The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Leysin American School

March 25, 2016


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

One of our members, who works at the Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland), described his way to work there as follows:

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I love waking up in the morning here in Leysin. The mountains are always there to greet you, and they are indeed spectacular at which to look. There can be some fog in the morning, but that can dissipate as the day gets warmer. The spring is starting right now, so there can be many days of wonderful, warm sun.

Though many teachers (including myself) can easily walk to school, a number of teachers decide to drive their car on some days because they have other responsibilities after school that requires driving.

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If I walk, then I can get to most school buildings within 3-12 minutes. It is not bad at all and it is a good way to get your heart rate up a bit being that everywhere I need to get to is always at an incline. You need to walk up tons of steep driveways and tons of stairs both inside and outside of the school buildings while working at this school.

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I love this time of the year. There is still some snow on the ground, but it is melting away pretty fast, since much of Leysin is facing the south. Just a few weeks ago, there was a snow storm that dumped A LOT of snow on the ground. Because of the warm sun, you can see trails of melted ice water going down the streets and into the drains. There is a crisp and fresh feeling in the air when you breathe (and you breathe heavily at times depending on how much you have to climb up and if you are having a chat with a fellow coworker).

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This week there was sun every day. The sun is so bright and it feels great on your face. The buildings on campus really light up when the sunlight shines through the windows. I especially like older building on campus, in the main hall. The stained glass windows in the sunlight look so beautiful!

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As you walk along the streets that connect all the campus buildings, you need to keep an eye out for cars and buses. There isn’t always a lot of space for pedestrians and the cars can appear fairly quickly around the corner as they jet up and down the mountain side.

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In one of the other main buildings, there is a cafeteria that also has a great view of the mountains across the valley. How lucky our students and staff are to have this view while eating their lunch and/or dinner!

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As you walk around campus, especially going to work, expect to see many other staff members (and their children) as well as many students. Everyone is usually with a smile on their face though, and kindly greets each other. It is like one big family here sometimes!

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Living in Leysin is definitely not for everyone. But when thinking about the journeys to work at other schools I’ve worked at across the globe, Leysin has a pretty easy and beautiful one.

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

What to know more what it is like to visit and live in Switzerland?  There are 12 international schools in Switzerland that have had comments submitted on them:

International School Zug and Luzern (Baar, Switzerland)32 Comments

International School Basel (Basel, Switzerland)37 Comments

SIS Swiss International School Basel (Basel, Switzerland)11 Comments

Int’l School of Geneva – La Chataigneraie Campus (Founex, Switzerland)7 Comments

International School Geneva – Campus des Nations (Geneva, Switzerland)17 Comments

International School of Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland)19 Comments

Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland)58 Comments

TASIS The American School in Switzerland (Lugano, Switzerland)32 Comments

John F. Kennedy International School (Saanen, Switzerland)25 Comments

Inter-community School Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland)44 Comments

International School (Zurich North) (Zurich, Switzerland)5 Comments

Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland)25 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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Information for Members

Is Getting to Work Dread or Joy: 23 Journeys to International Schools Around the World

March 13, 2022


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.

On the ISC blog, we have a blog category called The Journey to School. It discusses the ins and outs of how international school teachers get to work/school in many countries around the world.

Nobody wants a horrible journey to work. Long journeys can really waste away your day (if your journey is one hour each way, for example). In some schools you need to use public transport, other schools you need your own car. It is possible that some teachers actually can take the school bus along with the students at their school. Usually, that is free, so that can be nice. Also, it can stop teachers from working long hours as you need to be ready to go home when the school bus leaves!

In some countries and at certain international schools, your journey can be one that has very nice things to look at. How wonderful to have some beautiful scenery to look at as you get your mind ready for a day of work. On the other hand, it can be that teachers at some international schools are just going on a highway with views of boring high-rise apartment buildings with very little nature to look at.

Another way to get to work is to ride your bike or just walk. For teachers who’d like to get a bit of exercise in their daily routine, this can be quite a good setup!

