Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #22: Laurence Myers (An int’l school teacher working at International School of Kuala Lumpur)

February 28, 2013


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

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 8.44.30 PMTell us about your background.  Where are you from?
I am originally from Athens, Greece with a father from the US and a mother from Greece. I was born and raised in Athens, Greece and attended a small international school (TASIS Hellenic International School, now International School of Athens). I have been teaching for 19 years internationally and have loved every minute of it!  

How did you get started in the international teaching community?
For me teaching internationally was almost an extension of my life as a student. As I went to an international school as a child I found the cross-cultural connections at such schools to be right up my alley. Of course, as is often the case, my inspiration came from my teachers and professors, the most powerful of which was that of Kostas Gabriel who presently teaches in Chennai. He was an inspiration in believing in myself as a child and I found that, when deciding on a profession, this also provided me with an impetus to assist students in similar circumstances. I also had some good friends who showed me the way, most notably Ralph Barrett who presently teaches in Abu Dhabi. Following their footsteps, and my heart, I was able to fit right in when professional life came calling.  After a couple years of teaching internationally I was hooked. The job offers the perfect combination of discovery and self-reliance with the added dimension of dealing with simply wonderful kids!

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 began my teaching at the same school I attended as a child, TASIS Hellenic International School. It was, and still is, a small school with much character and a small but very dynamic student population. It was here, as I took my professional baby steps, that I learned that students are often waiting for an opportunity to see the world in different ways. I taught both social studies and physical education at TASIS.

Following TASIS, and a short stint back in the US to receive my M.A., I taught for five years at Colegio Nueva Granada in Bogota, Colombia. For me this was an eye-opening experience. Like the Greek community, Colombians are open and really want to know about you as a teacher. I found this connection fascinating and discussions with my students in economics and government endlessly rewarding. The country of Colombia too, which had a shady reputation at the time, was a simply beautiful place to be!  Despite the media and the difficult political situation the travel opportunities there were tremendous and I still find that, in so many ways, Colombia is home for me as well. I am also happy to be connected to Colombia through my wife, who has been by my side since those days at CNG. 🙂

My next stop, where I presently work, was the International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was here that my professional self was able to succeed in ways that I never imagined possible. ISKL’s professional development opportunities and the support that they offer their teaching staff allows for many teachers to become great leaders in their own right. Though the expectations are high, so too is the sense of professional community. Collaborative, supportive and engaging ISKL has given me the opportunity to broaden my understanding of teaching and learning. It is in Malaysia that my two daughters were born and so our connection to Kuala Lumpur will be life-long.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
In Malaysia it is customary to point with the thumb and not the index finger. As our daughters are quite young trying to get them to remember to point this way is sometimes difficult. Traditionally we point, as most do in the west, with our index fingers. At one point when we went to a restaurant our daughter was pointing at something and we were overly concerned about what that might say about our cultural empathy. We tried very hard to get her to change her finger and were embarrassed to fail miserably. When we went over to the table and sat down to talk about it our daughter told us to look at the next customer, a Malaysian woman, who had just walked in. Sure enough, she was indicating things to the staff using her index finger. My daughter was vindicated and I quieted down recognizing that customs often change as cultures diffuse. Where we are often overcompensating in order to fit into the local culture, the members of that same local culture might be happy to use western gestures and norms.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
As I have matured in my teaching, and as my family situation has changed (ie. single to married to having children) so too has my outlook on what is important in a job. When I was younger, of course, my impression of travel opportunities and cultural experiences was primary, as well as the reputation of the school. Now that I am older with a family I suspect that my next teaching post will be a bit closer to home and one where our children can also have a positive learning experience. It should be a school that allows me personal and professional challenge but also provides children with a well-rounded educational experience.

Specific thoughts on a new position (when that happens):
Is it in a safe location?
Does the school promote whole-child philosophy?
Does the school’s administration support teaching initiatives?
What is the “personality” of the school and does it fit in with our own?
Does the school support an environment of caring for people and for the environment?

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
Discovery. Rewarding. Engaging. Relationships. Awesome.

Thanks Laurence!

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

Want to work for an international school in Malaysia like Laurence?  Currently, we have 23 international schools listed in the Malaysia on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

Garden International School (19 Comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (55 Comments)
Nexus International School (18 Comments)
International School of Penang (Uplands) (9 Comments)
Dalat International School (6 Comments)
Mont Kiara International School Kuala Lumpur (8 Comments)

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Information for Members

The 40 Most Viewed Schools on International School Community

June 13, 2021


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

It’s like, which school is the most popular amongst our 21.7K+ 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!

The school that has the most views right now is the Al Hada International School (13 total comments), which currently has around 170967 views. Who wouldn’t want to work in the Middle East?!

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

International School of Chile (Nido de Aguilas) (48 total comments) Santiago, Chile
(76394 views)

“I found the interview process to be very random and not very organized. The ES principal was not someone I am excited to work for. That said, the school has a good reputation and is in a great location…”

British International School Moscow (42 total comments) Moscow, Russia
(71149 views)

“Not recommended to use shipping. I moved with suitcases. Most apartments are fully furnished and the paperwork and red tape make it highly discouraged to relocate with anything other than luggage. The school was very up front with this and explain the nightmare that is Russian bo…”

The Universal American School (22 total comments) Salwa, Kuwait
(54998 views)

“UAS facilities are air-conditioned including an indoor swimming pool, multi-purpose play court, fully equipped gymnasium, a 400-seat auditorium, large library, and a multi-purpose hall. Students have access to three computer labs, science labs at all levels, music/band rooms, large…”

International School of Elite Education (13 total comments) New Cairo City, Egypt
(47796 views)

“No taxes have to be paid. Salaries are in USD. Monthly salary, average is between 1800-1900 USD…”

Colegio Granadino Manizales (68 total comments) Manizales, Colombia
(39528 views)

“For me personally, many aspects of my job was discussed during the interview. Talking to teachers before coming to Manizales also helped clear up some of the unknown areas. For some of my colleagues, however, this wasn’t the case, and there were some unexpected surprises…”

American International School of Budapest (55 total comments) Budapest, Hungary
(21174 views)

“In secondary, the meeting schedule for the school year is mapped out in advance and the meeting of the week (Tuesday for MS and Wednesday for HS) rotates between full faculty meetings, department meetings, grade-level meetings, and no meetings when it is a week where grades are d…”

Leman International School Chengdu (21 total comments) Chengdu, China
(5867 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…”

International School of Kuala Lumpur (135 total comments) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
(5220 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.”

Western International School of Shanghai (481 total comments) Shanghai, China
(5020 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!”

Copenhagen International School (391 total comments) Copenhagen, Denmark
(4612 views)

“This year CIS went to a recruiting fair in London. The director mentioned that he wants to make sure our school ‘stays visible’ at these fairs every once and awhile. There weren’t that many vacancies this year, which is typical because people tend to stay here a…”

Singapore American School (313 total comments) Singapore, Singapore
(4659 views)

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

NIST International School (403 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand
(4115 views)

“Campus is south of the city. Apartments are being built around it and public transportation links near the school are improving…”

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (180 total comments) Shanghai, China
(3928 views)

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

American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (64 total comments) Cairo, Egypt
(3881 views)

“This is a bit of an issue at AIS. They seem to hire people without checking references and most interviews are just over the phone or Skype. Several people get fired a year due to behaviors that I am sure would have shown before hiring should AIS do face to face interviews and…”

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (168 total comments) Hong Kong, China
(3156 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.”

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

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Discussion Topics

LGBT Friendly? Insight into 12 International Schools and Their Countries

March 28, 2021


Let’s face it: LGBT teachers need to consider some specific things when they decide they would like to teach abroad at an international school.

It could be that the school you are going to is LGBT-friendly, but your host country is not. Sometimes both the school and the host country are not LGBT-Friendly. Many LGBT international school teachers would not choose to work in either of these situations for moral or safety reasons, while other might. Even when the laws of the host countries include the death penalty, there are some LGBT international school teachers who have lived and worked there for many years with very little to no problems.

It is still a difficult choice to make though, as there can be some potentially harmful, confusing, and even dangerous discrimination situations for LGBT international school teachers in some countries around the world.

Therefore, it is very important to do your research and check out your prospective international school and see what they think (ask them these questions during your interview!). Take some time to examine the current laws related to LGBT people in the host country and the latest news articles about any possible recent events.

We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as some of the most interesting and insightful, about whether or not each of these schools and/or countries are LGBT-friendly.

1.

“There is a wide variety of teachers from different backgrounds. Age also varies widely. It is a school that is LGBT-friendly and accepts same-sex relationships. The turnover is normal for the size of the school. Many people stay longer than first intended…” – International School Manila (110 total comments)

2.

“Parents are not LGBT friendly – as a result, while the school does not have a particular bias, they cater to the parents…” – Peking University Experimental School (Jiaxing) (79 total comments)

3.

“Expats, with local Romanians as assistants and a few specialist positions.
Turnover is low but should be lower for a great package in a great city.
LGBT friendly school, there are some ‘rules’ to follow for Romania in general.” – American International School Bucharest (63 total comments)

4.

“A mix of local and expat teachers work here. Some teachers don’t speak any English but everyone is friendly. I don’t think it is LGBT friendly as an induction meeting for new teachers gives a friendly warning about keeping your sexuality to yourself…” – Colegio Interamericano de Guatemala (138 total comments)

5.

“Most of the staff if expat, including the non-teaching employees (bus drivers, kitchen staff etc.). On average I would say staff stay here for 3-5 years. The school is LGBT friendly as is Switzerland…” – Leysin American School (113 total comments)

6.

“Teachers are from various countries but mainly from UK, Ireland, US, Canada and Spain but we do have teachers hired from Hungary and Greece. Some teachers are local hires but the majority aren’t. Teaching Assistants are all local hires. There is no native English speaker requirement as far as I know. The country is definitely not LGBT friendly as it is a strict Islamic country…” – SEK International School Qatar (37 total comments)

7.

