Information for Members

11 International Schools that have Relaxing Environments

May 31, 2020


Who doesn’t want to work in a relaxed environment at their work? Then after you leave work, you enter into a very relaxed local city environment and home. Sounds pretty nice, right?

However, the world of international schools and the cities they are situated in aren’t always so relaxing! On the other hand, it is important to note that there are indeed a number of schools that are!

Work-related stress can really take a toll on one’s wellbeing, so it is good to keep healthy and give yourself breaks and time to reflect. Talking about your worries and concerns also helps to keep you calm and focused. Meanwhile, it is nice when there are opportunities to do that at your school and you have supportive colleagues that are good listeners and in good spirits themselves.

If your host city is chaotic, that can take a toll on your wellbeing as well. Pollution and lack of nature around may give you less opportunities to recharge yourself and enjoy a well-deserved and relaxing break.

International schools can do a number of things to create a more laid-back environment for its staff. Some schools have a massage therapist come and do appointments on campus once every 2 weeks or so. Other schools allow more autonomy to their teachers in how they want to organize their workday and teach in their classes without being micromanaged. And the list of possible actions goes on…

Cities can and should also make choices that make their neighbourhoods more relaxed. Expanding the urban greenery, working on noise reduction, protecting the water and buildings, and inspiring public recreational facilities are only some of them.

So who are the international schools that have created a more relaxed working environment? And which local cities around the world have relaxing environment to live in?

Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 45 comments that had the keyword “Relaxed” in them. Here are 11 of them:

Thailand

“The school is quite far from the center of Chiang Mai but it is possible to find nice places to eat and plenty of local shops and markets a short car or scooter ride away. The plus side is that you have total peace and are surrounded by lush green making it a wonderfully relaxed place to live and explore. Staff are given apartments on the school grounds with the option to live off campus for those who wish it.” – Prem Tinsulanonda International School (41 total comments)

Guinea

“The school is developing and needs innovative and creative thinkers to solve the issues that developed due to the location and lack of resources in the region. Those looking for an adventure and willing to sacrifice the comforts of schools in more developed countries can enjoy relaxed work, a family like setting if the right personalities are in place.” – American International School of Conakry (47 total comments)

Malaysia

“Teaching staff are given leeway to be the professionals in the classroom. Therefore, there is a relaxed, yet committed staff. Administration promotes and values the balance between professional and personal needs.” – Mont’Kiara International School (84 total comments)

Germany

“It’s a true non-profit school. Board is not breathing down your neck. In some ways, it’s quite relaxed (no one is inspecting your lessons, usually.) In others ways, there’s unnecessary stress (poor communication, some teaching loads piled too high.)” – Berlin Brandenburg International School (81 total comments)

Girls in Japan

Costa Rica

“The culture of UWCCR is much more relaxed and informal then in most other schools. Everyone is addressed by their given name and there is no dress code for students or teachers. Since it is a community there is a more egalitarian atmosphere.” – United World College of Costa Rica (108 total comments)

France

“The school provides a lot of flexibility for students and teachers in terms of the day-to-day schedule. There is a relaxed atmosphere at many points in the year.” – American School of Paris (51 total comments)

Norway

“We are a small team, we get on really well and are very supportive of each other. If you came here thinking that this is a wealthy school with amazing resources, you would be disappointed. If you come here thinking that this is a friendly, relaxed place where teachers and students really grow, then you would be happy!” – Norlights International School Oslo (114 total comments)

Ukraine

“It is a pretty relaxed city and low costs make eating out very easy. As stated below, the architecture is amazing!” – Pechersk School International (162 total comments)

Indonesia

“There is a Christmas tea hosted for the staff on campus where all the expat and Indonesian staff from all grade levels get an opportunity to spend some relaxed moments together.” – Gandhi Memorial Intercontinental School (203 total comments)

Indonesia

“People stay because it is relaxed, easy, and relatively safe. People leave because of the extra 9% taxes that kick in the 2nd year that are not offset and that you are not told about in the interview. People also leave because of the culture of the parents, not being able to grow, and not having a lot to do when not working.” – American School of Asuncion (145 total comments)

Cambodia

“People are leaving to pursue international teaching careers. People are staying because they enjoy the relaxed lifestyle.” – Ican British International School (74 total comments)

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Information for Members

Top 26 Schools With the Most Comments on ISC

May 24, 2020


Now there are 2150+ international schools that have had comments/reviews submitted on them on our website (up almost 80 schools from one year ago)!

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

Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China)

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

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

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

So let’s get to it, which schools are in the top 26? This list comes from May 2020 with a sample comment for each school.