We currently have 23 journeys listed in The Journey to School blog category. We have listed them all here:

On the way to International School Basel

International School Basel
Tarsus American College
Cheongna Dalton School
Jerudong International School
American Embassy School New Delhi
International School of Brussels

On the way to Anglo American School of Sofia

Anglo American School of Sofia
Xian Hi-Tech International School
Singapore American School
Leysin American School
American International School in Egypt
Ruamrudee International School Bangkok
Western International School of Shanghai
Chatsworth International School (Singapore)

On the way to Dulwich College Suzhou

Dulwich College Suzhou
Hong Kong International School
NIST International School
International School of Tanganyika
Copenhagen International School

On the way to The Bermuda High School for Girls

The Bermuda High School for Girls
Rasami (Thai-British) International School
American School Taichung
Al Hada International School

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’.

All you need to do is take a few pictures of what you see or do on your way to school and then write a description of your journey. ISC members will appreciate you sharing what you know as it gives an excellent insight (for prospective teachers) into what it might be like to go to work at your school each day.

Email us here if you are interested.

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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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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: International School Basel (Basel, Switzerland)

October 22, 2020


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 at which they have never been.  So let’s share what we know!

One of our members, who works at the International School Basel (Basel, Switzerland), described the way she gets to work as follows:

The road to International School Basel in Switzerland

Getting out the door, I walk through a neighborhood in an industrial area, a low-rise concrete jungle. I walk past Decathlon, a fuel station, a building that doubles up as a mosque and a gym. They must have thought “Mensa sana in corpora sana”. This quirky place always brightens up my day when I walk past it. During summer, the hills in the distance are painted red by the rising sun. In autumn and winter, the mist is often too thick to even see the hills. Winter makes you wish you had a car; unless – like several of our teachers – you’re from the North of Canada and enjoy the “rather mild Swiss climate”.

The walk to the Dreispitz tram stop takes me 10 minutes at most, still I rush to tram 11 before realizing over and over again, that I shouldn’t have bothered because there’s a tram every 3-7 minutes. Very Swiss. As I get on the tram which takes me to ISB, I look for other teachers to talk to or chat with some students. When I’m alone, I stare out the window and watch how the landscape gradually becomes more rural.

The tram first passes the Reinacherhof tramstop right in front of the ISB senior school campus − where most of the teachers get off − before taking me to the Reinach Sud tram stop where I get off after exactly 16 minutes. While the tram heads off to its next stop at the ISB Primary campus in Aesch, I walk past a local farm to the Fiechten Middle school campus, which takes me exactly 4 minutes.

Unlike the other two campuses which are purpose-built for ISB, Fiechten is owned by the Swiss “Gemeinde”. The building looks very much like a Swiss protestant church and stands out because of its grey concrete walls and staircases. What is even more unusual is that the sound of the children’s footsteps is muffled by the carpet in the hallways and in the classrooms. Most teachers have plants and colorful displays to brighten up the place a bit.

The large windows and the view is what makes working on this campus worthwhile. Through my window, I can see the Goetheanum building in the distance. This is by far the most unique place in the area. It was founded in honour of Rudolf Steiner as a center for the Anthroposophical movement at the turn of the 19th century in a time when positivism dominated the natural sciences and humanities. People became aware of a growing interconnectedness between different parts of the world, cultures and religion. One of the main purposes of the movement was to create a new universal religion or philosophy which would incorporate wisdom of the major world religions. Rudolf Steiner conceptualized his teaching philosophy (used in Waldorf schools) based on the principles of Anthroposophy. The center has somewhat lost its function of ‘church’ but it is still a sanctuary for creative ideas. Today it offers theater and classical music performances, Steiner school training programs for teachers, art classes for kids, a bookshop (with books in a wide variety of languages) and a lovely tearoom which serves organic food. The entire hill is covered with buildings constructed in a similar architectural style.

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by an ISC member.

What to know more what it is like to visit and live in Switzerland?  Out of a total of 33 international schools we have listed in Switzerland, 19 have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

College du Leman – International School (85 comments)
Inter-community School Zurich (69 Comments)
International School Basel (131 Comments)
International School of Zug and Luzern (32 Comments)
Leysin American School (113 Comments)
Zurich International School (59 Comments)
TASIS The American School in Switzerland (32 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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Highlighted Articles

Making Friends Outside of Your International School is…

August 30, 2020


…HARD!

I don’t know about you, but I think making friends outside of your school community can be one of your biggest challenges when you live abroad.

International teachers hanging out in a bar

If you are an outgoing person, maybe it is a bit easier. However, if you are on an introverted side and also don’t know the local language, then you are up against a steep hill.