“LGBT friendly school. A mixture of couples and singles. Local and expat teachers. There has been a turnover of teachers in the last few years with Burkina not being as stable as it was and unrest here and in neighbouring countries.” – International School of Ouagadougou (57 total comments)

8.

“With the exception of ATs, Bahasa and Mandarin teachers – ALL teachers are expats. Almost all are from the UK. There are also Canadian, American, Australian – but in small minority. There are a few non-native speakers also – from France, Spain for example… The staffroom is not that diverse though. The country itself is not that LGBT friendly. Many LGBT teachers have fared well, others have left describing the dating scene as poor…” – The British International School of Kuala Lumpur (29 total comments)

9.

“The majority of the teachers here are from the US, Aus/NZ and the UK. There are also a fair amount of ‘local’ teachers who, by and large, did their teacher training in the US. Teaching assistants are locally hired and the school runs an internship for locally trained teachers. The school and country is LGBT friendly. The staff turnover rate is fairly typical for an international school. The vast majority of staff hold Masters degrees (for which there is additional pay on the payscale) and the clear preference is for an education degree…” – American School Antananarivo (24 total comments)

10.

“Every class must have a native English speaker who works alongside with a local bilingual coeducator. The school is brand new so difficult to state staff turnover – those hired since the beginning still work there. A very inclusive and LGBT friendly school…” – GIS – The International School of Sao Paulo (22 total comments)

11.

“Almost all of the classroom teachers are foreigners from Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, and England. The teaching assistants and most of the staff are Russian. Please note that there is almost zero diversity at this school. This is not a LGBT friendly country or school. Please do not disclose if you are LGBT for your own sake…” – International School of Kazan (86 total comments)

12.

“High turnover of local staff. Local pay is <10% of foreign teacher salary.
Foreign teachers stay for 3 years typically. It is a LGBT friendly school, but the country is still evolving, and most LGBT teachers are not open about being gay.” – Escuela Bella Vista Maracaibo (65 total comments)

Check out the rest of the “LGBT friendly” submitted comments on our website here.

If you have worked at an international school and know first-hand knowledge about whether the international school or the host country is LGBT-friendly, log in to International School Community and submit your comment. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Information for Members

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

December 14, 2020


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.

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 66 different comment topics). It takes like 5-8 minutes of your time to do this. It will take a Mayor 2 years to submit one comment in all 66 comment topics.

• Make sure to check on your school’s Wall and occasionally post updates about their school (any big changes to the school that are happening, good tips to know about, recent events at the schools, 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.

• Submit job vacancies that are currently available at your school.

Here are just a few of the almost 700+ schools that have or have had a Mayor on our website:

Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 481 Comments

NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 298 Comments

Tarsus American College (Mersin, Turkey) – 222 Comments

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China) – 155 Comments

American School Foundation of Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico) – 129 Comments

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 180 Comments

Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 140 Comments

Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 387 Comments

Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 172 Comments

American International School Dhaka (Dhaka, Bangladesh) – 113 Comments

International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 135 Comments

Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 176 Comments

Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 148 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 and job vacancies submitted on our website are also done so anonymously. Posting on the school profile page wall though is not anonymous.

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Information for Members

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

December 6, 2020


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.

Currently, our top 40 international schools with the most members are (6 December 2020):

30 members – American International School in Egypt

24 members – Copenhagen International School
24 members – Western International School of Shanghai
22 members International School of Kuala Lumpur
22 members – International School Manila
21 members – MEF International School Istanbul
19 members – International School of Tanganyika
19 members – Jakarta Intercultural School

19 members – Seoul Foreign School
19 members – Seoul International School
18 members – Fairview International School
18 members – Brent International School Manila
17 members – Graded School Sao Paulo
17 members – Shanghai United International School (Hongqiao)
16 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City

17 members – International School Bangkok
17 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
17 members – Shanghai Community International School
16 members – American School of Barcelona
16 membersGood Shepherd International School
16 members – Cairo American College
16 members – American International School of Johannesburg
16 members – United Nations International School (Vietnam)
16 membersInternational School Dhaka

16 members – Qatar Academy (Doha)
15 members – Istanbul International Community School
15 members – Singapore American School
15 members NIST International School
15 membersAmerican International School Dhaka
15 membersSuzhou Singapore International School
15 members – American School of Dubai
14 membersInternational School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)
14 members – KIS International School (Bangkok)

14 members – Yokohama International School
14 members – Hong Kong International School
14 members – International School Panama
14 members – International School Beijing
14 membersWestern Academy of Beijing
14 membersAmerican International School (Vietnam)
14 members – Shanghai American School – Pudong

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 15 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!

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Information for Members

ISC now has over 2150 international school profiles listed

September 27, 2020


At International School Community, we now have over 2150 international school profiles listed on our website!

The last 5 schools to be added:

Traill International School (Bangkok, Thailand)
Olive Tree International Academy (Hangzhou, China)
North London Collegiate School (Singapore) (Singapore)
Leeds International School (Galle, Sri Lanka)
The British College of Brazil (Sao Paolo, Brazil)

The top 5 schools with the most members:

American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 30 Members
Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 24 Members
Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 23 Members
International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 22 Members
International School Manila (Manila, Philippines) – 22 Members

The top 6 most viewed schools:

British International School Moscow (Moscow, Russia) – 70640 Views
Colegio Granadino Manizales (Manizales, Colombia) – 38970 Views
American International School of Budapest (Budapest, Hungary) – 20524 Views
Bodwell High School (Vancouver, Canada) – 5255 Views
Haileybury Almaty (Almaty, Kazakhstan) – 4288 Views
International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 4217 Views

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

Kyoto International School (Kyoto, Japan) – 63 Comments
School of the Nations (Brasilia) (Brasilia, Brazil) – 41 Comments
International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 135 Comments
Deutsche Schule Kobe – European School ‘s Wall(Kobe, Japan) – 50 Comments
United Lisbon International School (Lisbon, Portugal) – 0 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 2171 international schools listed on our website (last updated on 27 September, 2020)

Results: (185) Countries, (811) Cities, (2171) Schools, (37965) Comments

Asia (212)

Caribbean (39)

Central America (45)

Central/Eastern Europe (114)

East Asia (325)

Middle East (293)

North Africa (68)

North America (109)

Oceania (31)

SE Asia (335)

South America (100)

Sub-Saharan Africa (175)

Western Europe (325)

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Jerudong International School

April 9, 2018


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

One of our members, who works at the Jerudong International School (Brunei), described his way to work there as follows:

The road to Jerudong International School…

Brunei, a small country on the island of Borneo, which is famous for its’ lush jungle and wildlife. Brunei is a beautiful country with views of lush green jungle on almost any journey.

international school

Working at Jerudong International School means we have an option of taking the school allocated housing close to school or taking an allowance and going further out.

My wife and I being a teaching couple choose to stay close to school at Armada Housing (Rimba Estate). The journey itself is a 6 minute drive with hardly any traffic.

Armada Housing has literally been cut out of the jungle to make a complex which is safe and secure comprising of a gym, swimming pool and a variety of different housing styles ranging from 4 bed houses to penthouses.

international school

Our morning generally starts in a relaxing manner when we wake up between 4.30-5am to shower, followed by mediation/prayer. We eat breakfast then start our journey to school around 7am.

We choose to drive, but there are a few colleagues who bike through the jungle every morning. The drive takes us out of Armada Housing, on to the highway with views of the jungle on either side. We then get off at the JIS exit when the DST tower is on our left (5th tallest building in Brunei, a mere 71m/14 floors), where we then drive up to one of four entrances to park our car.

international school

All in all, a swift and efficient journey to school.

Here is a video of our journey on a beautiful Saturday afternoon:

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author, Amarpreet Singh. Amarpreet is a UK trained Teacher of Mathematics, currently teaching in Brunei Darussalam at Jerudong International School. He is moving to teach at a leading not for profit international school in Dubai (UAE) later this academic year. He made the move to Brunei with his wife (Teacher of Biology) and has enjoyed the adventures and challenges an international school provides.

What to know more what it is like to visit and live in SE Asia?  Out of a total of 311 international schools we have listed in SE Asia, 155 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Ican British International School (74 comments)
Northbridge International School (58 Comments)
Gandhi Memorial Intercontinental School (86 Comments)
Green School Bali (98 Comments)
Sekolah Victory Plus (137 Comments)
Fairview International School (121 Comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (107 Comments)
Mont’Kiara International School (69 Comments)
Nexus International School (82 Comments)
International School Manila (71 Comments)
Singapore American School (90 Comments)
Stamford American International School (108 Comments)

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

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Top 10 Lists

Retirement: Nine International Schools With Excellent Pension Plans

July 30, 2016


It’s never to early to think about your retirement plan. As many of you know, we have a wealth of information on the International School Community website.  There are now over 17500 reviews and comments submitted on over 900+ international school across the globe. We’re certain to reach 20000 by the end of this year! A number of schools have reached the 100 comments milestone (with a few even going over 200 comments!).  Check out this blog article regarding the most-commented schools on our website from July 2016.

saving for retirement

A number of our members are curious about their future, especially if their future is to become a “seasoned international school teacher“.  Part of our future is planning for retirement. Many of us have unfortunately stopped contributing to the retirement plans we were paying into before we moved abroad.

In turn, we now are hoping that international schools will help us do the saving. But not all international schools are a great help in this area; the truth is that some have non-existent retirement plan options for their teachers.

There are a few though that are leading the way in terms of helping you save something for when retire. Using our unique Comment Search feature (premium membership access only), we found 203 comments that have the keyword “retirement”.  After scouring through these comments, we would like to share nine of them that highlight some schools that appear to have some excellent retirement benefits.

1. Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea)
“SFS is a treasure amongst international schools. It is not spoken of as much as other “top” Asian international schools–this is what keeps it special. This school has allowed me to grow professionally and in my faith, has set me up with a hefty retirement for my future and plush savings for the present. The amount of on site training, college certificates, and international conferences I have been allotted to participate in haa been fully funded by the school. The package retains teachers and the demand of hard work keeps the professional teachers here for the long haul. It is a living, learning, and growing community with lots of busyness and potential to never become stagnate.”

2. American School Foundation of Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico)
“There are 2 things:
1. Mexico has a “social security” plan and you pay into that so you pay in for your years, leave, and you can come back when you are 65 to collect.
2. The school has a 13% matching program that you can collect 1 or 2 times a year based on your choosing. This is the retirement plan but it is up to you to do move the money somewhere.”

3. International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
“We get paid monthly but receive July’s salary in June also. Salary is paid in RM with up to 40% at a fixed USD rate. Tax is around 21-23 % depending on salary. Average for 8 yrs experience (max entry point) and an advanced degree would be appx 5000 USD after tax and deductions (this includes travel and housing allowance) Additionally 11% is previously deducted for retirement fund with an extra 17% added by the employer. On same criteria this would be 1500 USD per month into a retirement plan.”

man thinking about retiring

4. American School in Japan (Tokyo, Japan)
“The school provides a retirement plan and contributes 5.27% of base salary in each of the first two years, 11.57% in year three, and increasing each year up to a maximum of 16.82%. The school does not participate in US or Japanese social security. The retirement age at ASIJ is 65 years old.”

5. Escola Americana do Campinas (Campinas, Brazil)
Retirement plan is 8% school contribution a month. School pays 8% of salary to local savings plan for employee.”

6. United Nations International School (Vietnam) (Hanoi, Vietnam)
“In lieu of a school-established retirement plan, the school currently reserves an annual salary supplement of fifteen percent (15%) of the annual base salary and disburses the total amount of this annual salary supplement to the expatriate professional staff member upon termination of employment with UNIS. Alternatively, this supplement may be paid to the employee on an annual basis.”

7. Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong)
“With a reasonable mix of some travel and eating out it is possible for a single teacher to comfortably save anywhere from 8,000-12,000 US$ per year not including the 10% +10% of base salary matching retirement plan.”

8. American School of the Hague (The Hague, The Netherlands)
“The school offers a retirement plan which is open to all employees on a voluntary basis. ASH offers two different plans: Nationale Nederlanden (pre-tax) and ECIS. ASH contributes 8% of the pensionable salary to the plan. Participation in the ECIS scheme on a pre-tax basis is only possible if one has vested and contributed regularly at another school before coming to the Netherlands. The teacher may make additional pre-tax pension contributions based on his/her age, ranging between 0.2% and 26% of the pensionable salary for employees. The pensionable salary is the gross annual salary minus about € 12,500 (on a full-time basis).”

9. Seoul International School (Seoul, South Korea)
“I have 14 years experience and my Masters. I earn about $1,500 per month in Won (about $400 of that is taken out of my paycheck for a retirement plan which is matched by school which I have access to at the end of the school year), and then another $2,000 in US dollars which is sent to my US account every month. I pay no taxes. The school takes care of it. I am paid 12 times a year although we get the summer pay all at once, in May.”

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It’s never too early to think about retirement.

Of course there are many more schools that have attractive retirement plans for their teachers, but the nine schools we’ve highlighted here sure do seem nice! It all depends on what stage you are at in your career and how old you are, regarding how attractive a retirement plan would be to you. But we suppose that any retirement plan option is better then none at all!

Please share what you know about the retirement plans of the international schools you’ve worked at. Login to our website today and submit some comments here!

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Surveys

New Survey: How does your international school compare to other schools in your city?

May 11, 2016


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  How does your international school compare to other schools in your city?

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Once you move to a city to work at your new international school, you find out pretty soon how your school compares to the other ones in the same city. Who knows how that happens, but it does.

The teachers at the schools labeled the worst feel embarrassed to even bring up their international school in conversation with other international school educators in the area or even throughout the world. In comparison, the teachers at the school labelled the “top” school in the city can have their heads held up high.

So then the question is what makes a school get the top or the worst ranking in the city? At International School Community, we like to think that all schools have something cool about them that makes them unique; which in turn makes them have a great learning environment for their kids.

See our blog article called “What Makes Your International School Unique?” for a look at this topic and also some related comments about a number of international schools around the world.

But it is not just these unique things that get internationals schools to the top or the bottom of the list, it has to do with a combination of different factors. Factors that come into play are the current state of the school’s building and campus, the quality of teachers and teaching, the benefits package for the teacher (the salary), the professional development opportunities, etc.

Though it is true that some cities in the world only have one international school in them, which in turn, I guess makes them the best international school in the city. But other cities in the world (e.g. Bangkok, Shanghai, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, etc.), there are many international schools to choose from (for both parents and teachers). These cities have international schools that are actively competing for the top spot!

So, how does your international school compare to other schools in your city? Please take a moment and submit your vote!

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We have a comment topic related to this survey, except it is comparing international schools with home country ones. It is called: “How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country?

Here are a few sample comments from this comment topic:

“One of the biggest differences between the NIS schools and most other schools around the world is to do with vacations. In many countries, when students are not in school, neither are the teachers, with some exceptions for things like PD Days and report writing, etc.. This is not the case at NIS schools; regardless of whether the students are in school or not, teachers are expected to attend. If a teacher wishes to be absent, she or he must request leave – paid or unpaid. Given that international teachers have a total allowance of 56 days of paid leave (which includes weekend days if they are within the leave period), this can have a serious impact on vacations.” – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana (Astana, Kazakhstan)37 Comments

“It is very much based along English public school lines, but with a strong international flavour and ethos. There are many more nationalities present in the school than you would normally find in an English school.” – St. Julians School (Lisbon, Portugal)9 Comments

“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 (Tianjin, China)54 Comments

“Different: The teacher’s salaries and the new teacher induction and support program are dismal. Same: Budget and lack of professional development opportunities within the school due to very strict labor laws.” – American School of Bilbao (Bilbao, Spain)26 Comments

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Kuala Lumpur

October 11, 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.

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Kuala Lumpur

Currently, we have 17 schools listed in Kuala Lumpur on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:
Newlands International School (51 comments)
Garden International School (21 comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (99 comments)
Mont’Kiara International School (27 comments)
Sunway International School (15 comments)
Taylor’s College (16 comments)
Alice Smith School (8 comments)

High Expectations for Teachers?

“The school’s workload is average. We certainly hear of neighboring (similar caliber) schools who expect a lot more out of their teaching staff. In addition to a normal teaching day, teachers also are expected to lead 2 after school activities (running 10 weeks long each) per year. Coaching satisfies this requirement. This is standard for international schools in Malaysia, as the government requires schools to offer ASAs. Some teachers work until 3:30 (official end of day), and others are consistently there until 5 or later. However, this is a matter of choice and personal work ethic, most often not because of additional duties required by the school.” – Mont’Kiara International School

“I dont think the workload is particularly heavy although the school has high expectations. A 100% teaching load comes with two non contact hours per day, slightly less in lower grades. In ES some of these blocks are taken up by co-planning and team meetings. After school meetings are twice monthly, relatively low compared to other schools” – International School of Kuala Lumpur

“Teachers usually take on one extra-curricular.” – Taylor’s College

“Teachers are trusted but a great commitment is expected. One after school club/week/term.” – Newlands International School

Language Background of the Students

“The students are mainly from the expatriate community of Kuala Lumpur and come from over 50 different countries. Malaysian students are only allowed to attend international schools if they have obtained approval from the Malaysia’s Ministry of Education. The GIS roll currently comprises approximately 40% Malaysian students, the second largest nationality group is British.” – Garden International School

“The Principal reminds the pupils every day to speak in English but some lapse back into Chinese.” – Newlands International School

“Chinese dialects, Bahasa Malaysian, some international sts.” – Taylor’s College

“The school requires students entering after kinder have been previously educated in English. I would say about 75% of the students are fluent in English, and the rest are in the ELL program. Students almost all speak English, even if they have friends who speak their native languages. I am not sure of the exact number, but I would guess about half of the students are native English speakers.” – Mont’Kiara International School

Housing Allowance

“The school provides an accommodation allowance of RM2,500 per month for single teachers, RM2,700 per month for married teacher with no children whose spouse is not working, RM2,500 per month each for married teachers, both of whom are employed by the school and RM3,000 per month for married teachers with children whose spouse is not working in the school.” – Garden International School

“For married housing you get around 987 USD a month; For single housing you get around 846 USD a month; For each dependent child you get 109 USD extra a month. No utilities allowance is given.” – Mont’Kiara International School

“The housing allowance is paid with the salary and is taxable. After tax for a single it amounts to appx 750 USD, for a couple, or with dependents it is more, up to about 1300 USD. Depending on area and size, it is possible to find accommodation in this bracket, though many people treat it as salary and just rent the place they really want for a bit more.” – International School of Kuala Lumpur

Salary Information

“As of next year, teachers will be paid in Malaysian RM. This is actually a positive change and will raise salaries that have gone down with the weak dollar. Taxes are between 12 and 20%, and teachers also contribute about 10% to EPF (retirement plan).” – Mont’Kiara International School

“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.” – International School of Kuala Lumpur

“Salaries are automatically paid into each teacher’s bank account at the end of every month, (usually on the 28th day of the month).” – Garden International School

“Beaconhouse have a real problem getting work-permits so much so that none of the eight foreigners at Newlands have made year two of their contracts. Some have been told to get out on returning from a Visa run. None have been able to stay to year two which means they have to pay a large fine to BH for breaking contract.” – Newlands International School

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

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

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Information for Members

What Makes Your International School Unique?

June 9, 2015


Each international school is unique, that’s for sure.

