Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #15: Tara Moore (An international teacher currently working at Colegio Granadino)

August 7, 2012


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

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

My name is Tara Moore.  I was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada and for the last eleven years I lived in Ajax, Ontario Canada.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I graduated from Teacher’s College in 1995 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and there were no jobs for new teachers.  I had already volunteered overseas at the Baha’i World Centre in Israel for 18 months and spent 6 months volunteering in East Africa and the Baltics so I thought that International teaching made perfect sense.  I subscribed to The International Educator (TIE) and applied to several positions.  Within 3 – 4 months The American School of Guatemala hired me.

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.

I have worked at The American School of Guatemala and Colegio Granadino.  The American School of Guatemala was quite large and as I was teaching high school the students were fully bilingual.  The English classes only had fifteen students so I found that it was much easier to give the students one on one attention and really get to know them.

At Colegio Granadino the staff and students are very laid back. The students are really helpful and love to give advice as to which hairdresser I should go to and where I should do my shopping.  It is really easy to develop a relationship with the students, which is what they want as Colombia is very family/friend-centric.

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

One of the things that amuses me in Manizales is how inquisitive people are here.  I am very fair and my four year old daughter is biracial with brown hair and skin.  When we are out together people stop me to ask if she is Colombian, where I adopted her and how long I have had her.  I find it funny because these are questions that people in Canada would think but certainly would not ask.  Also, people here are amazed that she can speak two languages as there are very few English speakers here and almost no young children who can speak English.

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

I look for a smaller school in a smaller city.  I do not enjoy huge cities and quality of life outside of school is just as important as within.  I also want to know the average stay of the expat teachers because if there is too much turn over, for me that is a warning sign.

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

Challenging, enriching, frustrating, reflective, confirming

Thanks Tara!  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 Colombia like Tara?  Currently, we have 15 international schools listed in Colombia on International School Community.  Many of the international schools there have had comments and information submitted about them on our website:

Colegio Anglo Colombiano (8 Comments)
Colegio Granadino Manizales (22 Comments)
Colegio Nueva Granada (14 Comments)
Colegio Panamericano (23 Comments)
Columbus School Medellin (17 Comments)
Colegio Karl C. Parrish (17 Comments)
Colegio Albania (19 Comments)
Fundacion Liceo Ingles, Pereira (21 Comments)

continue reading

Information for Members

Top 40 International Schools with the Most ISC Members (Update)

November 12, 2019


How many times have you applied to a school wishing that you knew somebody that worked there?

Knowing somebody and getting the ‘inside scoop’ on an international school could definitely help you in your quest to set up an interview there.

At International School Community, we made that search for ‘informed people’ even easier with our Top 40 Schools with the Most Members page.

international schools

Currently, our top 40 international schools with the most members are (12 November, 2019):

26 members – American International School in Egypt

international schools

24 members – Copenhagen International School
22 members – Western International School of Shanghai
22 members International School of Kuala Lumpur
21 members – International School Manila
19 members – Jakarta Intercultural School
18 members – MEF International School Istanbul
18 members – International School of Tanganyika
17 members – Seoul International School
16 members – International School Bangkok
16 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City
16 members – Graded School Sao Paulo
16 members – American School of Barcelona
16 members – United Nations International School (Vietnam)
13 members – Shanghai United International School (Hongqiao)
16 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
15 members – Brent International School Manila
15 members – Seoul Foreign School
15 members – Fairview International School
15 members – Shanghai Community International School
14 membersAmerican International School (Vietnam)
14 members – Cairo American College
14 members NIST International School
14 members – Qatar Academy (Doha)
14 members – American School of Dubai
14 members – Singapore American School
14 members – Istanbul International Community School
13 members – Anglo-American School of Moscow
13 membersAmerican School of Kuwait
13 membersGood Shepherd International School
13 members – KIS International School (Bangkok)
13 members – Hong Kong International School
13 members – International School Beijing
13 members – American International School of Johannesburg
12 membersAmerican International School Dhaka
12 membersBilkent Laboratory & International School
12 members – Shanghai American School – Puxi
12 membersInternational School Dhaka
12 members – Shanghai American School – Pudong
12 members – Canadian International School (Singapore)

With 100-200 new members joining each month, this list will continue to grow and grow; with even more members showing up as potential people to network with.

It is simple to network on our website: just click on a member and then click on the ‘Contact this member’ button (premium member feature).  Then write him/her a message.  When your message is sent, the other member will get an email alert letting them know that they have a new message waiting for them on our website (so, hopefully he/she will get back to you in a timely manner!). Numerous International School Community members have already taken advantage of this unique feature on our website!

international schools

As far as we know, International School Community is the one of the only websites where you can quickly and easily network with real people at a specific international school.  Meaning, if you want to get in touch with somebody from Suzhou Singapore International School in China and you are currently a premium member of International School Community, you now have 12 members that you can contact on our website that either work there now or have worked there in the past.  Get the answers to your questions; now that is easy networking!

continue reading

Information for Members

ISC now has over 2100 international school profiles listed

September 29, 2019


At International School Community, we now have over 2100 international school profiles listed on our website!

The last 5 schools to be added:

Colegio Americano Menno (La Mesa, Colombia) – 0 Comments
The Village School (Houston, USA) – 24 Comments
The International School @ ParkCity Hanoi (ISPH) (Hanoi, Vietnam) – 1 Comments
The Escola Internacional del Camp (Salou – EIC) (Salou, Spain) – 0 Comments
PaRK International School (Lisbon, Portugal) – 0 Comments

The top 5 schools with the most members:

American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 25 Members
Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 24 Members
International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 22 Members
International School Manila (Manila, Philippines) – 21 Members
Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 18 Members

The top 5 most viewed schools:

Colegio Granadino Manizales (Manizales, Colombia) – 37232 Views
American International School of Budapest (Budapest, Hungary) – 19338 Views
American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) – 2735 Views
Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 2593 Views
International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 2553 Views

The last 5 schools to have something written on their wall:

International School of the Hague (The Hague, The Netherlands) – 63 Comments
International School of Helsingborg (Helsingborg, Sweden) – 13 Comments
World Academy of Tirana (Tirana, Albania) – 21 Comments
Colegio Roosevelt Lima (FDR) [The American School of Lima] (Lima, Peru) – 28 Comments
Renaissance International School Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 23 Comments

But check them all our yourself!  Get answers to your questions about the international schools you are interested in by clicking on the geographic region of your choice.  It’s a great way to learn about different international schools around the world and gather information!  

International School Community has the following 2110 international schools listed on our website (last updated on 29 September, 2019)

Results: (184) Countries, (797) Cities, (2110) Schools, (33366) Comments

Asia (207)

Caribbean (39)

Central America (45)

Central/Eastern Europe (114)

East Asia (309)

Middle East (282)

North Africa (65)

North America (108)

Oceania (31)

SE Asia (322)

South America (98)

Sub-Saharan Africa (172)

Western Europe (318)

continue reading

Comment Topic Highlight

How much can international teachers actually save?

July 26, 2019


A lot of us have the idea that working at international school is a way to work and then save way more money than we used to working in our home countries.

Is that reality or fantasy?

We have seen and read many discussion boards, Facebook groups, review websites, published books all discussing this topic, and the reality of this savings potential gets confusing and complicating to fully understand or predict.

There are some people that state they are saving upwards of USD 60000 a year at certain international schools. Many other people are stating that they are struggling to save USD 1000 or even USD 500 a month working at their international school. Even others state that they are saving USD 0!

Of course there are many factors at play. Veteran international school teachers will state that if you limit the number of times you go out to eat, travel during your many vacations, ect. then the possibility of saving money is higher. That is obvious, but a large number of us aren’t always willing to do that, at least not in the first few years of teaching abroad.

Another main factor for savings potential is the amount of money you are getting in your take-home salary versus the cost of living where you are stationed. Seems like fewer and fewer schools are getting that “amazing salary and benefits package” that we all hear about, and landing a job at one of those schools is getting increasingly difficult.

There are also many, many other ways to NOT save money while working abroad; many of these factors having nothing directly to do with the school’s salary and benefits package. We have a whole ISC blog series about that here.

But if one of the main goals of teaching abroad is saving some money, then we need something to help us figure out how it all works and how we can set up an opportunity that will help us actually save.

ISC has done their best to create an online community that can help us figure things out easier with regards to saving money while teaching abroad. Besides the comments that members submit about the savings potential on the school profile pages at their international schools, premium members are also able to compare these comments on savings potential using our unique Compare Schools page on our website. The Compare Schools page is really helping prospective teachers figure out exactly how much teachers are saving at those international schools and which school that they would prefer working at in the future.

155595-linebreak

Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of saving money while work at international schools. Our members can share what their experience has been working at various international schools around the world. There are a total of 630 comments (July 2019) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of the 66 comment topics called – “Average amount of money that is left to be saved.”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“The ability to save changes each day, and has dropped by 1/2 this year. With the current inflation rate, I hope to save about $10,000 this coming year…” –
Escuela Bella Vista Maracaibo (Maracaibo, Venezuela) – 25 Total Comments

“I would be surprised if you can save any money here. But on the other hand – you get to live on the one of the most beautiful islands in the world…” – Boracay European International School (Boracay, Philippines) – 17 Comments

“If staff leads a very humble lifestyle it is possible to save your dollars (approximately 23% of salary). The city provides so much to do, and there are so many travel opportunities and so much time given off that many teachers actually struggle to save any money at all…” – Columbus School Medellin (Medellin, Colombia) – 53 Total Comments

“While the money affords a very nice lifestyle in South-East Asia, saving money for a house or retirement in North America or Western Europe is nearly impossible…” – ELC International School (Selangor, Malaysia) – 48 Comments

“The package is based on the Canadian Dollar, so after you are deducted transfer fees to your bank in the West and you consider the conversion of the CAD to RMB, the savings is minimal…” – Canadian International School Kunshan (Kunshan, China) – 43 Comments

continue reading

Information for Members

The 40 Most Viewed Schools on International School Community

June 18, 2019


So interesting, our top 40 school profiles with the most views page.

It’s like, which school is the most popular amongst our 13K+ members?  Before reading below or checking out the page, which schools do you think show up on this list?

Are the ones at the top those “Tier one” international schools that we all hear about? You might be surprised which schools are really on this list then!

schools

The school that has the most views right now is the Colegio Granadino Manizales (68 total comments), which currently has around 36937 views. Who wouldn’t want to work in South America?!

Here are some of the other top schools on our list (along with a sample comment from its school profile page):

Copenhagen International School (350 total comments) Copenhagen, Denmark (2268 views)

“I feel like we are getting more new students lately and classrooms in the primary are definitely reaching their maximum.”

NIST International School (276 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand (1946 views)

“Most of the large shopping malls have gourmet markets that include Western foods and ingredients, and two or three chains specifically cater to them as well. A huge number of expat-oriented pubs and restaurants can be found, especially along Sukhumvit Road.”

schools

International School of Kuala Lumpur (135 total comments) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2220 views)

“Pay is good, with a great retirement (EPF) program that can go up to 42% of salary (including both employer and employee amounts). Teachers are paid 10 times (August through June) but in June they also get their July salary.”

KIS International School (Bangkok) (306 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand (1766 views)

“KIS has just gone through its five-year accreditation for both the CIS and the IB as well as the one from the Thai Ministry of Education. Obviously the full reports have yet to be made public but the feedback from the team leaders was certainly constructive and said that the school was certainly heading in the right direction.”

Seoul Foreign School (147 total comments) Seoul, South Korea (1818 views)

“I literally think these are the best students to have on the planet. I can’t think of a country where the student caliber is any higher. Wonderful and attentive students who perform well. Require work to get them to think outside of the box and problem solve.”

Hong Kong International School (136 total comments) Hong Kong, China (1725 views)

“The school is a very well established school and has been a part of Hong Kong for nearly 50 years.”

schools

Western International School of Shanghai (415 total comments) Shanghai, China (1871 views)

“Tons of activities if one wants to do something. It’s pretty easy to fund running, cycling, hiking, tennis, basketball, rugby, and so forth. Pretty much anything is on offer here!”

Singapore American School (219 total comments) Singapore, Singapore (1977 views)

“Short term disability benefit. Worldwide health insurance coverage.”

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (175 total comments) Shanghai, China (1507 views)

“The school buildings are quite modern. Many students walk to school as there are many neighbourhoods near the school.”

International School Bangkok (19 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand (1047 views)

“There are scholarships available for staff children to attend the school.”

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (144 total comments) Hong Kong, China (1263 views)

“A fair number of teachers make multiple stops on their way back to “home” in Canada, USA, Europe, Australia, or New Zealand. Since these are long flights (~10-18 hours), it is easy to find extended layovers en route.”

Bangkok Patana School (39 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand (1096 views)

“The school provides free transportation for teachers who live within areas adjacent to the school. Teachers who live outside the defined area and who require transportation are required to enroll in the transportation service offered by the school. The teacher will then be respo…”

American School of Dubai (114 total comments) Dubai, UAE (1245 views)

“The area across the street from the school, Barsha Heights (previously known as Tecom) has a number of highrise buidlings and good number of restaurants and shops in the area. It’s a 10-15 minute walk from there for the teachers that live in that area. On the opposite side a…”

schools

American School of Warsaw (127 total comments) Warsaw, Poland (1199 views)

“In connection to the school’s growing percentage of ELL students, every grade level in the elementary and middle schools now has a dedicated ELL coach/teacher/classroom aide.”

Check out the rest of the schools on our list here.

continue reading

Top 10 Lists

11 International Schools that have Enthusiastic Teachers and Students

May 7, 2019


Schools thrive when there are enthusiastic teachers and students in them. But, do all international schools have this?

With around 10000 international schools currently, there are bound to be differences between them. However, it is certain that all international schools strive to students that are excited to come to school and do their best to learn in the lessons and engagements in their classes.

But do students just come to schools already engaged or is it the environment and staff that helps with that?

Some could argue that hiring engaged and excited teachers plays a huge factor in the enthusiasm of students. If the teachers are interested and excited in their lessons, typically the students will follow suit.

If the teachers are jaded, overworked, and caught in a low staff morale spiral, then this feeling is sure to be reflected in the students.

But even if the students and teachers are not so engaged at the moment, what can be done? International schools need to make drastic and carefully planned changes to achieve this change to more enthusiastic stake holders!

So which international schools then have enthusiastic teachers and/or students?

Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 17 comments that had the keyword “Enthusiastic” in them. Here are 11 of them:

Denmark
“Students in primary are overwhelmingly kind, caring, and enthusiastic learners. The middle and high school will benefit from having a full-time secondary principal next year.” – Esbjerg International School (50 total comments)

Kyrgyzstan
“You need to be enthusiastic, open-minded and flexible. There is a strong community at school that is very involved in every aspect of the school’s life. School is looking for teachers who are passionate about their job and willing to differentiate for every student.” – Bishkek International School (57 total comments)

India
“The students are mostly respectful, enthusiastic, and hardworking. You might not be that impressed if you’re coming from Korea or another academically-driven Asian country, but compared to Latin America or any Western public institution it’ll be a big step up.” – Oberoi International School (36 total comments)

Spain
“The pupils are very affectionate, and the school has a very family-like feel. They are eager to please and enthusiastic about topics etc.” – The British School of Marbella (36 total comments)

Japan
“Students are very well behaved. Behavioural issues are very minimal, and most students are enthusiastic to learn and prove themselves to teachers and their classmates.” – Tokyo International School (104 total comments)

Indonesia
“The students are extremely polite and respectful. They are positive and enthusiastic though somewhat reserved.” – Global Jaya School (60 total comments)

United Arab Emirates
“While I have not myself worked elsewhere in the Emirates, I get a sense that our students are relatively well behaved. Understand that, while kids are kids, well behaved in the Emirates is not the same as say, well behaved in South Korea. That said, Liwa does not generally find itself subject to the kinds of behavior found in the government schools of the area. The kids are generally quite enthusiastic about Liwa and as capable as any children anywhere.” – Liwa International School (23 total comments)

Russia
“Very curious and enthusiastic learners. PYP and IB encourages this and students are excited to be at school every day!” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (69 total comments)

Chile
“The students are respectful, creative and enthusiastic. They love to chat and socialize!” – Santiago College (24 total comments)

Ethiopia
“Students are enthusiastic about being at school, in general. Almost 100% of our students are involved in activities or athletics after school and on weekends.” – International Community School Addis Ababa (80 total comments)

Belgium
“The students are amazing. So welcoming, so enthusiastic to learn.” – The British School of Brussels (36 total comments)

continue reading

Information for Members

14742 Total Comments in All the School Profile “School Information” Sections

March 25, 2019


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2081+ school profile pages on our website has four comments sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information.  Our members are encouraged to submit comments on one or all of these sections if they currently work at an international school or have worked at one in the past.


Example School Information page on Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 147 Comments

It is important that we all share what we know so that we can in turn help other 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 will automatically get one free month of premium membership added on to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

So, what are the recent statistics about the School Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the School Information section is 14742 (out of a total of 31084+ comments).

There are 24 subtopics in the School Information section on each school profile page.  Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out the total number of comments in that specific sub topic and an example comment that has been submitted there.

• Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus. (1391 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school is set in 3 separate building, one being a 5 minute walk and the other across the road. Crossing the road is quite a safety hazard with the kindergarten class due to taxis over taking them whilst they are on the crossing and the local police not doing anything to monitor this. There is no proper play area and students are taken to local parks for lunch breaks, which is difficult when having to share with babies. No proper gym areas make p.e quite difficult.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo) (Tokyo, Japan) – 93 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• What types of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations? (1041 Total Comments)

Example comment: “It is a non-religiously affiliated school owned by a Christian affiliated college and operated on that campus. It is WASC accredited, but is not accredited by the Korean authorities and seems to be a limbo in regards to its local status.” –Global Prodigy Academy (Jeonju, South Korea) – 48 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.). (628 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school is discussing becoming IB and has implemented Teacher’s College Readers and Writer’s Workshop as well as whole language learning in the primary schools. Secondary schools do MAPS-based action plans to show and monitor student improvement and compare them to US students.” – American School of Torreon (Torreon, Mexico) – 51 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country? (1413 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Last year they were NOT hiring people with non-EU passports. Some positions that they had last year were local hires, even if the candidates weren’t the strongest of the CVs that they received. Most of this though is out of the school’s control and more the new/changing laws regarding hiring foreigners into the country.” – Southbank International School (London, United Kingdom) – 15 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Describe school’s location in relation to the city center and to the teacher’s housing. How do staff get to school before and after school? (1312 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school is located near one of the hub stations in Tokyo, with easy access by several trains and subways. The school also has two school bus routes. The school will help the teachers find housing if necessary, but it does not itself provide housing. A transportation allowance is provided to cover the transportation cost from home to school and back.” – New International School of Japan (Tokyo, Japan) – 30 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extra curricular responsibilities? Describe workload details. (716 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Expectations are high but the atmosphere is supportive. Staff are expected to undertake duties on a rota bais before and after school, at break times and lunch times. Staff are expected to run one extra curricular activity for one term per year. There is a decent amount of non-contact time at around 20% of timetable.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 75 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Average class size for primary and secondary. Describe any aide support. (731 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Class sizes are very small. In primary, they are normally a combination of two grade levels (i.e. Grades 1 and 2 together) and about 16 kids with a teaching assistant. In secondary class size is smaller and can range from four to twelve per grade level.” – Hiroshima International School (Hiroshima, Japan) – 64 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominate culture group? (1106 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The Thao Dien (Primary) campus in the expat area has students from about 20 countries. The TT Campus, Primary, Middle School and Secondary is mainly Vietnamese. Korean is the next largest student group. Very few students from Western Countries. Has a large EAL population.” – Australian International School HCMC (Vietnam) (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 19 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate. (1154 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Primarily expat teachers, without any one nationality dominating things. When I left in 2011 there were teachers from Australia, Canada, US, UK, South Africa, Belgium, and Tanzania just within my department. Some teachers stay 7 to 10 years or more, while others just 2 to 4 years, as in most international schools.” – International School of Tanganyika  (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• What types of budgets to classroom teachers/departments get? (441 Total Comments)

Example comment: “budgets have been steadily dropping. Ownership slyly changed the school from a not for profit school to a for profit school, without notifying parents of the change.” – Makuhari International School (Tokyo, Japan) – 22 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• PARENTS ONLY – General comments from parents of students that go to this school (158 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The mastery system is open to the interpretation of each teacher, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.” – QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China) – 64 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer? (615 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school offers a wide variety of after school activities which are run by teachers. There is no extra pay for this. Teachers can choose which activity they would like to lead.” – International School of Koje (Geoje, South Korea) – 47 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Name some special things about this school that makes it unique. (623 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school has an excellent music program that frequently presents music and drama to the local community and other schools. Students in the diploma program seek out ways to serve the community needs.” – Oeiras International School (Lisbon, Portugal) – 157 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• In general, describe the demeanor of the students. (531 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The students are generally great, however there are no entrance exams or behavior requirements. The owners Tehmine and Stephan want to make as much money as possible. There definitely are no requirements to enter this school.” – Surabaya European School (Surabaya, Indonesia) – 20 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Has the school met your expectations once you started working there? (286 Total Comments)

Example comment: “I’ve really enjoyed working at the school. I have always been able to approach admin if I needed to.” – The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (St. John, Barbados) – 70 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff? (339 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school has a health and wellness program where a lot of teachers connect and exercise together. Also, the PTO regularly hosts cocktail events after school. Plus there are scheduled tours and cultural events.” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia) – 69 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them. (405 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Each teacher has a PC (windows only. The printer server won’t talk to macs) and a smart board. However, the smart boards are not all hooked up or working so it’s a very expensive video screen. Slow internet. Nothing Google, youtube, or Facebook works in China.” – Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 143 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Details about the current teacher appraisal process. (252 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Get on your principal’s good side and you are fine. If they do not like you you will immediately get put on a corrective plan and ushered out. Just flatter the admin and you will be fine.” – Abu Dhabi International Private School (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) – 43 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• Is the student population declining, staying the same or increasing? Give details why. (382 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The number of students has increased. There is a waitlist for Year 6 now.” – UCSI International School Subang Jaya (Subang Jaya, Malaysia) – 11 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• How have certain things improved since you started working there? (200 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The one more important thing that changed for the positive, in around 2011-12, was the school initiated an 8000 RMB per year, per teacher, PD allowance. Before that there wasn’t an allowance. There was though PD for the DP teachers before that.” – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 30 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country? (147 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Well one thing that my school had in the United States was a coordinator for reading in the Primary school. I feel that CIS would benefit from having one of those. We need somebody to coordinate how the primary school teaches reading and someone to coordinate resources. Also, someone to help us have a clearer stop and sequence across the grade levels.” – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 350 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective. (263 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school hires foreign teachers but sometimes it is difficult for the teachers to integrate into the school. It is really a combination of moving to Chile and assimilating as a foreigner as well as the schools lack of support to receive foreign teachers. The administration has recognized this problem and is working to help future hires.” – Santiago College (Santiago, Chile) – 24 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school? (373 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Remember state school teachers are paid twice as much for half the work. All the locals are on waiting lists for Govt. schools but they are years (centuries) long.” – International School of Paphos (Paphos, Cyprus) – 123 Comments

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

• How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, etc.) (235 Total Comments)

Example comment: “A curriculum coordinator offers huge levels of support for this. During the current year, this load is heavy because of where we are in the accreditation cycle. High School has used Rubicon for a while. Lower School is just starting to use Rubicon.” – American School of Marrakesh  (Marrakesh, Morocco) – 29 Comments

continue reading

Information for Members

Top 26 Schools With the Most Comments/Reviews on ISC (UPDATE)

March 3, 2019


Now there are 1084+ international schools that have had comments/reviews submitted on them on our website (up almost 80 schools from one year ago)!

Once schools have over 70 submitted comments, then it is very likely that you will be able to see how a specific comment topic has changed (or not changed) over time; with all the comments being date stamped.

If there is more than one comment in a specific comment topic, the more recent comments either add on, compliment, or amend the previous comments.

A few of our schools that have many submitted comments will sometimes have over 15 comments in one comment topic!

reviews
Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Just click on the “Show all” link to see the complete history of comments in this comment topic.

So let’s get to it, which schools are in the top 26 (from February 2019, with some including a sample comment)?

Here we go:

26. Changchun American International School (Changchun, China) – 131 Comments
“There is an age limit for hiring and it is 60 years old. Interviews are via Skype mostly. Candidates should have at least a BA and a teaching qualification. Ideally you would have at least 2 years of int’l school teaching experience. The school does prefer teachers that a…”

25. International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 134 Comments
“There is a clear and structured pay scale. You enter it according to experience and qualifications, up to a maximum experience level. Within the school you receive an annual ‘step’ for every year of experience, plus there are usually small inflationary raises to the salary scale. Additionally stipends are paid for team leader responsibility. There are resigning bonuses after four years of employment.”

24. Bilkent Laboratory & International School (Ankara, Turkey) – 135 Comments

23. Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 136 Comments

22. Fairview International School (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 137 Comments
“Teachers share their unit plans, but write their own lesson plan. All has to be submitted to the subject heads for vetting and approval.”

21. Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Honk Kong, China) – 139 Comments
“Hong Kong is one of the major stops for big name concerts and theatrical productions. Tickets can be expensive, but some large music festivals, such as Clokkenflap and Party in the Park, are more reasonably priced.”

20. Sekolah Victory Plus (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 143 Comments
“Due to new Indonesian regulations, all salaries must be paid in Rupiah. However, the school guarantees a portion of your salary (~30%) in USD calculated at the official rate each month. A sort of best of both worlds scenario.”

19. Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 143 Comments

18. American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay) – 145 Comments

17. Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 147 Comments
“Tutoring through the school is available if it is not your student. The school takes a portion leaving you with about $20 for 30 minutes of tutoring. Coaching stipends from $350-900 and lifeguarding at the school pool can bring in 25-45 dollars an hour.”

16. MEF International School Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey) – 156 Comments
“Teacher turnover is high. Everything from 1st year teachers, teachers new to being over seas, to very experienced international educators. Living in Istanbul is a big draw.”

15. Cairo American College (Cairo, Egypt) – 157 Comments

14. Oeiras International School (Lisbon, Portugal) – 157 Comments
“Back in the re-accreditation mode again with the self study this year. The visit will be a joint visit next year with IB, ECIS and NEASC.”

13. Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine) – 162 Comments
“Apartments are furnished by landlords so it can vary – but generally pretty basic. School gave me a metro card and a SIM card and phone til I sorted out my own.”

12. American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) – 165 Comments
“The turn over rate is getting a bit higher because the cost of living in Spain is getting higher and higher and salaries are staying the same. Economically it is difficult in Spain right now. That being said Barcelona is a fantastic city to live in and no one wants to leave!”

11. Stamford American International School (Singapore, Singapore) – 169 Comments

10. International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal) – 169 Comments

9. International School of Tanganyika (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments

8. Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 175 Comments
“The “common language spoken in the hallways” depends on the grade level. Students who are only 3 or 4 might not have a lot of English. As the students get older, they are quite skilled in English.”

7. Ghandi Memorial International School (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 203 Comments

6. Singapore American School (Singapore) – 207 Comments
“Transport options are good. The taxi queue right outside of arrivals can be long at times, but the system works well to get people moving as fast as possible.”

5. NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 252 Comments

4. KIS International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 296 Comments
“Using a mobile is now so cheap that many teachers do not have a landline. The Satellite TV provider is dreadful, neither their offerings nor their boxes have changed in 20 years. If you want to watch sport most teachers just go to the pub.”

3. Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 345 Comments

2. Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 409 Comments
“Airport is okay. It’s clean and easy to navigate. Immigration can take a long time to get through at peek times during the year but it’s okay. They have water fountains, which as a frequent traveller I really appreciate.”

1. Good Shephard International School – (Ooty, India) – 409 Comments
“Presently they are having their Trinity College London Music Examinations. This is an option but they try to maintain high grades although most students only take Initial to Grade 1 due to restrictions of the admin to practice music…”

You can see rest of the Top 40 school profile pages with the most comments here on our website.

Keep the schools that you work at now (or have worked at in the past) updated with new comments. Want to share what you know and get unlimited premium access to our website? Become a Mayor today!

continue reading

Discussion Topics

Why Do International School Educators Teach Abroad? To Work AND Party!

December 1, 2018


The majority of international educators are professionals. They are some of the most innovative and progressive teachers out there.

However, International schools teachers certainly like to have their fun as well. Some might say the whole point of teaching abroad is to escape their boring home country/city life and inject some more excitement.

When not teaching at their international schools, there must be time to take in the city life and party!

Teach Abroad

It is not that difficult to find a group of colleagues at your international school to go out and party with you. And depending on what city you are living in the world, there are always certain spots at which to hang out.

People teach abroad for many reasons, and one of them is for a good nightlife. Some cities in the world are better known for their nightlife than others, so it is good to do a bit of research before your move. But anywhere there are expats, there is bound to be a neighborhood or two that they like to hang out in.

Teach Abroad

And let’s not forget the annual school Christmas party! Many international schools go all out to put together a nice Christmas party for their staff. Crazy antics usually happen at an international school Christmas party, thus proving that numerous international school educators indeed like to balance doing their job and also saving some time to party!

155595-linebreak

Using our ISC’s unique Comment Search feature, we searched the keyword “party.” We found that we currently have 71 comments (Dec. 2018) with that keyword on it.

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“There is so much nightlife here. If you want to go out and party in the city centre, there are endless place to do that. Locals love to go to a pub and stand outside of it and drink away with their friends, even if it is cold out outside. But I must say that last night, we saw at least spots on the sidewalk where someone had vomited. So people are definitely getting piss drunk here. LOL.” – American School of London (London, UK)15 Total Comments

“Plenty of nightlife. Clark Quay is probably the most known of the party scenes, but there are lots of other options from a plethora of rooftop bars, brewpubs to small local clubs…” – Singapore American School (Singapore)184 Comments

“Foreign staff usually are offered accommodation in an apartment complex that is next to the school. The complex features a small pool, gym and party area. Parties are held by neighbours regularly so it can be noisy at times, but it dies down after a certain time. Also, the size of the bedrooms are a bit small but you get used to that….” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte, Brazil)72 Total Comments

Teach Abroad

“New staff start a day earlier and are invited to a welcome breakfast, where we met all the academic coordinators and people in key roles, such as the nurse and admin staff. Christmas is a special time, where we had a special staff breakfast on top of a glamorous Christmas party! The principal is also very friendly and arranges social gatherings…” – SEK Catalunya International School (La Garriga, Spain)29 Comments

“They’ve started having an annual New Year’s party after the winter break where parents, faculty, and alumni have a very relaxed evening, catching up after their holiday adventures…” – Canadian Academy (Kobe) (Kobe, Japan)68 Comments

“You can find anything for any taste. You can opt for some quiet activities or team sports, quiet walks or a wild party in the city. There are excellent clubs and bars, and some quiet places. Ask the locals or more “experienced” expats and they will guide you…” – Knightsbridge Schools International Panama (Panama City, Panama)39 Comments

continue reading

Information for Members

Become the ‘Mayor’ of Your School and Get Unlimited Premium Membership!

October 16, 2018


Our mission for the International School Community website is to have the most updated information about what it is like to work at the numerous international schools around the world. One way to help us achieve that mission is to have Mayors.

mayor

Being a Mayor is super easy, and the best part is that you get unlimited free premium membership to our website!

Mayor responsibilities:

• Submit at least 3-6 new comments on your school every 1-2 months (on the 65 different comment topics)

• Make sure to check on your school’s Wall and occasionally post updates about their school (like new vacancies, any big changes to the school that are happening, etc.)

• Make sure that their school has the most updated and correct information (e.g. basic info, links, Facebook page, Youtube video, etc.) on the Overview and Social Media tabs.

mayor

Here are just a few of the almost 450+ schools that have a Mayor on our website:

Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 407 Comments
NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 244 Comments
Qatar Academy (Sidra) (Doha, Qatar)65 Comments
Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)139 Comments
International School of Paphos (Paphos, Cyprus)123 Comments
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)175 Comments
Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 104 Comments
Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)340 Comments
Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea)147 Comments
American International School Dhaka (Dhaka, Bangladesh)60 Comments
International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)107 Comments
Footprints International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)38 Comments
Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China)134 Comments

The more Mayors that we have on our website means the more our members will be informed; as there will be more up-to-date information on the schools they want to know about!

Become the Mayor of a school you work at (or have worked at) today!

Screenshot 2015-10-20 18.23.34

Please note that being the Mayor of a school is anonymous, and that all comments submitted on our website are also done so anonymously. Posting on the school profile page wall though is not anonymous.

continue reading

Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #38: Tareq Hajjaj (A teacher at The American School of Belo Horizonte)

September 11, 2018


Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Tareq Hajjaj:

member spotlight
Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I very much consider myself a third-culture kid despite living 25/31 years in Western Sydney. This area is the most culturally diverse area in the southern hemisphere and I grew up experiencing both Australian and Arab cultures.

