British School is on this street. It’s across the street from my own school and parents and drivers are dropping their kids off for the day. I side step the traffic and continue along the street. Like I said, the whole walk only takes about 10 minutes. But sometimes I dawdle and daydream.

Journey to School

(The banyan tree in front of the British School.)

Journey to School

(The yellow and green auto rickshaw waits for someone who needs a ride. Be ready to barter.)

Across the street from the British School is Vivekanand Camp. The people living in this community have been there for generations. It’s a miracle that the camp hasn’t been torn down yet – it’s the only one still left in the Embassy area, Chanakyapuri. It’s estimated that as many as 2,000 people live in the camp. They don’t have running water. Sometimes, on my way home from school, I see the municipal water truck parked outside the camp entrance. The women come outside with buckets to fill up from the spigot on the side of the truck.

There are always kids from the camp hanging out on the street. In the morning, they are headed to school. They wear the white pants and red sweaters that signal the government school uniform. In the afternoon, the boys play cricket. They harbor dreams of being the next Virat Kohli. He’s the current captain of the Indian national team. The camp is a stark reminder of the wealth inequity that persists in India and other countries in the developing world to this day.

Journey to School

(Boys hanging out outside Vivekanand Camp.)

I cross the street after passing Vivekanand Camp and I am at the entrance to my school. The school is surrounded by high walls and security guards. Men stand patrol at the gates and there are armed soldiers present. The campus is secure and safe. It’s right next to the American Embassy. I go in gate number 4.

Journey to School

(A woman walks past Gate #4, one of the entrances to AES.)

Once inside, it’s a short walk for me to the middle school building. The AES grounds are approximately eleven acres, and it feels a lot like a college campus. There are separate buildings for the elementary, middle, and high schools, athletic fields, a theatre, a cafe, a gymnasium, a pool, and even a climbing wall.

Journey to School

(A campus directory points the way to some of the different buildings that make up AES.)

The campus is known for being home to many different species of butterflies and birds. The biodiversity is incredible. Especially if you are used to living in a grey urban landscape. The number of gardeners who work on campus must number close to fifty. There are so many flowers to water and plants to take care of – they do an amazing job.

Journey to School

(Flowers on campus. They change with the seasons.)

I consider stopping to sit on a bench and enjoy the sunshine, but it’s close to 8am already. Teachers have to be at work at 8:00, although classes don’t start until 8:30. I’ll go to my classroom to do some prep and get ready for my classes.

Journey to School

(Benches and a garden outside the entrance to one of the elementary school buildings.)

I’ve made it to the entrance to my building. I give thanks for the nature that surrounded me on my walk, blink once more in the sunshine, and go inside to greet my day.

Journey to School

(A bulletin board next to the entrance to the middle school. Go AES tigers!)

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author, Megan Vosk. Megan Vosk is a middle school MUN and Humanities teacher at the American Embassy School in New Delhi. She loves helping young people become more compassionate and engaged citizens. When she is not teaching, she likes to spend her time reading, watching movies, practicing yoga, and dining out with her husband.

What to know more what it is like to visit and live in Asia?  Out of a total of 201 international schools we have listed in Asia, 59 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

American International School Dhaka (53 comments)
American Embassy School New Delhi (39 Comments)
Good Shepherd International School (411 Comments)
Indus International School (Pune) (43 Comments)
Kodaikanal International School (53 Comments)
Oberoi International School (36 Comments)
SelaQui International School (36 Comments)
Woodstock School (58 Comments)
Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana (53 Comments)
Abraham Lincoln School (Nepal) (36 Comments)
Colombo International School (64 Comments)
The British School in Colombo (41 Comments)

So what is your journey to the international school you work at?  Earn one year free of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’.  Email us here if you are interested.

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Comment Topic Highlight

Why Are People Staying at or Leaving Your International School?

November 15, 2017


If you work at an international school, you know that this is already the time to be thinking about whether you will stay for another year or two at your current school or move on back home or to another international school.
International School

At some international schools, 1/4 or 1/3 of their current teachers decide to let their school know that they will be moving on at the end of the school year. Though it is not the case necessarily at other international schools that have a lot of local hires. Those with lots of local hires generally tend to have teachers that want to stay there for longer periods of time because they have more ties to the local country (e.g. they are married to a local, etc.).

Regardless of the personal situation of the teacher, another big factor that guides a teacher’s decision to stay or leave is the school itself. For example, the school might be losing student numbers as of late. Fewer students mean less demand for all the teachers on the current staff roster, meaning some need to go whether they like it or not. Maybe even the school has decided to alter or eliminate the staff children benefit (to have them attend the school for free). And the list goes on…

There are of course even other factors that come into play that affect this big decision that a number of teachers need to make around this time of the year. One of these factors is that the school has decided to move in a direction that doesn’t match your teaching philosophy any more. Staying at a school that doesn’t match you and your teaching style can be a serious concern leading you to search for other positions in school that better suit you.