Of course, many top international schools of the world have unique qualities that make them special. However, let’s not forget about all the other international schools (big and small).  Even for-profit international schools have cool things to offer that maybe non-profit schools are not able to have.

What then are these unique qualities?

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Some international schools have a unique make-up of students. They are from over 80 or more different countries, all coming together in a perfect, diverse blend. The students are also super kind and considerate which make classroom management a non-issue.

An international school can also be unique for the extra-curricular programme it offers.  Maybe it has a newly constructed olympic-sized pool with an effective and inspiring staff of swimming teachers.  The school might also be the only one that offers unique sports like fencing with a fully functioning fencing facility.

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Many international schools dream of having their own garden. Especially one that the students can tend to during break or class-lesson times.  This garden can also be unique because the school kitchen can incorporate the newly picked food into their menu.

Another unique quality about international schools could be related to the teachers themselves. Maybe they have the perfect set up for effective collaboration to happen (we all know that many international schools don’t have this luxury). Additionally, the teachers have ample planning time to create inspired lessons.  The director maybe even has carefully selected new teachers to join the teaching community that fit very well into the school’s mission and vision.

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A unique quality that many teachers seek out is a school that is well-resourced.  Having all the materials and equipment is definitely a dream come true, especially when working at an international school.  A school that has well-established connections with getting materials ordered and delivered in a timely manner is not an international school to overlook when recruiting.

And the list goes on and on of the unique qualities that international schools can have.

It is important to celebrate the good things about our schools. These good things can inspire the students and staff to do their best and bring the community closer together in the school’s vision and mission.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to the unique qualities of international schools, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “Name some special things about this school that makes it unique.

There are a total of 313 comments in this comment topic (June 2015).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“KICS is bringing a concept of 21st century inquiry-based education to a country very much in need of such access. It isn’t a school for every teacher though. Teachers who do well are motivated by this vision. They also need to be into educational technology for learning. If they arent then they can struggle.” – Khartoum International Community School (Khartoum, Sudan) – 65 Comments

“The physical facilities of the school are excellent. The technology infrastructure is really good. It is a one-to-one programme with new Macbook airs from grade 5 to 12. The size of the school enables a lot of varies extra curricular activities which would be hard to support in a smaller school.” – American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland) – 29 Comments

“There is a very welcoming environment at all levels. Anyone can walk around and sense the positive “vibe”. Often we get remarks that, though the school is not small, much of the social ‘feel’ is indicative of traditionally small schools (e.g. friendly, open, welcoming, etc.)” – International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 84 Comments

“Well because of the dream of Eugenia, the director of the school for 20 years, there is a strong sense of multi-lingualism in the school. This school is leading the way in terms of language policy.” – The Bilingual School of Monza (Milan, Italy) – 27 Comments

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Surveys

New Survey: Does your school have an official English-only policy on their campus?

July 13, 2014


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  Does your school have an official English-only policy on their campus?

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Many veteran international school teachers have already figured out that there are a nice “handful” of these types of international schools throughout the world.  Some teachers and administrators think this kind of English-only policy is a necessity for the success of their students; others teachers and administrators are quite against it…strongly against it. After teaching at an English-only policy international school, some teachers will choose never to teach in a school like that again because of their negative and painful experience trying to enforce it on their students.

There are many cons to having an English-only policy at an international school.  It’s likely that it is giving the wrong impression of what being an “internationally-minded” person is all about.

downloadInternational schools need to think very smartly about the makeup (language background) of their student body because of course that can affect what the “language of the playground” is. When the makeup is not balanced in a way that hinders the target language level/goal of the majority of the students (that the school wants them to achieve to), then of course many schools resort to a English-only policy to try to counteract that (for example at international schools with a majority of host country nationals)…and it would appear that not-well-thought-out solution fails almost every time. At least that is what was happening at a number of international schools nowadays.

Just because English is the target language of most international school classrooms, doesn’t mean that English is the superior or dominate language of the school; and teachers and administration should let their students and their parents know this in a clear, organized, and meaningful way. One suggestion on how to do this is to encourage an interlingual classroom.  In an interlingual classroom, students are encouraged to use their home languages in the classroom.  This suggestion will most likely not only be a new experience for you as the teacher, but also for your students…as they may not be used to being able to do this. In turn, some modeling and explicit examples on how to do this in a lesson would be necessary.

Another suggestion is to support multiliteracies in your classroom.

Share what your opinion is on this issue, as there are many perspectives and experiences at a variety of international schools that need to be shared with the rest of the community.

Also, go ahead and vote on Does your school have an official English-only policy on their campus? Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

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We actually have a comment topic related this to this issue. It is called: Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominate culture group?

Right now there are over 560 individual comments (about 100s of different international schools) in this comment topic on our website.  Here are a few of them:

“There is a 30% cap on Thai students in order to maintain an international population. The other largest groups as of 2014 are U.S. (14%), Indian (8%), Japanese (6%), Australian (6%) and British (5%). Approximately 50 nationalities are represented in total. Most of the students are fully fluent in English, and unless with a small group of friends who share similar backgrounds, they tend to use English.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 29 Comments

“The school requires students entering after kinder have been previously educated in English. I would say about 75% of the students are fluent in English, and the rest are in the ELL program. Students almost all speak English, even if they have friends who speak their native languages. I am not sure of the exact number, but I would guess about half of the students are native English speakers.” – Mont’Kiara International School (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 27 Comments

“ASM is truly an international school. The school strives to maintain what is called the “magical mix”, meaning 1/3 is American, 1/3 is Spanish, and 1/3 is from all over the world. For this reason, the English level is extremely high. A mix of predominantly English and Spanish is spoken in non-structured environments around campus.” – American School Madrid (Madrid, Spain) – 27 Comments

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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!}

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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

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1951 (Mexico City, Brussels, Jakarta & more)

February 11, 2013


Random year for international schools around the world: 1951

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

Utilizing the database of the 1351 (11 February, 2013) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 11 international schools that were founded in 1951.  Here are a few of those schools that also have had comments and information submitted on them on our website (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites)

Greengates School (British International School) (5 Comments) (Mexico City, Mexico)

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“Greengates School is a privately owned, co-educational day school set in the northern part of Mexico City, in an area of over 20,000 sq. meters. For over 60 years the school has been preparing students for university study worldwide and developing caring global citizens.”

International School of Brussels (7 Comments) (Brussels, Belgium)

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“The International School of Brussels first opened its doors in October 1951, with four teachers on hand to welcome twenty-seven students between the ages of 5 and 11.

In the spring of 1953, with a population of more than one hundred students, the school moved to its current home at the Château des Fougères, in the Brussels commune of Watermael-Boitsfort, and became known as the International School of Brussels.

In its early years, the entire school was housed in the Château: a far cry from the 40 acre campus with four school divisions and a lifelong learning centre that make up the ISB of today!”

Lycee International de Saint Germain-en-Laye (9 Comments)  (Saint Germain-en-Laye, France)

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“The American Section program starts in Pre-Kindergarten and goes through 12th grade. There are approximately 700 students enrolled, evenly divided between boys and girls and ranging in age from 4 to19. Approximately 60 percent of our students are U.S. citizens, and many hold both French and American citizenship. Most of the remaining 40 percent are French citizens who have spent a considerable amount of time in the United States or have had American schooling.”

Jakarta International School (9 Comments)  (Jakarta, Indonesia)

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“With five original students, Jakarta International School was founded by UN workers in 1951. These pioneers introduced relevant schooling in English for children of expats in the newfound Republic of Indonesia. From early days the school’s international identity was clear. It was originally named the Joint Embassy School (J.E.S.) after its British, American, Australian and (then) Yugoslavian embassy partners. Just over a decade later, in 1978, J.E.S. became J.I.S.”

Garden International School (19 Comments) (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

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“Garden School was established by Mrs Sally Watkins, the wife of the then Fire Brigade Chief. Lt. Col. F.F.C. Watkins, in the Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur in 1951.”

International School Bangkok (16 Comments) (Bangkok, Thailand)

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“Widely recognized as one of the premier international schools in the world, International School Bangkok (ISB) has been providing quality education since 1951 to expatriates representing more than 60 countries.”

Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1351 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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Hiring Policies at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #7: Int’l School of KL, Escola Internacional de Alphaville & Guangdong Country Garden School

December 10, 2012


Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community:

indexEvery 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 school 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:

International School of Kuala Lumpur (65 Total Comments)

Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 11.07.05 PMComment about their hiring policies: “You cannot be hired into Malaysia over the age of 60, though once hired, you can continue to work. The school attends a range of fairs, but also conducts Skype interviews. They are thorough in recruitment practices.”

Escola Internacional de Alphaville (13 Total Comments)

Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 11.08.25 PMComment about their hiring policies: “Online Skype interviews are held with interested candidates. Selected candidates will start tenure with the school from January 15th. You need to be a native speaker of English with a teaching background with a minimum of one year’s experience to be eligible for a Brazilian work visa.”

Guangdong Country Garden School (17 Total Comments)

Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 11.10.19 PMComment about their hiring policies: “Candidates need to send a cover letter expressing why they are interested in the position they are applying for. You should apply to this email address: bgyheather@126.com. They look for native speakers of English and must at least have a BA degree in the related field. Interviews are by phone or in person.”

Check out the more than 515 comments and information that have been submitted about the hiring policies on numerous international school profiles at www.internationalschoolcommunity.com.

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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

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: Teaching abroad in American and International schools

January 10, 2012


There are literally hundreds of overseas schools offering employment opportunities for those wishing to move abroad or those who find themselves in a foreign location in search of work. The first thing one must realize is that there are generally two classifications of employees at most schools: local hire expatriates (as opposed to host country national) and overseas hires. This is an important distinction to remember.