Born in Kuwait, I spent the first four years of my life there before migrating to Australia. Throughout my life I frequently travelled to Jordan to visit my extended family. My family originates from Palestine before it was partitioned. And previous to that, we have routes in Egypt.

My schooling and tertiary education were completed in Sydney. When I was completing my high school studies, I was considering teaching as my profession. Although, I decided to study a Bachelor of Commerce first knowing that obtaining a Masters of Teaching would only take two years of full-time study on top of that.

Throughout my tertiary studies, I worked in a variety of education and community welfare jobs. At that time, I never thought I would be embarking on an international teaching journey. I was very much a typical guy in his 20s in Australia. I loved Rugby League, Touch Rugby and cycling and all my travels with friends via domestic trips. By the time I graduated, I was ready to experience a life-changing international journey.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

During my last semester of university, I attended a job fair organised for the post graduate students completing educational courses in my university. At the fair were some recruiters looking for teachers to work in the UK and I immediately was interested. The process was straight forward. The recruiter organised an interview with herself and then a principal within a school. They liked my enthusiasm and how I was looking forward to the adventure and willing to learn about the UK curriculum. From there I had to collect documentation such as police checks, and I was helped to apply for a Youth Mobility Visa. Before I knew it, I was offered a short term maternity leave contract for a Grade 5 class and a few weeks after graduating, I was ready for a September start in the UK.

Before going to the UK, I took a detour to visit a close friend of mine in Shanghai for one week. He was about to begin his 2nd international teaching post. It was a wonderful visit which opened my eyes to a new culture.  It wasn’t long before I was back there teaching kindergarten.

In my first year of teaching I was extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to have completed six weeks of casual teaching in Australia, a semester block as a Grade 5 homeroom teacher in an East London public school, and being the first teacher to open the one of two new kindergarten classes (a first for the school). My life was very different; I met so many new people, learned how to speak basic conversational mandarin, enjoyed a diverse lifestyle in two major world class cities and grew a lot as a teacher.

member spotlight

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.

I have worked in England (Brookside Junior School), Egypt (Cairo English School), China (Shanghai United International School, Fudan International School and Guangdong Country Garden School), and Brazil (The American School of Belo Horizonte.) In this time I have had the opportunity to teach Canadian British Columbian, UK National Curriculum, American Common Core Curriculum as well as the International Baccalaureate. All schools were fun places to work.

Cairo English School stands out as the school with a stunning campus. It had over 1500 students and chaotic hallways but the students were always cheerful and there were always many extravagant events going on around the school.

An even bigger school was Guangdong Country Garden School. They had over 4500 students! It was impossible to even meet all the students. I worked in the kindergarten. I remember the play times with over four hundred 3-5-year-old students running around in many directions. It was a boarding school, and it was common to see even kindergarten students still having lessons in the evening.

member spotlight

Both Fudan International School and The American School of Belo Horizonte are smaller schools with approximately 350 students from K-12. I was the Grade 5 homeroom teacher at both schools so I was given a lot of freedom in planning a lot of the curriculum according to the American Common Core and IB syllabi, and the school’s scope and sequence.

It is still hard to decide whether I prefer the larger schools or smaller schools. They both have their advantages. Every school was unique in its own way.

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

I have been in Belo Horizonte for two months now. My impression is that Brazilians are very social and love to enjoy themselves. Every weekend there is loud music coming from different places in my neighbourhood and many social gatherings within my apartment complex. Just about everybody greets you in a friendly manner and people are usually excited to hear where I am from and speak of their desires to visit there.

Belo Horizonte is considered the Brazilian Belgium. It may not be known for having beautiful beaches like the other places in Brazil, but it is known for producing beers of good quality such as Krug Bier, FalkBier, Backer, Küd, Wäls and Artesamalte. To complement this you will find the popular night spot of Savassi heaving every weekend complemented by music festivals.

Whilst Belo Horizonte seems to be unknown from the outside world, it is the third largest city in Brazil. It boasts the most bars per capita with over 12,000 bars in the city. Most of these are informal sit down spots where you can enjoy an informal meal. Beagá (the city’s nickname which is its initials in Portuguese) also boast a fine arts culture with beautiful street art sprawled around the city. It is definitely a hidden gem (and ironically the mining capital of the country).

member spotlight

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

It is very important to be responsible and choose your employer well. That means finding out as much as you can about the position and the school, where you will live and information about the country you will be living in. After you have found out as much as possible, evaluate what is really important to you.

For me, as I have moved around a few times in my 7 years of teaching. Now I am more inclined to look for supportive school that will offer me 2-3 year contracts and ongoing professional development so I can take my teaching pedagogy to the next level.

member spotlight

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

An amazing and unforgettable experience.

teacher

Thanks, Tareq Hajjaj!

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 one year free of premium access to our website!

Do you think you have what it takes to be a veteran international school teacher like Tareq Hajjaj?  What character traits does it take?  We have an article on our blog that discusses this very question. It is called the “Top 10 Character Traits of a Seasoned International School Teacher“. Read the whole article here.

continue reading

Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Zhouzhuang, China (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

June 11, 2018


Traveling Around: Zhouzhuang, China

Can you relate?

  • If you visit Shanghai take a day or two side trip to an ancient water town, there are many.
  • Take a canal cruise and have the boatswain sing to you.
  • Use a driver from Zhouzhuang 600RMB (Tom 150-5166 5990, lives in Zhouzhang and has a family), a driver from Shanghai 2000RMB.

  • Zhouzhuang makes it’s own beer and has a local distillery!
  • This town is difficult to find a C-Trip hotel. Anyplace to stay in the city is listed as a Historical Site. After we booked a hotel under construction the Mayor came to our rescue!
  • The lady in charge of tourism found a room for us with an older couple in the center of the preserved district for about 75RMB per night (including hot tea morning and night!)

  • Remember, no parking in this ancient city. This place was not designed for cars! Commercial hotels are outside the ancient boundaries.
  • Many artists with high quality artwork on sale on the streets of town. We got a great calligraphy by a struggling artist.
  • Fishermen use cormorants to fish in Lake Taishi thus the reason so many boathouses as boats and birds come to roost.
  • Zhouzhaung is known for the “double bridges”.

  • Chinese Opera House on the “Ancient Platform” rebuilt in the year 2000.
  • Many great silk shops, ties three for 60RMB
  • Shops that spin their own cotton and make clothing of all sizes!
  • Fantastic teapots made from stone!

  • Shen Wansan, the first millionaire in the Lower Yangtze is from Zhouzhuang!
  • Lot’s of walking around, many bridges, shops everywhere!
  • Many places to eat, traditional Chinese food with reasonable prices.

Currently, we have 197 international schools listed in China on International School Community. 132 of them have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few of those schools:

Access International Academy (Ningbo) 48 Comments
Beijing BISS International School67 Comments
Beijing International Bilingual Academy53 Comments
Canadian International School (Hong Kong)134 Comments
Changchun American International School 111 Comments
Concordia International School (Shanghai) 166 Comments
Guangzhou Nanfang International School – 163 Comments
Hong Kong International School – 127 Comments
Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan) – 81 Comments
Keystone Academy – 94 Comments
QSI International School of Dongguan – 64 Comments

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us here with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give you 1 free year of premium membership!

continue reading

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!

continue reading

An Insider's Story

International School Drama/The Arts Teachers: An Insider’s Story

January 24, 2018


In my earlier career in public schools in Alberta, Canada I was a Drama teacher. The arts always seemed to be under threat in the public education system, and in my experience Music, Art and Drama teachers always seemed to be fighting for their survival. We had thriving Drama classes and a popular extra-curricular programme at my school where students in Junior High and Senior High competed in Zone and Provincial Drama Festivals, but when I went to teach in Australia on a year-long exchange they cancelled the Drama programme to save money, and only the Art classes and the Band programme survived the arts cuts that year.

drama

Teaching in Queensland, Australia for a year was an eye-opener as far as the arts went. Programmes seemed to be very well supported with excellent facilities and had far more to offer students such as many workshops in specialities like mime, street theatre and dance for example than the much more basic curriculums I was used to in Canada. The arts curriculums seemed to be very extensive and arts taken for granted as a part of an Australian school. After a huge well supported musical “Annie Get Your Gun” I returned to my school in Canada where we had no theatre and I taught Drama in a regular classroom, pushing aside the desks as needed.

I had to return to Canada and teach as an English teacher even though I wanted to teach Drama. For many students in my experience, the arts are vital to balance out academics and sports. All students need an opportunity to excel and be successful in something, and for many that is not their regular exam classes or a sports team. So the art teacher and I collaborated and kept the school productions going, a total of 25 Junior and Senior High shows over the years where students could act, sing and dance or work backstage, or designing the set. Students loved the opportunity to be creative, and often it was the behaviourally challenged students or those who didn’t quite ‘fit in’ in other classes that loved Drama the most. We continued to participate in the Zone Festivals winning many times, and what a treat it was to be in a real theatre! The highlight was going to the Provincial Drama Festival and winning Best Ensemble and raft of other awards for our huge production of “The Canterbury Tales.’

drama

Before I left Canada I was chosen for a Commonwealth Teacher Exchange to the United Kingdom. I went to teach in beautiful Norwich, Norfolk and became familiar with the British National Curriculum at KS3 and KS4 in particular. In England I was exposed to the rigour of a Drama programme shaped around students completing exams for their GCSE’s. I liked in particular how Drama, Music and Art were all exam subjects with strict, demanding curriculums and the disciplines were treated the same as academic subjects. In Alberta, Canada the arts are not exam subjects and the curriculum is very much left up to the teacher. I left England after our huge whole-school production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” with much to think about.

The thinking led me to the Search Associates Recruiting Fair in London, England and a decision to work in International Schools. I accepted an offer to teach GCSE Drama and IBDP Theatre at one of the top British Curriculum schools in China. The school was expanding from the Junior School to a brand-new Senior School. Before I became a teacher I had done a degree in Technical Theatre and so I had a lot of input into the building of the brand new Black Box classroom I would be working in and the incredible state-of the-art Theatre. What a treat it was to work in such amazing facilities with such keen students and such small classes after public education! I was familiar with the GCSE Drama curriculum and put students through both the EdExcel and the Cambridge exam board. My top tip for teachers wanting to work in British curriculum schools is don’t apply unless you already know the British National Curriculum, and the requirements of at least one GCSE exam board. It’s a very steep (I would say almost impossible) learning curve if you don’t already come in with that knowledge. It was no problem that I had no IBDP Theatre experience. The school had an unlimited budget and was quick to send me for training for my Category 1 IBDP Theatre course and countless other IBDP workshops. It’s easy to do well and get good results working in this kind of environment. Don’t kid yourself though-the results and marks really matter to the students, the parents and the school and if you don’t deliver you’ll be out. My love of Theatre and the performing arts in particular was well supported here with productions of “Aladdin,” “Macbeth,” “Blood Brothers,” “Cinderella” and “Marriage Proposal” amongst many other class and exam productions.

drama

In my current school in Singapore I’m in a different role. I am Head of Arts for the Secondary school. I supervise the Music, Visual Arts, Drama and Theatre programmes. I have six teachers working in the Arts Department. We are an IB World School and run PYP, MYP and IBDP curriculum. It’s important as HOD Arts to make sure we offer a balanced programme, no one art discipline can take precedence over another. Our students in Years 7, 8 and 9 all take all three arts classes. In Years 10 and 11 they choose one of the Arts disciplines to specialize in for two years and complete their exam ePortfolio of four assignments in Year 11. At the school we also offer IBDP Visual Arts and Theatre for two years. I teach some Drama classes and Theatre, but I am also given a lot of HOD time to manage staff, take care of the budget, ensure curriculum is being taught well, arrange standardisation and moderation of marks and a myriad of other responsibilities. I have my IBDP Cat 2 now and am an Examiner for the IBDP Theatre curriculum.

We run Arts Nights for the performing arts in each semester, as well as a school Talent Show. The Visual Arts puts up displays of art at these times as well as participating in the huge IN Exhibition of Visual Art from fifteen International Schools in Singapore as well as the IBDP Visual Arts Exhibition in the Spring. We run extensive co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for the students in the arts like bands, singing groups, drumming lessons and arts workshops. We are an International School Theatre Association School and run a lot of workshops through them e.g bringing the theatre company ‘Frantic Assembly’ in from the UK or Marco Luly- a Commedia dell’ Arte expert in from Italy. We run two Musicals a year, the Secondary Musical for Years 9-13 and the Primary/Middle School Musical for Years 3-8. The last four years we have done “Urbs, Urbis,” “Arlecchino and the City of Love,” “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, “ “A Christmas Carol” and currently with a team of ten teachers and over 75 students “Cinderella, Rockerfella.” All of our shows are performed in professional theatre facilities we rent in Singapore. All of this is such a pleasant change from fighting for the arts survival in a Canadian public school, and having to fight for every cent we wanted to spend. I wish I had gone to work in International Schools much earlier in my career, but better late than never!

drama

This article was submitted to us by International School Community member, Sara Lynn Burrough. Sara Lynn Burrough has worked as a Drama/Theatre teacher for the past 38 years in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, China and Singapore. She has a BEd, an MEd, was a professional stage manager at the Banff Centre for the Arts and studied Technical Theatre at McGill University in Montreal. In Canada as a teacher she worked for many years for Northern Gateway Schools in Alberta, and during that time was selected for two teacher exchange programmes. Her first exchange to Australia was with Alberta Education and the Queensland Department of Education where she taught at Costessey High School, in Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast. Her second exchange was with the prestigious ‘League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers’ (LECT) where she was one of two Canadian teachers selected to go to the United Kingdom for the millennial year to the United Kingdom. The Queen Mother was the patron of LECT and as she was celebrating her 100th birthday that year Sara Lynn was privileged to attend the celebrations in London as an invitee. In 2013 Sara Lynn decided to teach in International Schools and attended the Search Associates recruiting fair in London, England. From there she went to Dulwich College in Suzhou, China to teach GCSE Drama and IBDP Theatre in the Senior School. After China Sara Lynn went to Singapore for almost five years as Head of Arts (Music, Visual Arts, Drama) at Chatsworth International School where she taught MYP Drama and IBDP Theatre.

Using our unique Comment Search feature on our website (premium membership access needed), we found 96 comments that have the keyword “Drama” in them, and 14 comments that had the word “The Arts” in them.

Here are some comments that shown a positive light on Learning Support programs at international schools:

“The school just celebrated its 50th anniversary and there are many banners around the school. The school in involved with the SITS programme which is a quality drama and arts programme for kids.” – Oslo International School (17 Total Comments)

“Stoke City FC just started this school year and there are several other “big” initiatives as well, mostly in music and drama departments.” – Western International School of Shanghai (312 Total Comments)

“It is limited. In primary there is futsal, while secondary usually has volleyball and basketball. Baseball is popular but it is not offered in any organised way. The school usually participates at the MUN conference in Kobe in February each year. Drama and arts offerings have increased in recent years.” – Hiroshima International School (64 Total Comments)

“The school offers no sports programs, and occasionally offers a drama Club to students, depending on teacher interest.” – Alexandria International Academy (78 Total Comments)

“Piloting the iPad initiative this year and also looking to expand the arts program with the addition of the multi-purpose hall that houses a mini-theater.” – Universal American School in Dubai (57 Total Comments)

“There are opportunities in the arts (dance, voice, musical instrumental, drama), a good number of sports offerings (climbing, competitive sports, etc.). Lots!” – American School of Dubai (98 Total Comments)

continue reading

Top 10 Lists

11 Member-Submitted Comments Related to Single International School Teachers

November 5, 2017


With the hiring season upon us, there is a divide amongst us international school teachers. Will the international school you are interviewing with prefer to hire a teaching couple or a single teacher?

I guess it could seem like the international school is being a bit discriminatory when they state their preference (sometimes in the job description vacancy itself), but there might be a number of factors that come into play in their decision to be so explicit in what they are looking for.

Single

Sometimes hiring a single teacher can be more expensive than hiring a teaching couple. We all know schools love saving money! Money aside though, the administration at international schools also know the lifestyle that prospective teachers are signing up for. The set up could be good for both singles and teaching couples, but the city and country where the school is located could also lend itself better to a single person OR to a teaching couple.

It is hard to guess which type of teacher would be better for which set up, but the administration can see patterns developing amongst their staff. For example, are the single teachers or the teaching couples staying longer (or shorter) at the school? Are single teachers finding it difficult to save money there?  Are single teachers able to easily meet up with other expats or locals in the city for a date?

The fact is, though, that single teachers get hired all the time during each recruitment season. If you are a quality teacher with a good resume and references (+luck and timing), the school will definitely consider hiring you. However, it might be good to know which international schools have a good record of hiring single teachers.

Single

Additionally, if a school gives an offer of employment to a teacher who is single, what are the exact details about the benefits the school is offering you specifically?  What is the lifestyle like for single teachers that live in different cities around the world?

So many factors and things to consider!

Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teaching couples and single teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 92 comments that had the keyword “Singles” in them. Here are 11 of them:

United Arab Emirates
“Dubai is a big city in most ways with very modern nightlife etc. singles should have no trouble meeting other singles, and couples will find the city enjoyable as well. Sex between people who are not married is illegal and people DO go to jail for it/get deported for it, but usually only when it is something very blatant (like having sex on a public beach). Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE and is still prosecuted. UAE is trying very hard to balance between a modern, cosmopolitan city while at the same time being respectful of traditional Arab culture.” – Raffles International School (South) (59 total comments)

Japan
“Kyoto has a pretty balance for all interests. singles may find it difficult here, however, as there isn’t much nightlife in Kyoto (a lot of things close around 8 or 9) and it can be hard to meet people. Osaka is 30 minutes to an hour away, however, and has a lot of options in that department. There are plenty of parks and outdoor spaces in Kyoto, unlike Tokyo or other metropolitan regions of Japan.” – Doshisha International School Kyoto (92 total comments)

Hong Kong
“The housing allowance for singles was increased to 23,000HKD (2900USD) which allows for a bit more choice. Because of the price discrepancy among singles, teaching couples and a teacher with dependent(s), singles were the only ones who received an increase.” – Hong Kong International School (118 total comments)

El Salvador
“The school itself is a very family orientated place, though there are lots of singles in the school. Often group trips are organised renting beach houses and lake houses.” – Academia Britanica Cuscatleca (30 total comments)

Thailand
“Chiang Mai is a great place to live for couples and families. Singles who like the Great Outdoors will also be satisfied. Those seeking a full on nightlife need to save their Bahts for a weekend in Bangkok or Pattaya. Chiang Mai has some great pubs and restaurants, but currently all are forced to close at midnight.” – Varee Chiang Mai International School (62 total comments)

Qatar
“Staff housing is provided. 2 bedroom apartments for singles, just in and around Doha (Al Saad, Al Marqab) or in Education City (mostly families because of the parks and facilities that in and around the compound). You can ask for rent allowance but once you forfeit housing you can’t get back in! QF policy. Think it’s around 8,000 qar a month plus 500 for utilities.You’ll never find anything as nice as the housing provided for that money, without getting a roommate (then you can save money)” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (65 total comments)

Single

Tanzania
“The school generally recruits at the Search fairs, in Johannesburg, Bangkok and London. There are some long-term local hire teachers. Many local hires are expats who are here with their partners. I believe they also hire through Skype interviews. There is a good mix of people – couples, families and singles. Recently there have been a lot of singles hired which has put a bit of a crunch on housing.” – International School of Tanganyika (171 total comments)

Zambia
“Lots of activities for singles, but people generally agree Lusaka is great for families, less so for singles wanting to find love. There is a small gay culture, but not vibrant due to the country’s general conservatism.” – American International School of Lusaka (45 total comments)

Colombia
“I am a single parent with a 5-year-old so life is very quiet for us. singles seem to have a very active social life as there are a lot of bars and Manizales is very safe. In terms of gay life, I know there are gay bars here and gay couples but I they feel they need to be discreet in public.” – Colegio Granadino Manizales (44 total comments)

South Korea
“Staff housing differs for singles and married couples. They are both located near the school and are in an area which has plenty to do. Major bills include gas, electricity, internet, etc. The most expensive is the gas in the winter. Teachers are responsible for their utilities.” – Busan Foreign School (5 total comments)

France
“There is a mix of local and expat teachers. The majority of expat teachers come from the UK, but others come from other English-speaking countries as well. There is very low turnover rate at the school- maybe one or two positions open up each year. The staff are mostly married couples- very few singles.” – International School of Lyon (12 total comments)

continue reading

Information for Members

12 Submitted Comments About the “Excellent” Parts of Working at International Schools

September 12, 2017


International School Community is full of tens of thousands of useful, informative comments…22211 comments (12 Sept. 2017) to be exact.

excellent

Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website and share what they know about what it is like working at a specific international school.

We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most interesting and useful ones related to the “excellent” parts of working at international schools from across the globe.

12. Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.

“Currently, insurance is through Scholars International. Coverage for medical care in the United States is something like 70% (not great) but outside of the US, coverage is great. Local hospitals are excellent and many teachers have surgeries, medical treatments (including cancer treatments), ect here in Korea. Our school is close to an amazing International Hospital, Severance Hospital at Yonsei University. Many other hospitals in the area are also well-known and provide excellent care!” – Seoul Foreign School (South Korea, Seoul) – 133 Comments

11. Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus.

“Keystone was built in 2013/14 as a purpose-built school. It looks like a New England or UK boarding school. It’s facilities are excellent. There is a fabulous performing arts centre, lots of meeting areas and tons of classrooms. The sports facilities are also top-notch. The grounds are well-kept. The staff apartments are spacious and well-appointed. There are separate primary and middle/high school buildings as well as the sports hall, residences and the performing arts centre. The management is also upgrading and maintaining facilities as needed. The surrounding area is very suburban. This is not downtown Beijing. There are grocery stores close by as well as a couple of small shopping malls. There are stores catering to expats nearby too.” – Keystone Academy (China, Beijing) – 54 Comments

10. Name some special things about this school that makes it unique.

“Since 2010 there have been 2 Head Teachers, 2 Primary Heads and 2 Deputy Heads due to overarching management cost cutting and general incompetencies. As well as massive staff turnovers. People see out their contracts and don’t renew because money, housing and work life balance are better at other schools. However that being said, the teachers at the school both primary and secondary are excellent teachers. Very social, helpful and happy. They bind together and get along well. The teachers that have left have gone into fantastic things, probably because of the chaos that comes from management, has built these people to make it in the real world. Lasting friendships between the teachers and everyone looks after everyone. I did enjoy the comradary here.” – Jumeira Baccalaureate School (United Arab Emirates, Dubai) – 104 Comments

9. How have certain things improved since you started working there?

“The Academic Registrar for the past two years has done much to review, simplify and streamline processes. She has also maintained – latterly when support has been lacking – almost single-handedly excellent relations with staff, parents, students and the expatriate community when helping to market the school.” – The International School of Sanya (China, Sanya) – 29 Comments

excellent

8.Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus..

“The school has a wonderful multistory building with fully equipped Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Computer Science laboratories. There is a gymnasium and multi cuisine food court as well. The auditorium of the school is excellent with a seating capacity of around 800.” – Gandhi Memorial International School (Indonesia, Jakarta) – 6 Comments

7. What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer? 

“Football is the main sport and both boys and girls are involved in football. Also basketball is popular, The school has excellent facilities.” – Colegio Los Nogales Bogota (Colombia, Bogota) – 33 Comments

6. In general, describe the demeanor of the students.

“Generally, excellent. 2013’s comment still stands; Wells is fortunate to have students from not the “richest” families of Bangkok, so a degree of humbleness still exists in most.” – Wells International School (Thailand) (Thailand, Bangkok) – 55 Comments

excellent

5. Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.

“Health insurance provided. Taiwan has excellent and affordable national health insurance.” – Ivy Collegiate Academy (Taiwan, Taichung City) – 41 Comments

4. What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school?

“This is a good place to be in. The working atmosphere is excellent and as teachers we can do and suggest many things in order to help with the school’s normal development. We have reached to a point were we are stable in terms of foreign staff and locals do everything they can to help foreign teachers to feel as comfortable as possible.” – Changchun American International School (China, Changchun) – 71 Comments

3. Describe proximity of major airport hubs to the city center and give sample taxi, train, subway and/or bus fares to get there.

“Hong Kong has excellent public transport. You can check in at IFC in Central or Kowloon half a day before the flight and then take your time shopping, eating, or sightseeing. The express train to the airport is quick, comfortable, and inexpensive. There are numerous buses and the MTR. As well, taxis are readily available, as are hire cars.” – Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (China, Hong Kong) – 111 Comments

2. Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.

“More local teachers than expat. There are approximately 15-20 American teachers working at the school. Local teachers speak excellent English and are great colleagues.” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Brazil, Belo Horizonte) – 46 Comments

1. How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country?

“Compared to teaching in the UK this is a dream, as long as you are prepared for the culture shock of living in a small village of thirteen million. Small classes, good behaviour and a genuine interest in study, excellent resources, great quality of life. Admin is less than in the UK although it is creeping up. Some of it good, some of it of limited value (just like the UK). I enjoy my teaching and the travel opportunities this place offers.” – Wellington College International Tianjin (China, Tianjin) – 54 Comments

If you have an interesting and useful comment to add related to the excellent parts at your school that you would like to share, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

continue reading

An Insider's Story

International School Libraries: An Insider’s Story

July 27, 2017


Let’s daydream for moment, shall we?

A successful international school library is the center of the school, both physically and metaphorically. It is the hub of student learning, active and buzzing with the newest technologies, inquiry-driven investigations, maker space or STEM stations, and thousands of books available on any and all topics that could occur to members of the school community. The Teacher Librarian is an active part of the teaching community, integrating information literacy skills into the curriculum and supporting the teachers and staff in using best practices. He or she is passionate about all things literary and encourages a love of reading in students, matching reluctant readers with the perfect book to awaken their inner bookworm.

libraries

Hey – a girl can dream, can’t she?

Because sometimes the library isn’t at the center of the school, and instead it’s in the basement. (Albeit the basement of an old mansion house.) And sometimes it’s a ‘Learning Commons’ or a “Media Center’ or it’s called-something-else-other-than-a-library. As is the case with most international schools, all international school libraries are not created equal.

I’ve been working as an International School Teacher Librarian for nine years now, and the more colleagues I meet and Facebook groups I join and listservs I read, that idea is drilled home. All libraries are not created equal. Some librarians have multiple assistants, healthy budgets, abundant resources and administrative support. A lot of librarians don’t have any or all of those things. Some libraries are full of amazing resources for their school community, and some are full of dusty old books that are older than I am.

Every library seems to have its issues. Here are a few examples from my own international career:

  • I was offered a job in one library that was hoping I could help it to automate from the old card catalogue to a computer system… in the 21st century!
  • In Barcelona there was one library – and only one librarian – for an entire EC-thru-grade-12 school. (They’ve since hired more people and built a gorgeous new library!)
  • In London there were three libraries and three librarians, but no assistants (which meant it was hard to ever leave the library, and therefore to do much collaboration), small budgets and no windows in my library.
  • In Dar es Salaam I have assistants (which brings along a whole other set of issues), a decent budget, and an elementary counterpart – but it is very difficult to get books into the country through customs and a corrupt governing system.

BUT.

But – each of these libraries has given me opportunities that I didn’t have as a librarian in the USA. I have always had the autonomy and support to make the library a central part of the school and of student learning. I’ve been able to collaborate with amazing teachers, had opportunities to win over reluctant teachers, and been involved with planning exciting interdisciplinary units. The Teacher Librarian role has been a leadership role, seated at the table with other leaders making decisions about what’s best for our students. And I’ve been supported to take leadership roles in the librarian community – to attend great PD, present at international conferences, join professional organizations, and to serve on the ECIS Librarian Special Interest Committee.

When schools in the US are getting rid of librarians, closing libraries, moving away from the written word – these have been blessings that make the rest of the issues worth it.

libraries

If you’re thinking about working in an International School library, do your homework. We are research specialists, after all! Find out about staffing, budgets, PD opportunities, leadership roles, curriculum, attitudes toward the library and the challenges the current librarian faces. You know which of things these are most important to you, what you can handle and what’s a deal breaker. Automating an entire collection was not how I wanted to spend my time as a Teacher Librarian, but perhaps the thought excites you. Find the right fit for what you are looking for in your international experience, where you are in your career, and what fits your strengths.

The International School Community website has great resources to help you do this! See below for specifics on how to use the comment search to find information about libraries.

My last bit of advice – find a network! Librarians are often the lone librarian in a school or part of a small team. It’s important to find the connections and support of other librarians. Because most international schools are in big cities, there are often other international school librarians nearby to connect with. There are also regional associations – your school should be able to point you towards the ones they participate in.

There are always other librarians who have dealt with the same issues, solved the same problems, created the same resources, etc. And I’ve found the librarian community to be great at sharing, commiserating with and supporting one another. Some personal favorites are the Int’l School Library Connection Facebook group and the ECIS iSkoodle listserv. AND – most excitingly – the ECIS Triennial Librarian Conference is in February 2018 in Chennai, India. International school librarians from all over the world will come together to learn from each other, get inspired by each other, and learn how we can continue to be Leaders in our school communities. Please join us!

This article was submitted to us by an International School Community member.

Using our unique Comment Search feature on our website (premium membership access needed), we found 61 comments that have the keyword “library” in them, and 20 comments that had the word “libraries” in them.

Here are some comments that shown a positive light on the library and their international schools:

“The library department recently got a lot of money to do some renovations which were done this past summer. It is almost complete and looks very nice.” International School of Tanganyika

“The SIS library supports the school curriculum, promotes the appreciation of literature, and guides all its patrons in information problem-solving with over 28,000 print and electronic resources.” – Surabaya Intercultural School

“The library also is great because we have 25,000 books for such a small sized school, in English and Italian.” – The Bilingual School of Monza

“The library has a new video viewing room that is useful for a small class of IB Film Making, or webinars, or our face to faith programme.” – Sekolah Victory Plus

and here are a few comments that stated their school library was in need of updating or some tender-loving care:

“The school’s library was very small and I was given no materials to use to teach language arts and social studies. Picture books were essential for my young learners and if you can, bring them from the states.” – Antigua International School Guatemala

“There are text books for main subjects but the media library resources are next to nil and specialists have zero to bare basics.” – Jeddah Knowledge International School

“No library for middle of high school!” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

“There are more computers in the library but some are so old they still run Windows XP!” – EtonHouse International Schools, Wuxi

continue reading

Comment Topic Highlight

Has Your International School Appraised Their Teachers This School Year?

May 13, 2017


Schools say they are going to do them, but for some reason they just don’t get done for one reason or another. It maybe that it is truly an impossible task to complete in one school year, to appraise all staff members.
appraisal

Even when the administrators divide and conquer (to appraise all the many staff members), it still often times doesn’t get done. Sometimes they start off in August-October with a few goal making meetings, but often that is as far as it goes for that school year.

This begs the question, are appraisals really necessary? I guess there are pros and cons to doing appraisals, maybe all pros. But if the appraisal is not done so in an effective manner or is perceived as an unauthentic experience, it seems like it will not be so meaningful for both parties.

appraisal

It is possible to just go on with your jobs and through casual drop-ins make informal appraisals. It’s possible that if you are not really doing your job very well, most staff members know…including the administration.

It is also nice when staff members just organically make their own professional goals though and work towards achieving them for that school year; inviting their administration and other staff to observe certain lessons or to even get involved.

It’s certain that some international schools have indeed figured it out, doing appraisals from start to completion every year. But for many, maybe those with a high administration turn over, it is still a long-term goal to get a formal appraisal system underway and working effectively for everyone involved.

This article was submitted by guest author and International School Community member.