International School

The biggest factor to stay or leave might just boil down to money plain and simple. If the school isn’t meeting your needs financially any more, there are many more that probably will.

So that questions is for you is why are YOU going to stay or leave your current school? It might be one of these reasons listed above or a combination of these and other even other reasons.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of staying or leaving, so you can stay the most informed as possible. There are a total of 145 comments (November 2017) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of 65 comment topics called – “In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school?”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“People are staying because they are mostly not getting better job anywhere else and peoples are leaving because of the rude behavior, Less salary, false promises, promotion of wrong candidate, lack of resources and overloaded routine.” – Indus International School (Pune) (Pune, India)43 Total Comments

“Staying because the campus is nice, supply and PD budgets are generous, students are overall courteous and engaged, and because Berlin rocks. Leaving because salaries are too low, and some departments are more disorganized than others.” – Berlin Brandenburg International School (Berlin, Germany)52 Comments

“Staying: Turnover is low. In my opinion people are staying because the school climate is generally very positive – it is a happy place to work. The school has generally got its act together (curriculum, policies etc) very well so there are structures in place to make teaching positive. It is a vibrant, stimulating place to work. Japan is a lovely place to live. Leaving: The cliche is single females find it harder to date in Tokyo and that could be a reason to leave. The school’s pay is OK and the school’s reputation is good and growing but the pay is not as great as some other big name schools. People leave as they get the experience and then are drawn to the lure of $$. This is especially the case of teachers in their late 40’s looking for a pension.” – Tokyo International School (Tokyo, Japan)69 Total Comments

“People stay a long time because the pay and benefits are great, the city is very livable, the cost of living is low and the classes are not too large.” – Anglo-American School of St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg, Russia)38 Comments

“The overall package is hard to beat and the staff are not overworked. Combined with minimal classroom management requirements due to small class sizes, DISK really is a great place to work.” – Doshisha International School Kyoto (Kyoto, Japan)92 Comments

“If you survive your first year most teachers stay on. The first year is a challenge, especially if you are late arriving (a common issue because of how long it takes to get a visa).” – Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China)121 Comments

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Information for Members

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

February 4, 2019


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 current results we got (from 4 Feb. 2019) along with five random schools from that region:

Asia: 63 Schools

American International School Dhaka (60 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: 23 Schools

The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (70 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: 31 Schools

International School Panama (49 total comments)
Lincoln School (San Jose) (41 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)

most comments

Central/Eastern Europe: 64 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 (114 total comments)
International School of Latvia (33 total comments)

East Asia: 208 Schools

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (139 total comments)
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (175 total comments)
Hong Kong International School (136 total comments)
Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan) (81 total comments)
Keystone Academy (94 total comments)

most comments

Middle East: 145 Schools

American International School of Kuwait (74 total comments)
International College Beirut (121 total comments)
Awsaj Academy (43 total comments)
Qatar Academy (Doha) (61 total comments)
Dhahran Ahliyya Schools (77 total comments)

North Africa: 39 Schools

Alexandria International Academy (79 total comments)
American International School in Egypt (62 total comments)
Cairo American College (155 total comments)
Misr American College (53 total comments)
George Washington Academy (46 total comments)

North America: 48 Schools

American School Foundation of Guadalajara (111 total comments)
American School Foundation of Mexico City (72 total comments)
American School Foundation of Monterrey (93 total comments)
International High School of San Francisco (37 total comments)
Atlanta International School (31 total comments)

Oceania: 6 Schools

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

most comments

SE Asia: 168 Schools

Ican British International School (74 total comments)
Northbridge International School (58 total comments)
Green School Bali (121 total comments)
Sekolah Victory Plus (143 total comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (134 total comments)

South America: 63 Schools

The American Int’l School of Buenos Aires (Lincoln) (27 total comments)
Colegio Nueva Granada (57 total comments)
American School of Asuncion (145 total comments)
Colegio Internacional de Carabobo (95 total comments)
Uruguayan American School (32 total comments)

Sub-Saharan Africa: 68 Schools

The American School of Kinshasa (59 total comments)
International Community School Addis Ababa (80 total comments)
International School of Kenya (46 total comments)
Saint Andrews International High School (41 total comments)
American International School Abuja (58 total comments)

most comments

Western Europe: 156 Schools

American International School Vienna (81 total comments)
International School of Paphos (123 total comments)
Copenhagen International School (345 total comments)
International School of Stuttgart (61 total comments)
Berlin Brandenburg International School (80 total comments)

Well those are all the regions of the world on our website. In total, we now have over 1080 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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