Local hire status usually brings with it (but not always) the same salary as overseas hire (O/H) but without the benefits such as housing, airfare, etc. It is intended to take advantage of the fact that many qualified teachers arrive at post accompanying their spouse and thus receive housing and airfare as part of their family status, saving the school money. Anyone contemplating moving abroad to teach is advised to secure a job before moving: it makes a big difference in living standard. On the other hand, if someone needs experience and would not be competitive as an O/H, it may be easier to find a job on a local hire basis and later parlay the experience gained to O/H status at another school.(Most schools will not change someone’s status once hired.)

Schools determine the ratio of local to overseas hires based on how many qualified candidates areavailable locally, but the better schools keep quality the first priority. They like to maintain a surplus of local applicants to fill in as substitute teachers and when unexpected vacancies occur during the year. School directors eagerly welcome new local talent. While teaching qualifications and experience for local hires are mandatory at most schools, expediency rules at others and it is possible to work one’s way into a full time teaching job through experience substituting or working as a teacher’s aide. In fact, volunteering is a great way to become known and first in line when a job opens.

Applying from overseas, however, the applicant needs to have at least a BA/BS degree, a teaching credential and at least two years experience to be considered. There are many more applicants than jobs available and it is not uncommon for a school to have twenty to one hundred applications for each vacancy. A single parent with dependents does not stand much of a chance, nor does a retired teacher looking for an overseas experience. Schools prefer to hire teaching couples with no dependents, though most schools will hire couples with children and a few will hire singles with dependents. Almost all will hire single teachers if they cannot find couples.

Anyone applying will need to carry excellent recommendations, be healthy and energetic and willing to work in the after- school program. Flexibility and adaptability are key attributes for successful candidates. Prior experience living abroad or at least foreign travel and knowledge of another language are helpful. The bottom line is expertise as a teacher and love of kids and if an interviewer discerns that in a candidate, a contract offer is likely.

So, how does one apply to teach overseas?

The better schools insist on an interview if at all possible, although they will hire through one of the major recruiting agencies if they have vacancies at odd times of the year. Schools which have a high percentage of host country national students or that tend to have lower salaries may hire on the basis of correspondence and could be targeted by inexperienced teachers. Beware, however, that salaries in such schools might be at the subsistence level and working conditions less than ideal. Most international schools are exceedingly reputable: a handful are not, so investigate carefully.

Applying directly to the better schools is a good way to establish contact, but most successful candidates use recruitment agencies which arrange Recruitment Fairs that attract anything from 20 to 140 or more schools for 3 to 4 days of marathon interviewing. A cycle has emerged as follows:

September: the candidate selects and contacts a recruitment agency to register
October/November: references are submitted and a dossier created.
December: the candidate is advised if they are accepted.
February: interviews take place at recruitment fairs. Some contracts are offered on the spot.
March/April: more contracts are consumated.
May/June: a few more recruiting fairs open for schools to fill last minute vacancies.
July/August: recruitment agencies are requested to fill final vacancies

There are several major sources to choose from:

Search Associates: PO Box 2007   Minden, NV 89423    Telephone (775) 267-3122  Fax (775) 267-4122
Street address: 2618 Fuller Avenue  Minden, NV 89423  http://www.search-associates.com
A private agency comprised mainly of former directors of international schools, Search places around 500 candidates annually. Fairs are operated in Kuala Lumpur, Sidney, Dubai, Oxford, Houston, Cambridge, Toronto and Carmel, CA and Bethesda.

International Schools Services, PO Box 5910, Princeton, NJ 08543 A non-profit organization witha wide range of services for international schools, ISS annually operates two large fairs each February: one on the east coast (Washington, DC in 1998), one on the west coast (San Francisco, 1998) plus a late one in Philadelphia each June. They place over 500 candidates.

European Council of International Schools, 21 Lavant Street Petersfield GU32 3EL UK ECIS hosts a major recruitment fair in London early each February and a later one in April. A mix of American and British based schools attend.

University of Northern Iowa This is the grandaddy of all recruitment fairs and the one that started them all back in the 70s. It attracts up to 700 teachers and 140 schools.

Several other colleges or universities also sponsor recruitment centers:check with your university to see if they might be one of them. Which one is best for you? It may depend on location, time of the fair, whether you want a large one or one which is smaller with more personalized attention. ECIS London tends to attract a lot of schools from Europe; Search KL is heavy with international schools in Asia while Search-Houston focuses on Latin America and Search-Dubai is British oriented. UNI has schools from all over, as does ISS. All of the recruiting sources above have websites. Use a search engine to access them and learn more.

The Office of Overseas Schools (U. S. State Department) maintains an excellent website with links to the above. Fees for the above are all moderate and should not be a determiner of which one is chosen. Sources for learning more include the ISS Directory of Overseas Schools; The International Educator (TIE), a newspaper of great interest (PO Box 513, Cummaquid, MA 02637 for subscription); or, visit the Teacher’s Internet Pages (TIPS) on the world-wide web.

Taken from the article summitted  on overseasdigest.com

About the author
Mr. Ambrose was named “Superintendent of the Year” by the Association for the Advancement of International Education in 1997. He has served as the President of the Society Limited to Overseas School Heads; represented international schools on the Elementary Commission of the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges; was a long standing officer of the Board of Directors of the Near East, South Asian (NESA) Council of Overseas Schools; a member of the Board of Directors of TIE, for which he regularly writes articles, and; wrote, produced or directed a series of videotapes designed to train overseas school board members. During his 24 years overseas, he administered a number of schools and was most recently Director of the United Nations International School in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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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

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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.
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Great Resource

Educators Overseas – An agency that places teachers at international and English schools around the world

November 30, 2011


The Educators Overseas website has some excellent information and resources on it for teachers interested in teaching overseas.  They have information about traveling abroad and things to know before you go.  There is also information about working in different regions in the world.  They have many pages with different teaching-related resources and support.  Different language schools and some international schools around the world use their services, in turn, they can help place you at one of these schools.  One part of their website has interviews from teachers that they have placed.  We would like to highlight two of those interviews on our blog: a teacher who is working in Kuala Lumpur and one who is working in Casablanca, Morocco.

Teacher in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kate Birbilis is currently a special needs teacher at an international school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Prior to her move to Malaysia she was a teacher at an international school in Cirebon, Indonesia. Kate is considered by her schools as a truly excellent teacher. She has had such a great experience teaching abroad so far in part because she places a higher priority on the quality of the school than the salary and she considers the country location as a whole, rather than just the location or attraction of the city.

What do you like about teaching overseas? 
I am not sure how to summarize what I like about teaching overseas—there is so much to love. I’ve had two completely different experiences with both of my placements, but some of the main themes remain the same. I love opening my eyes to not only see how other cultures live, but experiencing their way of life. Teaching abroad takes traveling to the next level. You are not just visiting a community or country; you’re becoming part of it and it is becoming part of you.

You’re not just waving to schoolchildren as your bus passes by; you’re working with them day in and day out. Working with children in a school setting really helps you break barriers and make connections despite cultural and language differences. Smiles tend to be universal…

You’re not just learning how to say hello, thank you, and goodbye in another language; you speak it everyday at the market, on the street, and while sipping coffee with your friends at the café.

You’re not just tasting the national dish once; you’re learning how to cook it with your coworker’s grandma.

You’re not just watching a reenactment of a cultural celebration at a tourist spot; you’re helping your friends prepare for the upcoming event.

I love the quality of experiences that teaching abroad has helped me have. I’ve been able to build lasting relationships, grow as an educator, and see so many new places. I’ve come to enjoy the challenges that come with living abroad. Everyday is an adventure whether it is trying to figure out how to flush your new toilet or searching for orangutans in the rainforests of Sumatra.

What don’t you like (if anything) about teaching overseas?
I can’t say that I have had any negative experiences teaching abroad. Of course things are different than what I am used to, but an open mind is crucial. Different doesn’t mean bad, it just means different.

You are on your second overseas assignment, so you are somewhat of a pro now… what advice would you give to others who are thinking about teaching overseas?
ASK QUESTIONS! When a school contacts you, don’t rush to accept the job. I think it is important to ask as many questions as possible so you can have an idea of what life and work will be like once abroad. Before I accepted both of my overseas jobs, I e-mailed with the principals for weeks before I accepted the position. They also connected me with foreign teachers at their schools so I could get an outsider’s perspective. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the school, students, housing, salary, lifestyle, etc. With that said, keep an open mind as well. Life abroad will be different than what you are used to—isn’t that the joy of traveling?

Would you recommend teaching abroad through Educators Overseas?
Yes, I would definitely recommend teaching abroad through Educators Overseas. Teaching overseas was something that I always wanted to do, but really had no idea how to go about it. Once I started the process of job searching, I felt overwhelmed and had no clue where to begin. I also wasn’t sure how to differentiate between legitimate schools and scams. Finding Educators Overseas took away that unknown factor and put my mind at ease. After filing all of my paperwork with Educators Overseas, I was immediately contacted by schools. I found my first overseas job within 2 weeks. Another thing that I liked about Educators Overseas is that the schools contact you directly. There is no third party to hinder the process—they just introduce teachers and schools. Whenever I am explaining about Educators Overseas, I joke and say “it is like a dating website for teachers and schools. They make the introduction, but it is up to you to build a relationship from there.”

Teacher in Casablanca

Tiffany Harris is a teacher in an international school in Casablanca, Morocco. Here is a profile of her experience abroad.

What do you like about teaching overseas? Teaching overseas has allowed my eyes to open to new cultures and a new lifestyle. I am enjoying my adjustments this is allowing me to understand and be more conscious about how I treat or act around others. I live in an off school campus apartment where I am totally immersed in the culture. I enjoy learning the languages of French and Arabic. Many of the locals understand my difficulties with the language and are very helpful.

What don’t you like (if anything) about teaching overseas? Being overseas has taken away the in-dependency I had in the states. It is hard to lean on someone for everything when you are so used to picking up a phone or going into the store to take care of it yourself. You almost have to portray yourself as a deaf person demonstrating what you need through hand actions and barely speaking.