155595-linebreak

Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of appraisals, so you can stay the most informed as possible. “There are 51 comments (premium access only) that have the word appraisal in them, and a total of 144 comments in our comment topic called – “Details about the current teacher appraisal process.”  Here are a few of those 144 comments related to appraisals about various schools from around the world:”

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 144 comments in this comment topic (May 2017).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“Primary teachers are observed by newly-appointed Heads of Department that have little to no experience” – Wycombe Abbey International School (Changzhou, China)78 Total Comments

“The school has worked with Pam Harper over the last year to define student learning and align teaching to it. The model that has been adopted, the Teaching for Learning Index, serves as the framework for professional learning and appraisal.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand)176 Comments

“Teachers are observed, given a print of the evaluation and a brief feedback meeting. No data is formally collected/recorded.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo) (Tokyo, Japan)93 Total Comments

“In a year and a half of teaching here, I have only had one formal classroom observation. The principal gave me an excellent evaluation and apparently hasn’t felt the need to return!” – Misr American College (Cairo, Egypt)53 Comments

“They have a system called Responsibility for Learning which is tailored to the situation. New teachers go through a pre-determined portfolio process supporting professional standards. Returning teachers are given options as to how to best support their own growth. Administrative visitations are ongoing and both formal and informal.” – American School of Dubai (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)84 Comments

“Teachers are observed twice in an academic year. At the end of the year, the results of these observations are then combined with evaluations from the senior Thai admin (who never see you teach). The score is then tabulated and you are given a bonus based on this score. Teachers can see the results of the observations but are not allowed to see the evaluations from the Thai admin.” – Assumption College (Bangkok, Thailand)21 Comments

continue reading

Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #36: Cassandra Anthony (A teacher at Stamford American International School)

March 11, 2017


Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Cassandra White:

member spotlightTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I’m originally from Sydney, Australia however as a child I lived in both Germany and the UK for various amounts of time. I first did a Music degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, followed by a Graduate Diploma of Education at the University of New England, Australia. A couple of years after this, with an interest in Education Psychology which had been piqued whilst studying Music Education at the Conservatorium, I decided to do a Masters of Arts (Music Psychology in Education), at the University of Sheffield, UK. This masters degree really opened my eyes to the world of Academia as well and I’m currently halfway through a PhD in Music Education at the University of Queensland, Australia. I guess you could say I’m the eternal student!

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

The travel bug hit me big time in my early 20’s and I travelled extensively around Europe, Asia, the USA and Africa. I became very interested in the International School scene after meeting a music teacher who worked at WAB in Beijing and had been international for the last 15 years, this really opened my eyes to what could be an amazing lifestyle overseas whilst still teaching. This friend kept me in the loop of ‘good’ jobs that were coming up in various countries but due to study commitments, it wasn’t until I was 30 that I was truly ready to embark on an International School journey. I found my job on the schools website and applied, within a month I had a job interview and a job offer a few days after that. It was definitely a case of right place, right time for me.

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.

member spotlightI began working at Stamford American International School, Singapore in August last year. I have close friends who live in Singapore and have visited them very regularly so knew that Singapore was an ideal ‘first international school’ country for me. SAIS is an IB world school which also follows the AERO (American Education Reaches Out) standards, this was my first IB PYP experience and it’s been a learning curve but I absolutely love inquiry education and I’ve learnt so much in my first 8 months already. My school has a huge mix of nationalities, Americans, Canadians, Brits, Aussies, New Zealanders, as well as several other nationalities. It’s a cultural melting pot and it’s one of my favourite aspects of the school. My school is quite large with over 3000 students from 2 years-grade 12. The students are exposed to a wide variety of CCA’s and they have a Global Mentors Program which brings leaders in various fields to the school to give presentations and engage with the students, already this year we have had a Nobel Laureate, a Real Madrid soccer player and the ex-flautist of the London Symphony Orchestra visiting the school! 

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

Singapore is a unique place, a lot of people say it’s boring but there is so much to do here! I have funny cultural interactions with my colleagues a lot, I share my classroom with an American teacher and she has learnt a lot of Aussie slang from me! The first time I described a lesson as a ‘ripper’ she looked very concerned until I explained a ‘ripper’ meant a great lesson, it still makes me laugh! I can’t convince her to like vegemite for breakfast but she does love weetbix now! 

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

DO YOUR RESEARCH! I read as many reviews as I could possibly find about the school, read the good, the bad and the ugly so you can make the most informed choice. Find out about the professional development opportunities (ie if you’re new to a curriculum, will they send you on training?). Good leadership is also essential, ideally you want those in positions of authority to have several years of classroom experience behind them so they can be supportive of decisions for staff as well as students. The internet is such a powerful research tool now, use google maps and google images to find out about the location of the school, if there is accommodation nearby that is affordable or will you need to spend a lot of time in transit to and from, check out expat forums to get an idea of salary or prices of food/travel/transport. 

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

Exhilarating, Challenging, Adventurous, Broadening, Inspiring

teacher

Thanks Cassandra!

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 one year free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school in the Singapore like Cassandra?  Currently, we have 24 international schools listed in Singapore on International School Community. 13 of them have had comments submitted on their profiles. Here are just a few of them:

EtonHouse International School (Singapore) (Singapore, Singapore)30 Comments
International School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)17 Comments
Nexus International School (Singapore, Singapore)22 Comments
One World International School (Singapore, Singapore)16 Comments
Overseas Family School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)26 Comments
Singapore American School (Singapore, Singapore)44 Comments
Stamford American International School (Singapore, Singapore)47 Comments

continue reading

Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Cambodia

February 5, 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.

Cambodia

Cambodia

Currently, we have 14 schools listed in Cambodia on International School Community.

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

Footprints International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)38 Comments
Hope International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)6 Comments
Ican British International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)64 Comments
International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP) (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)10 Comments
Logos International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)6 Comments
Northbridge International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)33 Comments
The Liger Learning Center (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)14 Comments
Western International School (Phnom Penh) (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)2 Comments
Jay Pritzker Academy (Siem Reap, Cambodia)23 Comments

Housing

“When you first arrive you get up to 10 days local housing on arrival, then you get $700 a month for a housing allowance.” – Jay Pritzker Academy

“Housing allowance is provided which, depending on where you want to live and what standard of housing you require, can cover part or entire cost of housing. If you share or live in more local style options, you can even save some of the allowance.” – Northbridge International School

“Annual housing allowance is Single $7920, Couple/Family – $12100.” – International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)

Cambodia

School Campus

“The Middle Years area has just been renovated to accommodate more students and create an outdoor basketball space on the roof. Grounds are geared towards primary school as this is the majority of students, and are very nice, however it is nice to have more for the older students now.” – Ican British International School

“The campus grounds span 11 hectares in countryside surroundings. The campus blends modern and traditional architecture. It is surrounded by padi fields.” – Jay Pritzker Academy

“New hub building for library and administration, new Primary buildings and renovated Secondary building. The setting is lovely on 8 green hectares (20 acres) of campus with well maintained gardens. Nice new playgrounds and use of pool attached to adjacent Northbridge communities.” – Northbridge International School

Types of Budgets for Teachers

“No budget to speak of. Annual ordering from overseas has to be approved by relevant Principal.” – International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)

“Budgets for resources are never an issue – if you have a good reason for purchasing something and can demonstrate the learning that it will support then you are generally approved. Art, Maths and Science materials are often ordered in from overseas and are of high quality.” – Ican British International School

“About $80/term (3 terms)” – Footprints International School

“Budgets are tightly controlled and not transparent. The accounting and purchasing systems are very difficult to negotiate.” – Northbridge International School

Cambodia

Kinds of Teachers that Work There

“1/2 of the teachers are from USA or Canada, with only a few being from the UK. The rest are Cambodian.” – Jay Pritzker Academy

“All of the teachers need to be degree qualified and registered teachers in their home countries. With the exception of language teachers, they need to have native or near native speaking level of English as this is the language of instruction. Almost all admin and support staff are local. Staff turnover is fairly high.” – Northbridge International School

“There are a few core teachers who have been there for years, and a lot of teachers on two-year contracts. Some stay for three. All are internationally qualified, some are locally hired, more internationally.” – Ican British International School

“13 nationalities – Filipino, American, Canadian, Australian, British, Cambodian – quite the mix.” – Footprints International School

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

Cambodia

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

continue reading

Information for Members

So Many International Schools WITHOUT Retirement Plans!

January 31, 2017


It is on all international school teachers’ minds. How am I helping to contribute to my future now (for after I retire) as a current teacher in the international school community?

retirement

Not that everything is all worry-free if you just stayed teaching and earning money in your home country, but living and teaching abroad can sound pretty risky to some people (maybe even many people).

If you are working at an international school that has an amazingly high salary with equally amazing benefits, then that is one story. Even if this type of school doesn’t actually offer a nice retirement plan benefit, you still have the opportunity to save a lot of money.

But if you are working at an international school and receiving a salary that helps you ‘just get by’ along with very average benefits (for example, there is not a retirement plan benefit that is on offer to you), then international school educators need to consider if the experience working at this type of international school is a good fit for their future plans.

Does an international school that doesn’t offer a retirement or pension plan benefit immediately equate to being a bad decision for your future? Not necessarily. If you are only planning on staying there for one to two years, then it shouldn’t make that big of a difference. If you receiving a high salary along with paid housing, not having an established pension plan benefit shouldn’t make that big of a difference because your savings potential is high.

retirement

But for those of us that are not so smart with money and don’t have the expertise to manage our own savings/retirement plan, it can definitely not bit a good fit to accept a teaching job at school that doesn’t offer retirement plan benefits.

We did a keyword search on our Comment Search feature and found a number of comments related to international schools that don’t offer a retirement or pension plan benefit.

We found 23 comments when we searched the short phase: “No retirement
Here are a few of those comments:

Amman Baccalaureate School (16) Total comments
No retirement plan right now is on offer as a benefit.”

Canadian International School (Tokyo) (50) Total comments
No retirement plan for teachers.”

We also searched the short phrase “No pension” and found 27 comments.
Here are a few of those comments:

Zhuhai International School (81) Total comments
“There are no pension plans from the school (included in the contract) although if you wished to establish one the office staff would be able to assist you in establishing one.”

Varee Chiang Mai International School (27) Total comments
There is no pension provision, but an end of contract gratuity is awarded in lieu.

On the more positive side, we had a quick search for this key phrase “matching” hoping to find comments related to international school that match the pension plan contribution of the teachers.  Here are a few of those comments:

American International School Vienna (38) Total comments
“Under the newest contract, teachers now have 10% matching for retirement fund commencing at first year. Certainly better if you’re there short-term, though perhaps not if you’d plan to stay 30 years.”

Hong Kong International School (110) Total comments
“I spend a lot of money here because I love to do eat out a lot, travel, and there are many things to do in the city. With that being said, I save about 1,300 USD a month, not counting the school severance/matching scheme which is another 1,300 USD.”

continue reading

Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Hong Kong

November 29, 2016


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.

international schools in hong kong

Hong Kong

Currently, we have 31 schools listed in Hong Kong on International School Community.

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

American International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)24 Comments
Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)79 Comments
Chinese International School (Hong Kong, China)9 Comments
Creative Secondary School (Hong Kong, China)39 Comments
Discovery College (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)17 Comments
German Swiss International School (Hong Kong, China)13 Comments
Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China)54 Comments
Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China)110 Comments
International Christian School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)19 Comments
Yew Chung International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)18 Comments

Allowances

“I was a local hire, so I didn’t get anything, but I don’t know if they have added this as a benefit.” – American International School (Hong Kong)

“You get an annual flight allowance of $1500 (around 11 644 HKD), but it is paid in 12 monthly installments.” – Creative Secondary School

“There are not many benefits, so it generally takes quite a bit of money initially to move here – paying apartment deposits, flights, etc. There is a small settling-in allowance, but it does not cover your expenses. The school offers a high salary, but not much in the way of benefits.” – Canadian International School (Hong Kong)

international schools in hong kong

Teacher Expectations

“It depends on who you ask at our school. There is a lot of work that you need to do. You are required to stay until 16h every day.” – Hong Kong International School

“Teachers normally teach 5 out of 8 blocks, plus an advisory lesson each week (and a 10 minute Homebase each morning).
There are a few after school/evening events during the year (back to school night, Graduation, PTCs etc), but nothing onerous.
ASAs are run by outside agencies, or usually receive some sort of stipend…. and are purely voluntary anyway.” – Hong Kong Academy

“They are reasonable. Teachers are expected to sponsor one club, but you can make up virtually anything. I had a “Culture Club” one year and took students on a monthly trip to explore one culture through theatre, arts, and cuisine.” – American International School (Hong Kong)

“The world is rather easy. You can show at 8 and complete at 3:30.” – Creative Secondary School

Pension Information

“Hong Kong has Mandatory Provident Fund. Teacher pays $1500/month direct deposit into account, directs where money goes (type of investment), and receives accrued money when leaving Hong Kong.” – Canadian International School (Hong Kong)

“Pension plan is a matching 3% on your salary.” – Hong Kong Academy

“You have to put money into a Provident fund, either 6% or 12% of your salary and the school matches the 6% or 12%. If you leave you have to take it out.” – Hong Kong International School

“There is a national plan…” – American International School (Hong Kong)

international schools in hong kong

Demeanor of Students

“The students are from middle-class families which do not like local schools, but too poor to send their children to international schools.” – Creative Secondary School

“The majority of students are polite, well-behaved, and serious about their studies. Teachers are sometimes concerned that students are too serious about grades, at the expense of creativity and balanced life outside academics.” – Canadian International School (Hong Kong)

“The students are pleasant enough, and as an inclusive school with a wide international catchment area are certainly a varied bunch which keeps things interesting. Serious behaviour issues are rare.” – Hong Kong Academy

“The kids I have taught are very motivated and engaged in my lessons.” – Hong Kong International School

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

international schools in hong kong

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

continue reading

The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Xian Hi-Tech International School in China

August 27, 2016


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 Xian Hi-Tech International School (Xian, China), described his way to work there as follows:

The road to XHIS…….

This is going to sound terribly stereotypical but one of the many reasons I love living in Shaanxi province is the potatoes! Now can you guess where I come from? I will tell you later. My journey to work each day is a very short one, but my journey to Xi’an has been a long one. I hope you enjoy reading about it.

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

My name is Brian Lalor and I am in my third year at Xi’an Hi-Tech International School, in Shaanxi province in China. We are a two programme IB world school and are working towards offering three of the four excellent IB programmes. Our school is small at present with only 270 students but we are at capacity and have an exciting move to a new purpose-built campus coming up in August 2017.

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

Each morning I get up and travel about four minutes to school! I know, the shortest ever commute, right? Our school is situated in residential area and all of our teachers’ apartments are located around the school. We are about 30 minutes from the city center in the southern suburbs. I ride my bicycle to school each day, that is why my journey is so short.

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

On my journey to school I pass through the morning market. Here local vendors sell fruit, vegetables, nuts and breads for very reasonable prices. One of the wonderful advantages to living in Xi’an is the potential to save money. It is much easier to live here when compared to other big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong. Our school pays for our apartment, flights, international health insurance and gives us a monthly allowance for living overseas. Before coming to Xi’an I worked in Ha Noi for nine years, and in Jakarta before that. Each city has its own advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantages living in Xi’an are the standard of healthcare and the bad pollution in Winter.

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

Some of the wonders Xi’an has to offer are as follows. We are literally just a short 25-minute car ride to the beautiful Qin Ling Mountains which provides us with a great way to escape the heat in summer and some lovely snowy landscapes in winter. Another highly attractive feature unique to this city, is its amazing millenary history, with archaeological sites found literally in every part of town, with the city wall being one of its main attractions. And who hasn’t heard of the world-famous “Terra Cota Warriors”. Xi’an was once the ancient capital of China so as you can imagine there are lots to see in and around the community.

If you have not guessed it I am born and bread Irish. Oh those lovely potatoes! The food here is incredible and you could literally have a potato dish, every day of the week. Some noodles are even made out of potato here!

155595-linebreak

This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author and International School Community member.

What to know more what it is like to visit and live in China?  Out of a total of 165 international schools there are 110 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Beijing BISS International School (Beijing, China)36 Comments

Beijing City International School (Beijing, China)31 Comments

Beijing International Bilingual Academy (Beijing, China)35 Comments

International School of Beijing (Beijing, China)25 Comments

Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China)95 Comments

Western Academy Beijing (Beijing, China)43 Comments

Changchun American International School (Changchun, China)50 Comments

QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China)64 Comments

Guangdong Country Garden School (Foshan, China)48 Comments

Guangzhou Huamei International School (Guangzhou, China)48 Comments

Harbin No. 9 High School International Division (Songbei Campus) (Harbin, China)45 Comments

American International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)24 Comments

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)69 Comments

Creative Secondary School (Hong Kong, China)39 Comments

Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China)34 Comments

Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China)104 Comments

Canadian International School Kunshan (Kunshan, China)28 Comments

Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan, China)41 Comments

Access International Academy (Ningbo) (Ningbo, China)48 Comments

British International School Shanghai – Puxi (Shanghai, China)35 Comments

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)86 Comments

Shanghai American School – Puxi (Shanghai, China)39 Comments

Shanghai Community International School (Shanghai, China)33 Comments

Shanghai Rego International School (CLOSED) (Shanghai, China)74 Comments

Shanghai United International School (Shanghai, China)40 Comments

Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China)204 Comments

Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)27 Comments

Buena Vista Concordia International School (Shenzhen, China)39 Comments

International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (Shenzhen, China)26 Comments

QSI International School of Shekou (Shenzhen, China)20 Comments

Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)47 Comments

Wellington College International Tianjin (Tianjin, China)54 Comments

EtonHouse International Schools, Wuxi (Wuxi, China)49 Comments

Xian Hi-Tech International School (Xian, China)54 Comments

Zhuhai International School (Zhuhai, China)59 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.

continue reading

Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Beijing, China

June 1, 2016


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.

IMG_4337 IMG_4296

Beijing, China

Currently, we have 25 schools listed in Beijing on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:

Beijing City International School (Beijing, China)31 Comments
Beijing BISS International School (Beijing, China)41 Comments
Beijing International Bilingual Academy (Beijing, China)35 Comments
Beijing National Day School (Beijing, China)38 Comments
Western Academy Beijing (Beijing, China)43 Comments
Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China)93 Comments

Hiring Policy

“You’ll notice in the above comments that the school “prefers” certified teachers. It doesn’t require them. When I worked there there were very few accredited teachers.” – Tsinghua International School Beijing

“The school prefers candidates with at least a BA degree and teaching certification, also previous IB experience. They can’t hire anyone over 60.” – Beijing BISS International School

“Initial contracts are for one year; subsequent contracts are for two or three years. After the initial contract, it is possible for a teacher to terminate employment at the end of any school year without prejudice, provided that proper notice is given.” – Beijing National Day School

Housing Benefits

“Get a flex account to spend on housing and travel. Housing rents vary considerably. Some quite pricey but depends on what you want. There are lots of cheaper options. Prices are going up though. Utilities quite reasonable. Internet and Tv often included in rent. Heating is provided by Beijing authorities. Electricity reasonable as are other bills. Phone very cheap.” – Western Academy Beijing

“Local rents run around 7000 RMB for a two bedroom, partially furnished apartment. Housing is very expensive. When looking for an apartment realize that what you see is what you get. The landlord will not paint or clean up before you move in.” – Tsinghua International School Beijing

“Teachers are responsible for paying their own metered electric utility, telephone, the Internet, and water bills. A flat monthly housing allowance of between RMB 3,000 and RMB 4,000 is optional.” – Beijing National Day School

“Housing is paid for. Utilities are up to the teacher, but are reasonable. I lived in a newer complex within walking distance of school. Starting your second year you can choose to live downtown and get a housing allowance.” – Beijing International Bilingual Academy

School Location

“Urban, yes, but a 40 minute subway ride from other westerners.” – Beijing National Day School

“Teacher housing is on site. They are ok. Big enough but heating is an issue in the winter. Most new staff live off site in one of the compounds within 30min walk (5min cab away).” – Beijing International Bilingual Academy

“Staff mostly take taxis to work in the morning, but can take the school busses home in the afternoon.” – Western Academy Beijing

“Most of the staff live in Wudaukou (three bus stops south) and Shangdi (eight bus stops north). It is recommended to live in these areas the first year until you get your feet under you and learn to get around. Most staff have furnished apartments. Housing is expensive and the housing allowance does not cover the cost of rent. Next year the housing allowance will almost double. That doesn’t cover all the average rent in the area but comes a lot closer.” – Tsinghua International School Beijing

Language of Students

“Again, the comment above is accurate, but misleading. Students are Chinese with American or Canadian passports. Many had spent little to no time outside of China. This is not a bad thing, the students were great, but don’t think you’ll be teaching at a school with a large mix of nationalities. This is very much a Chinese school.” – Tsinghua International School Beijing

“Other than Kazakh, among some students on immersion programme, Mandarin dominates. Most posters and school information is mono-lingual.” – Beijing National Day School

“Common language is English. ESOL support good and in ES will go into an English enrichment programme before exited to other languages. Some children will speak own languages but predominantly English” – Western Academy Beijing

“Definitely Chinese in the hall ways and recess areas. English level is improving slowly but still has a long way to go.” – Beijing International Bilingual Academy

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

IMG_4211 IMG_4018

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

continue reading

Blogs of International Teachers

International School Teacher Blogs: “The Roaming Filipina” (A counselor working at Shekou International School in Shenzhen, China)

April 11, 2016


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?

Our 44th blog that we would like to highlight is called “The Roaming Filipina”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who works at Shekou International School in Shenzhen, China.

Screenshot 2016-04-09 11.10.31

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

How Did I Get Here?

“I attended my first Search fair in Cambridge, MA and came away with interview experience, but no job. ISM even left me a “thanks, but no thanks” note.  Frustrated, but undeterred.  Through that experience I learned that it wasn’t really about moving to the Philippines anymore, but about fulfilling my desire to explore the world.

About 2 weeks after the Cambridge fair, one listing caught my eye.  A listing for a whole school counselor at a school in Uzbekistan. YES UZBEKISTAN.  I waited a day or two to think about whether or not I really wanted to apply to this school.  Afterall, it is in a country that I knew so little about.  My boyfriend gave me a weird look, but said that I should do it if it’s what I really want.  I also sent resumes to more schools in the East Asia/SE Asia region and even considered teaching English somewhere.  But after perusing the school’s site thoroughly and reading every article I could possibly find on Google, I started to imagine myself living in Central Asia. It didn’t seem so bad.

I interviewed with the two principals and Head of School on Skype.  After a few days, they asked if I wanted to meet face to face in California. I was offered the position and I immediately accepted.  I spent three GREAT years in Uzbekistan…”

Getting your first job overseas is always exciting and typically makes for a great story to tell your international school teacher friends. 

Want to read more about what “newbies” to international school teaching should know about?  Check out our blog series called “For the Newbies.

Surviving the International School Job Fairs

Day Two and Three – Saturday & Sunday

This is THE HEART of the fair. It is the day you sign-up for interviews and will likely do all your initial interviews during this time. Do:

• WEAR YOUR POWER SUIT – DRESS TO IMPRESS

• organize your resumes, laptop, etc. I preferred to keep my laptop/iPad with me so I can work on stuff outside of my room – saved a lot of time vs. going back to my room between interviews.

• agree to interviews with schools that you’re not sure you’re interested in. Good for practice and you never know – it might be a GREAT fit for you.

• find a quiet corner besides your room to chill between interviews – you just never know who is walking around. Visibility is important.

• breathmints – use them

• prioritize which school tables you want to hit first during sign-ups. Some schools are REALLY popular so you might want to go to the ones that have shorter lines first and get interviews lined up.

• if you get a “fast pass”  – direct invitation from the school to bypass the line to schedule an interview, HIT THOSE SCHOOLS FIRST

• try to get to the interview 10 minutes before – don’t schedule your interviews so close together that you’d be late. Also – keep in mind that hotel elevators will be really busy, especially if there are 200+ candidates rushing to interviews...

Great advice from an experience international school teacher. Going to the recruitments fairs with a plan of attack is always a good choice.  Knowing ahead of time what to expect can better help you manage your emotions throughout the fair experience.

For more advice check out our blog series called Nine Lessons Learned Regarding International School Hiring Fairs.”  As a sneak peek, lesson number one is “Bad interviews are good things.

************************************

Want to work for an international school in China like this blogger?  Currently, we have 160 international schools listed in this country. 109 have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Wellington College International Tianjin (Tianjin, China)47 Comments
EtonHouse International Schools, Wuxi (Wuxi, China)49 Comments
Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)47 Comments
Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China)202 Comments
British International School Shanghai – Puxi (Shanghai, China)35 Comments
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)77 Comments
Access International Academy (Ningbo) (Ningbo, China)48 Comments
Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China)92 Comments
Creative Secondary School (Hong Kong, China)39 Comments
Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)55 Comments
QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China)64 Comments
Guangdong Country Garden School (Foshan, China)48 Comments
Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China)93 Comments
Western Academy Beijing (Beijing, China)43 Comments

Additionally, there are 264 International School Community members who currently live in China. Check out which ones and where they work here.  Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!

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

continue reading

Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Singapore

August 13, 2015


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.

IMG_0166IMG_0099

Singapore

Currently, we have 23 schools listed in Singapore on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:
EtonHouse International School (Singapore) (30 comments)
ACS (International) Singapore (10 comments)
International School Singapore (17 comments)
One World International School (16 comments)
Overseas Family School Singapore (16 comments)
Singapore American School (17 comments)
St. Joseph’s Institution International (7 comments)

School’s Location

“The 2 campuses are in the west side and east side of the city. The west side, Lakeside, is on the MRT line that will go into the city centre. The east coast campus, Tanjong Katong, you need to take a bus to the MRT which will then go into the city. The bus will also take you into downtown within about half an hour to 40 mins depending on where you live. Most staff take the MRT (subway) or a bus to school. Many also ride bicycles. You choose where you want to live, so you can be as close or as far as you want from the school.” – Canadian International School (Singapore)

“The campus is located in the east coast of Singapore close to East Coast Park and seafront. It is approximately 8 kilometres from CBD & 15 kilometres to the airport.” – Etonhouse International School (Singapore)

“It has an excellent location. It is right next to the Orchard Road metro stop. 5-10 minute walk from that metro station exit. Orchard Road is one of the main shopping and commercial distract. Plenty of malls, stores and food options. Teachers don’t tend to live centrally because it can be more expensive.” – International School Singapore

“The school campus is in the eastern area/coast of Singapore. It could take you 20 minutes or so to get to the center of the city.” – One World International School

Hiring Policy

“SAS attends the London Fair, but many teachers are also hired via Skype interview.” – Singapore American School

“OFS normally does not advertise and they do not go to any recruiting fairs. Hiring process is by CV received and the need of what teacher for the next year.” – Overseas Family School Singapore

“I interviewed with this school last March. It was over Skype with the elementary principal. She was very nice. The interview was professional, but also a bit informal which is what I prefer, a more casual conversation about my teaching experience and the school. I actually was emailed again to have a 2nd interview. After the 2nd interview I was told that they were going to go with a local hire. She told me that they have hired expat in the past that have been surprised (not prepared) to handle the high cost of living in Singapore vs. the salary and benefits of the school.” – International School Singapore

“The school prefers to hire western expatriates with at least 3 to 5 years experience. 60 years old is the age limit for hiring. Singapore has stringent entry criteria so single teachers are preferred by the school.” – Etonhouse International School (Singapore)

Housing Allowance

“Refund of actual rent amount and allowance up to a cap of US$1000 per month.” – Singapore American School

“You get 2000 Singapore dollars for a housing allowance (which is included in your salary) for a single teacher.” – International School Singapore

“Housing allowance is more like 1500 USD.” – One World International School

“Housing is 2000$, quite low considering cost of living.” – Etonhouse International School (Singapore)

Other Benefits

“Settling-in allowance 750 Sing. Moving allowance 500 Sing. Flight allowance is every two years. Teachers get free lunch at school.” – Etonhouse International School (Singapore)

“There is a paid flight here and back to the country of origin at the end of that first contract. Flights remain at every two years after the first contract. There is an allowance of 1000 Singapore dollars at the beginning and end of the contract to transport personal effects.” – International School Singapore

“I got 350 USD for a moving allowance. You get a return airfare to your home every two years.” – One World International School

“Annual home leave (excursion fare), based on home of record. Settling-in allowance is $1500, double for married couples. There is a moving allowance, it is based on weight/volume.” – Singapore American School

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

IMG_0093IMG_0084

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

continue reading

Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Tokyo, Japan

June 13, 2015


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.

IMG_0201 IMG_0191

Tokyo, Japan

Currently, we have 23 schools listed in Tokyo on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:
American School in Japan (Tokyo, Japan)20 Comments
Canadian International School (Tokyo) (Tokyo, Japan)41 Comments
Makuhari International School (Tokyo, Japan)23 Comments
Seisen International School (Tokyo, Japan)51 Comments
New International School of Japan (Tokyo, Japan)16 Comments
St. Mary’s International School (Tokyo, Japan)15 Comments

Average amount of money left to be saved?

“Most teachers can save around 20% here.” – St. Mary’s International School

“Maybe around 16000 USD a year for single teachers.” – Seisen International School

“Single teachers should be able to save around 12000 USD a year.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

“Some single teachers and teaching couples can save over 25000 USD a year. – American School in Japan

Sports programs

“The school has zero proper sports programs and has no interest in implementing one. No specialist p.e. teachers” – Makuhari International School

“The school has a complete PE programme in all grades, as well as an active sports programme (basketball, volleyball, soccer, futsal).Two full-time PE teachers are an integral part of the faculty.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

“Many activities of ASIJ’s close-knit faculty center around the school, including musical and theatrical performances, ikebana, martial arts, cycling, aerobics, tennis, swimming, basketball and volleyball.” – American School in Japan

“The school offers a wide variety of extra curricular activities for all levels. These include such team sports as cross-country, tennis, wrestling, swimming, basketball, soccer, track and field, and baseball. Fine arts and activities offered include vocal and instrumental music, speech, debate, drama, musical, student government and publications.” – St. Mary’s International School

School Building

“ASIJ has two campuses offering outstanding facilities. The Early Learning Center is located in the Roppongi area of Tokyo serving ages 3-5 with an exciting educational program. The Chofu campus houses three divisions in separate buildings on a 14-acre site located in Tokyo’s western suburbs. This campus includes three gyms, an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, two athletic fields, three libraries with over 70,000 titles and a new 570-seat, state-of-the-art theater incorporating a flexible main auditorium, black box theater, choir and practice rooms and a digital video studio. All classrooms are air-conditioned.” – American School in Japan

“The school is set in 3 separate building, one being a 5 minute walk and the other across the road. Crossing the road is quite a safety hazard with the kindergarten class due to taxis over taking them whilst they are on the crossing and the local police not doing anything to monitor this. There is no proper play area and students are taken to local parks for lunch breaks, which is difficult when having to share with babies. No proper gym areas make p.e quite difficult.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

“The school occupies two complete buildings and parts of two others in Minami-Ikebukuro, right next to Zoshigaya. It is convenient to several trains and subways, including Ikebukuro Station, which is one of the hubs around the city center.” – New International School of Japan

“The school is in an older building. However, the furniture and classroom supplies are all up-to-date for collaborative teaching and learning.” – Seisen International School

Housing

“Housing allowance is USD1,200/month. Teacher pays for utilities.” – St. Mary’s International School

“Landlords in Japan have a lot of rights. For example, the apartment needs to be returned to it original condition or a lot of money will be coming out of your deposit. Many apartment require a ‘gift fee’ for the landlord. For example, giving 1 or 2 months rent as a gift to the landlord. Most apartments you forfeit your cleaning deposit when you leave.” – Seisen International School

“Accommodation allowance is very poor compared to rental cost. The school pushes expensive housing on new teachers which are 120000yen ($1200) a month. housing around the school is quite expensive.” – Makuhari International School

“Housing allowance is 600$ in cash.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

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

IMG_0101 IMG_9985

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

continue reading

Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Travelling Teacher” (A teacher working at Chatsworth International School)

May 22, 2015


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

Our 41st blog that we would like to highlight is called “Travelling Teacher: Working in an International School Overseas”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who currently works at Chatsworth International School in Singapore.

Screenshot 2015-05-22 16.30.46

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

New Staff Orientation

“The next morning bright and early at 8.30 am a fancy Dulwich College Suzhou.

The coach pulls up at my compound (you can see some of the fleet more than 30 school coaches in the background of the school grounds here). I was sooo tired after my journey the previous day encompassing three airports, two flights and over 24 hours travelling. At least I wasn’t the only one-there were 35 new hires on board equally bleary-eyed. Off we went to get our SIM cards for China.

Then it was off for lunch with the Headmaster and some of the rest of the staff, followed by a shopping trip to WalMart for housewares and food! I sure wasn’t expecting to go shopping in a store that is so familiar to me.

The following day the coach took us to an Ikea store (another big surprise for me that this store was in China) for anything else we wanted for our apartments. What a hoot seeing sleeping babies in the show-rooms with equally exhausted adults! I’m impressed with the care the school is taking to settle us new staff-members in.…”

New teacher orientation is super important!  All international school aim for a smooth transition for their new hires. 

Want to read more about some new teacher orientation must-haves at international schools?  Check out our popular blog category called “New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves.” 