Either way, you could say that it is just safer and more comfortable to be friends with your colleagues at your international school. You usually have a lot in common with your colleagues as they also like adventure, share your love for traveling, and have the same vacation calendar as you.

But to get the most out of your international school teaching experience, the elusive goal of many international school teachers is to make some local friends, too.

Lonely expat on the street

If you don’t know the local language yet, then you are limited to the locals that are able to speak English (or your home language). Normally, these locals already have other foreigner friends and most likely have traveled internationally or had even lived abroad. These locals are easy to find as friends because you have a lot in common. For example, you probably have many places to go visit and hang out together in the city. If you are lucky, these locals are even available to do some traveling with you during your vacations.

To meet locals who don’t speak English and have a very tight-knit group of friends, let’s say, is a different story. To befriend the locals is typically easier if you have a partner or spouse that is also a local. If that is the case, then you have “a ticket in” to those exclusive groups of friends. Having these kinds of local friends really can give you the “VIP level” on the experience of the city and country that you are living in. These locals know what and where things are happening. International school teachers without these types of friends typically miss out on a number of cultural events and are left without a deep insight into the local lifestyle.

Expat friends talking

One of the ultimate events in your friendship with a local is to be invited over to their house, even better – for a meal. It can be that you invite a local to your house for dinner multiple times before finally, the stars align and they invite you back to their place. If you are at your international school for only two years, that might not be enough time for this to happen. Building this kind of relationship usually takes longer than that.

What is your experience with making friends in your host city/country? Logon to ISC and share what you know by submitting some comments on your school’s profile page.

When using the keyword search feature (premium membership required), we found 143 comments about friends. Read below a few that are connected to making friends outside of your international school.

Comments about Making Friends

“Leysin is a small mountain village and as a result, the community is limited. There is a definite LAS bubble and most of the staff spend time outside of work with each other. It is rare to meet and become friends with people outside of the school community unless you have worked here for many years. It isn’t easy being single here, but the lifestyle is worth it if you love the outdoors and the mountains. It is a quiet village and a great place to live if you don’t like the city.” – Leysin American School (113 total comments)

“I find my Albanian friends quite generous: they always fight to pay the bill in a coffee shop but also for lunch. It is a local tradition though, and keep in mind that, if you want to keep your friends close to you, next time will be your turn. It is important to understand quickly these cultural habits as it will allow you to make good friends. One thing that it is generally badly perceived is to be stingy in friendship.” – Albanian College Durres (111 total comments)

“The locals are very friendly and accommodating. We recently went on a one-day trip with a local tour company. As the only foreigners, we didn’t have much company at the beginning but we found out the locals on the trip actually spoke a very good level of English. By the end of the day, we made friends with many of them!” – Khartoum International Community School (153 total comments)

“Lots of people learning English in Saigon and they will all want to practice with you. Learning some Vietnamese helps with bonding and making local friends but generally, a lot of people speak or are learning to speak English.” – Renaissance International School Saigon (52 total comments)

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Switzerland

May 8, 2017


Around the world, there are cities that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.

Some cities, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, how do the comments about each school compare to each other?

This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same city.

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Switzerland

Currently, we have 30 schools listed in Switzerland on International School Community.

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

Inter-community School Zurich (61 Total Comments)
International School Basel (41 Total Comments)
International School of Lausanne (19 Total Comments)
International School Zug and Luzern (32 Total Comments)
Leysin American School (69 Total Comments)
John F. Kennedy International School (25 Total Comments)
Obersee Bilingual School AG (22 Total Comments)
TASIS The American School in Switzerland (32 Total Comments)
Zurich International School (25 Total Comments)

Hiring Policies

“I interviewed with them over Skype about 2 years ago. The administers were really nice and it was more of a dialogue rather than a list of questions. There was an issue with moving my application forward because of the new visa application restrictions imposed on the school. Thus being from the U.S. in this instance was not an advantage in the hiring process. Their follow-up communication was pretty good though; which was done via email.” – Zurich International School

“I was hired through Search Associates. But I’m pretty sure they recruit with other agencies too.” – TASIS The American School in Switzerland

“The school does go to the London fairs, but like the previous common mentioned, they do look for teaching couples before hiring single teachers. There are also new visa restrictions underway limiting the number non-EU students and staff that can work at/attend the school.” – Leysin American School