What advice would you give to others who are thinking about teaching overseas? If you are thinking about teaching overseas I suggest you go to job fairs to understand what the schools are asking for. That experience alone allows you to understand how different an environment you are entering is going to be. Make sure the country is a good fit for your needs. If you can’t live without a dryer or another accommodation then you may want to seek another place to venture to.

Would you recommend teaching abroad through Educators Overseas? Why or why not?Educators Overseas are the only reason I am living and teaching where I am. I would recommend their service because much of the work was taken out of my hand. I knew I had an impartial company working on my side if I had questions about going overseas and I felt the school wasn’t giving me the whole story.

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Recently Updated School Profiles

School profile highlights #10: Int’l School of Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai Rego Int’l School and Colegio Nueva Granada

November 17, 2011


Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments and information on the following international schools:

International School of Kuala Lumpur (2 new comments) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

New information or comment in the School section: “English is the primary language in the hallways. There are a number of EAL students, but are not the majority. The largest single cultural group is Korean (24%) but there is a cap of 25% per class year of any one particular cultural group, ensuring an international make up to the school community.”
___________________________________________________________________

Colegio Nueva Granada (2 new comments) in Bogota, Colombia

New information or comment in the City section: “If you either speak or at least try to speak Spanish they will love you. It is a great city to learn the language and the people are very happy to speak to foreigners about their own countries, etc.”

__________________________________________________________________________

Shanghai Rego International School (6 new comments) in Shanghai, China

New information or comment in the Benefits section: “This year the school has given another option for housing. It’s a place called Royal Garden and everyone seems quite impressed with it! I’m still happy though with my own choice in the city but its good to have another option.”

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #6: Taylor Smith

September 14, 2011


Each month International School Community will highlight one of our members.  This month we interviewed Taylor Smith:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?
I am from Edinburgh, Scotland and am extremely proud of my roots.  A formal international swimmer, I travelled to many countries throughout the world as part of various swim teams.  However when I retired from swimming in 2006, I realised that I had been to lots of countries but in fact had never seen much more than the airport, hotel and swimming pool.  So I embarked on a career in Physical Education teaching with the dream of teaching abroad.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?
I was recommended a job by an old swimming friend who was already working in an international school.  The job was in Shanghai, China so without hesitation I packed my bags and made the biggest decision of my life (or so I thought at that point).  I was only in China a couple of months and I had thrown myself into work and made lots of new friends within the international teaching community.  People were all extremely helpful and made me feel as comfortable as possible in a very different environment.  In these weeks, I was also lucky enough to meet the love of my life, who two years on is now my beautiful wife.  Wow that was almost poetic!


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 worked at Shanghai Rego International School and have recently started at Garden International School in Kuala Lumpur.  Both schools are very different, mainly due to the size.  Rego was a small school and had an intimate feel, whereas Garden has a huge number of students, which creates an incredible atmosphere.  The bulk of my teaching thus far however, has been in China, and Rego school really did feel like (excuse the awful cliché) “a  family”.  Teachers had an enormous amount of freedom to explore new and creative ideas and they were well supported by parents and students.  There was definitely never a feeling of having to navigate the red tape like non-international schools.  In many ways it was a development curve that I honestly believe, I would not have experienced anywhere else.

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
Moving to Kuala Lumpur from China brings many advantages.  Things are just a little bit more like home here I guess.  So the biggest smile on my face came when I was told I could take a loan to buy a car and it could be all done by the bank.  I was not forced to pay thousands of pounds in cash.  That is always a nice feeling.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
I look for standard of living on the home front.  I think this is the most important thing to consider when living abroad. Also travel opportunity is very important, as being away from friends and family can be a strain.  Therefore it is always nice to know that it is easy to go home when you need to, and family are easily able to visit.

I also look for stability and reputation of the school.  There are many, many schools and it is important to know that you will be happy to work there for at least 2 years.


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

Eye opening, cultural, well paid, opportunity, life changing.  (5 statements so not exactly 5 words sorry! I am a PE teacher after all).

Thanks Taylor!  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!

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Follow That Elephant!”

August 31, 2011


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

Check out the experiences of another international school teacher from the moment they signed the contract to what they are writing about after a few years working abroad.

Our 6th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Follow That Elephant”   This teaching couple seem to be quite experienced in the international school community, having worked at more than 3 international schools.  The part of their blog that we would like highlight is about their experience living in Malaysia working at Mont Kiara International School Kuala Lumpur.

Entries we would like to highlight:

2 Months In…
“Everything continues to be absolutely wonderful: the food, the weather, the people, the shopping and the school. We’re having a great time!…Yesterday we went to the sikh wedding. One of the teachers at school married a Malaysian sikh, and they very generously invited everyone from MKIS! Since we were invited to this awesome wedding, we figured we would dress appropriately.”

How great to experience a wedding in the host country that you are living in!

Life Outside of KL
“Aside from the small, yet powerful cultural differences that have really come to the forefront this month, all continues to go well. We are still loving the weather, food, shopping, etc. It was especially nice to take a trip to the amazing east coast . According to my students Redang is the best island to visit. According to the teachers, it’s the most expensive. No matter what you say, we loved it!”

Looks like the next stage of culture shock has set in 2-3 months after the initial move, but that is when you also now know some of the great places to visit nearby as well….places you possibly didn’t even realize were there before you moved.

The World of International Schools
“When I tell people back home in the US that I’m teaching in Thailand, they usually assume I teach English to Thai children. When I try to explain by saying “no, I teach at an international school”, I’m often met with a blank stare.”

This type of conversation has happened to all of us!  Check out this entry for another great overview of the international school teaching experience, from recruitment to the benefits to and from what type of people get into this community this overview is very informative!

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

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.04 – 13 August, 2011

August 13, 2011


v2011.04 – 9 August, 2011:
Back to school!  If you are new teacher at an international school this year, right now is the most exciting time.  You are now officially in the honeymoon phase of your culture shock. Enjoy it.  Many times for new teachers there is a nice BBQ at the director’s house, catered lunches during workshop days, a nice tour around the city, etc.  If you are lucky, there is a nice group of new teachers at your school this year.  Why, you ask?  The other new teachers that start at your new school at the same time as you will typically become some of your best friends that you will make there.  It is because you guys will be sharing the same experiences as you explore your new city, new country and new school together at the same time.  So, new teachers enjoy your first few months!  Take everything in stride and appreciate every minute.  Try and say “yes” to all the invitations you will receive from other teachers in their attempt to make new friends with you.


Recent blog entries:

· International schools that were founded in 1978 (Mauritania, Egypt, Kuwait, etc.)
“The Vienna International School was founded in September 1978 to serve the children of the United Nations and diplomatic community in Vienna. It is also open to children of the…”

· Blogs of international school teachers: “Ichi, Ni, San…Go.”
“It has some great insight into how important the first few weeks are for new teachers during their orientation days to their new city and new school.  There is also much information to be …”

· School profile highlights #6: Luanda Int’l School, Amer. School of Tokyo and Int’l School of Iceland
“Candidates should note that most foreign-hire teachers live near the main campus in Chofu, a suburban environment one hour west of downtown Tokyo by train…”

· TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #2 – Anticipate a challenging adjustment period of six months
“Some international school teachers tend to experience different levels of culture shock and can pass though the stages quite quickly, but I still think for those people that you need to give yourself six full months to decide…”


Recently updated schools:

· Stafford International School (3 new comments)
(Colombo, Sri Lanka)
“Religious activities are promoted with weekly assemblies by each group and the celebration of festivals in which all participate…”
· Copenhagen International School (10 new comments)
(Copenhagen, Denmark)
“The apartment that I got was complete unfurnished. I had to buy everything for it. Luckily, you can use the relocation allowance to help you buy furniture and what not (which is around USD 2000)…”
· Greengates School (British Int’l School) (5 new comments)
(Mexico City, Mexico)
“The PTA is very strong. International Day Fair is the most interesting event that you will see. High School graduation is very respected with Ambassadors as guest speakers …”
· Robert Muller Life School (3 new comments)
(Panajachel, Guatemala)
“The school has around 11 teachers and they are from Guatemalan and the United States…”
· International School Dhaka (3 new comments)
(Dhaka, Bangladesh)
“This well-resourced school has a purpose-built centrally air- conditioned buildings and classrooms, specialist teaching rooms including…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 51 countries around the world!

 

Site Stats:
Current members: 114
School profiles: 840
Surveys: 5
Blog entries: 78
Posted comments: 606


100 members:

Back in July we celebrated our 100th member on International School Community!  We are definitely on our way to our goal of having 200 members by the end of the year.  Please refer your international school teacher friends to join our community.

Officially, we also have 66 likes on Facebook and on Twitter we have 119 followers. How exciting!


New members:

·Carolyn Brown (Seoul International School)
·Duncan Rose
·Deirdre
·Sonia Chan (Cempaka International School)
·Silvia Chavez
·Etsuko Yamamoto (AI International School)

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1978 (Mauritania, Egypt, Kuwait, etc.)

July 31, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1978

Utilizing the database of the 840 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found  schools that were founded in 1978 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

The American International School of Nouakchott (Nouakchott, Mauritania)

“The founding of the school in 1978 was very much an effort of the American and international community, and its strengths corresponded with the talents and the generous volunteer spirit of the community. The school was initially in one wing of the Grayzel house. There were two classrooms and an atrium with a garden. Initially instruction was from the Calvert Correspondence course.”

Lycee International School of Los Angeles (Los Angeles, United States of America)

“The school opened in a small house in Van Nuys with only seven students. Some 30 years later, the school has grown to five campuses with more than 900 students and has earned an enviable reputation with its placement of graduates in French universities, grandes écoles and within the American university system.