International Substitute Teaching

“I got my current job as an English B teacher at Chatsworth International School in Singapore through an agency called True Teaching. This was a very different experience than the ‘meat market’ feeling of the large recruiting fair  I went to in London for my job in China. Instead I registered with True Teaching for their Flying Squad for International Substitute/Supply teaching. After a personal interview with Skype online I was offered several overseas placements and accepted my job in Singapore.

http://www.trueteaching.com

It is good to know how an international school does to hire new teachers. It gives you great insight on how YOU can get a job there! 

Want to learn more about how international school teachers get hired at international schools around the world?  Luckily, we have a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this theme called “Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?”  Here are a few examples of comments from this topic:

‘The school has a low turnover of teachers and does not participate in recruiting fairs. The Director responds to cv’s received from whatever source. Teacher qualification is required. Experience with Scottish curriculum ideal.’ – New International School of Japan (Tokyo, Japan)16 Comments

‘There are many internal hires (e.g. local hires) that happen at CIS. These are candidates that have been substitute teachers here for a year or so. Vacancies pop up here all the time, so the local candidates are very eager to secure full time positions (e.g. continuing contracts).’ – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)231 Comments

‘The previous school director attended the Search Associates recruiting fair in London. The new director has used the CIS website, Search Associates website, and the school’s website to post the new vacancies at the school.’ –American School of Bilbao (Bilbao, Spain)10 Comments

************************************

Want to work for an international school in Singapore like this blogger?  Currently, we have 21 international schools listed in this country. Here are a few that have had comments submitted on them:

• ACS (International) Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)10 Comments
• 
Australian International School (Singapore) (Singapore, Singapore)4 Comments
• 
Canadian International School (Singapore) (Singapore, Singapore)9 Comments
• 
Chatsworth International School (Singapore, Singapore)6 Comments
• 
EtonHouse International School (Singapore) (Singapore, Singapore)30 Comments
• 
International School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)17 Comments
• 
One World International School (Singapore, Singapore)16 Comments
• 
Overseas Family School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)16 Comments
• 
Singapore American School (Singapore, Singapore)11 Comments
• 
St. Joseph’s Institution International (Singapore, Singapore)7 Comments

Additionally, there are 41 International School Community members who currently live in South Korea. Check out which ones and where they work here.  Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!

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

continue reading

Video Highlight

Video Highlight: The British Schools – Montevideo (An international school in Uruguay)

May 7, 2015


There are a few international schools to work at in Montevideo!  How do these schools stand out from each other?

Screenshot 2015-05-07 17.25.17

The British Schools – Montevideo

How many international schools can boast about being over 100 years old?  According to the international schools listed on our website, there are 33 international schools with a founding year of before 1900.

So how great this school in Uruguay put together a tribute video to the history of their school.

Looking at all the old pictures really gives a good glimpse into their past students, the past school grounds, and the past staff that has worked there over the years.

It is hard to imagine what life as an international school teacher was like back then.  How did that school find the teachers to work there?  Were they hired locally or from abroad? Did they move their stuff and themselves by ship from the USA or England (or ???)?

In parts of the video, it seems like there was maybe a separation being the boys and girls at one point. It could be that they had different sections of the school for different genders.  Also, it appears as if sports and competitions are/were an important part of this school’s programme.

Looking at all the people in the video, it reminds us that working at an international school is truly working as part of a family.  And not just the current family, but the past family too. If you are lucky to get a job at an international school, you are a part of that school’s history forever.  It is great how an international school starts something one year, and then it continues year after year becoming a tradition; which makes each international school a unique and interesting place to work.

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 93 international schools listed in South America.  Here are a just a few of them (the number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right of the link):

• Colegio Panamericano (Bucaramanga, Colombia)34 Comments
• Colegio Granadino Manizales (Manizales, Colombia)43 Comments
• Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito (Quito, Ecuador)31 Comments
• American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay)58 Comments
• Uruguayan American School (Montevideo, Uruguay)32 Comments
• Colegio International de Carabobo (Carabobo, Venezuela)21 Comments
• Escuela Las Morochas (Ciudad Ojeda, Venezuela)28 Comments

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in South America, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  Become a Mayor of one of these schools and you will receive unlimited premium access to International School Community for free!

continue reading

Surveys

New Survey: How many people are leaving your international school at the end of this school year?

March 8, 2015


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  How many people are leaving your international school at the end of this school year?

Screenshot 2015-03-08 21.57.33It is always a mix of emotions when you or your colleagues are leaving the school. Change is good, but change can be hard.  It is not the best feeling in the world to find out one of your closest colleagues is leaving. On the flip side, you might be elated to hear that a certain annoying colleagues is leaving as well!

There are many reasons why teachers leave their current international school. Maybe they have come to the conclusion that the benefits are just too low for the lifestyle that they want to live.  If you are worrying too much about money, it might be time to move on to another international school.

Teachers also might be leaving because the international school that they are at is going in a direction that does not make sense for their career anymore. A new director might have started this year and is making too many changes to the school that you just don’t agree with.

There are many, many more reasons teachers decide to leave.

International schools know that teachers come and go for a variety of reasons, but it’s true that they don’t want too many people leaving at once.  It could give a bad reputation to the school, having so many staff leaving at once.  It could also cost the school a fair amount of money trying to recruit and replace the teachers who are leaving. If you need to recruit for so many people, it is also possible that the school won’t find that many quality candidates.

But, many international schools go through cycles of low and high turnover rates.  It is pretty normal.  The best international schools just know how to deal with those cycles in the best ways.

Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today on How many people are leaving your international school at the end of this school year?

You can check out the latest voting results here.

*************************************

We actually have a comment topic related this to this issue. It is called: Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.

Right now there are over 670 individual comments (about 100s of different international schools) in this comment topic on our website.  Here are a few of them:

“Spanish teachers are Guatemalan, most other teachers are from North America. Turnover varies with most renewing their contract at least once. Large percentage of teachers have a masters and there are local opportunities to work towards a masters at a reduced cost.” – The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (Guatemala City, Guatemala)– 40 Comments

“All teaching staff are fully qualified. Most are British, with some Australians, South Africans and Filipina. turnover is high. Last year 40% left. Most leave due to the lowish salary rather than because they are unhappy with the school.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 17 Comments

“There seem to be a lot of Australian, Canadian, British and American teachers. A few New Zealanders, too. In all grades up to Grade 2 there are local assistants in each class. From talking to the teachers here, there is a turnover of staff, but it’s not huge. People seem to be pretty happy with the school.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 65 Comments

continue reading

Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Farleys Far Away” (An American teaching couple at Korea International School Seoul)

February 19, 2015


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

Our 40th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Farleys Far Away”  Check out the blog entries of these international school educators who work at Korea International School (Seoul) in South Korea.

Screenshot 2015-02-19 21.28.16

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

How Did This Happen?

“A very, very long time ago, Jim decided to teach in Taipei, Taiwan. He lived there for 2 years and met me when he got back. That was 12 long awesome years ago. This entire time he’s told me how he would like to move back to East Asia. For 11 years I said, “No. Way. Jose.

Then, at the beginning of this school year, there were rumblings of change at my school. Our state assessment scores left something to be desired (something being, native English speakers from the middle or upper class) and there are a couple of ways the district “fixes” this problem. One of those ways is by letting all the teachers go. If you have tenure, like me, they’ll place you for one year, then after that year, you’re on your own. It’s pretty bleak and I was sad to leave a staff of extremely talented, caring teachers, but what can you do? I know what you can do-you can leave the country!

We signed up for the Overseas Recruitment Fair at the University of Northern Iowa. That was an intense weekend. On the flight to Cedar Rapids we were sitting next to the middle school principal at Korea International School. Korea hadn’t really been on the radar, but after a brief interview on Sunday, and then several Skype interviews, and a little bit of research into life in Korea we were on our way.

That’s how it happened. 11 years of convincing and one quick weekend of deciding…”

Many times you need to wait until the right moment in time to start your career in international school teaching. Some teachers wait one year while others wait 12!

Want to learn more about what it is like to go to an international school recruitment fair?  Check out our popular blog category called “9 Lessons Learned Regarding International School Hiring Fairs.” 

Really? But Jim’s Out of Town

“Let me start by saying, everyone is fine. But we’re experiencing the health care system here in Korea. On Sunday, about 15 minutes before Jim left for his trip to Singapore, I had him check out August’s *ahem* you know. Well, things weren’t looking so good down there (it turns out August has a hernia). I called the director of KIS‘ wife, who is a nurse. She was very reassuring over the phone, so I allowed Jim to go to Singapore.

My boss recommended I get him checked out at the Baylor Clinic in Jeongja, which is very close to us. We found the building with no problem and made it to the clinic-on the 2nd floor. There are 2 floors to the clinic. Both say “Baylor Clinic” in English, but the rest is in Korean. The 2nd floor clinic had people in the waiting room, but no receptionist. We sat and as I looked around, I saw at least 2 signs that said “Audiology” so we decided to go to the 3rd floor clinic.

When we got there, I called Raina, our bilingual school nurse, and had her talk to the receptionist. It turns out the Baylor Clinic is an ENT. Good for a sore throat but probably not so good below the waist. However, Raina found out that there is a pediatrician on the 6th floor of the same building. Awesome.

As we waited for the elevator in front of a bank, a teller ran out and handed August a handful of candy, so he was in good spirits about the trip. He seriously had like 8 pieces of candy in his hands.

Ah yes, this is more like it…”

It is hard to know what going to the hospital will be like when living in a foreign country. You sure have some great memorable moments and not so great moments.  

Want to learn more about what international school teachers think of the local hospitals in their host countries?  Luckily, we have a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this theme called “Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.”  Here are a few examples of comments from this topic:

‘We have insurance with Metlife valid throughout the world. We also have a supplemental emergency medical evacuation insurance with AMREF. There is basic local care, but for serious or more difficult cases, evacuation to either South Africa or Nairobi is necessary.’ – International School of Tanganyika  (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 140 Comments

‘Health insurance is okay, not great, but not awful. Co-pays range from 10-20% at some more expensive hospitals and international medical centres. Dental coverage included but again 0-30% copay depending on the procedure (cavities are covered 100%, root canals are not, for example). Local hospitals are a mixed bag. Some great, some very “Chinese” in their approach to medicine. Would recommend that you ask coworkers for referrals and get prior approval from insurance company whenever possible. In Shanghai, you will be able to find a competent, western-educated specialist in any & every medical field, although you may have to search a bit.’ – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 50 Comments

Want to work for an international school in South Korea like this blogger?  Currently, we have 28 international schools listed in this country. Here are a few that have had comments submitted on them:

• Daegu International School (Daegu, South Korea) – 15 Comments
• International School of Koje (Geoje, South Korea) – 51 Comments
Dwight School Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 35 Comments
• Seoul Foreign School  (Seoul, South Korea) – 45 Comments
• Seoul International School  (Seoul, South Korea) – 82 Comments
• Colegio Granadino Manizales (Manizales, Colombia) – 43 Comments
Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 57 Comments

Additionally, there are 63 International School Community members who currently live in South Korea. Check out which ones and where they work here.  Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!

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

continue reading

Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Teach. Travel. Taste.” (An American teacher at Colegio Panamericano)

January 17, 2015


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

Our 39th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Teach. Travel. Taste. A peek into the life of an American teacher in Colombia”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who has worked at Colegio Panamericano in Colombia.

Screenshot 2015-01-17 19.55.23

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

What Now?

“Soon I’ll be on way to South America to teach 1st grade in an international school! While the prospect of going down to 1st grade is terrifying, even if it’s only one step down, I couldn’t be more excited (and nervous) for this change. To answer some of the questions I’ve been receiving: This is a two-year contract…at that point, I’ll see how I’m feeling. I will be teaching in English with my own classroom, literally identical to here in the states. They use the Common Core standards, Daily 5/CAFE literacy model, Everyday Math, and more American-based curriculums. They speak Spanish in Colombia, though naturally every country (and city!) has its own dialect and slang. I know it’ll be a rough adjustment, not only coming from English everyday for the last two years, but also because the Spanish I got okay at was “Spain-spanish”. One of my ultimate goals in doing this, however, is to become truly fluent…not stumble along in broken Spanglish with my students’ parents as I have been doing. Any other questions, please comment…”

So exciting to get your brain thinking about your future move to your new country. So many things to be thinking about! 

Good to know a bit about how the school runs and about their curriculum too, so you can plan ahead. 

Want to learn even more about what new programs and curriculum that international schools are taking on?  We have a comment topic called “Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.).”  Currently there are 183 individual comments in this comment topic talking about 100s of different international schools. Check them out by doing a search for the school you want to know about here.

A Few Thoughts on Being Home

“As it always is when you move to another culture, you find that you miss certain parts of your own culture, while discovering that parts of your new culture really make a lot of sense if you stop to think. Being home was great, but vacations are always a bit haphazard and I’m ready to get back to my regular routine…”

It is always a mixed bag of emotions when taking a trip back to your home country.  The culture that you surround yourself in 24/7 in your host country is now gone and you are surrounded by your home country culture. 

It is good to go back home, and many veteran international school teachers can relate to just wanting to get back to you host country and your daily routine there.

Want to learn even more about what international school teachers think of the local customs in their host country?  We have a new comment topic called “What are some locals customs (regarding eating, drinking and going out, family, socializing, etc.) that you find interesting for expats to know about?”  Here is an example of one of them:

‘If you travel somewhere, you are expected to bring back “omiyage” snacks for co-workers and friends; these are normally or other sweets that happen to be the specialty of whatever city or region you have visited and which you can pick up at any train station when you are on your way back.’ – Hiroshima International School (Hiroshima, Japan) – 64 Comments

Want to work for an international school in Colombia like this blogger?  Currently, we have 17 international schools listed in this country. Here are a few that have had comments submitted on them:

• Colegio Karl C. Parrish (Barranquilla, Colombia) – 24 Comments
• Colegio Anglo Colombiano (Bogota, Colombia) – 17 Comments
• Colegio Nueva Granada (Bogota, Colombia) – 15 Comments
• Colegio Panamericano  (Bucaramanga, Colombia) – 34 Comments
• Colegio Albania (La Guajira, Colombia) – 19 Comments
• Colegio Granadino Manizales (Manizales, Colombia) – 43 Comments
 Columbus School Medellin (Medellin, Colombia) – 22 Comments
• Fundacion Liceo Ingles (Pereira) (Pereira, Colombia) – 28 Comments

There are 11 International School Community members who currently live in Colombia. Check out which ones and where they work here.  Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!

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

continue reading

How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #6: Spend tons of money during your trip back home

December 21, 2014


We all hear about the big possibility of saving money while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t save much of any money.  So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?

7408488456_140de6e14e_z

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #6 – Spend tons of money during your trip back home

Of course you go back to your home country to spend time with your friends and family. It is important to go back at least once a year to see them in person and hang out like before you moved abroad. Even if you are able to Skype a lot with these people throughout the year, you can’t beat getting a hug from them in person!

boots2We all know though that there is something else on our minds when we go back home…and that is shopping!  We all have those go-to-stores that we must visit.  If you are from the United States, then it might be Target. If you are from England, then it might be Boots. Finding time to do a bit of shopping in these stores is a must!

Maybe clothes are cheaper in your home country. Buy them!

Are some toiletries cheaper and are there brands that you can’t get in your host country? Buy them!

Did you bring an extra suitcase in your other suitcase just for putting the stuff you bought from your trip back home? Buy even more!

Now to food.

Food is extremely important when living abroad. One of the best parts of living abroad is trying the local products and food delicacies, but having a bit of the food from your home country around can be quite comforting.

Img00003Everyone has their own food that they want to buy and bring back to their host country. What one teacher might bring back, another teacher might say why. To each their own really.  We all have those things that we want and that is how life goes as an expat.

But, the key is not to let your home country purchases get outta hand!  “Oh, I’ll just buy one of these and two of those” one day. The next day you find yourself saying, “Oh, I better buy one more of each!”  Purchase after purchase, the amount you spend goes up and up.

It is easy to get caught up in the mainframe of “well, I am only here one time a year, so I better stock up.”  Though that is true, saying it over and over in your head can increase your purchases even more than you were expecting (not allowing your save your money as it were!).

How can you then keep your purchases under control? One key rule to keep in mind: only buy things that you for sure can’t already buy in your host country.

Is it true that the longer you live abroad, the less things that you buy when you go back home? Or maybe it is that you get smarter about the things you let yourself purchase. Some might say both of those statements are not true at all and that we are all subject to the temptation of buying products from our homeland when we go back for a visit and putting our savings plan on hold for a bit.

Happy shopping back home and bringing those items back to your home abroad!

****************************

We do have a comment topic on our website related to the theme of what food items you might want/need to bring to your new host country (don’t go overboard though!).  It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites.

“There are almost no British/Australian/NZ/Canadian/American food items that can’t be found in Bangkok nowadays. Items from home tend to be expensive though, so you you may wish to pack a couple of jars of Marmite/Vegemite and your favourite tea bags.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 11 Comments

“Sometimes, items are in abundance, and other times they are scarce, such as peanut butter.” – Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – 68 Comments

“We can get nearly everything. Rooibos tea is hard to find, but everything basic is easy to get.” – Qatar Academy (Doha) (Doha, Qatar) – 56 Comments

“There is a very large supermarket 5 minutes walk from the school. It has a wide variety of products. (Greater variety than Danish supermarkets)” – International School of Helsinki (Helsinki, Finland) – 30 Comments

continue reading

How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #3: Send money home every month (Mortgage, College Debt, etc.)

May 25, 2014


We all hear about the big possibility of saving money while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t save much of any money.  So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #3 – Send money home every month to pay your mortgage, college debt, etc.)

DSC_9710Not all teachers decide to move abroad because they have a sense for adventure. It is because they need to save some money to pay off their debts; which we all know is something hard to accomplish as a teacher back in your home country!

Do you have a similar story?  You just finish getting your Bachelor’s degree and teaching license at a good university (working part-time as well of course). Then you take out one loan (a big one at that) to do your 15-month Master’s degree programme (while continuing to work part-time!).  Finally you receive your license and luckily get a teaching job straight away. You just start getting into the world of the working adult while just starting to pay off your student loans. The payment is so small each month, you hardly see any of your loan amount going down. Then you hear about a programme that states if you work continuously in a school of high poverty for five years, that your government will take some money off of your total loan amount. Finally after working six years and getting a part of your loan paid off by the government, you find it is the right time to finally teach abroad like your friends are doing.  Unfortunately, you DSC_4746still have some of your student loan left to be paid (even after you receive the help from the government).  Also during this time, you bought a house and now have a mortgage payment as well.  Deciding it might be a good idea to rent out your house while you teach abroad, you continue to own it while you set off to your first placement.  To make a long story short, you have two monthly payments that are not going to stop anytime soon.

So the big question is, do you work abroad to save money to pay off your loans or do you work abroad to enjoy the wonderful expat life of traveling and exploring the world?  Can you do both?  Many of us try!

Your original goal of paying off your debt with all this extra money you are making teaching abroad might not happen as quickly as you had originally hoped.  I mean there is always another break coming up and a trip to be planned! And I don’t need to remind you that you might also find your travel money dwindling away as you continue to make those student loan and house payments.  Thus the cycle continues; whatever savings you start to have to help you pay off your loans just gets sucked away into whatever you need to pay for at the time.  There are always things that come up here and there that you need to put your savings towards: deposit for your new apartment, helping a family member in need, etc.

Of course, the easy answer to finally pay off your loans is to just simply stop traveling and going out to eat all the time, but of course that is easier said than IMG_0061done.  Maybe you can earn some extra money by tutoring some kids at your school, but then that takes away from that wonderful expat life as well…causing you to stay late at your school.  I guess there needs to be some give and take somewhere to help you achieve your goal. Where are those international schools again where you can have it all (paying off debts while continue to live the wonderfully exciting life of an expat)?  I’m not for sure they exist.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Maybe after 8-10 years of working abroad you finally have your financial situation under control. You find that you have enough extra savings to make a one-time payment to pay off the rest of your student loan.  Yes, you’d rather use that money to take a trip to the Seychelles, but you know it is something you must do and the time is finally right to do it.

The goal of finally being debt free is a good goal to have. Can you just imagine the life of an expat international school teacher who is debt free?  Now at last you will be saving thousands each month!  {If only it were that easy!}

****************************
10250675_670889319613030_1138008231_nTo save you some money, we do have a comment topic on our website related to this theme.  It is in the benefits section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Average amount of money that is left to be saved.

‘Depending on lifestyle and housing expenses you could save around $10,000US a year.’ – Green School Bali (Denpasar, Indonesia) – 44 Comments

‘The amount that can be saved depends entirely on how teachers choose to spend their money. It’s entirely possible to eat at nice restaurants daily and stay in accommodations that cost 50,000 baht per month or more. However, it’s also possible to stay in a decent condo or apartment for 20,000 – 30,000 baht per month, and spend much less on food and other necessities.’ – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 29 Comments

‘You can save about 1000 USD a month once you are settled and are able to budget yourself. Of course, the less you do, the more you save.’ – Canadian International School Bangalore (Bangalore, India) – 18 Comments

‘A single person, if they choose to live modestly, could easily save $1000-$2,000 a month. The EPF program also is an automatic savings (retirement) which is an additional savings of $1,000 a month through school and self contribution. That money also earns interest while you live in the country.’ – Mont’Kiara International School (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 27 Comments

continue reading

Video Highlight

Video Highlight: Stamford American International School (An international school in Singapore)

April 28, 2014


There are a few international schools to work at in Singapore!  How do these schools stand out from each other?

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 10.41.37 PM

Stamford American International School

Super school?? I didn’t realize those existed.  Virtual golfing, a celebrity chef, a stock trading room floor, etc…  Wow!

Nice to have so much technology, but I guess the downside is that after a few years, you will need to have it in the budget to get upgrades on everything as technology super fast.

A 300,000,000 USD campus!  I wonder how this number relates to how much it cost to build other international schools throughout the world.

They seemed to be at the forefront of bilingual education as well, with having Chinese lessons in kindergarten….by non-native speakers as it looks like in the video.

A macbook pro for every student…did I hear that correctly?  How many international schools have 1:1 programmes I wonder?

I love the conference room where they can have/facilitate Skype calls from all over the world.

How awesome that they have such an elaborate security system. Gotta protect all that advanced technology!

25000 AUD to go there as a student, every year!  A high price tag that’s for sure!

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 20 international schools listed in Singapore.  Here are a just a few of them (The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right of the link):

• ACS (International) Singapore (10 Comments)
• Canadian International School (Singapore) (9 Comments)
• Chatsworth International School (6 Comments)
• EtonHouse International School (Singapore) (30 Comments)
• International School Singapore (17 Comments)
• One World International School (16 Comments)
• Overseas Family School Singapore (16 Comments)
• Singapore American School (11 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Singapore, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  Become a Mayor of one of these schools and you will receive unlimited premium access to International School Community for free!

continue reading

Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1949 (Taiwan, Yokohama, Geneva & more)

February 27, 2014


Random year for international schools around the world: 1949

There is much history in the international teaching community.  We have international schools with founding dates of 1838 and 1850 and we also have many, many international schools with founding dates in the 21st century.  The numbers of new international schools are increasing for sure.

Utilizing the database of the 1611 (25 February, 2014) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 7 international schools that were founded in 1949.  Here are a few of those schools that also have had comments and information submitted on them on our website (excerpts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites)

Taipei American School (Taiwan, China) – 11 Comments

1

“Our school has a rich history. Taipei American School first opened its doors to eight students on September 26, 1949 in the basement of a seminary. The civil war between Chinese Communists and Nationalists caused many missionaries and business people to flee mainland China for Taiwan. This influx caused the school to grow rapidly and forced it to move to a new facility as enrollment reached 120 by 1951.”

American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay) – 58 Comments

2

“Asa did not have school buildings when it started, instead, teachers went  to students’ homes to teach them. In 1949, most U.S. children were doing the us Calvert correspondance courses supervised by their parents. Later on, students started to meet at the YMCA.”

Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia) – 18 Comments

3

“The Anglo-American School of Moscow, founded in 1949, is an independent, coeducational day school in northwest Moscow that offers an international educational program from Pre-Kindergarten (4-year-olds) through Grade 12. The Anglo-American School is chartered by the American, British, and Canadian Embassies in Moscow through the aegis of a School Board.”

Nishimachi International School (Tokyo, Japan) – 7 Comments

4

“Nishimachi International School was established in 1949 by the late Tane Matsukata on the family property in the Azabu area of Tokyo. She had recently returned to Japan after seventeen years in the U.S., where she received her education and spent the war years.

Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1610 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

continue reading

Salaries at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #7: Blue Valley School, Ivy Collegiate Academy & Wellspring Int’l School (Hanoi)

February 12, 2014


Comments and information about salaries at international schools on International School Community.

Every week members are leaving information and comments on the salaries that teachers are making at international schools around the world.  Which ones pay more?  Which ones do you have to pay very high taxes?  Which ones offer tax-free salaries?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Why do some international schools keep their specific salary information so secret?  Even at international school job fairs, you don’t really get to see the exact amount of your yearly and monthly salary until you see the contract paperwork.  Even then sometimes you don’t know what will be your exact take-home pay each month.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for salaries easier for international school teachers. In the benefits section of the school profile page, there is a section specifically for salaries.  The topic is: “Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?)

Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to salaries that have been posted on our website:

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 4.15.38 PM

Wellspring International School (Hanoi) (27 total comments)
“The international and Vietnamese faculty salary varies. International faculty are paid once per month. Vietnamese faculty are paid twice per month. Everyone is allowed 2 meals/day at the canteen for free. Everyone is allowed 2 sets of uniforms for free and worn twice a week. Although I have a very good idea of both international and Vietnamese salaries, this information is not commonly shared. International teachers without a degree in their field or without a teacher’s license can expect to earn about $1,800/month gross. International teachers with a bachelor’s degree in their field and a teacher’s license can expect to earn about $2,500/month gross. International teachers with a doctorate degree in their field, teacher’s license, and 5+ years experience can expect to earn about $3,300/month gross. Vietnamese teacher’s salaries earn about 10% of international teachers.”

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 4.18.01 PM

Ivy Collegiate Academy (20 total comments)
“50000 for Taiwanese (even overseas trained) teachers. Beware: They wont tell you your pay right away. So, don’t be fooled by the pay they advertise on the web.”

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 4.22.01 PM

Blue Valley School (23 total comments)

“We started out around $800 per month. I understand that you can move up to $1200 per month.”

Check out the other comments and information about these schools (and 1000s of others) on our website: www.internationalschoolcommunity.com

continue reading

Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Expat Teacher Man” (An international school teacher at Hong Kong International School)

August 2, 2013


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

Our 32nd blog that we would like to highlight is called “Expat Teacher Man”  Check out the blog entries of this veteran international school educator who currently works at (53 Total Comments on our website) in Hong Kong. He also has worked at  in Kobe, Japan and at 

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 6.37.25 PM

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

WHAT DID I LEARN DURING MY FIRST YEAR AS AN EXPAT?

Find friends not associated with your school. International school teaching is incredibly demanding. Find friends outside your realm that will not remind you of work.

Accept yourself and your current situation. My dad told me often that I am going to have to learn to appreciate being alone if I am to survive overseas. He was so very right. I remember him specifically telling me to quit feeling sorry for myself and that if you are experiencing culture shock in Singapore….”Try moving to Mississippi!”

You are a professional, act like one. Do not personalize decisions made from your administrators. Move on…”

It is a great idea to make friends that don’t also work at your school.  Making other friends can depend on: whether or not you can speak the local language at a highly proficient level, how many other expats that live in your new host country/city, and your personality.

It is also good to come to terms with your current situation with your new living and working spaces as quickly as possible; there does need to be some time to adjust though.

The drama at international schools can sometimes be very high, but many schools in your home country also have drama as well. Always great advice though; to make sure that you are being the most professional when working at your international school.

RECRUITMENT TIPS FOR ASPIRING INTERNATIONAL EDUCATORS

“I now teach at a prestigious school in Hong Kong. I have taught at Singapore American School and the Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan. The following is a body of thought on what to expect if you are fortunate to interview for an overseas teaching position. Most of my thinking comes from successfully securing jobs at three separate recruitment fairs.  I am also sharing my learning from the Principals’ Training Center for International Educators. I hope it helps.

International School ServicesSearch Associates and the Council of International Schools are three of the top recruitment agencies that connect teachers with international schools. Each has recruitment fairs all over the world.Each is pretty similar in their approach and I recommend that you choose the one that is right for you. I have had a lot of luck with International School Services.

Currently there are over 6,000 international schools in over 230 countries. I am one of nearly 300,000 staff members that make a living at an international school. If you have three or more years experience as a certified teacher and you have proper references, I imagine you are likely to get a teaching position somewhere overseas.

However, the most sought after positions are highly competitive. My Hong Kong interview process spanned three consecutive days. I spoke with my current supervisor a total of seven times before finally signing my contract…”

It is interesting that this blogger hasn’t mentioned getting hired by Skype as that seems to be getting more and more common these days.  There are good reasons to decide to attend a big recruitment fair, but sometimes that isn’t possible for everyone. At one of the big fairs you can: interview with many different international schools from all over the world, network with many international school teachers and administration, and hopefully sign a contract then and there!

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

• • • • • • • • 

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

continue reading

Discussion Topics

It is time to say goodbye to your current international school: getting rid of your things before the big move!

June 15, 2013


lostluggagebhpIt is sad to say goodbye.  Even more so when you are an international school teacher.  Goodbye new country, goodbye new teacher-friends, goodbye new local friends, goodbye the excellent local cuisine and your new favourite restaurants, etc. And let’s not forget….goodbye to some of your possessions.

At this time of year you already know the teachers for whom it will be their last year working at your current international school.  There is almost a stage of denial that you go through.  You don’t want them to leave for many reasons, some personal and some work-related. On the other hand, you might be quite content with them leaving!

Whether you want them to go or not, international school teachers have to plan and think about a lot of things when they decide to leave an international school.

Selling your things: Some international schools have an end-of-the-year flea market where leaving parents and teachers can bring their stuff to sell.  What a great way to get some money for the things you won’t be taking with you.  If there isn’t an organized flea market, some international school teachers use Facebook and Craigslist-type websites to sell their things.  You can also get in contact with the new hires that will be arriving in the fall to see if there are a few things that they would like to buy…as there will be probably many things that they will need.

stk130592rke

Giving away your things: Sometimes it is not worth the ‘hassle’ of trying to find people to which to sell your things. In the international school teaching community where you’re at, you will always find others that will take your unneeded things!  One time I received 2-3 boxes of things (that I didn’t ask for) from a parting teacher, and there were some really nice things!  Also, it is fun to give away your things, and it leaves a little bit of you with them. One time I took out all the artwork in all the frames in my apartment. Then I had my good friends choose a favorite picture that I had taken during my time there.  I blew up the chosen pictures and put them into my frames (can’t always take big frames with you when you move anyway!).  It was a nice gift to give to them as it came closer to my last couple weeks before my official moving date.

Taking your things with you: If you are lucky, your next international school will have some shipping benefits.  You can use that money to send most of your personal belongings to your next location.  Some international schools don’t have that benefit though, so make sure to get all the details. If you are even luckier, your current school will also have some shipping benefits for leaving teachers as well (Double the money!).  Sometimes international schools have a date that if you formally resign before that date, you will be eligible to receive another baggage/shipping allowance.  In the international school teaching world, it appears it pays to plan ahead then.  I have never used a formal, professional moving company, but many do.  At first, it doesn’t seem like you have a lot of things to move (especially if you are living in a furnished apartment), but then as you start packing, the number of boxes always always seem to multiply!

We have a comment and information topic (in the Benefits tab section on all of our school profile pages) directly related to shipping/moving allowance.  It is called “Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)?

Here are some other example comments and information that our members have submitted in this topic:

“You get up to 2000 Euros to use for a moving allowance. You also can get 2000 Euros (interest free loan) if you need some extra money for a “settling-in allowance”. No flight allowance, though the school does pay for your first flight there. (1000 USD for people in Europe and 1500 USD for overseas hires).” – 

“Moving allowance is around 450 Euros. They will pay for your airfare to get there, but there is no annual flight allowance. The school gives you a lunch allowance as well, around 126 Euros a month.” – 

“Moving allowance provided is 1200 USD for singles and 2300 USD for teaching couples.” – 

“The school pays for your flight, visa costs and a shipping allowance of 500USD…but no shipping allowance when you leave. You also can pay for lunch at a nominal cost. Tuition is covered for two dependents but you still have to pay for transportation and food costs which is approximately 230,000 COP per month.” – 

If you know about the shipping and baggage allowance details of the international school you currently work at or have worked at in the past, log-on today to share what you know!  For every 10 submitted comments and information, you will automatically receive one free month of premium membership added to your account.

continue reading

Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Before the Mountains” (An international school STUDENT teacher at an international school in Asia)

June 12, 2013


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

Our 31st blog that we would like to highlight is called “Before the Mountains”.  It is written by a student teacher doing their practicum at a British international school!  Check out the blog entries of this international school STUDENT teacher who currently is working at an international school in asia.