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School Campus

“The High School is on a purpose-built site on a small industrial estate. The Primary School is in an old chalet/convent with some newer buildings added on. The Middle School is on the same campus as the Primary and was purpose-built a few years ago. Surrounding area is open country.” – International School Zug and Luzern

“ISB is split onto two campuses, with pre-K to Grade 5 being on one and Grades 6 to 12 being on another. The school is expanding even further, opening a third campus for Grade 6 next year. The school building is great. New building, large classrooms with beautiful views of the countryside and plenty of whiteboards and interactive boards. The Grade 6 to 12 campus also has a new all weather outdoor soccer field.” – International School Basel

“There are a number of buildings that make up this campus. The buildings were made within the last decade, make mostly of reinforced concrete. The secondary building is pretty nice. There are a number of floors and many classrooms with big windows. It can get a bit noisy in the common areas. The cafeteria is pretty big, where the students eat lunch. That same cafeteria can be divided into a 1/3 for teachers to hold meetings.” – Inter-community School Zurich

Housing Information

“Housing is expensive. Rent, utilities and medical insurance is well over half my salary.” – International School Zug and Luzern

“There is a housing allowance/benefit, but it is taxed. A number of staff live in school owned buildings. If you have friends/family come to visit you, there is a building that can house them for free or for only 10 CHF a night. It is a simple/barebones room “hotel”, but it is nice of the school to offer this benefit. The rooms have heated floors as well.” – Leysin American School

“No housing allowance.” – International School Basel

“Housing options vary but tend to be 1-2 bedroom apartments (some within dorms). Dormitory Parents earn 20,000 CHF additional. Most expats may rent subsidized apartments through the school. These include furnishings, utilities, DSL and cleaning service for on-campus apartments.” – TASIS The American School in Switzerland

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Health insurance and medical benefits.

“You pay for your own health insurance, and for a family it can be up to 1000 chf per month.” – Inter-community School Zurich

“Health Care is incredibly expensive, because your insurance policy covers nothing under your deductible ($500 for full-time teachers/admin, $600 for kids, and $2500 for traveling spouse/part-time staff. This is after paying almost $600 a month in insurance payments for our family of four.” – TASIS The American School in Switzerland

“Not provided, all out-of-pocket with different levels of insurance available.” – International School Basel

“Health care is very good, but expensive. You could expect to pay between 250 – 450 USD per month insurance. Taxes are low, so this is a factor to consider. All workers in Switzerland are obliged to take out a private insurance, but for the standard package this includes all pre-existing conditions.” – International School Zug and Luzern

(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 Switzerland, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!

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Information for Members

The total comments in all the Benefits Information sections: 12207!

January 14, 2021


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2180+ school profile pages on our website has four comments and information sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information.  Our members are encouraged to submit comments and information on one or all of these sections if they currently work at an international school or have worked at one in the past.  It is important that we all share what we know so that we can in turn help other new teachers make a more informed decision before they sign any contract! *Additionally, for every 10 comments you submit (which are anonymous by the way), you will automatically get one free month of premium membership added to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

So, what are the recent statistics about the Benefits Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the Benefits Information section is 12207 (out of a total of 39249+ comments); that is up 1503 comments from around 13 months ago (Nov. 2019).

There are 20 subtopics in the Benefits Information section on each school profile page.  Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out the total number of comments in that specific sub-topic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.

• Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year? (1415 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Salary is paid regularly each month directly into your bank account which the school will help you set up. It is paid in $US…” – Northbridge International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – 59 Comments

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• Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities? (1414 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Rent prices went up all over Shanghai in the past 1-2 years and even places near the school cost more now, as landlords start seeing that there’s many expats in the area willing to pay more…” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 481 Comments

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• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. (761 Total Comments)

Example comment: “A teaching couple could easily live and travel on one salary and save 100% of the other.  Savings opportunity is obviously significantly less on one salary, but still possible…” – Singapore American School (Singapore) – 309 Comments

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• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? (1236 Total Comments)

Example comment: “$4000 per teaching couple moving allowance (once you arrive in cash), optional $10,000 loan from school interest free (to buy car), annual flights home…” – American International School of Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria) – 21 Comments

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• Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals. (1085 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Teachers must pay for their own health insurance here as Switzerland doesn’t have a social health care program model. Some of the staff’s partners are actually the local doctors in Leysin, so expect to get seen or have your children get seen by them..” – Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland) – 113 Comments