Of the original 1978 founders, two are still on the Board of Trustees. Others have joined the Board which now renews itself regularly. By combining those who have been Trustees for years with new Trustees bringing a fresh perspective, the Board is prepared to meet the 21st century with both maturity and vigor.”

New Cairo British International School (Cairo, Egypt)

British School of Kuwait (Safat, Kuwait)

“The British School of Kuwait (BSK) traces its origins to 1978 when Vera and Sadiq Al-Mutawa established a small kindergarten which became known as The Sunshine School. Steady growth took place through the 1980s and, having recovered from the ravages of the invasion of 1990, by 1992 the School accommodated 550 kindergarten and primary students. The decision having been made to serve the community at both Primary and Secondary levels, a move to the present site in Salwa took place and in September 1992, newly-named, The British School of Kuwait opened to 900 students.”

Vienna International School (Vienna, Austria)

“The Vienna International School was founded in September 1978 to serve the children of the United Nations and diplomatic community in Vienna. It is also open to children of the international business community and of Austrian families. Over 100 nationalities are represented among its 1,400 children.”

Acs International School – Hillingdon Campus (Hillingdon, England)

The main house: The handsome and substantially built mansion was originally constructed in white brick and stone in the classical style, between 1854 and 1858, by P.C. Hardwick for Sir Charles Mills, an international banker from one of the most affluent City families of the 19th century.”

International School São Lourenço (Almacil, Portugal)

Sotogrande International School (Cadiz, Spain)

“The school was opened in Cortijo Paniagua with just 11 pupils and very soon developed into a successful and popular primary school. The school was governed by a Board of Governors who retained close links to Sotogrande SA, the company that owns the prestigious Sotogrande estate and provided premises for the original school. By 1990 the school had a roll of 250 pupils and included a high quality secondary school offering UK O-level and A-level courses. For twenty years the school grew steadily and established itself as a leading British-style school in Spain.”

Fairview International School (Kuala, Lumpur)

American School of Douala (Douala, Cameroon)

” Founded in 1978, the American School of Douala (ASD) is an independent coeducational, non-sectarian school, which provides an English language educational program from pre-school through tenth grade.”

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Great Link

The Peace Quilt of international schools: children’s message for peace

June 15, 2011


A teacher who is inspired can inspire students and other teachers!

According to the blog: This project began as an idea back in September 2008,the idea being to unite schools all around the world, in some way, potentially as a celebration of the London Olympics, 2012.  The people involved asked themselves to think of an idea of uniting schools all over the World.  The idea suggested was for all schools to do a collage of Peace, where children created their picture of what Peace meant to them, and to have it displayed at the Olympics.  That idea was then turned into another idea of creating a Peace Quilt.  They got in touch with the not-for-profit organization PEACE ONE DAY and Jeremy Gilley.  POD have gladly made their Global Education Resource available free to all schools.  This was perfect for them, as Peace is something they were very committed to, knowing that it is a wish all children have.  This was the beginnings of this exciting project.

http://peacequilt.wordpress.com/

Of course international schools around the world have already started to participate.  There have been numerous international schools that have already got involved.  Some of them are:

International School of Latvia (Riga, Latvia)

Colegio Experimental Alberto Einstein (Quito, Ecuador)

Dili International School (Dili, East Timor)


The International School of Seychelles (Seychelles)

There are more international schools that participated (check out their pictures here):

International School of Monaco (Monaco)

International School of Kabul (Kabul, Afganistan)

American International School of Niamey  (Niamey, Niger)

Marymount International School (Rome, Italy)

Mont Kiara International School (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Qsi International School Bratislava (Bratislava, Slovakia)

Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)

and the list goes on….

I LOVE when teachers have a dream and then they make it become a reality.

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.01 – 10 May, 2011

May 26, 2011



v2011.01 – 10 May, 2011
The first International School Community newsletter has arrived!  First of all, we would like to thank all our current members for their support so far.  Many thanks go out to all those members that had a part in the development of this website.  International School Community strongly encourages for members to leave comments and submit their votes on the schools they currently work at or have worked at in the past.  We also encourage you to take a minute to update your member profile so that others will be able to network with you more easily.  Enjoy being an active member on this website and help yourself and others to continue on in the “International School Community.”

 


Current Promotion: All new members that sign up will automatically receive a free 1-month subscription of premium membership.  If you are already a member, you can still benefit from this promotion.  Just sign-on and click on the My Account tab and then the renew your subscription link.  Use the coupon code “1FREEMONTH” on the payment page, and you will automatically receive the free 1-month subscription of premium membership.  Make sure to forward this newsletter to your friends and colleagues so that they can also benefit from this promotion.


Recently updated schools (more):

  • Shekou International School (Shekou, China)
    “The campus is very beautiful, lots of nature. Many of the teachers live within walking distance from the school and have views of the ocean…”
  • Graded School Sao Paulo (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
    “Many other teachers choose to live in the trendier areas and take the school bus to work or combine public transportation with taxi rides (shared with other teachers)…”
  • Benjamin Franklin Int’l School (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Shanghai Community Int’l School
    (Shanghai, China)
    “There is one campus that is in Pudong and one in Puxi. From both campuses it takes about 30-40 minutes to get to the center of the city (to the Bund area)…”
  • Seoul International School (Seoul, South Korea)
    “The school uses current practices such as readers and writers workshop, and provides training if necessary in these areas. Teachers are required to stay until 5 on Mondays so a lot of this work can be done then.work can be done then…”
  • Hong Kong International School
    (Hong Kong, China)
  • Columbus School Medellin (Medellin, Colombia)
    “The school is basically on top of a mountain…”
  • American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)
    “Once you have your residency card, you are totally covered (within Spain) by the public healthcare system and everything is free…”
  • Shanghai Rego International School
    (Shanghai, China)
    “I have a housekeeper come and clean my apartment and do my washing/ironing 2 times a week for 5 hours total. I pay her 15 RMB an hour…”

Recently added schools:

Requested schools to be reviewed:

Recent blog entries:

Site Stats
Current members: 49
School profiles: 719
Surveys: 2
Blog entries: 27
Pictures: 10
Posted comments: 71


Member spotlights:
Clare Rothwell
“I enjoy the way students of different cultural backgrounds play together and include each other in games in spite of communication challenges.”

Christy Niemeyer
“It all started on New Year’s Eve 2003. I was talking with someone at a party whose sister was teaching in Malaysia. This person was telling me the exciting and lucrative life her sister was leading by working internationally…”


Website updates:
•The whole sign-up process has been revamped.
•The recently updated school profiles feature has been improved. Comment tidbits and map feature added.
•The map feature can now be enlarged on the school profiles pages.
•The survey section is now available to non-members.


Uploaded photos:
  Shanghai Rego International School (city section)
 American School of Barcelona (benefits section)


New Survey Topic:
Which area of the world would you prefer to work in?

Vote here!


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Information for Members

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

July 12, 2021


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

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

Asia: 69 Schools

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

Caribbean: 24 Schools

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

Central American: 32 Schools

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

Central/Eastern Europe: 73 Schools

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

East Asia: 225 Schools

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

Middle East: 155 Schools

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

North Africa: 41 Schools

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

North America: 51 Schools

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

Oceania: 9 Schools

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

SE Asia: 187 Schools

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

South America: 66 Schools

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

Sub-Saharan Africa: 72 Schools

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

Western Europe: 172 Schools

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

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

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

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Information for Members

‘Where Our Members Have Worked’ update: Check out the latest stats!

March 14, 2021


Our 21026 current members (up 3215 members from January 2020) work at or have worked at 1250+ international schools.

How amazing is that?!  In just over 10 years now, our “international school community” has grown into an excellent network of international school teachers.  With so much experience and knowledge about life working at over 1250 international schools on our website, ISC members are able to stay updated and informed about the schools at which they are interested in working.  Additionally, now it is even easier to find the right members to contact for networking purposes and for gathering more information about the specific questions you may have about working at a certain international school.

Which international schools on our website have the most members you ask?  Here are our top 10 schools:

American International School in Egypt
(30) members

Copenhagen International School
(26) members

International School of Kuala Lumpur
(25) members

Western International School of Shanghai 
(24) members

International School Manila
(23) members

Seoul Foreign School
(21) members

MEF International School (Istanbul)
(21) members

Jakarta Intercultural School
(19) members

Seoul International School
(19) members

International School of Tanganyika
(19) members

Want to see the rest of the top 40 list of schools with the most members?  Check out this page which displays the names and avatar pictures of each member that either currently works at that school now or has worked there in the past.

And don’t forget to take a moment to browse our School list page as ISC members have worked at over 1250 international schools from all over the world. Maybe you will find that we have some members who know about the international school about which you are looking to gain more information!

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Comment Topic Highlight

Using Health Insurance While Teaching Abroad: Delightful or Nightmare?

January 19, 2020


Getting good health care is important, especially while living in a foreign country. You get used to the health insurance plan and coverage so much growing up in your home country that sometimes you can’t even think of another way to have it.

Living in the United States my whole life, I thought that it was normal to pay deductibles and co-payments. I even had heard that teachers working at US schools get one of the best health insurance plans (when compared to other professions), so I was quite content. And true to my experience and now looking back on it, I was pleased with many aspects of my coverage.

But living abroad had afforded me different experiences, from socialized medicine to full-coverage private insurance plans. And I would say that both of those experiences had their pros and cons and some aspects were better or a bit worse than my experience living in the United States.

Regardless of the plan that I have living abroad, it is definitely nice to not have to pay out of pocket expenses for my health insurance. So plans that pay everything for you up front are the best ones in my opinion. I also have appreciated having health insurance that has world coverage as we international school teachers do like the travel a lot and of course go back to our home country once or twice a year.