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 9.50.21 PM

A Day in the Life of the International School Teacher

“For the first 2 months of my practical, I taught in a third grade classroom of 14 wonderful students. Yes, class sizes are incredibly small compared to U.S. standards, and every class has a full-time teacher’s assistant as well. Mine was amazing! You might be beginning to think this was a walk in the park for me, but let me introduce you to my students. I had 11 boys and 3 girls…tables already turned against me, so to speak. Only 3 of my students came from homes where English is their first language. Six of my students were still receiving daily support for English language learning. Two others received special educational support. Then, we can talk about cultural background: 4 East Asian students, 4 South Asian students, 1 European student, 2 Americans, 2 bi-cultural students, and one Canadian…”

So nice to have a small class size, but as this blogger points out, that does not necessarily mean everything is a piece of cake.  It is nice though to have a full time adult aide in your classroom to help. Even better if you get lucky enough to have one of the better ones that work at the school!

It is important to remember that it is pretty much guaranteed that you will have some English Language Learners in your classroom if you plan on teaching at an international school.  This blogger is absolutely correct in saying that it will be an every day task for the teacher to help make the curriculum accessible to these students.  Having an aide help you make all those visuals, that you may like to use, is also quite helpful!

On a side note, we also have an article on our blog about international school teachers’ dependence on IKEA when living abroad.  Check out the article here.

“On some days I was dealing with who said what bad word to whom in Korean while I was trying to make a lesson have enough visual aids to support a child who needed it. At other times, I answered countless “What does ____ mean?” questions during a lesson on whatever that I thought would be pretty straightforward. I often contemplated moving students around the room to deal with behavioral issues, but at every possible arrangement, I had to think, “How is this going to affect that student?” Usually a move of any kind would disrupt the very delicate balance I managed to hold onto. Even though the idea of a small classroom sounds nice, I think there actually needed to be more “balance” kids in the mix. There were new challenges every day of this first half of the placement, but the kids were amazing to work with. I learned that teaching is no easy task. It can make even the toughest person weak in the knees and so incredibly aware of his/her inadequacy…”

Not only do you have students whom do not speak English as their first/home language, it is true that you will also most likely have other issues in your classroom (e.g. students with learning plans, students with behavioral issues, etc.).  The key to a successful international school is to think hard about what their view of being an inclusive school is and how it looks like at their school.  Having systems and support in place before the students arrive is the ideal situation to strive for.  Also, providing teachers with the necessary PD is important so that they can be the most up to date with using some best practice teaching strategies (ones that you would utilize at an inclusive school.

Want to work for an international school in Asia like this blogger is currently doing their student teaching?  Currently, we have the following number of international schools profile pages listed in Asian regions of the world on International School Community:

East Asia: 207

SE Asia: 201

Asia: 113

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

continue reading

Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Japan (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

May 21, 2013


Traveling Around: Japan

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 9.19.05 PM    Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 9.19.15 PM

Can you relate?

• Traveling around on trains using the Japanese Rail Pass, and having unlimited access for the entire trip.
• Enjoying the beauty of cherry blossoms, called ‘sakura’ in Japanese.
• Paying good money for a few pieces of delicious fatty tuna sushi. Worth every penny!
• Being offered dessert from a kind group of Japanese young people, after they catch us checking out their food.
• Having a group photo, soon after, with this same group of young people.
• Seeing Hello Kitty everywhere!
• Noticing that everything is so darn cute in Japan.
• Walking for miles in search for the perfect bowl of tempura.
• Wondering what is going on when every few people you see are wearing medical masks, and discovering that though some people wear them when they are sick, others wear them to hide a blemish or their emotions!
• Entering a store dedicated entirely to chopsticks, some running in the hundreds of dollars.
• Visiting Kyoto in hopes of seeing at least one, elusive geisha, and being lucky enough to see one after another, after another.
• Walking around to look at all of the beautiful temples, and constantly being passed by fast walking, little old ladies, who may even be in their 90’s! There’s longevity in this country.
• Watching some very strange TV programs while in the hotel room. Was it a game show, a reality show, a talk show?  It was all in Japanese, so who knows!
• Walking around the bottom floor a fancy department store, which was devoted all to food, including perfectly wrapped strawberries which cost about $50, and a watermelon which cost $100.
• Taking the train to Osaka just for dinner.
• Spending the last night in the Tokyo neighborhood of Shibuya, and trying to cross the busiest intersection in the world.
• Asking myself, since I live in Korea, why it has taken me three years before visiting Japan?

Currently we have 39 international schools listed in Japan on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profile pages:

Hiroshima International School (23 Comments)
Canadian Academy (Kobe) (10 Comments)
Kyoto International School (14 Comments)
• Nagoya International School (12 Comments)
American School in Japan (20 Comments)
Seisen International School (33 Comments)
Horizon Japan International School (9 Comments)
St. Mary’s International School (14 Comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.com with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give 6 free months of premium membership!

continue reading

12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

Selecting an international school: Tip #9 – Does the international school properly deal with disciplinary problems?

April 1, 2013


What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons for why teachers choose to work at an international school abroad as well?  There are many different kinds of international schools and they are all in different situations.  How important is finding out about how well the international school deals with disciplinary problems?  It could be beneficial to ask these types of questions at your interview, before you make any big decisions to move or choose an international school at which to work.  So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend or for you to work at?  In this blog series, we will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.

Tip #9 – Does the school properly deal with disciplinary problems? Some international schools, unfortunately, are lax on discipline, and problem children and their disruptive behavior can adversely affect other children’s learning.

4 -- Parent's Orientation at Ashmah Int.School Parents and teachers have so many considerations to ponder when selecting an international school!  Naturally, questions abound regarding the academics, the co-curricular and extra-curricular offerings, class size, accreditation, teacher quality, and the list goes on.  So what about discipline?

Discipline is an essential element for children to experience school success.  Without it, there is a compromised climate for learning that can eventually resemble chaos.  No one wants their child to learn in that type of environment.  Usually questions regarding school discipline policies and procedures can be answered by a school administrator or by reviewing the international school’s handbook and/or website.  In most cases, parents and teachers will find the procedures school personnel follow and the resulting consequences for a litany of offenses.  How well that is implemented will partially determine the effectiveness of discipline in that international school.

As schools create Mission statements that often include phrases like “preparing students for the 21st century” or “meaningful roles in society”…suggesting the inter-personal development of the student in addition to the academic excellence every parent and teacher expects, but they also need to ask for explanations of how that is accomplished in that international school setting.

This level of questioning brings us to a more complete cycle for discipline.  The procedures discussed earlier are “partially effective” because they represent control from the outside in.  Rules are written, procedures are outlined, and consequences are administered with varying levels of fidelity and consistency.  That is the tricky part of traditional discipline programs—they can include judgment and some cases just are not as clear as others.

Given those facts, schools can expand their focus on discipline to include inner disciplinary development.  This might be brought about through special Character Education programs that can be implemented or in the case of a religiousinternational-schools-good-choice-1 school, certainly through a spiritual lens.  This is what I call value-added discipline.  It is transformational compared to traditional rules and consequences that are based on outside controls.  International schools can function at a highly effective level when both approaches are in place.  From this combined approach, children are doing several things that are life-changing:

• They are examining their own actions and taking responsibility.
• They discuss situations with a teacher, mentor, or adviser.
• They learn how to change/manage their own behavior.
• They develop a deeper appreciation and respect for others and their surroundings.
• They develop problem-solving strategies that transfer well for a lifetime.
• They come to know their own personalities and can work effectively with people they encounter.

Effective value-added discipline programs depend greatly on an investment in each child by a responsible adult, consistent mentoring, and positive connections between family and school.  The rewards are beyond measure, however.  When parents happen to discover this holistic approach to discipline, seize the opportunity!  It is a jewel that shines for a lifetime.

This article was submitted by guest author and International School Community member: Mary Anne Hipp (contact her here – mahipp@suddenlink.net or visit her Blogspot – http://mahipp.blogspot.com/)
__________________________________________________________________________

On our website we have a related topic in the School Information section of each school profile page that discusses the issue of the students’ demeanor at each school.  It is called “In general, describe the demeanor of the students.”  Our members have submitted over 70 comments and information in this topic on a number of different international schools listed on our website.  Here are just a few of the comments and information submitted in this topic:

“ISD is a primary school, with children ages 3-12. The school’s buddy program pairs the older children with the younger ones, so that the pre-k and kindergarten classes become very comfortable with the big kids. Since most of the children are expats, they are very friendly to newcomers and take changes (such as new students arriving and students leaving) in stride…”
– International School of Dublin (8 Comments)

“Whereas it cannot be described as a school for the gifted, DAS does have an exceptionally large number of gifted students. Whereas students with negative attitudes are definitely there – as everywhere – expat teachers regularly remark about their enjoyment of the teaching-learning process at DAS because of the eagerness of most of the students to learning…”
– Dhahran Ahliyya Schools (60 Comments)

“The students are students. Just like anywhere else you have some who are there to learn and some who are not. You have some that you have a rapport with and some you do not. In general these are funny kids who like to tease and like to get to know you as a person and as a teacher. And just like any kids, in the beginning they will test you to see what you are made of. Stay strong, don’t let them see you sweat and you will be fine…”
– Colegio Granadino Manizales (43 Comments)

“Pretty good for the most part, although overall respect and tradition of bowing was going out the window. Some cheating on homework and other areas. Very humorous and fun to teach, save for a few small groups who needed to be expelled for cheating, threatening teachers to try to change a grade, setting fires in the bathrooms, smoking, swearing, skipping school, hiding in the wedding hall to sleep, going over to the dark gym to snog and make out, sneaking in beer during school events, stealing school property…etc. Most of these violations were done by a small group of boys and girls who must have had special status with the school or principal…”
– Indianhead International School (14 Comments)

“They are pretty rich and spoiled, mostly. Their priorities include shopping, partying and traveling. Studying might be next, but most students don’t stay for more than one or two years. The students I enjoyed the most were either in the dorm I was responsible for or on yearbook staff (which was also my responsibility)…”
– TASIS The American School in Switzerland (29 Comments)

If you are an International School Community member with premium access, log on today and submit your own comments about the students’ demeanor at the international schools you know about!

If you are not a member yet, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com and automatically get 7 free days of premium access. You will become a part of our over 2200+ members.

continue reading

Surveys

Survey results are in: On average, how many interviews do you go to at an international school recruitment fair?

March 10, 2013


The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted have had 1-2 interviews when they attend international school recruitment fairs.

Screen Shot 2013-03-10 at 9.58.51 AM

Going to one to two interviews at an international school recruitment fair can probably mean one of four things:

• You probably don’t have very much experience teaching in general and teaching at international schools and are finding it hard to get schools’ attention.
• You have a lot of experience, but you are now very specific on where exactly that you would like to move to next in the world.
• You have a lot of experience, and you are very specific about which top international school that you would like to work at next in your career.
• Or there is a lot of competition this year which means there might be many other candidates vying for the same position vacancy.

Additionally, you just might not be up for going to five, six, seven interviews.  More interview can equal to more stress for you at the fair.  On the other hand, if you are very desirable to international schools at the fair and are open to where you would like to go, the more interviews you secure the better the odds that you will get some job offers!

There are many factors to consider when deciding on which international school at which to work.  Figuring out how and where an international school recruits can prove to be helpful information to know; just so that you are prepared and can make the necessary and appropriate plans.  Luckily on International School Community, we have a School Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that discusses this very topic.

• Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?

Screen Shot 2013-03-10 at 10.05.59 AM
Taken from the Dhahran Ahliyya Schools (60 Total Comments) school profile page.

There have been many comments and information submitted in this topic on numerous school profiles on our website.

One International School Community member said about working at Misr American College (37 Comments): “M.A.C. attends the Cambridge job fair in Boston which is hosted by Search Associates and they have also attended the Dubai fair. I have seen their ads on TIEonline as well. They will also do skype interviewing. They employ a variety of ways to get their teachers. I was able to bring my spouse when I signed on with them and they helped get his residency. Not sure if they are still doing this though.”

Another member said about working at Seoul International School (69 Comments): “They use Search & ISS and do a lot of recruiting in Canada (all of the heads of the school are Canadian). Last year the HS principal did a lot of interviewing via Skype.”

Another member submitted a comment about working at Colegio Granadino Manizales (43 Comments): “I was hired at the recruiting fair in Kingston, Ontario, As far as I know, they also attend the Iowa fair and some teachers are hired via Skype.”

If you are currently a premium member of International School Community, please take a moment to share what you know by submitting some comments and information about how your international school recruits and what recruitment fairs that they go to each year. You can start by logging on here.

Stay tuned for our next survey topic which is to come out in a few days time.

continue reading

12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

Selecting an international school: Tip #8 – Are the teachers fully qualified?

February 23, 2013


What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons for why teachers choose to work at a school abroad as well?  There are many different kinds of international schools and they are all in different situations.  How important is finding out about if the international school’s teachers are fully qualified or not?  It could be beneficial to ask these types of questions at your interview, before you make any big decisions to move or choose a school at which to work.  So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend or for you to work at?  In this blog series, we will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.

Tip #8 – Are the teachers fully qualified?

This is not typically a concern with mainstream international schools, but it can be a concern with some newer schools and in certain regions of the world.

pic1104Some might say having qualified teachers from early years all the way to secondary school are essential for an international school to thrive.  Why then do some international schools hire non-certified teachers?  Of course there are many reasons why schools make such choices for their staff.

One reason is that qualified teachers are sometimes hard to come by in some (if not all) countries. Additionally, the more experienced teachers may not be considering positions at less established international schools.  In some parts of the world, the pay is low.  Being that certified teachers seek out positions that value their teaching degrees (that they have worked hard for), they might not even consider working at some schools where the pay and benefits are less than desirable.

Another factor that comes into play is timing.  Some international schools get into “binds” every once and awhile, and sometimes the best choice is to hire a less qualified (or not qualified) teacher to fill the position. That non-qualified teacher is just waiting and waiting for the right moment, when the stars align for them, to finally get that job at the nearby international school versus staying at the “language” school down the road.  Also, when international schools are trying to fill vacancies for the coming school year during not ideal times of the year (e.g. the summer months or even May), they might not have the same pick of qualified teachers as they would have had back in January and February.

Even another reason that international school hire non-qualified teachers could be related to money.  International schools (especially for-profit ones) are always on the look-out on how to save money. Hiring non-qualified teachers can potentially save the school money as they can sometimes pay them less.  If there is a pay scale at the school, they would most likely be on the bottom of it.Mr-Boli-and-Primary-186

Many educators without university teaching certificates are the ones that are already living abroad.  They maybe moved abroad when they got a job at an English-language school or had an interest in “teaching English” in a foreign country.  We are sure that there are some great English-language schools around the world, but most of the teachers at those schools would prefer to work at an international school; mainly because of the better pay and benefits.  More established international schools though won’t consider them because they might not have the exact teaching qualifications that they require. The less established international schools might consider these less-qualified teachers though, especially if they are scrounging to find quality candidates to fill their positions.

It is true that you can be a good teacher, even an excellent one, without a teaching certificate from a university. Experience in the field can definitely equal quality teaching, and parents and other qualified teachers shouldn’t be so turned off to working with them.  If you agree to that statement, maybe we shouldn’t be so caught up in whether an international school has an all-qualified staff.  We all work hard to do the same job, it isn’t as if qualified teachers would work any harder at the school.  On the other hand, it is important to honor the time spent when teachers do go an get diplomas in education.  Many people with university teaching certificates have worked very hard to make teaching their career choice and not just a “job”.  It can be a bit of an “unfortunate circumstance” and a downer when a qualified teacher shows up at their new international school to find out that their colleagues are all “English teachers”!
__________________________________________________________________________

On our website we have a specific topic in the School Information section of each school profile page that discusses the issue of which international schools have qualified teachers or not.  It is called “Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.”  Our members have submitted 100s of comments and information in this topic on a number of different international schools listed on our website.  Here are just a few of the comments and information submitted in this topic:

“About 65% North American, 20% European and 15% local and other. All teachers are certified and have at least 4 years’ experience…”
MEF International School Istanbul (27 total comments)

“The school has both Colombian and expat teachers. All of the expat teachers are North American and all are qualified teachers. The Colombian teachers are also well certified. There is not a high turnover rate at the school. Many expat teachers, though young, stay three or four years and some have been at the school much longer…”
Colegio Granadino Manizales (43 total comments)

“High Staff turnover. Probably 1/3 local hires vs. expats. The qualifications can be low. Many first year teachers with no teaching degree. Most expats are Americans and Canadians. People do not stay here because the taxes are high, the frustration level with the administration is high, and the level of academic rigor is low…”
American School Foundation of Mexico City (35 total comments)

“You will find a range of teachers from New Zealand to Canada, via UK, Egypt, Palestine, South Africa, Australia, France and more. Most teachers are expat hire. Local hire teachers are well qualified. The school is still only 7 years old so turnover rate is hard to reflect on. It ranges from 1-7 years at current time…”
Khartoum International Community School (37 total comments)

“Turn over rate last year was very low. This year is different with several teachers in the Secondary school being pushed out. The school pays on time and there are good benefits. Many teachers in the Secondary school do not have formal teaching qualifications but they have good subject knowledge…”
Western International School of Shanghai (57 total comments)

If you are an International School Community member with premium access, log on today and submit your own comments about the international schools you know about!

If you are not a member yet, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com and automatically get one full month of premium access. You will become a part of our over 1950+ members!

continue reading

Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “A Leaf Around the World”

December 5, 2012


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

Our 26th blog that we would like to highlight is called “A Leaf Around The World”  Check out the wealth of information in the blog entries of this international school educator who currently works at Yokohama International School in Japan.

Screen Shot 2012-12-05 at 9.31.08 PM

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

How to be an explorer – Day 1

“I have been reading this book called ‘How to Be an Explorer of the World’. It’s basically a guidebook/ reminder of my creative thinking, whenever I feel like, I turn the pages and roll in. Last night, I came across the exploration #4 which is a very simple practice. During your walk to your work/school,etc. you pick up 30 things. A collection of 30 random things… I decided that I will pick one object everyday and will record my findings and thoughts here. It will take a month and in the end I will try to create an artwork with my findings. It is a challenge for me to break away from my daily routine of speed walking to the train station while I am nibbling over  my so called breakfast consisting a piece of  toasted bread with cheese, paying attention to nothing but the road that leads me to my destination. A nice challenge though, one that will make me look at things rather than seeing them passing by…”

What a great idea!  I think every one should have a go at this if they are living in a foreign country.  Sometimes we can walk down a street many times in a foreign city and not notice certain things, even things such as a store.  If we can remember to take a look around ourselves while living abroad, it could only help us to better understand our current situation and aide you in making new connections with regards to your life living in your host country.

Recycling in Japan

“If you are living in Japan, you make a big commitment to recycle. The moment that you register with your neighbourhood ward, you are given an A4 paper of how to separate your rubbish. There are certain days for certain garbage and you need to tie them up as shown in the picture and moreover you need to wash your plastic garbage before you put it out in front of your door…”

I love the topic of recycling in other countries. Each one does it slightly different.  Sometimes it takes awhile to get into the swing of things when trying to recycle things from your home after you have just moved to a new country.  If you are living in Shanghai, there isn’t really a city recycling programme.  But that doesn’t mean people in Shanghai don’t recycle.  There are always people with big bags going to and looking inside of garbage cans in Shanghai.  They are the recyclers.  Actually, they look at their recycling other people’s garbage as their job, according to an article I read on the That’s Shanghai website.

My Morning Walk in Yutenji

“Every morning, I walk to the train station in Yutenji. On my way to the station I meet the same people everyday, the little old lady neighbour who sweeps her front door, the young woman on her fancy bike with a trendy green backpack, the father and daughter walking down to Nakameguro, the big old neighbourhood watchman sitting on a bench in Yutenji park which is the smallest park ever with its own rules and regulations written on a sign in both Japanese and English. The most interesting thing every morning for me, is the board that hangs on the wall of a very old house with weekly messages from a wise neighbour. Everyday when I walk down that road, I stop, read the message and think about it on my way to the station…”

Your journey to work is an important one. Going to work in a car is a bit different than going to work by bike or walking.  You can see and interact with more people when walking to work.  You can get some exercise biking to work.  It is important to research how teachers get to work at international schools you are intersted in working at; will it be a good match with the preferred way you like to get to work?

If you are also interested in starting your career in the international school community, feel free to check out the 1300+ 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.  We have over 6000+ submitted comments and information as of this blog entry!

Want to work for  an international school in the Japan like this blogger?  Currently, we have 37 international schools listed in the Japan on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

American School in Japan (19 Comments)
Seisen International School (22 Comments)
St. Mary’s International School (14 Comments)
Kyoto International School (9 Comments)
Horizon Japan International School (9 Comments)
Canadian Academy (Kobe) (10 Comments)
Hiroshima International School (17 Comments)
• Gunma Kokusai Academy (8 Comments)

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

continue reading

Surveys

Survey results are in: How many more years do you expect to keep teaching abroad at international schools?

November 21, 2012


The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted expect to keep working abroad at international schools for at least 1-3 more years.

For many of us, I suppose teaching abroad at international schools is a temporary circumstance in our lives.  Some of us have international school colleagues that move abroad to teach, and after their one and only international school posting, they are now living and happily working back in their home countries. Sure, there is a chance of them moving abroad again, but it likely to not happen again.  Many people look for stability in their lives, and many people ultimately find that stability back in their home countries.

For other international school educators, when they start working at international schools, they can’t seem to get enough of this life.  Working at international schools and moving from country to country can be very addictive.  10 total people out of 23 voted that they will be working at international schools 7-10 more years and even maybe for forever!  The salaries/benefits, work conditions and standard of life must be quite attractive for these people. If things are going well and you are not having to worry about money, why not choose to stay working at international schools?  It is nice to not have to worry about paying for housing or any utilities for example.  It is also maybe nice to not have to clean your house or wash your clothes as you may be able to hire a house keeper to do those things for you in your current position.  These people might have met their partner while living in their host country and now have decided to stay abroad for the long term!

Then there are the teachers that have made the all-important (and possibly difficult) decision to make this year their last one (3 people in our survey have said that this is what their future holds for them).  To say goodbye to the international school teaching world is sometimes not an easy decision to make.  Livin’ the ‘good life’ will soon be ending for you, and you may not ultimately want things to end.  Also, the anticipation of reverse culture shock is not necessarily welcomed with open arms.  Cringe!

On the other hand, your current situation might just be a very bad fit for you, enough of a bad fit that you have decided to not take the risk of working at another international school.  A very negative experience at one international school might have you come to the realization that this life really just is not a good fit for you.

Moving back home has it pros and cons, and one must look at them carefully.  One reason to not move back to many of the states in the United States is that the job market for teachers is not so good right now.  There are many, many teachers applying for one position still right now.  Hopefully as the U.S. economy improves, more money for staffing and for school districts in general will become available which may lead to more jobs for prospective teachers.  I think the same thing is happening at many international schools right now.  Many international schools are looking for and actually finding more families with children to attend their school.  More students typically means a higher need for more staffing.  How nice would it be if the power was back in the candidate’s hand at the recruitment fairs; more options and opportunities for us!

There are many factors to consider when deciding to stay abroad or move back home.  Knowing about what kinds of teachers work at an international school and the average staff turnover rate can prove to be helpful information to know; just to see what others are doing who maybe from the same country and situation as you.  Luckily on International School Community, we have a School Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that discusses this very topic.

• Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.

There have been many comments and information submitted in this topic on numerous school profiles on our website.

One International School Community member said about working at Khartoum International Community School: “You will find a range of teachers from New Zealand to Canada, via UK, Egypt, Palestine, South Africa, Australia, France and more. Most teachers are expat hire. Local hire teachers are well qualified. The school is still only 7 years old so turnover rate is hard to reflect on. It ranges from 1-7 years at current time.”

Another member said about working at Tsinghua International School (Beijing): “Can’t really comment too much on this as things may have changed. When I was there lots of staff were from North America, but what could be called “old Chinese hands.” They’d lived in China a long time. Other staff were Chinese with American passports. All were great, but at the time, not many were what you’d think of as north American trained teachers. Very high turnover when I was there.”

Another member submitted a comment about working at Colegio Granadino Manizales: “The school has both Colombian and expat teachers. All of the expat teachers are North American and all are qualified teachers. The Colombian teachers are also well certified. There is not a high turnover rate at the school. Many expat teachers, though young, stay three or four years and some have been at the school much longer.”

So how many more years do you expect to keep teaching abroad at international schools? Please share what your plans are!

Stay tuned for our next survey topic to come out in a few days time.

continue reading

Salaries at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #6: Khartoum Int’l Community School, Int’l School of KL & Vietnam American Int’l School

November 10, 2012


Comments and information about salaries at international schools on International School Community.

Every week members are leaving information and comments on the salaries that teachers are making at international schools around the world.  Which ones pay more?  Which ones do you have to pay very high taxes?  Which ones offer tax-free salaries?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Why do some international schools keep their specific salary information so secret?  Even at international school job fairs, you don’t really get to see the exact amount of your yearly and monthly salary until you see the contract paperwork.  Even then sometimes you don’t know what will be your exact take-home pay each month.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for salaries easier for international school teachers. In the benefits section of the school profile page, there is a section specifically for salaries.  The topic is: “Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?)

Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to salaries that have been posted on our website:

Khartoum International Community School (36 total comments)
“The school has a structured pay scale. Entry depends on qualifications or experience. Advanced degrees attract more money as does extensive experience. There are responsibility steps, particularly in Seniors. Every teacher receives a step each year and there are inflationary/cost of living adjustments annually. The school pays 1 year (2500 GBP pounds) and 2 year (6000 GBP pounds) resigning bonuses (very appealing to couples!).”

International School of Kuala Lumpur (28 total comments)
“There is a clear and structured pay scale. You enter it according to experience and qualifications, up to a maximum experience level. Within the school you receive an annual \’step\’ for every year of experience, plus there are usually small inflationary raises to the salary scale. Additionally stipends are paid for team leader responsibility. There are resigning bonuses after 4 years of employment.”



Vietnam American International School (26 total comments)

“I don’t know about all salaries. However, I don’t believe there salary increased with increased education, experience, or years of service. For example, there were no increases in salary between the first year of teaching at VAIS and the second year. Another example, one teacher with ten years of experience received the same salary as another teacher with only 2 years experience.”

Check out the other comments and information about these schools (and 1000s of others) on our website: www.internationalschoolcommunity.com

continue reading

New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

International school orientation must-have for new teachers #4: Help finding a place to live!

September 20, 2012


 

In this blog series we will talk about the ins and outs of an excellent new teacher orientation programme at an international school.  A new teacher orientation programme can really play a very important part of your start at your new school, in your new host country.

orientation

Must-have #4: Help finding a place to live!

Finding a place to live in any country can be a headache!  When you involve different languages, different cultural traditions and norms, etc. finding an apartment can be even more of a headache.  In turn, it is much appreciated if the administration/business staff at your new school can help you out.

Some international schools just place you in a compound that the school owns and you must live there for the whole length of your time working at that school.  Other international schools don’t own or have a relationship with buildings or complexes through the city and you are meant to search and get your own place completely on your own.  But there are more than just two kinds of experiences when it comes to where you will end up living after moving to your new international school.  There are some that state you must live in a certain apartment for the entire first year you work at a school. After your first year, then you are allowed to find and move to a completely different apartment of your choice.  Other international schools ask their current staff who are leaving if they can help to set up a new teacher to take over their apartment or they might even send out an email to the current staff asking around if any current teachers are looking for a roommate.  If there are some options, then these schools will usually help to make the right connections so that you can immediately move into your new place with your new roommate.

orientation

If there aren’t any options for you and the school just places you in a specific place, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about as you know you will immediately have a place to live when you arrive without much of a headache.  If there are options for you, you need to be prepared for potential headaches, unknowns and possible disappointments when you arrive.  Additionally, you might need to be prepared to move two or three times during your first year.  Your first place might be completely opposite to what you were thinking it would be!

If you can work it out and are lucky enough to visit the location that you will be moving to, then of course you can get some of the apartment searching done in person. How ideal would that be?  I have a colleague that made a point to make a visit to their future city during the beginning part of the summer (before they officially moved there later that summer).  They got the opportunity to view some apartments that the school had recommended to them in person.  Not all of us can be so lucky though as to make a pre-move trip to check out possible living situations, but if you are able to, then for sure that would be beneficial.

A good international school will make sure to answer all your questions that you have about your future living situation.  They should send pictures if applicable of your future apartment.  They should request answers to a housing survey that they send to you, so that they can better gauge what type of place best suits your needs and wants (that is if the school does indeed help to find you a place).  They should have language support available to you if you need some interpreting or translating of the rental documents. Good schools would even help you out to pay the sometimes high cost of a rental deposit (e.g apartments in Western Europe).

orientation

There are many international school teachers experiencing a wide range of experiences related to how they found a place to live.

Here are some firsthand accounts of how these international schools teachers found a place to live in the city they just moved to (and whether or not their new school helped them out or not):

“The Canadian Academy has a first year rule: all new teacher must live in school accommodations for the first year. This includes a variety of apartments and houses both on and off campus, and options depending on the number of dependents. All in all, they took care of everything, and it made it the best transition we’ve ever had. Besides getting a futon with pillows, sheets, and blankets, we had a stocked fridge, a basket of cleaning supplies and toiletries, snacks, a phone, a fax machine, furniture, and many more items. While I wouldn’t describe it as moving into a furnished place, it did have all the essentials. Also, after the first year, we’re free to move to our own choice of accommodations or select a new school housing option. Very user-friendly.  A teacher from Canadian Academy (Kobe).

“My current school offered to help find an apartment, however I was more interested in finding share accommodation as I find that’s a nice quick way to make new friends and to always have someone on hand who know’s the area you live in. They put me onto a website for share housing and also asked around the school to see if anyone was interested in having a new teacher share with them. Someone did and now I share a house with two other people in a beautiful, artfully decorated place 3 minutes walk from school and town and for half the rent I would pay to live in a place on my own. I also didn’t need to pay any deposit. They’re happy for it to be short-term in case I decide to move into my own place later, but I’m thinking that staying here is a good thing. I would personally recommend seeking share housing to anyone (not in a couple) who is open to the idea. I’ve also experienced living in my own apartment straight out, but became bored with that after a year and moved into a new place with 2 other friends. It can also be a pain setting up a new apartment in terms of buying furniture, crockery and connecting the internet.” A teacher from The Bermuda High School for Girls.

orientation

“The school helps you find your first apartment before you arrive.  Actually, all new teachers move into a gated community called Shanghai Gardens when I worked there.  Basically all new teachers need to live there their first year.  After that first year, then you can use the allotted housing if you decide to move and find your own place.  When I moved into the apartment at Shanghai Gardens, it had all the furniture you would need.  The school also left a ‘survival’ package of things to get you started (e.g. pots and pans, sheets, etc.).  I was appreciative of the school helping to place new teachers in this building complex and the apartment; many of the staff in the business office could also speak English which was a perk.  On the other hand, many teachers had a negative experience living at Shanghai Gardens.  There were problems with the apartments sometimes (as some of them were owned by different owners).  There were also problems with your bills at time, some of them being way too high from the price they should’ve been.  I was quite happy to find a different apartment my second year there.”  A teacher from Shanghai Rego International School.

“ACS Hillingdon was great to us in helping us find a place to live. They have a staff member, Maxine, who is there all year, including during the summer, and she worked with a local estate agent to help us find a flat that fit our needs, location, and price range. I know she drove several of even the pickiest people around to multiple places, and she knows the areas where the school’s bus routes go for those of us who don’t have a car.

The school even helped a newly hired couple whose flat was damaged by fire in the London riots of 2011 by giving them extra time off, arranging a place to stay while they looked for a new permanent residence, and even donating money from an emergency fund while insurance agencies worked through their claims.

A+ all the way around.” A teacher from Acs International School – Hillingdon Campus.

In the Benefits Information section of the school profile page on our website, we have a topic related to housing – Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance.

Log-on today to check out the hundreds of comments and information submitted in this section topic!  Become the most informed you can be when it comes to finding a place in your new city.

So, does your school provide help for new teachers to find a place to live? Please share your experiences!

continue reading

Salaries at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #5: Hong Kong Int’l School, Shanghai Community Int’l School & Guamani Private School

August 9, 2012


Comments and information about salaries at international schools on International School Community.