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• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.). (523 Total Comments)

Example comment: “As the April 6, 2016 comment below states, there are many opportunities for increasing your monthly pay. Other than that, it is illegal to work for anyone but your visa provider (the school) in China. Lots of teachers tutor or work otherwise on the side anyway, but it is illegal.” – Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan, China) – 82 Comments

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• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents. (825 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Teachers with dependents need to pay some fees. These vary and are at the discretion of the school so they could conceivably become higher each year. They do not like to hire people with dependents.” – MEF International School Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey) – 162 Comments

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• Professional development allowance details. (617 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The PD allowance allows you to travel and pay for one IB workshop (or any conference) per year. Or you can do two IB online workshops…” – The International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal) – 181 Comments

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• Pension plan details. (676 Total Comments)

Example comment: “It is not a pension. Due to Brazilian law, each teacher pays 8% of their salary each month into a guarantee fund. This is more or less an unemployment insurance. At the end of your contract, the school agrees to “fire” you, so you can access that fund. Based on the exchange rate at that time, it can vary in USD. At the beginning of my contract is was estimated around $12,000. But, now it will be much closer to $7,000. There is no way to know how much it will actually be in the end.” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) – 78 Comments

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• Describe your experience bringing pets. (310 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Some teachers bring their pets from the USA (and other countries like UAE and Qatar). Some do it via the airlines or a pet relocation service. You need to make sure you pet has their up-to-date shots and whatnot to avoid certain delays and hassles along the way. The shorter your flight to Egypt the easier it might be to get your pet to Egypt.” – American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 62 Comments

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• Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?). (617 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Each teacher is paid differently. No pay scale. Some teachers with lots of experience paid less than teachers with little experience. Men get paid more than women…” – American School of Durango (Durango, Mexico) – 54 Comments

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• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city? (393 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The pay is lower than other international schools in the area but the school fees are also lower. It is the mid range between the “posh” international schools and the ones that don’t hire internationally trained teachers.” – Ican British International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – 74 Comments

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• How is the school calendar? Is there ample vacation time? (592 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Point of contention. Clearly we are in a Muslim country so we have to abide by the holidays, but as Ramadan keeps pushing up 2 weeks every year, so does Eid (which usually falls in the first term. But we are in one of those awkward times where Eid is falling the first week of school so that means no break from the start of school until December. There is only one week at xmas this year, because we have to make sure to finish school around the start of Ramadan, it will be too hot to come to school while the kids (majority) will be fasting or they just won’t attend school. We will still have a week in Feb and a week in April. No long weekends here. 3 months off for summer.” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (Doha, Qatar) – 97 Comments

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• What are some things that you need to buy/pay for when you first arrive at the school that you didn’t know about beforehand? (330 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you have a pet you have to pay an extra deposit to the landlord, not covered by school…” – Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine) – 162 Comments

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• Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school. (169 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Women get 12 weeks at 80% pay. She can take more time off, but without pay and at the business’ discretion. I think men don’t get any time off to be with their newborn.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 59 Comments

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• What is the process of getting reimbursed for things? (226 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Fill out a simple form, submit the receipt, and the money is deposited into your account after the purchase has been approved. If you are concerned as to whether or not you will be reimbursed, seek out approval first. I have never been turned down.” – Daegu International School (Daegu, South Korea) – 25 Comments

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• Details about new teacher orientation. (270 Total Comments)

Example comment: “We were picked up at the airport by a school driver who drove the Superintendent there to meet us. We were taken directly to our house, and someone had purchased some staple foods for the refrigerator. There were new towels, sheets and pillows. Other teachers/admin in the neighborhood came to greet us that evening and brought over hot food for dinner. It was an excellent welcome. We immediately felt very much at home…” –Lahore American School (Lahore, Pakistan) – 193 Comments

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• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school? (403 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Everyone leaves because the salary scrap and administration is crap. If you had any moral integrity you would also leave after a week.” – Colombo International School (Colombo, Sri Lanka) – 64 Comments

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• Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about? (250 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Read carefully. 3 page contract is very vague and WILL be used in favor of the administration against you. Expect them to try and keep as much of your money as they can. Hence the 2 month salary withholding which you are assured you will get at back end of contract. This does not usually come to fruition.” – Pan Asia International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 70 Comments

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• Information on trailing spouses. Can they work under spousal visa (also availability of work) or is it possible to live only on one salary? (95 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Trailing spouses can only be sponsored if you are earning a certain amount. It is not very easy to get a job in some professionals; however, this might change soon with the sponsorship system changing often as we near the World Cup 2022.” – The English Modern School (Doha) (Doha, Qatar) – 91 Comments

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Top 10 Lists

12 Submitted Comments That Teaching Couples Should Take Note Of

September 23, 2016


International School Community is full of thousands of useful, informative comments…18083 comments (23 Sept. 2016) to be exact.