The issue of waiting time often comes up. All health insurance coverages include some time waiting to get seen and for getting an appointment, especially with a specialist doctor, etc. It is true that some insurance plans get you those appointments faster. I know that in some European countries the wait for a specialist doctor can take many weeks, but one way to get around this is to pay a little bit from your pay check for a private insurance. With this, you can get your appointments assigned to you much faster!

Paying for your prescriptions can be a pain on your wallet as well depending on which coverage you have. With one private insurance plan I had in Asia, I didn’t have pay any out of pocket money for all prescriptions. That was amazing! I can imagine though that in many insurance plans, you are expected to pay at least something for your prescriptions.

On ISC we have a comment topic related to this topic in the Benefits Information section on the school profile pages. It is called: “Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.” There have been 992 comments submitted in this comment topic on 100s of international schools from around the world. Here are just a few of them:

“Medical insurance is through a Chinese company. This is not ideal for several reasons: We live in Viet nam not China, and the package, compared to other countries, is basic. Very basic by international school standards, expect a lot of out of pocket, paying in advance, claiming back which takes a long time as language barrier (Mandarin speakers might do well), and submitting forms makes it a deterrent to claim back or even try.” – International School of Vietnam

“Everyone receives medical card on arrival. This gives you access to local hospital services. In our experiences this is fine for woman bit not for men.
Once you receive your company private insurance you pay QAR 50 for your initial consultation and then the rest s free form there. On larger more emergency cases you sometimes have to pay a deposit until the approval is given from the insurance which can take a few hours. This has never been an issue and always resolved in the teachers favour. Private care is very clean, as is local care. Health care for women in Qatar is very good.” – The English Modern School (Doha)

“The Health Insurance is not very good. It used to be through a reputable international provider and is now through a sub-standard Chinese company. The cover is global (non-US) but is not 100% and is only available at selected providers. If you are in an emergency situation and do not go to a pre-authorised hospital, it won’t be covered.” – The British International School of Kuala Lumpur

“The insurance is quite good in Maracaibo and in the USA. The doctors are trained, but hospitals are not equipped to serve patients right now. The price for medical care has increased by 10 fold in one year. It is a terrible situation for Venezuelans and foreigners who get sick.” – Escuela Bella Vista Maracaibo

What has been your experience using the health insurance benefits at your international school? Please login to our website and share what you know!

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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!

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Surveys

Survey results are in: What is the air quality like where you are currently living?

November 20, 2013


The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted are working in a location that has Normal/Very Clean air.

iuhiugui

Thank goodness that most of the voters do actually live in a place where the air in clear and clean.  Having a clean air environment where you are living can really play a huge factor in your well-being and for your health.  It can also put you at ease knowing that you can spend time outside (for example go and enjoy the city’s parks with your family) without or having  little care or concern about if you are breathing in polluted air.

Not all of us are so lucky as we know.  If you are living in the more ‘hardship’ placements (let’s say in Beijing), we all know that clean air is NOT something to take for granted. It has been in the news a lot lately about how the amount of toxins in the air in Beijing are reaching super high levels, making it a serious health concern for people.   I wonder if the three people that voted Extremely Bad are living there.

But back to clean air places.  We need more of them I am sure, and they are NOT to be taken for granted.  When job hunting, it would definitely be a no-brainer to sign a contract to work at a place in a city with very clean air (if all the other benefits also make it a good fit for you as well of course).  But you might not be so quick to sign a contract for a school in a location known for it pollution air.  Question is…are you will to take the risk and potentially sacrifice your health for 2-6 years to take a really good teaching opportunity at a top international school in one of the polluted areas of the world?

Luckily on International School Community, we have a City Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that is related to air quality which discusses the weather for the location at each school.  It can be quite important to know more about the weather if you are planning on moving across the world to live and work there for the next two or more years.  Is your potential new international school in a location with nice weather and clean air or in a place with not the best weather and poor quality air?

The comment topic in the City Information section tab is called:

• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.

Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 19.50.27

Taken from the International School of Kuala Lumpur‘s school profile page.

There have been many comments and information submitted in this topic on numerous school profiles on our website; 675 to be exact.  Here are just a few:

One International School Community member said about working at Britannica I.S. (Belgrade): “Belgrade has all 4 seasons, with extremely hot summers (air condition in an apartment and on the work is a must!) and cold winters with a lot of snow.”

Another member said about working at Prem Tinsulanonda International School: “I love Chiang Mai because the weather is cooler than most other parts of Thailand. Not as humid either.”

Another member submitted a comment about working at Beijing International Bilingual Academy: “The air is was nearly always full of smog (even out in the burbs by the school). Cold in the winter and hot in the summer.”

If you are currently a premium member of International School Community, please take a moment to share what you know about the weather in the cities in which you have lived. You can start by logging on here.

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

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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!

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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!

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Information for Members

Which Popular ISC Blog Articles Are in the Top 10 Most Viewed List?

January 20, 2019


Our blog gets hundreds of views every day. One time we had over 2200 views in one day!

ISC writes and publishes many of the articles on our blog, but we also have a growing number of member-submitted articles. These articles are submitted by people new to international teaching, seasoned international school educators, and those people that have retired from international education. Member-submitted articles come from parents, authors, directors, teachers, students, companies, etc.

Since 2011, the ISC blog has been viewed over 250,000 times! But which blog articles were the ones that our readers wanted to check out and read the most? We’ll start with #10 and move down to the most popular article on our blog.

#10 The 40 Most Viewed Schools on International School Community

“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…”

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

“Not 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…”

#8 Top 10 reasons why summer vacation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for an international school teacher

“One of the best things about being an international school teacher is that we have the ability to travel, sometimes much more than if we were teaching in our home country.  *Some items in this list are meant to be “tongue-in-cheek” and making fun of our “first world people problems” that we sometimes experience while traveling around the world. Of course we love this ability to travel and appreciate every minute of it…”

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#7 Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Shanghai, China

“The full salary is paid in RMB. The school adds an extra 500 RMB towards utility bills. The yearly pay is divided into 12 months. For newcomers, their first pay is in September 20th, although school starts early August. This is clearly stated in the contract but those new teachers coming in need to be aware of this that they won’t see money until September…”

#6 Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Bangkok, Thailand

“In 2012 the school implemented the Literacy by Design program for K3 – Grade 4, and the IB Diploma Programme in 2013. It also began scheduling more consistent weekly professional development meetings in 2013, including WASC focus and home group sessions, and grade-level meetings. As of 2012, it joined EARCOS and now regularly sends its staff to the annual conferences…”

#5 Top 10 Things a Recruiting Int’l Teacher is 😟 Worrying About in November

“Yes, it is November and many international school teachers are already thinking about the next school year (18-19). Actually, many of these teachers started recruiting back in September or August! It is necessary to recruit this early because international schools seem to be hiring earlier and earlier every year. Additionally, the international school recruitment fairs are also requiring candidates to have already applied to attend their fairs by now; by November you are most likely too late to apply to attend one (especially the ones in Bangkok)…”

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#4 Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Kuala Lumpur

“The school’s workload is average. We certainly hear of neighboring (similar caliber) schools who expect a lot more out of their teaching staff. In addition to a normal teaching day, teachers also are expected to lead 2 after school activities (running 10 weeks long each) per year. Coaching satisfies this requirement. This is standard for international schools in Malaysia, as the government requires schools to offer ASAs. Some teachers work…”

#3 Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Singapore

“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…”

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#2 Top Ten Tips For International School Teachers To Build A Solid Retirement

“Many international school teachers don’t think enough about retirement.  And that’s understandable.  The whole concept can seem confusing.  Andrew Hallam, however, says it isn’t.  He says that those who fail to plan are planning to fail. That could mean eating dog food instead of gourmet, during your golden years…”

#1 Top 10 Character Traits of a Seasoned International School Teacher

“A seasoned international school teacher (SIST) has worked at 3+ international schools in more than three parts of the world (or more).  They know the ins and outs of international schools.  They now have many old friends (from international schools that they’ve worked at) that have since moved on and now live in all parts of the world.  Many teachers say that they originally meant to be abroad for only 2-3 years, but once you get into the international school community, it is easy to get hooked…”

Keep checking out our blog every week. We typically post a new article every 3-6 days. If you are interested in submitting an article to our blog as a guest author, email us at editor @ internationalschoolcommunity.com . All guest authors receive between 6-12 months of free premium membership to our website!

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted Article: Michael Pohl is Thinking Education … Are you?

July 6, 2012


Michael Pohl  is  Thinking Education … Are you?

With more than twenty years classroom teaching experience behind him, Michael now runs training and development sessions for classroom teachers in thinking skills and also in how to best meet the learning needs of gifted students in inclusive classrooms. He has run over 1800 workshops on the teaching of thinking for teachers and Principals in China, Taiwan Saudi Arabia, Spain, Vienna, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and across both  New Zealand and Australia.

A former member of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, Michael regularly presents at local, national and international conferences on issues concerning giftedness, creativity and thinking.

With a Masters Degree in Gifted Education and formal qualifications in Adult Training, Michael is the Director of Thinking Education, currently working with many schools in diverse contexts on an on-going basis, returning many times to work with teachers as as they create a culture of thinking in their classrooms. He has worked in complex secondary settings in inner metropolitan settings, to remote schools in outback Australia, with clusters of schools in Wellington NZ,  to International schools across Asia and in Europe.

Amongst his recent publications are books on the teaching of complex thinking, models and strategies for teaching and learning, inquiry-based instruction, another on a whole-school approach to the explicit teaching of thinking skills, books for the middle years of schooling and for teachers concerning the education of gifted students and numerous articles for national and international journals concerned with Gifted Education.

All are available from the Thinking Education website.

Michael currently has an on-going relationship with The Alice Smith School in Kuala Lumpur and the International European School in Taiwan and is due to revisit both in 2012.

Should you be interested in having Michael work with your school, or present to a local or regional conference, please feel free to contact him via the website at http://www.thinking.education.com.au or simply email at mpohl@thinkingeducation.com.au

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