Every week members are leaving information and comments on the salaries that teachers are making at international schools around the world.  Which ones pay more?  Which ones do you have to pay very high taxes?  Which ones offer tax-free salaries?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Why do some international schools keep their specific salary information so secret?  Even at international school job fairs, you don’t really get to see the exact amount of your yearly and monthly salary until you see the contract paperwork.  Even then sometimes you don’t know what will be your exact take-home pay each month.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for salaries easier for international school teachers. In the benefits section of the school profile page, there is a section specifically for salaries.  The topic is: “Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?

Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to salaries that have been posted on our website:

Shanghai Community Int’l School(52 total comments)
“Base pay for teachers with 3 or more yrs of experience is between $32,000 and $39,000 (tax-free). Entry level is a little bit lower at $26,000-$32,000.”

Hong Kong International School (40 total comments)
“We are paid in 100% HK$. We don’t get taxes taken out of our salary, we have to pay 16% one time a year (in two payment). Teachers must be prepared and save for those payments. 12 payments a year. On average teachers get 3-4K USD a month.”



Guamani Private School
(16 total comments)
“100% of the salary is in the USD. Social Security it taken out of your salary. Salary range is $1400 to $1650.”

Check out the other comments and information about these schools (and 1000s of others) on our website: www.internationalschoolcommunity.com

continue reading

Salaries at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #4: Yongsan Int’l School of Seoul, Frankfurt Int’l School & The English Int’l School of Padua

June 8, 2012


Comments and information about salaries at international schools on International School Community

Every week members are leaving information and comments on the salaries that teachers are making at international schools around the world.  Which ones pay more?  Which ones do you have to pay very high taxes?  Which ones offer tax-free salaries?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Why do some international schools keep their specific salary information so secret?  Even at international school job fairs, you don’t really get to see the exact amount of your yearly and monthly salary until you see the contract paperwork.  Even then sometimes you don’t know what will be your exact take-home pay each month.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for salaries easier for international school teachers. In the benefits section of the school profile page, there is a section specifically for salaries.  The topic is: “Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?

Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to salaries that have been posted on our website:


The English International School of Padua (12 total comments)
“Salary is paid on the last working day of each month. Salary is paid in Euro, whilst wage slips are in Sterling. Italian bank accounts are opened for the transfer of salaries. The school assists in this process at the start of the academic year.”


Yongsan International School of Seoul (10 total comments)
“No taxes are paid. You are paid in local currency. Teachers can expect to make around $2900 in USD each month.”


Frankfurt International School & Wiesbaden
(8 total comments)
“Reduced tax contributions for your first two years working in Germany. It is a monthly salary paid x 13 months after 2 years. Deductions to your salary are income tax/health insurance/Unemployment which is approx. 43% of your monthly salary.”

Check out the other comments and information about these schools on our website: www.internationalschoolcommunity.com

continue reading

Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #12: Richard Yates (Olive Green International School)

May 14, 2012


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

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?  Where have you worked?  What experiences have you had living abroad?

1. I started my overseas teaching at Colegio San Silvestre in Lima Peru — that was 30 years ago — as Head of Economics and Teacher of History. I was fortunate that Mr Derek Pringle was Head of History who went on to be one of the leading ‘lights’ of IBO in South America. In 1982 posts were difficult to get in the UK and the Headmistress of San Silvestre Mrs. Beryl Milburn gave me a chance — for five years!

2. Then moved on to the Gulf in Kuwait and taught at the NES and KES for two years — very hot and very dry.

3. Moved to Malaysia and again spent 5 years at Sayfol International School as first teacher then Deputy Head and finally Head. Was asked to set up a new school Mutiara International Grammar School again in KL. Later I was recruited to set up another International school at Malacca but after 6 months preparation it failed to take off due the the economic downturn.

4. In between most of these contracts I returned to  the UK to ‘update’ myself on current trends but sadly the UK was in educational decline as it still is.

5. Recruited to India to set up a school in Pune called the Lexicon International School and after two years was then asked to Head a new school just opened in Ahmedabad, Gujarat called Springfield International School.

6. The school’s name was changed to Olive Green International School and we are authorized for IB PYP and CIE IGCSE. We are currently in the process of candidate school for IB MYP and in two years will apply for DP.

7. All schools are unique and all have their own ‘feel’.

8. Culturally all countries are different and have both pros and cons. For me this diversity is both rewarding and gives immense satisfaction.

9. Do I have one favourite school? the answer is no. I have enjoyed all and hope that my many students have benefited from their interaction with me.

10. To use an old cliche “Education is for Life” — and for me each day is a new experience.
______________________________________________________________________

Thanks Richard! Want to know more, feel free to check out his profile page on our website.

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 India like Richard?  Currently, we have 42 international schools listed in India on International School Community.  Some of our members have left comments and information on the following schools in this country:

École Mondiale World School (7 Comments)
Dhirubhai Ambani International School (5 Comments)
American School of Bombay (5 Comments)
Canadian International School Bangalore (8 Comments)
Stonehill International School (India) (7 Comments)
International School Aamby (6 Comments)
International School of Hyderabad (8 Comments)
• Kodaikanal International School (15 Comments)

continue reading

ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.05 – 05 May, 2012

May 5, 2012


v2012.05 – 5 May, 2012:

“Having left your own safe environment suddenly you no longer have control (which as teachers we typically enjoy in our classroom) over your world. As soon as you step out into the outside world in whatever country, you can be faced with:

  • street signs and scripts you cannot read (e.g. in Asia, Middle East etc.)
  • a language you do not understand
  • how to get the simplest things done (fix a tap leak, AC problem)
  • who to ask for help

It is similar to a new born chick who has just left the nest – since you lack confidence in your new surroundings you start out by going on small excursions, but then as you get more confident you go on further trips away from ‘the nest’.”

It is true I suppose that teachers prefer to have “control” in their classrooms.  How ironic then that international school teachers put themselves in a situation where they for sure don’t have control.  Living in another country is certainly you letting go of the control and safety of your home country and culture, or at least a familiar place to you.  But that is what makes this career choice really exciting; you never know what to expect and what you will experience next.  How frustrating though to not be able to read street and road signs, we can all relate to that.  Additionally, not being able to understand the local language really makes you use all your other senses more in how to interpret body language and to gather meaning from body positioning, gestures and context.  At this point native-English international school teachers are so used to being on a train or plane where everyone around them is speaking a different language than themselves that it is strange now (and quite over-stimulating) to be on a plane in the United States (for example) where they understand all the many conversations going on around their seat.  We get very used to “tuning” out what is going on around us while living abroad, mostly because we just don’t understand what is being said.

This past month International School Community we had over 100 new members sign up!  If this rate keeps up, we might have over 1000 members by the end of October!  More members means more people that you can network with when you are job hunting or that you can ask questions to about a specific international school in which you are interested in working.  Now, ISCommunity members currently work at or have worked at over 160 different international schools in over 53 countries!

From the staff at International School Community.


Recently updated schools with new comments and information:

· 04 May  Copenhagen International School (4 new comments)
Copenhagen, Denmark
“The surrounding area is a bit posh. Most people from Copenhagen view the Hellerup area as place for…”· 04 May  Southbank International School (5 new comments)
London, England

“There is a great food, green, meat market at Borough market, it is near London Bridge station. It is pretty cool there. They have…”· 02 May  American School of El Salvador (10 new comments)
San Salvador, El Salvador

“EA provides foreign hire teachers furnished housing in modern school-owned town homes and houses located on…”· 01 May  Tokyo International School  (11 new comments)
Tokyo, Japan

“I interviewed with them a few years ago at the CIS fair in London. There were two male administrators there. They were…”

· 30 Apr  Institute of Applied Technology (Abu Dhabi) (8 new comments)
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

“End of Service (Gratuity) equal to one month’s basic salary for each year of service…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· Traveling Around: Tbilisi, Georgia (The life of an international school teacher is good!)
“Can you relate: Putting an update on Facebook on where I am and everyone not knowing where Tbilisi is…”

· International schools that were founded in 1932 (Hong Kong, Henderson, Masero & Lisbon)
“Founded in 1932 by Madam Tsang Chor-hang, Yew Chung has been providing quality bilingual education to the learners of Hong Kong for almost 80 years…”

· Overview of an int’l school #5 – Rainbow international School in Seoul
“Rainbow school is an international school established by Mr. Eshraf Saglam, a Turkish educationist in Seoul promoting multiculturalism and international diversity. With 260 students from 29 countries and 42 teachers from 6 countries…”

· Schools around the world get chance to sing in global recording
“An exciting global singing project has been announced. The project is called Voices around the World and the aim is for young people all over the world to learn and participate in a global recording…”

·  International Teaching Predictions for 2012 #5: SE Asia
“We expect continued growth in Indonesia, Malaysia and even Vietnam as those emerging economies steadily prosper.  Salaries may seem very low in these countries but…”

· The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #8 – “Benefits, preps, class sizes, and student mix.”
“If all these benefits and other factors don’t seem to match up for you at this point in your international school career, then the answer you will most likely give…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to have members leave comments on:


Last month we have had visits from 96 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 506 ( 101)
School profiles
: 1205 ( 38)
Blog entries
: 271 ( 19)
Posted comments & info
:
4578 ( 575)
Twitter followers: 336 ( 13)


One month free promotion ending soon:

International School Community will soon be ending its one month free of premium membership promotion for new members.  Make sure to let your colleagues and friends know about this promotion before it expires.  If you are not a member yet yourself, sign-up today!


New members:

· Jamel Khalil
(American International School of Kuwait)
· Emin Huseynov
(Rainbow International School)
· Claire Moore
(Newton International School)
· Firdaus Bhathena
(Canadian International School –
Hong Kong)
· Eric Lee
(American International School Vietnam)
· Lauren Spear
(International Montessori School of Beijing)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Sonya TerBorg
“A great leader is really important to me.  I try and find out about the school leadership so I know…”

Check out the rest of her interview on our blog here.  If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Highlighted Article

Kazakhstan Attracts Teachers Looking for Career Development“Kazakhstan may not be the obvious destination for teachers wanting to work abroad. But the Nazarbayev Intellectual School Networkis offering experienced, English-speaking middle and secondary teachers a one-year contract that is proving very tempting for some.”“There are NIS schools in cities throughout Kazakhstan, all of which are leading a programme of educational reform in the country led by the President of the Republic. The aim is to develop a new way of educating the future elite of Kazakhstan and the NIS Network is enlisting the skills of experienced English-speaking teachers to spearhead the progress….”

Check out this blog entry to read more about what your life might look like as an international school teacher in Kazakhstan.
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:
This international school teacher’sblog is about teaching and living in Dubai, Almaty, etc.One of their blog entries (International Schools: The circuit)is describing how small the international school community is and how many of us “hop” around from school to school:“It is in fact a very small community and the chances are that you will know someone who has been to a specific school, once you have been in one or two schools overseas. Don’t be surprised after some years if you walk into a staffroom in a different school, and country, and you meet someone you worked with in another school…”Another one of their entries (What to expect at a job fair) is about what candidates might experience at the international school recruitment fairs:

During the afternoon, the school will have interviews in their hotel rooms – it is all a bit surreal, but the recruiters carry out the interviews in their rooms (this is normal procedure!) At the end of this day the schools will then look at the candidates they have interviewed (and if you are one of them) then they will either invite you for a second interview…”

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

continue reading

Video Highlight

Video Highlight: St. Michael’s International School (Kobe, Japan)

March 16, 2012


St. Michael’s international School

The campus looked quite purpose-built and new.  Most likely not the same building as they originally had in 1931.

How interesting that it has the highest number of students of all international schools in Europe; using the school search feature on our website, the other top international schools in Europe only have around 1400 total students.

Did you see that huge soccer pitch? Usually, you only see such large playing fields in international schools in other regions of the world, not Europe.

Looks like all international schools like to have an international day.  It is nice when a school specifically states that they welcome EAL students and are there to support them during their schooling.

Check out their school profile page on International School Community here.

There are 2 other international schools in Kobe, Japan.  They are:

Marist Brothers International School

Canadian Academy (Kobe)

Overall there are 34 international schools in Japan, with 20 of those being in Tokyo.

continue reading

Salaries at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #3: Morrison Christian Academy, Jeddah Knowledge Int’l School & Colegio Granadino Manizales

March 14, 2012


Comments and information about salaries at international schools on International School Community

Every week members are leaving information and comments on the salaries that teachers are making at international schools around the world.  Which ones pay more?  Which ones do you have to pay very high taxes?  Which ones offer tax-free salaries?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Why do some international schools keep their specific salary information so secret?  Even at international school job fairs, you don’t really get to see the exact amount of your yearly and monthly salary until you see the contract paperwork.  Even then sometimes you don’t know what will be your exact take-home pay each month.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for salaries easier for international school teachers. In the benefits section of the school profile page, there is a section specifically for salaries.  The topic is: “Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?

Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to salaries that have been posted on our website:


Morrison Christian Academy (3 campuses)
“Staff receive salaries from July to June. New staff’s July payroll will be paid in NT$ cash and can be picked up from the campus cashier when they arrive in Taiwan after July 20. In light of summer travel, May and June payrolls are both paid in May. Normally, the salary is deposited into a NT$ Post Office (which functions somewhat like a bank) account, unless staff specify otherwise. Staff can choose to have all or portion of the salary paid in form of a US$ check or direct deposit into a US checking account.”


Jeddah Knowledge International School
“Teachers can expect to get around 3600 USD a month, net, because there are 0 taxes on their salaries. It is important to know that salaries are paid in Saudi Riyal.”


Colegio Granadino Manizales

“Deductions on your salary is social security which is 8% of your pesos salary (50% of your salary is paid in local peseo, the other 50% is paid in USD.). Manizales has a low monthly cost of living. Staff members typically live on their pesos monthly salary and save their US payment.”

Check out the other comments and information about these schools on our website: www.internationalschoolcommunity.com

continue reading

Overview of an Int’l School

Overview of an int’l school #4 – Makuhari International School

March 2, 2012


How great that each international school is unique!

In this overview of an international school, by Tokyo Families, we would like to highlight Makuhari International School.

“Being the newest addition to the international schools in the community, TF asked its principal Paul Rogers to explain what MIS offers to children.

1. What is the Makuhari International School?

Makuhari International School is the only recognised international school in Chiba prefecture. We are a new international school, having opened in April, 2009. We educate Japanese children who have returned to Japan from overseas or dual-nationality, and foreign children already residing here.

2. What qualities make MIS unique?

We are unique because we are the only Article One international school in the whole of Japan. As such, we have unique benefits as an international school. We are also the newest such school operating in Japan at this time. As such, we have no history to fall back on but make our own history as time goes on.

3. What is the curriculum like?

At Makuhari International School, our curriculum is Japan-based. This means we teach the same subjects and at least the same amounts of time for each.  In actual fact,  we teach longer hours than in most Japanese schools and certainly in English and maths. We add on to this Japanese curriculum base, content and objectives from other curricula, mainly that of the UK. This makes our program of study not only extremely full but also suitable for children going into a Japanese school system after leaving us or back to another international school.

4. How does the school’s ‘Article One’ status affect it?

Financially, we can offer lower tuition fees than many other international schools because of tax benefits that Article One schools have. Educationally, children who leave MIS at the end of Grade 6 have legally completed their elementary education and cannot be refused access to taking any entrance tests to Japanese junior high schools.

5. Are there any extra-curricular activities or clubs?

We offer at present over 20 after-school clubs (as well as after school care) ranging from such clubs as chess, frisbee club, homework, rugby, art and yoga club.

6. What facilities are available to students?

At MIS, we not only have excellently resourced classrooms (with the most up to date technology such as interactive SmartBoards) but also specialist rooms. We have a large media centre (including a library, museum and ICT study area), art room, science lab, music room, media areas for all elementary grades, a multipurpose hall, ESL class and cookery room.

7. What kind of children comprise the student body?

At MIS, at present, around 60% of our children are Japanese returnee children, the other 40% are either dual nationality or foreign children.

8. What nationalities are the teaching staff?

We have teachers representing the following countries: UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America and Japan.

9.  Are there services offered to students and parents?

We offer ESOL (English for Speakers of other Languages) as a support for those children whose English needs assistance.

10. What opportunities can MIS provide?

MIS offers an excellent rounded educational experience for all children in our care. This experience is based around the Mission Statement at our school – ‘all children are unique and special’. Our class teachers are at the core of this process and we believe that we have employed the very best teachers we can. Ultimately it is our aim for all children to make as much progress educationally, socially, physically and emotionally as is possible during their time at our school.”

Currently there are 20 international schools listed in Tokyo on International School Community. Some schools that have some comments and information submitted on them are:

American School in Japan (19 Comments)
Canadian International School (Tokyo) (9 Comments)
International School of the Sacred Heart (5 Comments)
Nishimachi International School (7 Comments)
Makuhari International School (7 Comments)

continue reading

Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #10: Beverley Bibby (Seisen International School)

February 26, 2012


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

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Auckland, New Zealand

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

My husband died and I decided to register with Search Associates with another couple who I taught with in Auckland – we decided we wanted to teach abroad in an internationals school, so we registered with Search Associates.  We attended a fair in Sydney – initially on registration we had all been approached by a Principal from a school in the Middle East but decided to attend the Fair before making a decision.  At the Fair, they were offered (and accepted) jobs in the Middle East, and I returned to NZ .  I declined the job in the Middle East and was later offered a position in Tokyo, which I accepted, to start in August 2008.

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.

I have only worked at the one international school – Seisen International School from 2008.  I am in my 4th year of teaching at Seisen.  Seisen was my first experience in a PYP school.  It was a new learning curve, but one which I was happy to engage in and has been a great experience.  I love teaching the PYP programme and consider my years have been both personally enriching and intellectually and professionally very exciting.  I love my profession and delight in seeing and sharing in my students learning.  I see teaching as a holistic profession and never cease to be amazed with my students.

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

I recently traveled to Yudanaka, up north, to see the snow monkeys.  The town was a winter wonderland:  gigantic icicles that sparkled like jewels, snow drifts as pristine as one would imagine, powder snow that wafted into space when one took a handful and blew on it,  and monkeys that romped in the snow, rolled up snow balls and threw them at each other and dive bombed their elders in the hot pool.  Those in the pool wore faces of absolute contentment and relaxation, as the hot water warmed their bodies, and all this midst a constant fall of gentle snow flakes.  From there to Zao, to freezing temperatures and white out.  Huge trees covered in snow that had frozen to give them the look of ‘snow monsters’ – and all this in sub zero temperatures at the top of the mountain where one couldn’t stay up there for too long coz of the sheer rawness and frigid temperatures.  Nature in the raw!  Magic!! and such a contrast from the concrete and human jungle of Tokyo!  Japan – a country of contrasts –  from ancient tradition and human culture, to the raw beauty of nature.

Solemn contrast to our school trip to Ichniomake – where we saw the negative power of nature – the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and the Tsunami, as we worked throughout the days to support those clearing up the aftermath.  The sheer magnitude of the destruction was almost beyond comprehension, and has left memories that quell the heart and leave one reminded that we are at the mercy of nature, despite our human progress!  Left me feeling so humbled by the courage and fortitude of those who survived the disaster.  Their tenacity, courage was living testimony to the frailty and yet strength of the human will to survive!

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

Personal health and well being – the social support system, the medical system and insurance, the political stability, an income that allows one to live and travel to see the culture and history of the country, and personal freedom.

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

Challenging,  invigorating, demanding, breathtaking , fun!

Thanks Beverley!  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 Japan like Beverley?  Currently, we have 34 international schools list in Japan on International School Community.  Some of our members have left comments and information on the following schools in Japan:

International School of the Sacred Heart (5 Comments)
American School in Japan (19 Comments)
• Canadian International School (Tokyo) (9 Comments)
Kais International School (2 Comments)
Makuhari International School (7 Comments)
Nishimachi International School (7 Comments)
Fukuoka International School (5 Comments)
Osaka International School (6 Comments)
Yokohama International School (4 Comments)
St Michael’s International School (7 Comments)
Hokkaido International School (7 Comments)
Hiroshima International School (16 Comments)

continue reading

Great Resource

Great Resource: Want to work at an international school in Hong Kong?

February 7, 2012


The Top Schools website (http://www.topschools.hk/) has some excellent information about the many international schools in Hong Kong.

There are many international educators interested in working at these schools.  There are around 29 international schools listed on the Top Schools website.  Some of the international schools listed on their website are: Australian International School, Canadian International School, Kingston International School, German Swiss International School, etc…

Highlighted sections from their website:

DISCOVERY BAY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
“With 940 students, DBIS follows a curriculum based on that of the National Curriculum of England and Wales.  Admissions are non selective and students are drawn from the Discovery Bay community.  Demand for places is high and the school introduced a iPremium School Development Levy of HK$450,000 – s a means for parents to gain a “fast track” entry to the Kindergarten and Primary sections. Presumably, this means those that pay this premium levy get priority in the selection process.”

HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
“A highly reputable school following an American-style curriculum. 58% of its students are American and 56% are Christian.  Debenture holders receive priority.  Lower Primary will be relocated for three academic years.  R2, Grade 1 and Grade 2 classes will relocate to an existing unused school building in Chai Wan. Click for detailed info on the relocation.”

HARROW INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
“Opening September 2012.  The first international day and boarding school in Hong Kong. Operated by the Harrow International Group, Harrow International school is an arm of the 439-year old British school that educated Winston Churchill. The Hong Kong branch is the third in Asia. The others are in Beijing and Bangkok.  This is a full through-train school accepting students as young as 2.  Debentures sold out.  The first batch of individual debentures and individual capital certificates has been fully subscribed. Parents interested in ICCs and IDs, may apply to be put on the waiting list. The price of the second batch is yet to be determined.  Applicants may opt to pay the annual levy at $50,000/year – this is non-interest bearing, non-refundable and non-transferable.”

Currently, there are 17 international schools listed under Hong Kong on International School Community:

American International School (Hong Kong) ( 22 Comments)

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) ( 7 Comments)

Chinese International School
( 0 Comments)

German Swiss International School ( 2 Comments)

Hong Kong Academy Primary School ( 14 Comments)

Hong Kong International School ( 2 Comments)

Independent School Foundation Academy ( 0 Comments)

Kennedy School ( 0 Comments)

Renaissance College Hong Kong ( 5 Comments)

The ISF Acadmey (Hong Kong) ( 0 Comments)

Japanese International School ( 0 Comments)

Singapore International School (Hong Kong) ( 7 Comments)

Diocesan Boys School ( 0 Comments)

Hong Lok Yuen International School ( 4 Comments)

Discovery College (Hong Kong) ( 5 Comments)

Yew Chung International School (Hong Kong) ( 8 Comments)

International Christian School (Hong Kong) ( 11 Comments)

Check out the latest comments and information that have been submitted on these schools or submit your own at International School Community.

continue reading

ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.02 – 04 February, 2012

February 4, 2012



Recently updated schools:

· 04 Feb  Casablanca American School  (11 new comments)
(Casablanca, Morocco)
“Over 70% of the teachers are from North American countries. With the next highest being from Morocco and then a few from the UK…”

· 04 Feb  Yew Chung International School (Hong Kong) (8 new comments)
(Hong Kong, China)
“New teachers are placed in furnished quarters (in China). There is a housing allowance of 1200 USD for teachers in Hong Kong. Management fee for the housing is paid for by school. Teachers in HK will be housed in hotel for 2 months…”

· 04 Feb  St. Andrew’s – International School of the Bahamas (7 new comments)
(Freeport, Bahamas)
“There is a retirement plan offered. The school’s contribution is 7%…”

· 03 Feb  Karachi American School  (5 new comments)
(Karachi, Pakistan)
“Due to visa restrictions, the school prefer hiring teaching couples with US certification. Due to new visa and tax laws US citizenship is a priority when the school is recruiting. Age limit for hiring is 55 years old…”

· 03 Feb  Üsküdar American Academy & Sev Elementary (7 new comments)
(Istanbul, Turkey)
“There is a masters/PHD stipend and a contract extension bonus…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· Great resource: Maps of world website and information about international schools
“This website not surprisingly is an excellent resource for finding the map that best fits your needs, but it also oddly enough has some information about international schools.There are at least two sections that we found that highlight the international schools in specific locations around world.  We would like to highlight…”

· Highlighted article: Mumbai’s new genre international schools
“Another issue with a resurgence of international schools is finding highly qualified teachers to work at them.  Hiring international teachers can be a big business as well with sometimes many international schools fighting over to get first pick at finding suitable candidates…”

· Video highlight: A discussion about language learning and the second language learning of children at international schools
“How great to start off each day with the flag ceremony and the Thai National Anthem! Being that the majority of their students are Thai, they have a strong focus on honoring and respecting Thai and Asian cultural values…”

· Highlighted article: India’s most admired international schools
“It is challenging to come up though with the perfect second language acquisition environment in international schools.  There are many factors that come into play…”

· Comments and information about salaries on International School Community #3 (Harbin No. 9 School, Int’l School of Helsinki & Cph Int’l School)
“18000RMB per month 2000RMB taken out in taxes each month. No receipt of this transaction is given as would be the regular accounting practice for a well run school. YOu may need a record of this when you leave the country…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to have members leave comments on:


This last month we have had visits from 89 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members:
258 ( 34)
School profiles
: 1088 ( 32)
Blog entries
: 205 ( 26)
Posted comments & info
:
2689 ( 542)
Twitter followers: 266 ( 29)


BIG improvements:

Recently, we have made some changes on our school profile pages. One of the most important sections on this page is where members can read and submit comments and information.  In turn, our comments and information section has been revamped.  Now the four comment categories (School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information) are on tabs. This change was made so that members could go from one section to the other much easier and faster.
The City and Travel Information sections have also changed.  Now they been linked up with other school profile pages that share they same city.  For example, if a members has left comments and information in the City Information section on an international school in Shanghai, those submitted comments will now show up on all the other international schools in Shanghai listed on our website!  Now it will be much easier to access information about the city and travel information on international school profile pages that share the same city!

Another improvement made has been with how our members view, write, submit, and then edit or delete their submitted comments on each school profile page.  For each topic in the four comment sections members will now be able to only view the last 3-4 comments submitted and the dates they were submitted. Then to read all the comments that have actually been submitted, members can now click on the “Show more” link.  In a pop-up screen members will be able to read every submitted comment and information (in full) for that section’s topic.  Members can also submit a new comment on this pop-up screen at the bottom. From this pop-up screen members are now able to edit or delete one of their previously submitted comments.  Only the member that has submitted the comment will see the “Edit” and “Delete” buttons; other members are not able to edit or delete other member’s comments.

Check out pictures of the improvements and other details here!


New members:

· Kim Leus
(American School of Barcelona)
· Julie Bowen
(Santiago College)
· Ceri Thorns
(Systems Little House)
· Jeff Shaw
(International School of the Hague)
· Diamond Ndiamond
(Abraham Lincoln School)
· Paul Grundy
(Taipei European School)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:


Annette Harvey

Shanghai Rego International School: great colleagues who have become friends. Again some wonderful, supportive parents and amazing children. Champagne brunches. My tailor who…”

Check out the rest of her interview on our blog here.  If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Highlighted Link

Teachers International Consultancy (TIC)“Have you ever wanted to teach internationally but struggled to know what school and what country would be best? Do you have questions about getting an international job? Well Teachers International Consultancy (TIC) is holding two one-hour webinars on Thursday 9th February to help teachers during their decision-making process. Both webinars will be run by Andrew Wigford, Director of TIC, who has over 20 years of international teaching experience. The first webinar focuses on finding the right international school and the right job. This will include information on the different types of international schools, their locations and the different curriculum options. Plus, there will be a question and answer session where you can ask Andrew any questions you may have. This webinar will take place at 5pm GMT on Thursday 9th February…”
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:

A few photos:
“Here’s a collection of photos we took the other day, on the roof of our apartment block. If you consider the size of our apartment and that there are two like that on each floor, it’ll give a real idea of the size of the space up there. There’s a few ISD families in this block, with young children; we’re figuring it’d be great to meet up for brunch on the roof during weekends…” Where shall we go?:
“I know we’ve only just arrived, but it’s time to start thinking about where to go on holiday.  We’ve a week in October, a month at Christmas, and two weeks at Easter.  So many places are relatively close, so we’re spoilt for choice.  Only problem is it costs about $200 in exit taxes per person….”
*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.
continue reading

Great Resource

Great Resource: want to work at an international school in Shenzhen, China

January 25, 2012


The Start in China website (http://www.startinchina.com/) has some excellent insight on the many international schools in Shenzhen, China.


There are many international educators interested in working at these schools.  There are around 16 international schools listed on the Start in China website.  Some of the international schools listed on their website are: Sheck Hard Kindergarten, Green Oasis International School, Quality Schools International (Futian), etc…

Highlighted sections from their website:

GREEN OASIS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

“Green Oasis offers the CIPP (University of Cambridge International Primary), CLSP and IPC. It provides programs for children aged 4 to 14 and has classes in Mandarin and Maths that meet national standards. Green Oasis has professional facilities, labs and so on. The campus is located near Shenzhen’s Central Park, close to SEG.”

SHENZHEN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

“The SAIS school was created by the efforts of a group of businessmen from Shenzhen and Lee Academy of Lee, Maine USA. The school offers Pre-school and Kindergarten as well as grade 1 – 8 (American system). High school tuition fees are 95,250 RMB per year but include free lunch, transport and books. The school now has 163 students from more than 15 countries.”

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF SINO-CANADA

“The International School of Sino-Canada (ISSC) was founded in 2002. ISSC teachers are hired in Canada by “Atlantic Education International” and then sent to China. Students will receive a program that is fully certified and inspected by the Department of Education from New Brunswick, Canada. Graduates will receive a regular Canadian diploma and transcript. The school offers programs for pre-grade one and grade one to five (elementary school), middle school and high school. Tuition for high school is US$ 7500.00 per term (about 51K RMB).”

SHEKOU INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

“Shekou International School is a non-profit school originally founded by oil companies in 1988, but now sponsored by International School Services. It is the oldest international school in Shenzhen. ISS is based in Princeton, New Jersey USA. The school offers programs for children aged 2 to 18. The school has two locations in Shekou: Jingshan Villas and Bayside. SIS is the first international school in Guangdong to hold the Chinese NCCT (National Council of Curriculum and Textbooks) accreditation as well. Tuition for kindergarten is 132K RMB, elementary and middle school is 148K RMB and high school is 156K RMB per year. Shekou International School presently has over 650 students representing 40 different countries. Among them 20% are American, 55% are Asian and 20% are European.

Currently, there are 3 international schools listed under Shenzhen on International School Community:

Shekou International School
QSI International School of Shekou
Green Oasis School

Check out the latest comments and information that have been submitted on these schools or submit your own at International School Community.

continue reading

Great Link

International Peace Quilt Update

January 21, 2012


The International Peach Quilt project began as an idea back in September 2008, the idea being to unite schools all around the world.  Many of the schools that have participated so far are international schools.  The quilt was inspired by the Summer Olympics in London 2012.  Just recently, the International Peace Quilt gave up update on their progress.  See their update letter below:

Dear All,

Since our last update The International Peace Quilt Project has received further drawings from Azerbaijan,Chad, Fiji, Ghana, Guam, Iran, Malta, Micronesia,Montenegro, Morocco,Nepal, Romania,Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden,Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay. This brings the total number of Countries with drawings submitted to 138.

From the list of Countries we wished to reach below, we now have made contact with schools from The British Virgin Islands,Grenada, Guam (who have submitted their drawing),Guatemala, Hong Kong,Mali,Nicaragua, Peru,Trinidad & Tobago,Swaziland, and Switzerland. We expect to receive 22 drawings/countries that have been promised previously  to be submitted in  the early part of 2012 from Algeria, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Bhutan,Canada, Dominica,Estonia,Finland, Guinea,Honduras, Iraq,Kiribati, Kuwait,Liberia, Leichenstein, Mauritius,Panama, Papua New Guinea,Rwanda, Solomon Islands,and Tuvalu.

The non for profit organisation, The Haynes Foundation in The Carribean has also offered to coordinate the project in Barbados,Cuba, Puerto Rico, St.Kitts & Nevis,  St. Vincent & The Grenadines and The U.S. Virgin Islands for us. Therefore all going to plan that takes the number down to 29 Countries that we still wish to make an initial contact with.

Again thank you so much to all Directors,Principals/ Heads,Staff and Students. Without you all, this Project would not be where it is today. You can all be so proud of what you are creating here.This really is a Global message for Peace from children all over the World as a celebration of the Olympic Games and beyond.

Also a week ago we set up a group in Guisborough called the Friends of the International Peace Quilt. This group is made up of several of our quilters, a Director from the Towns magazine and a couple of other very interested people also from the town. The idea behind this group is that it will coordinate exhibitions/displays of the Quilt.The group will also help to keep on top of any quilting and help with promotion of the project. It was felt that now more heads were needed to help with everything around the project which can only be a good thing.