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

We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most interesting and useful ones related to “Teaching Couples“.

12. Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?

“The first month in HK is arranged in a hotel/serviced apartment. The single “rental reimbursement” (housing allowance) is about 1,600USD. Teachers employed overseas with an approved dependent get 1.4 times that. Teaching couples receive twice the single allowance and married teaching couples with one dependent child receive 2.4 times the single rental reimbursement. With two dependent children it is 2.8 times the amount. If you don’t spend the whole allowance you still get the money, but will pay tax on it. Rents are high but vary hugely. Most people more or less manage to live within their allowance, unless they want something a bit more spacious/special. HK apartments are really small, but you’ll probably be less squashed if you live in/around Sai Kung” – Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China) – 37 Comments

11. Average amount of money that is left to be saved.

“It’s fairly easy to save a $1000 a month and still live a pretty decent lifestyle. For teaching couples it’s very easy to live on one teacher’s salary and save the entire other paycheck.” – Rowad Alkhaleej International School (Dammam) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)69 Comments

10. 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?
“The school does go to the London fairs, but like the previous common mentioned, they do look for teaching couples before hiring single teachers. There are also new visa restrictions underway limiting the number non-EU students and staff that can work at/attend the school.” – Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland) – 63 Comments

9. Average amount of money that is left to be saved.

“Some teachers just save most of their USD part of their salary and spend the local currency money. Some teaching couples do this and they are saving quite a lot every year.” – American International School in Egypt (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 62 Comments

8. Information about benefits for teachers with dependents.

“School is good and generous with this. Nicely, teachers AND staff/support staff, whether local or international, get tuition benefits for children. There are some teachers/teaching couples with more students at the school than parents teaching. The school sometimes requests a trailing spouse to do some “volunteer” work at the school to offset these costs. There are stories of this not always being 100% fair. If you’re in that kind of situation, it’s very much worth getting expectations ironed out early.” – American British Academy (Muscat, Oman) – 34 Comments

7. 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?

“The do hire at the fairs. My friends got hired there at the Search fair, in London, a year ago. There used to be a lot of teaching couples hired, that have children, but that is diminishing more and more because some people don’t necessary want to raise their children here in Tanzania.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 143 Comments

6. Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?

“Single or non-teaching couple without children SG$3000/month. Teaching couples or teacher with a child dependent $3,500. Teaching couples with children SG$3,500. These are fair allowances given the current rental rates in Singapore. Couples with more than 2 children may decide to top up the allowance to get a larger apartment.” – Nexus International School (Singapore, Singapore) – 22 Comments

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5. What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff?

“Generally only hire teachers with solid IB background, but will make exceptions for exemplary candidates, especially when in Teaching couples or harder to hire positions.” – Yokohama International School (Yokohama, Japan) – 17 Comments

4. 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?

“It is hard to survive here if you are a single teacher with dependents, so the school will only hire Teaching couples that have dependents. You need to have a passport from either U.S. or Canada with a Bachelors Degree.” – American School of Quito (Quito, Ecuador) – 10 Comments

3. Information about benefits for teachers with dependents.

“If you meet admissions requirements, then you get up to two children for free, Teaching couples get up to 3 dependents for free (to attend the school).” – International School of Beijing (Beijing, China) – 25 Comments

2. 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?

“The school encourages Teaching couples with or without children to apply for vacancies. The school does look for candidates that are familiar with the UK teaching practice.” – British International School of Jeddah (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) – 41 Comments

1. 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?

“Teachers are hired on a two-year contract, with the possibility of one-year extensions thereafter. They look to hire single teachers willing to share housing with one other single teacher, or married Teaching couples. They will considerTeaching couples with dependent children if they are of an age to attend NJIS (or younger).” – North Jakarta International School (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 29 Comments

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

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