Here we go:

26. Hong Kong International School 
(Hong Kong, China) – 148 Comments
“There is a clear and structured pay scale. You enter it according to experience and qualifications, up to a maximum experience level. Within the school you receive an annual ‘step’ for every year of experience, plus there are usually small inflationary raises to the salary scale. Additionally stipends are paid for team leader responsibility. There are resigning bonuses after four years of employment…”

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

25. American International School (Vietnam)
(Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 153 Comments
“Now, it is extensive as it has not been done at all. Atlas Rubicon full steam ahead…”

24. Canadian International School (Hong Kong)
(Hong Kong, China) – 155 Comments
“CDNIS is an IB World School, implementing PYP, MYP, and DP. In a recent report by the IB governing body, CDNIS must make major administrative and governing reforms in the next year…”

23. American School of Warsaw
(Warsaw, Poland) – 155 Comments
“Since housing isn’t provided by the school, you get a lot of leeway in terms of what kind of accommodations you choose and whether you keep within your housing allowance or “top up” for a bigger/nicer/better place. As such, how well-appointed your apartment or hou…

22. Colegio Gran Bretana
(Bogota, Colombia) – 156 Comments
“Many goods on display, if not found in supermarket, can be ordered online…”

21. Tarsus American College
(Mersin, Turkey) – 157 Comments
“Down to two weeks of holiday in January. No other breaks and we’ve been told that in addition to losing our fall and spring breaks for intensive staff-development other PD will be held on weekends…”

20. Tsinghua International School (Beijing)
(Beijing, China) – 158 Comments
“There is a new airport going in south of Beijing to relieve the traffic at the main airport…”

19. American School of Dubai
(Dubai, UAE) – 161 Comments
“Lately a number of teachers are heading to places like Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. They report great experiences! Oman remains the number one travel option, however, as it is right next door (door to door to Muscat is around the five hour mark) and has lots of great outdoor…”

18. MEF International School Istanbul
(Istanbul, Turkey) – 162 Comments
“Teacher turnover is high. Everything from 1st year teachers, teachers new to being over seas, to very experienced international educators. Living in Istanbul is a big draw…”

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

16. International School of Tanganyika
(Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments
“The IT infrastructure has improved significantly, but is still not without its challenges. Internet speed is reasonably fast, much much better than it used to be. All teachers are provided with a Macbook. At secondary there are 4 computer labs. The science department has 25 m…”

Seoul, South Korea

15. Seoul Foreign School
(Seoul, South Korea) – 172 Comments
“Tutoring through the school is available if it is not your student. The school takes a portion leaving you with about $20 for 30 minutes of tutoring. Coaching stipends from $350-900 and lifeguarding at the school pool can bring in 25-45 dollars an hour.”

14. Cairo American College
(Cairo, Egypt) – 174 Comments
“The subway costs 2 Egyptian pounds per ride. Taxis vary, since you might have to haggle. Many people at the school use a regular driver. The one I use charges less than 200 Egyptian pounds for a trip to the airport, which is about an hour away…”

13. American School of Barcelona
(Barcelona, Spain) – 175 Comments
“The turn over rate is getting a bit higher because the cost of living in Spain is getting higher and higher and salaries are staying the same. Economically it is difficult in Spain right now. That being said Barcelona is a fantastic city to live in and no one wants to leave…”

12. Concordia International School (Shanghai)
(Shanghai, China) – 180 Comments
“The ‘common language spoken in the hallways’ depends on the grade level. Students who are only 3 or 4 might not have a lot of English. As the students get older, they are quite skilled in English…”

11. International School of Dakar 
(Dakar, Senegal) – 181 Comments
“Very low turnover this year but we had a large turnover the previous year. Teachers tend to stay 3-4 years but some have stayed much longer…”

Lisbon, Portugal

10. Oeiras International School
(Lisbon, Portugal) – 183 Comments
“Back in the re-accreditation mode again with the self study this year. The visit will be a joint visit next year with IB, ECIS and NEASC…”

9. Lahore American School
(Lahore, Pakistan) – 193 Comments
“1/2 of the teachers are from North America and 1/2 from Pakistan, a few from UK…”

8. Ghandi Memorial International School
(Jakarta, Indonesia) – 203 Comments
“Bahasa Indonesia is the official language, with English spoken in major cities and tourist areas…”

7. Stamford American International School 
(Singapore, Singapore) – 237 Comments
“The school is the north-east corner of Singapore with very easy access to the city center. Staff can choose their own accommodation location based on their financial and lifestyle preferences. Most teachers live 2-3 MRT (underground) stations away. Public transport is excellent…”