Just to remind you all again of the Olympic Educational Resource which is available if your school wishes to make use of it,

www.london2012.com/schoolsfromaroundtheworld

Looking to the future,

We see all 205 Countries who are participating in the Olympics, with drawings submitted and all joined together in the International Peace Quilt Project. We see this quilt being a very creative message from Children in every Country in the World for World Peace,all as a celebration of the Olympics 2012.

Best Wishes,

From The Guisborough Rotary Club, The Guisborough Neighbourhood Management Team,Friends of the International Peace Quilt,Our Quilters,Lucy and Trish.

http://peacequilt.wordpress.com/2011/12/

List of Countries still to be involved,

Andorra

Benin

Burundi

Central African REP

Comoros

Congo

Djibouti

Equatorial Guinea

Guinea-Bisseau

Kosovo

Kyrgyzstan

Maldives  A possible, through a contact to an M.P who sits on  The All Party Group for the Maldives.

Mauritania

Moldova

Myanmar

Nauru

Palua

American Samoa

San Marino

Sao Tome e Principe

Slovenia

Somalia

Syrian Arab Rep,waiting on a reply.

Tajikistan

Tunisia

Turkmenistan

Uzbekistan

Venezuela

Yemen

Many of the international schools that have participated in this project have profiles on International School Community.  Has your international school participated in this project?

continue reading

ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.01 – 07 January, 2012

January 7, 2012


v2012.01 – 7 January, 2012:

The Wonderful World of International School Recruitment Fairs: Lesson #5 – “Check your ego at the door.”

“Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent.” Sigmund Freud.

The greatest sports legends, the inventors of things we rely on today, great actors and actresses, all of these people must seem to have a big ego. Maybe it comes with their achievements or our projections of them? Then there are the great dictators, the generals of war or just some average Joe that just won the biggest-ever on his lottery ticket. Ego comes in many shapes and forms, and albeit some are seemingly more attractive than others. It’s a hard task to know when to enhance or down play your own ego.

We’re constantly told to either just stand in line or be like others, that we don’t really deviate from the mass, that we’re just one in a million, that perhaps we’re not as special as we think. Then we’re told we need to stand out, make a difference, show our true colors, let the ego steer and victory will come our way.  So, how are you to act at the international school recruitment fairs?

Ego is an ambivalent thing, you could say that it’s both our chance and our fall. It’s the chance to express ourselves, to enhance our personality to make it clearer how we stand out from the masses, what makes us special, what we’re capable of; how we’re the best of all of them. But there is a line, and if that line is crossed, our personality becomes too big and a bit desperate, we express ourselves in a way so superior to others that we make them feel small, we become way too special, maybe even too good for our own good; we are the best of all of them, no question there, there’s “me” and no one else.

It’s often in job interviews we’re left with the difficult task of being the best and out-shining the competition, but in such a manner that we don’t let our own ego get the better of us, and suddenly instead of standing out positively in the round-robin session or in the administrator’s hotel room during the interview, we stand out negatively instead. It’s practically a game of ego vs. humble. It’s pointing out the things you are good at and how you are the best for the position, but it’s just as much being humble, being likable, charming, sitting straight, smiling, having eye contact, being interested, letting your ego shine from time to time, but not letting it consume the space.

“There’s nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself.” James Lee Burke.

And every so often your ego takes a blow during your experience at a recruitment fair. When you venture in life, there’s always the risk of rejection. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t any international school out there that wants to hire you. It’s basically the same whether you open your heart for someone you love or you are at a job interview, getting that “no” is a sour sting to your ego. And that’s when the inventory begins: should I have? or could I have? Would it have? And so on and so on…

Every mountain we climb in this life should probably have two gates: “for exit hurry” or “in risk of rejection”. We can’t go through life (and through international school recruitment fairs) without getting a little hurt sometimes, without bruising our ego. It’s all part of living as they say; the smart and clever ones. So maybe you didn’t have enough experience, maybe the connection just wasn’t there, or maybe, just maybe someone was just better than you. You know, you shouldn’t take it personal. It just means you get a few more rounds through the “in risk of rejection” gate. And who knows, just one week after the fair, where you weren’t offered any contracts to sign, you might receive in your email inbox the offer from the international school you have been dreaming of working at!  Believe us, it is happened many times in our International School Community.

Go ahead and send a private message regarding hiring and fairs to one of our members. International School Community’s current members work at or have worked at 92 international schools! Check out which schools here and start networking today!


Recently updated schools:

· 07 Jan  Harbin No. 9 High School International Division (Songbei Campus) (36 new comments)
(Harbin, China)
“Furnished apartments are in a conglomerate of high rises about 15 minutes walking distance from the school. Housing is free and part of the contract. You must pay utilities… We had an apartment which was adequate for our needs. It was well heated and lots of light…”
· 07 Jan  International School of Penang (Uplands) (9 new comments)
(Penang, Malaysia)
“Moving allowance is $920 for a single teacher, additional money for dependents & long-service. Settling-in allowance is $320 in cash for singles and $400 for couples. Annual flight home – Start & end contract for family + mid contract for employee…”
· 06 Jan  Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito (9 new comments)
(Quito, Ecuador)
“There are around 127 full time staff (30% North American, 70% Ecuadorian). 47% of the faculty has Master’s degrees. (60% from U.S. Universities)…”

· 06 Jan  Canadian International School Beijing (5 new comments)
(Beijing, China)
“There is an annual flight allowance, return trip to Canada or equivalent…”

·
06 Jan  Berkeley International School (Bangkok) (8 new comments)
(Bangkok, Thailand)
“As for the location, it’s very convenient opposite Bitec, close to BTS, Central City Bangna, and to other International Schools such as St Andrews, Patana, CIS and the Mega Bangna super mall…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· Using the School Profile Search feature on International School Community: Search Result #2
“Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you.  The possibility to search (using our unique search engine) for international schools based on the type of school that best fits your criteria…”

· Survey results are in – How many countries have you traveled to so far this year? (in 2011)
“The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community have been to 1-3 countries in 2011.  We were thinking that people would have traveled to more countries as a typical international school teacher travels many times throughout the year…”

· Video highlight: St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok, Thailand)
“How great to start off each day with the flag ceremony and the Thai National Anthem! Being that the majority of their students are Thai, they have a strong focus on honoring and respecting Thai and Asian cultural values…”

· Highlighted article: India’s most admired international schools
“Within the hearts and minds of the uninformed, there is considerable prejudice against India’s small but growing number of new genre international schools. Left intellectuals and fellow travelers who dominate Indian academia and have considerable influence in the media, naively dismiss them as elitist and expensive…”

· Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #2 (Beijing, Seoul and Beirut)
“This school went to the Search Fair in Boston in 2011. The interview was 1 on 1 with the principal. It was quite informal, but he also asked some important interview questions. After the first interview, I receive an offer on contract in my mailbox, so they for sure want to hire at the fair. They were able to allow for a few a day to decide as well which I think is important…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 71 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members:
224 ( 29)
School profiles
: 1056 ( 71)
Blog entries
: 179 ( 27)
Posted comments & info
:
2147 ( 460)
Twitter followers: 237 ( 31)


Promotional Coupon Code:

Two BIG milestones for International School Community

!

We now have over 2100 submitted comments and information on numerous international schools across the globe!  How many international schools you ask?  We now have over 1050 individual international school profiles listed on our website!

To celebrate, we would like to offer a 50% discount on all our premium membership options.  That means you can get premium membership to our website for as low as US $5!

There are three premium membership options:

1 month (US $5 with discount!)
6 months (US $10 with discount!)
1 year (US $15 with discount!)

Directions: Log-on to your account, click on the tab, next click on “Renew your subscription”, then enter the coupon code HALFOFF1612 to get 50% off!  This offer will expire on 04 February, 2012.

Highlighted Link

Teaching and living in “The World’s Happiest (And Saddest) Countries” – According to ForbesAccording to this Forbes article, the top 10 happiest countries are: “Joining Norway and Australia in the top 10 are their neighbors Denmark, Finland, Sweden and New Zealand. Equally small and civilized Switzerland and the Netherlands are also up there. Rounding out the top 10 is the United States at 10th and Canada (sixth).”There are many international schools in most of these countries, offering many opportunities for international school teachers to live very “happy” lives, or so it would appear…
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:

International Teaching Fair 2/2010“International Teaching Fairs are the traditional way to connect prospective schools with teachers.  I believe technology will be changing this practice more each year as it is less costly to interview via Skype than to send a hiring team around the globe.  Skype misses that element of personal connection which can be critical in creating a good fit between staff and school, although some principals with extensive international teacher hiring experience may not see that as a priority.  Online portfolios allow the applicant to upload files, photos, even videos and the administrator can choose what they would like to review.  If different documents are needed, a quick email to request and a few moments to transfer, is all that is required.  In my case, my use of rubrics was of interest and I was able to share specific lessons, rubrics I created and student work samples in several content areas.  The ability to upload immediately demonstrated my ability to respond to requests quickly as well as my organization and technology skills. The job offer that I accepted was the one where the process was all online, except for the one concluding phone call.  At the time of the fair, though, I had only sent this school my CV and resume…”“I woke up later than I anticipated, but really was taking my time, I think, to feel in control.  I didn’t want to be one of the first to arrive and the days schedule was long.  By the time I walked across the parking lot to the conference rooms I was nervous again.  There was so many people!  Going into the candidates “lounge” where the rooms walls were covered in sheets of paper listing the school, country and positions available, I noticed that most people had an intensity that I wanted to resist.  The tables were covered in laptops and I started to regret not bringing Brett’s, but I travel light.  I did end up using the hotels business center at a cost of $5 for fifteen minutes and calling Kelina to go online for me quite a bit…”
*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.
continue reading

Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: India’s most admired international schools

December 30, 2011


Within the hearts and minds of the uninformed, there is considerable prejudice against India’s small but growing number of new genre international schools. Left intellectuals and fellow travelers who dominate Indian academia and have considerable influence in the media, naively dismiss them as elitist and expensive. Yet contrary to popular opinion, the country’s estimated 105 low-profile international schools — of which number only 25 were sufficiently familiar names to over 20 sample respondents in the regions in which the international schools included in the EW-C fore Survey of Schools 2009 are sited — serve several useful social purposes.

For one, international schools — defined for the purposes of this survey as schools majorly affiliated with international examination boards such as the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), Geneva; Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), UK and The College Board, USA — discharge  the vital role of raising primary-secondary education standards. Delivering high-quality school education benchmarked with the latest innovations in Western countries where pedagogies and learning outcomes are seriously researched, they have already helped to upgrade the quality of K-12 education in India across the board. If today there is a new awareness of the importance of pedagogic concepts such as learning through understanding, joyful learning, introduction of ICT (information communications techno-logies) in education, counseling and pastoral care, India’s small minority of  international schools with their well-trained teachers and excellent infrastructure, have contributed greatly in creating it.

Moreover it’s important to bear in mind that although high-priced by Indian standards, they provide world class primary-secondary education at a fraction of the tuition fees levied by their counterparts abroad. Little wonder that a growing number of children from countries around the world are flocking to India’s international schools for the high quality English medium instruction dispensed by them.

Middle and upper middle class India has also been quick to appreciate the high market value of internationally benchmarked foundational education in a rapidly globalising world. Therefore it’s no surprise that the Woodstock School, Mussoorie (estb. 1852), which over the past 150-plus years has acquired a global reputation for dispensing high quality classes VI-XII education in the pristine Himalayan foothills to its 454 students, has retained its premier ranking as India’s most respected international school in the EW-C fore Survey of Schools 2009. Highly rated on the vital parameters of academic reputation, leadership/manage-ment and infrastructure provision, this American-inspired institution of academic excellence has outdistanced its former sister school  — Kodaikanal International down south, ranked second (again) this year — by a considerable aggregate score margin.

“We are delighted that for the second year running, Woodstock has been ranked the top international school in the country in the EW-C fore Survey of Schools 2009. But while Woodstock celebrates past achieve-ments, we continue to invest in the future. We are planning additions to the school’s academic programme over the next year, and we will continue to invest in our facilities and staff to fulfill our mission of producing world citizens and leaders. Our curriculum will also feature an enhancement of the outdoor education programme with specialist-led expedi-tions and skills-building exercises such as rock-climbing and wilderness first-aid. A challenging and exciting future awaits the next generation, and Woodstock will welcome the future with them, striving to provide education for a world of difference,” says Dr. David Laurenson, principal of Woodstock School, Mussoorie.

These two top-ranked institutions which have retained their rankings apart, there’s been considerable rearrangement of seating at the Top 10 table. The low-profile Hebron School, Ootacamund and Indus International, Bangalore have vaulted from sixth and twelfth to third and fourth respectively this year. And while the British and American embassy schools have retained their last year’s rankings, the high-profile Pathways World School, Gurgaon has moved up two places to No. 9.

“I’m very pleased to hear that indus international has risen from last year’s 12th rank to No. 4 this year in the EW survey of international schools.  I attribute this to the excellent leadership our chief executive Gen. Arjun Ray has provided the school, strong support from our parents’ community, and our cooperative and enthusiastic student body. I am especially pleased by the high ratings we have received under the parameters of individual attention to students and academic reputation. All this is the result of substantial investments we have made in terms of time and resources in teacher recruitment and training during the past year,” says Sarojini Rao, principal of the Indus International School, Bangalore (estb. 2003).

Among the schools which for mysterious reasons have slipped badly in the international schools league table this year are Mallya Aditi, Bangalore (3 to 11); Good Shepherd International, Ootacamund (3 to 5); The International School, Bangalore (8 to 15); Mahindra United World College, Pune (9 to 17);  Canadian International, Bangalore (10 to 18); Calcutta International School (13 to 21); DRS International, Hyderabad (17 to 23) and International School of Hyderabad (18 to 24).

On the other hand, three institutions which hadn’t made it to the international schools league table last year have made respectable entries in 2009 — Mercedes Benz International, Pune (16); Billabong High International, Mumbai (19) and Sreenidhi International, Hyderabad (22). Regretably the Trivandrum International School, ranked 16 last year, has slipped below the public radar and didn’t qualify for ranking this year.

Taken from the article at: http://educationworldonline.net/index.php/page-article-choice-more-id-1923

Check out the latest information and comments submitted on the 37 international schools listed in India on International School Community.

continue reading

Hiring Policies at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #2 (Beijing, Seoul and Beirut)

December 29, 2011


Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community:

Every week members are leaving information and comments about the hiring policies at international schools around the world.  Which ones go to the Search Associates Recruitment Fairs?  Which ones hold interviews over Skype?  Which ones have hiring restrictions imposed on them by the host country?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Sometimes it is hard to keep track of which international schools go to which recruitment fairs and which interview style and tactic each international schools employs.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for information about hiring policies easier for international school teachers. In the school section of each international school profile page on our website, there is a section specific to the school’s hiring policies.  The topic is: “Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?”

Here are 3 out of the numerous comments and information related to the hiring policies of international schools that have been posted on our website:

American Community School at Beirut

“This school went to the Search Fair in Boston in 2011. The interview was 1 on 1 with the principal. It was quite informal, but he also asked some important interview questions. After the first interview, I receive an offer on contract in my mailbox, so they for sure want to hire at the fair. They were able to allow for a few a day to decide as well which I think is important.”

Seoul International School

“The school is hiring earlier and earlier via Skype, though they still go to the fairs. There is no hiring restrictions in regards to age. They use Search & ISS and do a lot of recruiting in Canada (all of the heads of the school are Canadian). Last year the HS principal did a lot of interviewing via Skype.”

Western Academy of Beijing

“Go to SEARCH fairs in Bangkok, London and Boston. Also other fairs in New York, San Francisco and Toronto Some people hired after SKYPE interviews – often people who have been recommended.”

Check out the more than 80 comments and information about the hiring policies of numerous international schools at www.internationalschoolcommunity.com.

continue reading

Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1991 (Hong Kong, Osaka and Lesotho)

November 22, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1991

Utilizing the database of the 963 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 17 international schools that were founded in 1991 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)

“In 1991, the Canadian International School of Hong Kong first opened its doors to students in small rented facilities in Causeway Bay. Founded upon the recommendation of the Hong Kong Government, who wished to expand the number of international schools offering a North American curriculum, the school was established as a non-profit, charitable organisation and was initially home to only 81 students.”

Osaka International School  (Osaka, Japan)

“The uniqueness of our Two School model sets us apart from every other school in Japan and indeed the world. The faculty and staff who jointly founded OIS and SIS understood this and established an ethos to match it. This continues today with professional educators, administrators and staff who understand why we are here and what it is that give our schools a particularly important role in the world of international education.”

American International School of Lesotho (Maseru, Lesotho)

“The American International School of Lesotho (AISL) is a nonprofit, independent coeducational day school which offers an American educational program to students from preschool (age 3) through grade 9. The School, founded in 1991, serves the needs of the American community and other students seeking an English-language, American-style education. The school year is divided into 3 trimesters extending from late August to November, December to March and March to mid-June.”

Clavis International School (Mapou, Mauritius)

Wesgreen International Private School (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

“Wesgreen International School was founded in 1991, and in the years since it has grown to become one of the most successful schools in the area. Now we offer a first class education, based on the British Curriculum, for all ages from Nursery to Grade 13.”

Emirates International School (Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)

“EIS-Jumeirah was established in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates in 1991 as a community service of the Al Habtoor Group (www.habtoor.com) and was the first school in Dubai authorised to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.”

International Community School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)

“In 1981, expatriate families began a cooperative to educate their children from a biblical worldview. The cooperative continued for 12 years, providing first grade to sixth grade education. In 1990 many of these expatriate families and The Network of International Christian Schools met to discuss the feasibility of establishing a Christian school to provide kindergarten through twelfth grade education to the English speaking international community in Bangkok. In 1993 a suitable site was leased and the name International Community School (ICS) was chosen. The school was located on Soi Prong Jai in the Sathon area of Bangkok and welcomed 120 students when it opened in August 1993. The school’s ownership was given to, and remains with the International Community School Educational Foundation, a not-for profit foundation registered in Thailand.”

St. John’s International School (Thailand) (Bangkok, Thailand)

“For over 20 years we have been providing high quality International Education to both Thai and non-Thai students in Bangkok. The focus of this education has always been about learning and growth, academically and socially and as individuals. We are able to achieve this through providing a safe, secure and nurturing environment, alongside qualified, experienced and dedicated teachers and support staff.”

American International School of Kuwait (Hawalii, Kuwait)

“The school opened in 1991 after Kuwait was liberated from occupying Iraqi forces. Dr. Kamil Al Rayes, the founder,sought to create a school of high caliber with a disciplined, yet relaxed atmosphere that would provide opportunities for local and ex-patriot children to gain access to the world’s best universities. During the first year twenty-five teachers and 300 students dealt with shortages of textbooks and classroom supplies, an inadequate library and a skeleton curriculum. The school developed rapidly. In October of 1994 it became fully accredited and in the ensuing years dedicated professionals worked hard to develop what has become an excellent university preparatory school with 1600 students.”

American School Foundation of Chiapas (Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico)

King Faisal School (Riyadh) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

“The King Faisal School emerged after all procedures for launching the Boys’ Elementary Section were completed in 1991. It is a non-profit institution and one of the most important academic projects sponsored and developed by the King Faisal Foundation.  The School lies on a beautiful, aesthetically – designed campus in the Diplomatic Quarter. On its fascinating gardens, fourteen building have been erected, and a variety of athletic playfields. All these facilities and buildings have been put together in full harmony that is consistent with the prestige of the Diplomatic Quarter.”

Skagerak International School (Sandefjord, Norway)

“Skagerak Gymnas was founded in 1991 by a group of enthusiastic individuals and companies from Sandefjord led by Elisabeth Norr. They believed there was a need to offer a non-selective alternative to the Norwegian state education system. The school established itself quickly in the revamped shipbuilding premises on Framnesveien 7 at Framnes. The founders were committed to making the school a centre of educational excellence. When the school introduced the IB Diploma Programme (DP) it phased out the second and third years of the Norwegian national curriculum and changed its name to Skagerak International School. By October 1992 it was an authorised IB World School offering the DP.”

Providence English Private School (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Greater Grace International School (Hungary, Budapest)

“Greater Grace International School is a private English-language preperatory – 12th grade school located in Budapest´s beautiful 12th district. Since 1991 GGIS has provided expatriate and Hungarian families with a college preparatory education; equipping the student academically, spiritually and physically; teaching and demonstrating in the context of a Christian biblical world view.”

Overseas Family School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)

“Singapore International School was first established in September 1991 in Kennedy Town with an enrolment of 200 pupils. In 1995, SIS moved to its current premises in Aberdeen. The new purpose-built school was built on land granted by the Hong Kong government, and the cost of the building was borne by the Singapore Government. Presently, the school has an enrolment of approximately 1200 pupils of more than 20 nationalities with Singaporeans and Hong Kong citizens forming the majority.”

Tirana International School (Tirana, Albania)

“In May of 1991 Mr. Gilson traveled to Albania to have a look at a country just emerging from over 45 years of dictatorial rule. During his time there, he met some key people in the Tirana community and made a decision to begin Tirana Int’l School. This expansion has resulted today in an organization offering excellence in education in 25 different countries.”

continue reading

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.”

continue reading

ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.05 – 10 September, 2011

September 10, 2011



v2011.05 – 10 September, 2011:

School is back now in session. Many teachers have been at work and teaching students for a few weeks already.  A teacher just wrote to us talk to share what life was like starting year #2 at their “relatively new” international school.  Things on the teacher’s mind during the first few weeks so far were related to the following topics:
Getting to know the new director starting this year, knowing the school’s curriculum better now, knowing where things are located in their city and not being new to everything like in year #1, feeling more at home now that their apartment is already decorated, getting used to all of the school’s new equipment and materials, working with new teams of teachers at school and also getting to know the new teachers, making a bit more money now that they are moving up the pay schedule a bit, planning new holidays and vacations to explore more of their region of the world, going to the new shops and stores that have opened up in their city which is making shopping for certain things a lot easier and lastly, getting to inherit the old things of departing teachers from the previous school year!


Recently updated schools:

· 10 Sept  American Bilingual School (14 new comments)
(Kuwait City, Kuwait)
“ABS accommodations are single-occupancy only. Staff members are not allowed to invite a roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, driver, maid, etc. to live with them in ABS housing. You must pay…”
· 09 Sept  Dalian Maple Leaf International School (9 new comments)
(Dalian, China)
“There are several modern department stores and shopping malls in Dalian. In addition to Chinese chain stores there are Walmarts from the USA, Carrifours from France, and MyKals from Japan. There is a…”
· 05 Sept  Naseem International School (Bahrain) (20 new comments)
(Riffa, Bahrain)
“Be sure to bring enough cash to get you through to your first pay check at the end of September. There will be a settling in allowance of …”
· 05 Sept  Dhirubhai Ambani International School (5 new comments)
(Mumbai, India)
“The campus is situated at Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai, which is a fast emerging business district. Just off Bandra-Kurla Complex Road, it is accessible to students and teachers living in different…”
· 04 Sept  American School of Barcelona (3 new comments)
(Barcelona, Spain)
“I miss the students at ASB. They were so full of energy and character. I have worked at two other international schools now and the students at ASB are definitely the…” 

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· Featured article: Moving Overseas with Children by Teachers International Consultancy (part 1)
“Moving abroad with children requires a lot of planning in advance to make the transition as easy as possible for everyone. There’s no doubt that you’ll be faced with hitches along the way, but everything…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #1 – Bad interviews are good things
“No matter the reputation of the school, the people sitting across from you in the hotel room asking you questions in that school’s name are a stronger indicator of how it would feel to work at that school …”

· Member Search Feature: What positions do International School Community members have?
“After using the member profile search feature on the main homepage of International School Community, we found the following results…”

· Great link: Want to work at an international school in Thailand?
“We are often asked for ‘foreign schools’ in Bangkok and Thailand. None of the international schools in Bangkok and Thailand is really a ‘foreign school’ since they are all accredited by the Ministry of Education in Thailand…”

· How to Break into International School Teaching
“Some of the applications for recruitment fairs like Search and ISS can take months to complete.  Especially the confidential references that you need to get your references to submit….”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 61 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 135
School profiles: 877
Surveys: 5
Blog entries: 92
Posted comments and information: 939


Posting comments and information:

We encourage you to take some time to fill out some comments and information about this schools you know about.  Remember, posting in done anonymously. The more information we share, the more other members will know and be able to make more informed decisions if they are considering employment at an international school.  Also, the more members we have, the more people there are to leave information and to network with.  Please refer your international school teacher friends to join our community and to share what they know!

Officially, we also have 85 likes on Facebook and on Twitter we have 135 followers!


New members:

·Taylor Smith (Garden International School)
·Todd Bowler (Canadian International School – Singapore)
·Krista Wolfe (International School of Elite Education)
·Annette Harvey (Almaty Haileybury)
·YooKyung Shim (Seoul International School)
·ana De Anda (Monterrey Colegio Ingles Monterrey)


Current Survey Topic:
Vote here!


Member spotlight:

If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Highlighted Link
TIC website. Highlights from this page: TIC provides a personalised, reliable and responsive recruitment and training service tailored specifically to international schools and teachers worldwide. TIC are experts in international schools having over 25 years experience in international education. They have a huge network of contacts in great international schools all over the world; this enables them to help you find your perfect overseas teaching job. They offer a tailored recruitment service whether you are a teacher looking for a job overseas or a school looking to recruit.
Facebook page:
A great facebook group page for international school teachers.  Check it out here.  It is a community of educators working in international schools across the globe.  TIST is a site dedicated to a number of interests:
– Sharing instructional strategies
– Integrating instructional technology
– Insights on international teaching
– Questions and concerns about IB
– Cross-curricular and cross-continental collaborative projects
– Job fairs and the recruitment process
– Advice about future teaching destinations and cultural adjustment
– Keeping up with old colleagues and making new contacts
continue reading

Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1969 (Hong Kong, Seychelles, Madagascar, etc.)

August 28, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1969

Utilizing the database of the 850 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found  schools that were founded in 1969 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

German Swiss International School (Hong Kong, China)

“The German Swiss International School Hong Kong (GSIS) was established in 1969 by German Swiss families who were looking for a bilingual German-English education in an international setting. From these early beginnings, GSIS has grown into one of the leading international schools in Hong Kong. The school’s main campus is strategically located in the picturesque and prestigious setting of The Peak, Hong Kong.”

American School of Antananarivo (Antananarivo, Madagascar)

“ASA was founded in September, 1969 as an independent, non-sectarian, co-educational day school. Its function is to provide an excellent education in an international setting to children through the twelfth grade.”

International School of Seychelles (Victoria, Seychelles)

“ISS has grown to nearly 700 students from a small beginning of nine students in 1969. ISS continues to be a vibrant learning community with students excelling themselves both academically, in sports and in many other ways.”

International School Moshi (Moshi) (Moshi, Tanzania)

“Established in 1969 to serve the needs of the expatriate and local communities, the school has grown to provide a fully accredited international education for children from age 3 to age 19, offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma, Middle Years and Primary Years programmes.”

Sir James Henderson School (Milan, Italy)

“The Sir James Henderson British School of Milan was founded in 1969 by British parents who wanted to provide a British education to their children. The school was named after Sir James Henderson, a British businessman who started up Coats in Italy after WW1. He also founded the British Chamber of Commerce and the first Rotary Club in Italy. His wife provided a generous donation to start the school.  In 1969 the school had just over 90 students (84 in the lower school,12 children in the upper school). In 1994 it had 380 students and currently the school has over 770 students (440 in the lower school, over 330 children in the upper school).”

Bangalore International School (Bangalore, India)

“Bangalore International School, or American Community School as it was once called, was started in 1969. In the 60s and the 70s, although there were hundreds of American and Canadian families living in the city, there were no local schooling options that offered a North American curriculum and instruction style. The only available choice would have been boarding school. And luckily for us, this idea did not appeal to Eloise R. Bennett and her family, the founders of BIS. On contract through the University of Tennessee for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Bennett family moved to Bangalore for two years between 1969 and 1971. Finding no suitable schooling options, they decided to open their own, and so the American Community School was born, in a garage on Millers Road.”

Medan International School Sumatra (Medan, Indonesia)

“Medan International School began in 1969 and has being operating from its present site, approximately 10km for the centre of Medan, since 1980. Medan is a large city of over three million people, although the expatriate population is relatively small.”

continue reading

Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1996 (China, South Korea, Moldova, etc.)

July 4, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1996

Utilizing the database of the 827 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 24 schools that were founded in 1996 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Shanghai Community Int’l School (Shanghai, China)

Shanghai Singapore International (Shanghai, China)

Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)

“The SSIS was established in 1996 to provide quality international education to children of expatriate families in Shanghai. Currently, there are 2 campuses in Shanghai, MinHang Campus and XuHui Campus.”

Luanda International school (Angola, Luanda)

Busan Foreign School (Busan, South Korea)

“Busan Foreign School opened its doors to the Busan community and its surrounding areas in October of 1996. With only two students originally, it has since expanded to encompass nursery to twelfth grade, currently educating over 220 students from 25 different nations. In addition to the increase in enrollment, the curriculum has developed into a highly rigorous American standards-based program that offers students a wide variety of courses and activities.”

Tall Oaks International School (Accra, Ghana)

“The nursery was established in August 1996, to provide a safe, healthy and happy learning environment for children aged between 12 months and 5 years.”

Lekki British International School Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria)

“Welcome Lekki British School is the original British School in Nigeria. We opened our doors in 2000 to students and parents who are looking for a truly British School experience.”

Ocean of Light International School (Nukuʻalofa, Tonga)

“In 1996 as a response to a need from the community and as a social and economic development project, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Tonga established the school and registered it as a non-profit institution offering an international standard of education to the population of Tonga. Licensed by the Ministry of Education the school is now a well-known institution in Tonga.  The school opened its doors on March 3rd, 1996 with nine students, one teacher and one assistant teacher, covering classes one, two and three. By the end of the year the roll increased to 20. The following year approval was granted by the Ministry of Education to add classes 4, 5, and 6. More teachers were hired and the roll increased to 56.  By then the Board realized the difficulties of enrolling children to class one from the grass root level with no English background.”

American Academy for Girls Kuwait City (Salwa, Kuwait)

“The Al Jeel Al Jadeed Educational Institute opened The American Academy for Girls (AAG) in September 1996 to only 79 students from kindergarten through to grade five. Today, AAG has approximately 860 students from pre-kindergarten through to grade twelve.”

Qatar Academy (Doha, Qatar)

Jeddah Knowledge International School (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

Horsholm International School (Horsholm, Denmark)

The International School of Azerbaijan (Baku, Azerbaijan)

“Since its foundation in 1996 TISA has served both the expatriate community and those in the local community who are seeking an international education.”

Qsi International School of Chisinau (Chisinau, Moldova)

“QSI International School of Chisinau, a non-profit institution that opened in September 1996, offers high quality education in the English language for pre-school (beginning at age three years), elementary students (through the age of 13 years), and an expanding secondary program (currently to age 15).  The primary purpose of the school is to meet the needs of the children of foreign expatriates living in Chisinau who require this type of education with a view to continuing their education in their home countries with a minimum of adjustment problems.”

The International School of Bucharest (Bucharest, Romania)

ISB was founded in 1996 in a rented building with a total of just 17 pupils to meet the needs of the English-speaking community. Within a couple of years the school had grown in both size and scope. In order to serve an increasingly mobile international community, the curriculum gradually took into consideration the practices and requirements of a number of different systems.”

Pechersk School International (Kiev, Ukraine)

Canadian International School Bangalore (Bangalore, India)

Hanoi International School (Hanoi, Vietnam)

“In 1996 a joint venture company was launched following an agreement between the Centre for Education Technology (CET) and International School Development Inc. (ISD). The joint venture ship was on the basis of 30% interest to CET, which is the Vietnam side, and 70% interest to ISD, the US side.  The company then opened Hanoi International School in late 1996 using premises leased from the school next to today’s HIS. The student roll at the end of the first year was 54 from Pre-School to  Grade 11. Within that first cohort of students, 15 nationalities were represented. On the teaching side there were 13 teaching staff, including the Principal, and 16 Vietnamese support staff.”

Sekolah Ciputra (Surabaya, Indonesia)

“Much has been achieved since Yayasan Ciputra Pendidikan founded the school in 1996. Today Sekolah Ciputra is an international school and one of the most highly regarded IB World Schools in Indonesia. We believe that our International IB students are truly global citizens.”

International School of Skopje (Skopje, Macedonia)

St. Andrews I.S Green Valley (Pattaya, Thailand)

Arqam Academy – Doha (Doha, Qatar)

Dasman Model School (Kuwait City, Kuwait)

British International School (BIS) Phuket (Phuket, Thailand)

continue reading

Recently Updated School Profiles

School profile highlights #4: Int’l School of Havana, Copenhagen Int’l School and Int’l School of Curacao

May 29, 2011


Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments on the following schools:


International School of Havana
:

New Comment: “Due to the complicated situation in regard to support for teacher visas, the school encourages candidates with Canadian citizenship or German citizenship to apply because the Cuban govt. makes it basically impossible to hire US citizens.”


Copenhagen International School
:

New Comment: ” The school definitely uses Skype as a means of interviewing. Sometimes there are 10 staff members in the Skype, accounting for many people in different positions throughout the school. They seems to make it a joint affair, hiring new staff.”


International School of Curacao
:

New Comment: ” You basically need to get a car here. Even though the island is like only 10 Km wide, you still need a car. The roads on the island also are not the best, so using a motorcycle is not recommended, especially when there is bad weather.”

continue reading

Information for Members

It’s easy to network on ISC!

August 6, 2019


How many times have you applied to a school wishing that you knew somebody that worked there?

Knowing somebody and getting the ‘inside scoop’ on an international school will definitely help you in your quest to set up an interview there.

At International School Community we made that search for ‘informed people’ even easier with our new Top 40 Schools with the Most Members page.

Currently, our top 40 international schools with the most members are:
24 members – American International School in Egypt
23 members – Copenhagen International School
21 members – International School of Kuala Lumpur
21 members – International School Manila
17 members – Seoul International School
17 members – International School of Tanganyika
17 membersJakarta International School
17 membersMEF International School Istanbul
17 membersWestern International School of Shanghai
16 membersFairview International School
16 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City
16 members – American School of Barcelona
15 members
Singapore American School
15 membersInternational School Bangkok
14 membersUnited Nations International School (Vietnam)
14 membersShanghai Community International School
14 membersShanghai United International School (Hongqiao)
14 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
14 members – Istanbul International Community School
14 membersNIST International School
14 membersBrent International School Manila
14 members – Seoul Foreign School
14 membersQatar Academy (Doha)
13 members – KIS International School (Bangkok)
13 membersGraded – The American School of Sao Paulo
13 membersAmerican School of Dubai
13 membersAmerican International School of Johannesburg
13 membersAmerican International School (Vietnam)
13 membersCairo American College
13 membersGood Shepherd International School
12 members –Suzhou Singapore International School
12 membersChadwick International School – Songdo
12 membersInternational School of Beijing
12 membersWestern Academy of Beijing
12 membersAmerican International School of Kuwait
12 membersAnglo-American School of Moscow
12 membersAmerican School of Kuwait
12 membersCanadian International School (Singapore)
11 membersAmerican Embassy School New Delhi
11 membersBilkent Laboratory & International School

The members of these schools include members that currently work there now or have worked there in the past.

With 100-300 new members joining each month, this list will continue to grow and grow; with even more members showing up as potential people to network with.

It is simple to network on our website: just click on a member and then click on the ‘Contact this member’ button (Premium membership access required).  Then write him/her a message.  When your message is sent, the other member will get an email alert letting them know that they have a new message waiting for them on our website (you don’t need premium membership access to reply to a private message on our website). Numerous International School Community members have already taken advantage of this unique feature on our website!

As far as we know, International School Community is the only website where you can quickly and easily network with real people at a specific international school.  Meaning, if you want to get in touch with somebody from the United Nations International School in New York and you are currently a premium member of International School Community, you now have 6 members that you can contact on our website that either work there now or have worked there in the past.  

Get the answers to your questions; now that is easy networking!

continue reading

Information for Members

Get to the Comments you Want to Read Faster with our Keyword Search Feature

July 14, 2019


Our Comments Search feature is what makes our website unique.

One major goal of our website is to help our users get to the comments (specific to the topic they want to know about) easier and faster!

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say that you want to read some comments related to the topic of “teaching couples“. Simply enter in the keyword/s in the Search Bar at the top of our homepage (or at the top of any page of our website) or go directly to the Comments Search page on our website to search your keyword directly there.

keyword

Then it will take you to our Comments Search results page. There you will find all the comments (out of over 32331+ comments on our website) that have that keyword/those keywords in them. You can also just search by school name here as well, which will show all the comments about that school in one list!

You will find your keyword/s in bold as you browse through all the comments that fit your criteria.

When we searched the keyword “teaching couples” we got 186 comments (up around 100 comments from two years ago!) that had those keywords; ordered by the date they were submitted.

As you scroll down, if you find a comment that interests you and you want to learn more about that school (i.e. check out the other comments about that school), just click on the school profile link to the left of the comment.

Other keyword search results (performed on 14 July, 2019):

Retirement – 279 comments
PD – 442 comments
Save – 536 comments
Relocation – 79 comments
Housing Allowance – 559 comments
Gay – 84 comments
Singles – 139 comments
Salary – 1000 comments
Canadian – 622 comments
Tuition – 478 comments
Happy – 229 comments

Search your keyword here!

We are so excited about this Comments Search feature on our website as it really makes finding and reading comments easier for our members.  It is one of the many unique features on International School Community that makes us stand out when compared to other international school review websites.

continue reading

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.

continue reading

Highlighted Articles

A Seemingly Simple Question: Where are you From?

August 22, 2018


Living abroad for over 25 years has been an exciting and fulfilling experience marked by the many rewarding opportunities to meet new people. When we meet new people, our natural curiosity takes over and we quickly begin to ask questions.  The answers help us find commonalities and develop bonds, which make us feel connected. One question I have always struggled to answer is the one I hear most often: where are you from? This seemingly simple question is packed with many expectations and assumptions. I never know which answer I should provide. Several questions of my own flash through my head in the seconds before I answer; Should I answer with my country of birth, my passport, my ethnicity? For me, and many others today, the answer is no longer singular.

question

Often times we are expected to provide a standard answer to a question that is no longer standard. In the recent era of multicultural and multilingual families, these answers are not as simple anymore. As a Asian-American expat living abroad, whenever I get asked this question, I find myself having an inner dialogue.  Do I give this person the expected answer that falls in line with their expectations based on my Asian appearance, or do I give a different answer that I know will lead to the next question; yes, but where were you born? Or where are your parents from? Recognizing that people have good intentions and are genuinely curious, I most commonly share this response; I was raised in the States, but my parents are from South Korea.

This complexity manifests in schools as well.  I remember walking into a classroom one day; the children were sitting in front of a world map and the teacher asked each child to place a pin on the map to answer the question ‘where are you from?’ One child asked the teacher for two additional pins. When the teacher asked why, the child explained he needed a pin for each country his family represented. His father was Swiss-Canadian, and his mother was German. To my delight, rather than making the child choose, the surprised teacher simply gave the child additional pins. This story demonstrates that we often expect a single answer to a single question.  Whether we identify as a global nomad, third cultural/cross cultural citizen, multiplicity in our identities in now the new norm, and our questions and conversations should begin to reflect this.

question

One day, as I was sharing my frustration at being asked this general question, my friend asked me,  ‘What would you ask instead?’ After thinking about it, I responded that it depended on what I really wanted to know about that person.  I have found that an additional moment of consideration when choosing which question I pose has often led to more sincere and meaningful interactions.  Examples of questions I now ask include:

  • Where did you grow up?
  • Where does your family live?
  • Where were you born?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • Where did you live before moving here?  
  • Where have you lived the longest?
  • Where is home for you?

question

Although each question may still not have a simple answer, go against your urge to ask the easy question and challenge yourself to go deeper and more personal.  You can try one of my questions or come up with ones of your own. Demonstrating curiosity and sharing our personal histories are gifts we have as humans. Asking more mindful and thoughtful questions may lead to more robust interactions and certainly more engaging conversations.  So next time you meet someone new, consider asking them a different question that uncovers a deeper level beyond nationality, passport or ethnic background. Each question is a gateway to the possibility of a new connection, a fascinating dialogue, and maybe even a new friendship along the way.  

This article was submitted to us by guest author, Ji Han.  Over the past 28 years,  Ji’s professional journey has included positions as Principal, Curriculum Coordinator, classroom teacher and educational consultant in many schools and countries around the world.  She remains active in promoting collaboration and sharing mutual best practice through her involvement as a workshop facilitator, conference presenter, accreditation leader and a member of various committee groups.

All images are sourced by Google images
continue reading

Highlighted Articles

Why Many Teachers Choose To Raise Their Kids Abroad

August 31, 2016


When I was a kid, three of my closest friends went off the rails.  They ended up in prison.  In each case, they apprenticed with a bit of shoplifting.  Things went downhill from there.  I didn’t grow up in a bad neighborhood.  But it wasn’t all sugar and lollipops.

That’s why my mom didn’t work when I was young.  She stayed home.  She wanted to give my brothers, my two sisters and me stability in a world that wasn’t stable.

family at home

My mom was careful with money.  My dad was a mechanic.  They had four kids.  That’s why I was surprised when my parents asked if I wanted to take trip around the Mediterranean Sea with a bunch of other 7th grade students.  “I’ll take a part-time job to cover the cost,” said my mom.  “But you have to save at least $350.”  It was 1982.  I was a 12-year old with a paper route.  The trip cost $2,800.  That was five times more than what my cash strapped parents had paid for their family car.

Today, I understand why they wanted me to do it.

For 4 months, I took weekly night lessons with a dozen other kids in a retired teacher’s home.  The teacher volunteered. We learned about the countries we would see.  We studied their geographies, cultures, architectures and religions. I became our 12-year old expert on Islam. 

I left for my month-long trip on March 28, 1982.  I still remember the date and most of what I saw. We went to England, Greece, Egypt, Israel and Turkey.  I spent two extra weeks with relatives in England.

It was, by far, the best educational experience that I ever had.

Thousands of parents take it one step further.  They raise their children overseas.  Their kids attend international schools.  These aren’t French schools servicing French children, or Thai schools servicing Thai students.  Instead, they support the families of expatriates working abroad. They’re like the United Nations. 

For many kids and parents, these schools are a dream. Almost every child who graduates from an international school eventually goes to college.  In the 12 years that I taught at one, I wasn’t aware of a single high school drop out.

Although it may have happened, I wasn’t aware of a single teen pregnancy. Racism was almost non-existent.  There was a heightened awareness of different religions, cultures and demographics, both social and financial.

Singapore American School

I taught at Singapore American School.  It’s the largest American school outside of the United States.  There are 4000 kids from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Most are U.S. passport holders.  But the student body represents more than 50 different nationalities.  Most of the teachers have children. 

In 2014, ICEF Monitor stated that there are more than 7000 international schools worldwide.  Devin Pratt and his wife Dianna have worked at six of them.  Devin began his career as a Social Studies teacher in Texas. He’s now the Assistant Head (Superintendent) at Frankfurt International School.   Dianna works at the same school as an educational technology coordinator. Their two children, Dagan and Dominique, have lived in Cote-d’Ivoire, Africa; Saudi Arabia; Taiwan; India and Singapore.

I sat with Devin on his porch in Frankfurt.  Some of the neighbor’s homes peeked through the trees on the sunny hill below.   Birds chirped.  I couldn’t see or hear a single car.  I couldn’t hear another voice.

“For part of my childhood, I grew up in government subsidized apartments in the Dallas, Texas area,” said Devin.  “We eventually moved to Plano when my mom remarried. It’s a high socioeconomic area where many of the kids’ parents expected them to go to college.  Just having that influence helped me.” 

Devin says that there are few negative distractions at international schools. “Almost all of the kids are focused on education and their school based activities.  Most don’t consider not going to college.  They’re positively pulled by their peers and by supportive communities that value global education and diversity.”

At many of the schools, teachers can also save a lot of money.  I’ve written two columns, here and here, describing some of the schools. 

But raising kids overseas isn’t perfect.  Derek Swanson is from Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He teaches at the American Community School of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab EmiratesPreviously, he and his wife taught in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The couple has two sons. The youngest is four years old.  The oldest is seven.  “Maintaining relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members is challenging at times,” he says.  “But technologies [like Skype] help considerably.”

Derek’s children follow a U.S. curriculum.  But they learn much more. “Our two boys have learned a fair amount of Vietnamese, Arabic, and Tagalog,” says Derek.  “They also have a fair understanding of the conflicts in Vietnam and how that affected the people there.”

Kate Smith (I’ve changed her name to protect her identity) is another American overseas.  She teaches 2nd grade at Pechersk International School, in Kiev, Ukraine.  Kate, her husband, and their thirteen year old daughter have also lived in Turkey and Belgium. 

multicultural

“My daughter has been exposed to many different cultures, languages and different ways of thinking,” says Kate.  “She has grown up thinking it’s normal to be able to speak 3 languages. She isn’t as materialistic as her cousins who live in the U.S. and she has learned to value experiences and people over things.”

Kate credits a lack of exposure to U.S. based television. “When she was younger, I asked my daughter what she wanted from Santa.  She looked puzzled and didn’t know how to reply because she has what she wants and needs.  She hasn’t been exposed to the advertising on American TV.”  

But living overseas, for Kate, isn’t without its challenges.  “Buying clothes and shoes in foreign countries is always interesting. In our current country, they speak Russian or Ukrainian (and I know neither). I have bought some foods expecting them to be something they are not!”

Gael Thomlinson and her husband, Brad, teach at the British Columbia Canadian International School, in Cairo Egypt.  It follows a Canadian curriculum. As with most international schools, the students come from dozens of different countries. Gael teaches music.  Brad teaches math.  Previously, the couple taught in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

Their two nine-year olds, Lisa and David (I’ve changed their names to protect their identities) enjoy living overseas.  Gael says, “We’ve made great friends from so many different countries. We travel a lot and have visited places like Sri Lanka and Nepal– places I had never dreamed of going. My kids are comfortable amongst many nationalities and they get over language barriers quickly so they can play with new friends.”

Broad cultural acceptance and confidence are common traits among these global kids. Stacy Bradshaw (I have changed her name) is a high school English teacher.  She’s a single mother of two children, aged nine and six.  For two years, she and her children lived in Taiwan.  They recently moved to Korea.  This fall, her children will attend Osan American Elementary.  It’s a U.S. Department of Defense School.

writing mandarin

Stacy and her children have visited 10 different countries in the Pacific Rim region. “My daughter is now a fluent speaker of traditional Mandarin,” says Stacy.  “She’s also my translator. My children love the adventures that come from exploring new cultures, which have provided a hands-on, visual learning experience that they continue to reminisce.”

Devin and Dianna Pratt’s daughter, Dominique, is now a Master’s student at Clark Univeristy, in Massachusetts. She earned a scholarship through the Global Scholars Program for international students.  She grew up in six different countries.  Dominique graduated from high school in Singapore.

“I’m proud of how I grew up,” she says.  But Dominque admits that living overseas has created a pull to live in other places.  “I don’t feel like I’m a local anywhere.  I like the idea of moving on.  I feel myself getting antsy about moving somewhere else.” 

I asked her about U.S. based teachers.  If they have kids, and a sense of adventure, should they consider moving abroad?

“If I were to have kids,” she says, “I would see it as a positive thing.”

155595-linebreak

This article was originally posted on Assetbuilder.com.

continue reading

How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when teaching abroad #8: Paying (sometimes at high prices) for a housekeeper, cook, etc. while living the expat lifestyle

March 31, 2016


We all hear about the big possibility of saving money while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t save much of any money.  So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?

How NOT to save money when teaching abroad #8: Paying (sometimes at high prices) for a housekeeper, cook, etc. while living the expat lifestyle

9041497320_a2e7414d4d_z

Is it affordable to hire a housekeeper in your host country?

Many of us have never had a housekeeper while living in our home countries. We never even had the idea that we would need one or even be able to afford one. But while living abroad as an expat, international school teachers potentially can live a very different life and lifestyle in comparison to their former home country lives. Many times they will find themselves in situations where they can now financially afford certain help around the house. And who doesn’t want to hire somebody to clean their house and iron their work clothes every week?

Of course the cost of this help can be quite varied in different parts of the world. Hiring a house cleaner in Spain might be cheaper than hiring one in Norway, but then could be more expensive than one you would pay for in Japan.

There are international school teachers that refuse to get help like a housekeeper. They are quite content to continue their lifestyle as they were living in their home country. But in many 3rd world counties, there are locals that could very much benefit from employment from an international school teacher. Some might say hiring a local and having them come on a regular basis (and also paying them an accept rate for the area) to help you out around the house is a good thing for the local economy.

So, before you just have anybody come to your place and do some work for you, it is advisable, of course, to check with your colleagues at your school about their experience hiring housekeepers, for example. Often there is another teacher that is currently using one that is also looking for more work. Sharing a good housekeeper amongst work colleagues is a great way to assure you are getting a trustworthy person.

Even if you get a trustworthy person it is not always smooth sailing once they start working at your place. In some situations, the housekeeper might not speak English. And if you not fluent in the local language yet, there can be some issues with communication and getting things done in the ways that you like and prefer. One solution is to get one of your local friends to come over and help interpret for you; for some bigger issues that may arise.

109371415_240fdb0a78_z

Some international school teachers hire a local to cook some meals for them during the week.

If you are lucky, you will find a great person that fits your needs. Maybe you’ve set up a schedule where the housekeeper cleans your place while you are at work. Then when you get home, you have a fresh and tidy house in which you can immediately relax. It is always nice to see the little things that your housekeeper might do in certain parts around the house; like a special way of folding the towels or making up your bed.

It all sounds good, doesn’t it?  But it does come at a cost. So to make sure that you are still saving money while living abroad, be certain that you can find a balance between how much you have your housekeeper do things for you around the house.  On the other hand, hiring a housekeeper does save you time!

****************************

We have a comment topic on our website related to the theme of how much it costs to pay for these types of extra help in your international school life living abroad.  It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc. Here are a few examples of comments related to housekeeper costs:

“Housekeepers, but law, must be full-time, though some are hired part-time, unofficially. Minimum wage for housekeeper is ~4500HKD per month.” – Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (55) Total comments

“Individuals make their own contracts with housekeepers, nannies and gardeners, though the school assists with obtaining visas for nannies and housekeepers. (This process can be frustrating at times based on the Omani bureaucracy, but gets done.). A nanny/housekeeper will make anywhere between 170 and 300 OMR/month and the number of hours in that frame go from a regular 40 hr week with weekends and holidays off with overtime provided (along with yearly airfare and insurance — can be obtained for under 200 OMR/year), to 24-hour on-call, no benefits or overtime.” – American British Academy
(33) Total comments

“You can get a housekeeper here that comes for 1/2 a day, every day of the week, for 250,000 Shillings a month! It is wonderful! The person will do all the cleaning and all your laundry (and you need someone do do your ironing here as some washing needs to be done by hand, etc.).” – International School of Tanganyika (141) Total comments

“One thing great about teaching in Malaysia is the opportunity to have a different lifestyle than would be affordable in the Western world. Most teachers with kids have a full time (some live in) nanny and maid. A full-time nanny is paid $500 -$600 a month. Part time help is affordable, costing between $6 and $10 an hour. For $300 a month, you can have a part-time housekeeper come 3 times a week.” – Mont’Kiara International School (27) Total comments

continue reading

Photo Contests

Top Three Photos for Best Vacation Envy: And the Winners of This Photo Contest Are…

January 4, 2016


We’re happy to announce the winners of our Seventh Photo Contest (Best Vacation Envy).

First Place: San Francisco, California

“This photo was taken by my partner and me. It was taken early November where in Poland where I live is cold and moody. I know it is not my winter December photo but more like autumn yet I do hope it is still ok after all California and San Francisco in this case is always sunny.

image1

Congratulations Ewelina Manka (an international teacher working at The Canadian School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland)!

Prize awarded: Premium membership for TWO YEARS on our website!

Second Place: Palawan Island, Philippines

Secret Cove on Palawan Island in the Philippines!

P50222-155204

Congratulations Mike Kim (an international teacher from New Zealand)!

Prize awarded: Premium membership for ONE YEAR on our website!

Third Place: Rincapart of Komodo National Park, Indonesia

This picture is part of my winter break of 2015. I love animals and I thought teaching in Indonesia would provide me that opportunity. However not in Jakarta so, during my breaks I travel to places in Indonesisa that do just that. The photo was taken at Rincapart of Komodo National Park.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Congratulations Wendy Davis (an international teacher working Marshall Islands).

Prize awarded: Premium membership for SIX MONTHS on our website!

Thanks to everyone who participated!  We have awarded everyone else ONE WEEK of premium membership for participating in this photo contest.

Stay tuned for our next photo contest which will happen sometime during the next 2-3 months. Check out our previous Photo Contests here.

continue reading

Highlighted Articles

The Teacher on 2 Wheels is Still Making Her Way Home

March 30, 2014


I’m 18,000 kilometers from where I started, traveled through 24 different countries, visited 35 different schools, taken 167 hot showers, 32 cold, and gone 7 nights without any.  I’ve stayed in 103 hotels, been hosted by 90 different people and camped for 25 nights.  I’ve drank 213 coffees, been rained on 16 days, but had 154 days of sunshine and faced 56 days of grueling head wind, and changed 6 flat tires.  With all of those statistics accumulated, I still have another 14,000 kilometers to go before I reach my hometown of Eugene, Oregon next October.

P1070005For those of you who don’t cycle, just reading those statistics must seem like a painfully long journey, but for me, the time has flown by and my legs are almost just as fresh as the first day I started, if not a tad stronger.  I write a blog post almost every three days, but in reality with everything that I experience, I could do a daily post.  Regardless of the country, I find that traveling by bike I’m constantly exposed to the world.  I don’t have much intimacy on the road meaning I’m susceptible to my surroundings and traveling as a solo female, I believe I draw more attention to myself.  People feel compelled to go out of their way to interact with me and take care of me, and I welcome their kindness with open arms.

I was an open-minded person before I started pedaling home, but now I become even more so, erasing all my prejudices.  I’ve encountered incredible hospitality on the road wherever I am and never doubt once the sincerity global of human kindness.  I start pedaling in the morning and the only thing I have planned is to pedal 100 kilometers, and sometimes that doesn’t even happen.  I can never predict what my day will be like, who I will meet, and where I will end up staying.  Of course I try to plan my accommodations in advance, but even then I can encounter surprises.

I’m on my journey alone, yet never once have I felt lonely.  In SE Asia, I would stop for my mid-morning snack at a café with a few locals, and before I had my coffee in front of me there was a swarm of people around, mystified by my presence.  Communication can be one of my greatest challenges, but through hand gestures, pictures, and Google Translator, I almost always find a way to express myself.  I thoroughly enjoyed the novelty of traveling through SE Asia from November through January.  It is a very easy to explore on bike.  Although the road conditions weren’t always optimal, I had food stops almost every 5 kilometers, basic and cheap accommodation was plentiful, and the weather, although hot and humid, P1050610made for packing little gear, so I was able to lighten my load on my bike.  As in Europe, distances from town to town were short and I never felt too isolated.  That all changed when I arrived in New Zealand in February.  All of a sudden I found myself in vast and remote wilderness with limited services.  I had to prepare my daily routes, even 2 or 3 days out, carefully in order to ensure I had enough food.  Although I had seen plenty of beautiful places along my route, New Zealand was by far the most breathtaking country for scenery because 95% of my day was spent alongside the most gorgeous and pristine nature.  From crystal clear lakes and ocean, snow-capped mountains peaks, lush rain forests, and arid mountain passes, I never stopped ohhing and awwwing at the landscape.  The terrain was by far the most difficult with constant elevation change, but it was also in New Zealand where I encountered the most tour cyclist to talk with along the way.  On any given day I ran into 5 to 10 cyclists on the road!

I’ve been in Australia during the month of March, and have another 4 weeks of travel in this vast country, including a tour around Tasmania.  I’ve been well accompanied for this portion of my trip, including a visit from my parents, meeting up with former colleagues and clients I had from working as a ride leader for a bike touring company in Europe.  Their hospitality during the past month and the familiar faces have been a refreshing change.

When I visit schools, a lot of kids ask me which has been my favorite place so far on my travels, a question that is virtually impossible to answer.  There are three main highlights to tour cycling for me: the scenery, the people, and the food.  Each of these categories corresponds to a different country preference, but overall I think SE Asia, as a continent, is my first choice, again because of the contrast in their every day life routines, compared to what I’m used to.  Naturally I’ve come up with a list of places that I could see myself living after this trip, from all the different places I’ve discovered on my route. After visiting all the schools along my route, I can’t help but welcome the idea to try living and working in a different location.  Barcelona has been home to me for 10 years now and although it is a very special place for me, I am too curious about the other places I have seen to return, at least any time soon.

P1040923I’ve had a handful of school visits that have made hopping on my bike afterwards difficult.  I’ve felt so inspired and motivated after some of my visits, fascinated by the school’s curriculum and pedagogy that I was ready to stay and start teaching again.  The school visits have given me the opportunity to continue interacting with children during my year away from the classroom and exposed me to different teaching methods, both an added benefit to my trip.  At the start of my trip I talked to larger audiences of students, however, now I prefer to work with a few grade levels and tie my experience and travels into a unit of study.  For me, it is more challenging and interesting to link my real world experience to the conceptual framework of a unit and for students it makes my visit more meaningful.  However, I never fail to have a question and answer session because they always have so many wonderings.  In SE Asia, I came across a lot of school holidays, which made for fewer visits, but I did manage to contact a few local schools as well in China and Laos.  Now that I’m in English-speaking countries, I visit a lot of public schools and a few private schools.  Once I reach the United States, I look forward to hopefully visiting some bilingual schools to take advantage of my Spanish and talk with the Latino population.

If all goes as planned, I arrive to San Francisco at the end of April and although Oregon is north, I will pedal south down the coast and then into the interior.  Starting with the Grand Canyon, I intend to make my way north through the various national parks, cross the Canadian border and reach Banff.  From there I will head west to Vancouver, and finally travel south to Oregon, a loop that includes roughly 12,000 kilometers. I’m a bit apprehensive about traveling in such remote wilderness areas in North America, but as I have learned on this trip so far, it is better to trust others and give them the benefit of the doubt. So far I haven’t ever felt like I was in danger or encountered any threats.

After the last article was published in the International School Community Member Spotlight, I had several teachers contact me about visiting their schools and even a few hosted me.  Please do look at my website and if I’m going to be pedaling through your area, or the area of a colleague, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

continue reading

New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves: A settling-in allowance given to you in cash (local currency)!

December 30, 2012


In this blog series we will talk about the ins and outs of an excellent new teacher orientation programme at an international school.  A new teacher orientation programme can really play a very important part to your start at your new school, in your new host country.

Must-have #6: A settling-in allowance given to you in cash (local currency)!

You just get off the airplane.  You have what seem to be a million bags with you. You are quite tired from your long flight journey to your new host country.  You are frantically looking for the person that said that they were going to pick you up from the airport.  You find them and they bring you to your new place that will be your home for the next few years.   So many things on your mind, so many things to worry about, and SO many things to buy!

Sure, you can prepare ahead of time and get some of the local currency at a bank in your home country before you get on the plane.  Sure, you can make it a point to visit an ATM at the host country airport or try and find a local bank near your new house that has an ATM.  But even then, you will have to use the money that you have in your home bank account and for many people, they might not have the finances to support starting up a completely new life and home.

How nice then if the international school that you will be working at gives you a settling-in allowance on your arrival to your new host country?! Getting cash in the local currency straight away is definitely a perk and a very nice benefit to look out for when searching for a new international school at which to work.

International School Community members have a wealth of information to share! Here are a few comments about their experience getting a settling-in allowance at an international school they have worked at:

“As soon as I got off the plane and claimed my baggage, I met the school principal at the arrivals gate, he introduced himself, and handed me an envelope with 1,500,000 won (roughly $1,500). Seriously, it was that quick.”  – An international school teacher at Seoul International School (68 Comments).

“Upon arriving at our apartment, we were given an envelope with some cash in it. This was our settling-in allowance. It was enough to go to a Walmart-type store and get all the basics you don’t bring with you but need right away. Cleaning supplies/trash can/kitchen utensils (beyond the basics). The school already provided all the basic furniture, bedding, and kitchen stuff (pots/plates/cutlery) but all of the odds and ends were purchased with that settling in allowance. It was great to have local currency right away…but it sure didn’t last very long!” – An international school teacher at Graded School Sao Paulo (16 Comments).

“They gave the first month’s salary in cash upon arrival.” – An international school teacher at GEMS American Academy (Abu Dhabi) (23 Comments).

“The Canadian Academy has a decent size settling in allowance. Seems large at first, but was used up quite quickly, as Japan is VERY expensive. So perhaps not as good as it seems. (I think it was about equal to one paycheck….?)” – An international school teacher at Canadian Academy (Kobe) (10 Comments).

Getting at least some help monetarily during your first days in your new host country is very much welcomed by all international school teachers!  Though you typically go through your settling-in allowance very quickly, it is still nice have.  At many postings, you often don’t get your first paycheck until the end of the month that you start working.  There are way too many things to buy during those first few weeks, that it would be impossible to wait until you get your first paycheck!  Not to mention all the money you end up needlessly wasting when you buy certain items impulsively at one store (because it is near to your house), not knowing that the other store (down the block) sells that same item for half the price.  I’m sure that has happened to all of us at one time or another!

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 4.06.15 PM******

In the Benefits Information section of the school profile page on our website, we have a topic related to the settling-in allowance: Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)?  There have been 100s of comments and information submitted in this topic on our website and many of them refer to the settling-in allowance you will get (or not get) working at that international school . Here are a few of those comments:

“You get one flight per two year contract. There is a 1500 USD appx. local settling allowance, and the school gives an interest free loan of one months salary to assist with settling costs. Shipping – be careful as if you are transitioning from another international post, you must use your home of record for quotations. Some people buy furniture, others rent furnished, some take out car loans, others buy 2nd hand cars. There are plenty of different options.” International School of Kuala Lumpur (55 Comments)

“At the end of your contract the school provides travel and transportation to home of record. Annual flight allowance (KIS pays up to Rs 12,000 / person once every term contract). Shipping allowance for staff on term contract upon joining and at the completion of service. Also there is a transportation allowance. Settling in allowance is given upon every term contract signed. Lunch / tea in our school cafeterias while the school is in session is provided to teachers.” Kodaikanal International School (25 Comments)

“VAIS paid for round trip airfare from the US to Hanoi and back to the US for school year 2011-2. For school year 2012-3, there’s a cap of $1,700. VAIS paid $500 settling in costs. For school year 2012-3, there’s no settling in allowances. There are no free lunches. Lunches cost $3.50.” Vietnam American International School (26 Comments)

Log-on today to check out the many comments and information submitted in this section topic!  Become the most informed you can be when it comes to finding out the benefits an international school offers to its new teachers.

So, does your international school offer a settling-in allowance?  Please share your experiences!

continue reading

Ten Commandments of Relocating Overseas

TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #10 – Do not allow negative comments and attitudes to darken your outlook.

April 3, 2012


TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS

10. Surround yourself with positive people. Do not allow negative comments and attitudes to darken your outlook.

It is hard to stay positive, but when culture shock is at its worst, it is very easy to slip.  Sure the other new teachers at your school (and the veteran ones) have a lot to say to you about the host country and culture, but you just might find yourself joining in with them. Commence the inevitable negative thought process!

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller

It is hard to know exactly about the meaning behind those negative comments from your coworkers (or from yourself).  Are they saying those things because that is just what you do and say when you are an expat, even if it is said like it is only a joke?  On the other hand, people say things as a joke under stressful times and there is usually much truth behind their negative comment.

Some things are small and people are easily quick to be negative about it.

“Why do I have a pay this media tax? I never had to pay this in any of the other countries I’ve lived in.  I don’t even have a TV.  I refused to pay this stupid fee!”

“Seriously the internet in this country is so slow. You can’t even access Facebook and Youtube here.  Now I have to pay for a VPN service, which usually makes my internet connect even slower!”

“Nothing is open around here.  Good luck finding a store open after 18h here.”

“Arg! It is so dirty here.  I open the windows to my apartment and one hour later the floors are covered in a thin layer of dust.  I can’t want to move back to a country that is cleaner!”

There are many more things to talk negatively about when living in another country.  We forgot too, under the influence of culture shock, that there are many negative aspects to living in our home country as well (e.g. getting a cable service repair person to come to your home to fix your internet or cable).  People complain and obsess about negative aspects of their lives in their home countries too.  But some might say that is your country so maybe you are “allowed” to say negative things every once and awhile about your own culture and way of doing things.  Is it different or the same then when living abroad?  When you are in a host country, the country is your “host.”  Certainly, we all would agree that you should try and be gracious to your host.