6. Singapore American School
(Singapore) – 278 Comments
“Transport options are good. The taxi queue right outside of arrivals can be long at times, but the system works well to get people moving as fast as possible…”

Bangkok, Thailand

5. NIST International School
(Bangkok, Thailand) – 298 Comments
“With the start of construction on the street the school is located on, the entire schedule has shifted to a later start. Elementary students begin at 8:00 and secondary students at 8:30. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive…”

4. KIS International School
(Bangkok, Thailand) – 326 Comments
“Using a mobile is now so cheap that many teachers do not have a landline. The Satellite TV provider is dreadful, neither their offerings nor their boxes have changed in 20 years. If you want to watch sport most teachers just go to the pub…”

3. Copenhagen International School
(Copenhagen, Denmark) – 375 Comments
“You can get travellers and accident insurance from your bank here, like at Nordea. It is really cheap and it gives you health insurance coverage anywhere in the world! It is important to know about this option because now the Danish CPR health social health care card doesn’t…”

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

1. Western International School of Shanghai
(Shanghai, China) – 466 Comments
“Airport is okay. It’s clean and easy to navigate. Immigration can take a long time to get through at peek times during the year but it’s okay. They have water fountains, which as a frequent traveller I really appreciate…”

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

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

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Traveling Around

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

October 20, 2017


Traveling Around: Tirana, Albania

Can you relate?

tirana

  • Driving through Albania gorges and valleys with beautiful nature to get to Tirana.
  • Visiting a local olive oil factory “Shkalla” and buying some extra virgin olive oil directly from them.
  • Passing by Albanian International School at the Southern entrance to the city.
  • Practising one’s patience navigating through Tirana’s traffic and the narrow streets.
  • Walking down the marble-paved boulevard towards BLLOKU, the place to be in Tirana.
  • Staying at a private, secluded hotel isolated from the traffic noise – Hotel Panorama.

tirana

  • Experiencing the variety of cuisines available locally, mostly Italian, but also Spanish, French and the local Albanian.
  • Taking taxis to get around the city and only paying 2-3 EUR for each ride. Though it is important to note that the city is a very walkable city.
  • Being treated with great service at one of the best rated restaurants in the city of Tirana – Era. They have a strict no-wifi policy. They say that the best unlimited internet connection is friendship!
  • Checking out the main market and realizing immediately that the locals don’t shop there. Though the market has had a makeover recently, it appears as if there aren’t enough buyers that want to go there. Maybe the prices are too high?
  • Having a decadent ice-cream cup in an upscale Italian chocolaterie and finding that the menu, though very beautiful with pictures, was all in Albanian. It is really difficult to try and understand most Albanian words, even if you know a number of languages. Luckily, the servers were more than willing to help us out.

tirana

  • Meeting up with the sister of one of our friends from our host country. Not knowing her beforehand or her boyfriend, it was a risk. But a good evening was had as we actually had a lot to talk about from politics to languages to history to food, etc.
  • We had rented a car here, but quickly decided that we were not going to drive to different places around the city because of the “crazy-like” driving from the locals. It really seems like if you don’t know the local “rules” of the road, it will be very tricky and potentially dangerous for you!
  • Enjoying the perfect weather every day. I mean it was a sunny and the just right temperature every day here. How lucky the people are that live here! Living on the Mediterranean definitely has it’s perks!

tirana

  • Looking at the buildings here are so interesting. Though it is true some of the buildings look a bit run down and falling apart, the local artists have made these buildings into works of art. They draw really clever patterns or drawings on the facades of the buildings that make them look very beautiful and interesting to look at.
  • Being amazed by the streetlights here. The whole pole holding up the traffic light was actually a light itself! So when the light turned red, the whole pole turned red and the same for the other colors.
  • Walking around the recently rebuilt park with the artificial lake and seeing many people, young and old enjoying the beautiful weather in October.

tirana

Currently, we have 107 international schools listed in Eastern Europe on International School Community. 57 of them have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few of those schools:

Albanian International School (Tirana, Albania)19 Comments
International School of Azerbaijan (Baku, Azerbaijan)39 Comments
QSI International School of Sarajevo (Sarajevo, Bosnia)18 Comments
Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria)49 Comments
American International School of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia)29 Comments
International School of Brno (Brno, Czech Republic)25 Comments
International School of Estonia (Tallinn, Estonia)22 Comments
Britannica International School Budapest (Budapest, Hungary)19 Comments
International School of Latvia (Riga, Latvia)33 Comments
American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland)89 Comments
Wroclaw International School (Wroclaw, Poland)46 Comments
Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)68 Comments
International School of Belgrade (Belgrade, Serbia)59 Comments
Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine)122 Comments

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

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Traveling Around

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

July 20, 2017


Traveling Around: Sofia, Bulgaria

Can you relate?

• Passing by a house that had a whole car in its front yard as a lawn decorative item!
• Going through a city market, not a big touristy one, and enjoying all the little shops there; had a great “conversation” (many language barriers) with one store owner/worker about her honey, jams and nuts.
• Checking out the biggest city park in Sofia and realizing how amazingly big it was. There were also some martenitsas tied to a number of the park’s trees. Didn’t know what those were, but now I know; interesting tradition.
• Having a nice walk through the downtown area of Sofia and running into some of the most beautiful buildings on a nice sunny day!


bulgaria

• Walking through the city neighborhoods and spotting a really cool local bird that was grey but with fluorescent blue markings on its wings.
• Seeing a bunch a stray dogs and cats lounging around all the streets and sidewalks.
• Watching a local group of little school kids and their teachers walk in line together as they go along their field trip for the day.
• Smelling the amazing smells of a local bakery. Geez, how could you not stop and check out their goods?!

bulgaria
• Choosing one of the many day trips that I could have taken and doing it with 4 strangers and having a great time.
• Checking out the nearby mountains, thinking that there would be some green nature and then finding out that it was all snow still there.
• Being immersed in a completely silent place surrounded by beautiful trees and nature.
• Challenging myself to walk up a steep mountain incline, getting to the top and enjoying the view!

bulgaria

• Finding a really little Mexican restaurant on one of the streets in Sofia (didn’t eat at it), a kind of restaurant that looks like a food truck but was actually part of the nearby buildings. You could only order through a window.
• Checking out the main market in Sofia and deciding what I wanted to buy. I ended up going to a local lavender farmer and buying two jars of their lavender honey.
• Shopping in Sofia is great because the price of certain produce and products is so cheap!
• Enjoying the fact that I can read most Cyrillic letters and some basic Russian, so I wasn’t so in the dark when confronted with an important street sign or store sign for example.

bulgaria

• Seeing certain produce items (omg, the tomatoes) that I can get in my host country, but not as tasty as these ones looked! Feeling very jealous of the expats living here.
• Noticing that some of market stands had a really long line of people wanting to buy their specific produce. The locals know who to buy from I guess!

bulgaria
• Going to an out-of-the-way restaurant, walking in and realizing nobody else was there. Started talking to the owner and worker and learning about their lives and the life of the restaurant. Great, unexpected cultural exchange.
• Deciding to take a short cut to get to a certain place while using Google Maps, but only to realize I was getting myself into a bit of a dangerous area for walking pedestrians (really close to a fast highway).  Making it out safe, and happy because I found a really cool spot to take a picture of some graffiti.

Currently we have 106 international schools listed in Eastern Europe on International School Community. 55 of them have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few of those schools:

Albanian International School (Tirana, Albania)19 Comments
International School of Azerbaijan (Baku, Azerbaijan)39 Comments
QSI International School of Sarajevo (Sarajevo, Bosnia)18 Comments
Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria)49 Comments
American International School of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia)29 Comments
International School of Brno (Brno, Czech Republic)25 Comments
International School of Estonia (Tallinn, Estonia)22 Comments
Britannica International School Budapest (Budapest, Hungary)19 Comments
International School of Latvia (Riga, Latvia)33 Comments
American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland)89 Comments
Wroclaw International School (Wroclaw, Poland)46 Comments
Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)66 Comments
International School of Belgrade (Belgrade, Serbia)59 Comments
Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine)122 Comments

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

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Anglo American School of Sofia

May 28, 2017


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 Anglo American School of Sofia (Bulgaria), described her way to work there as follows:

The road to Anglo American School of Sofia…

Some teachers drive to work. It is not that far from the center of the city. The school is location in a more residential, countryside area. These pictures of from a spring day with lots of sun!

Sofia, Bulgaria
The best part of the school’s location is of course the amazing view of the nearby mountains. The school grounds are also pretty to look at and walk around in as they are well-landscaped. In the spring a number of the plants are flowering.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Walking towards the school’s main entrance.

Sofia, Bulgaria

There are huge sports fields for students to play in.

Sofia, Bulgaria

There is a sense of community as you walk around the campus. There is even an outdoor amphitheater. This day the school was using it during their Bulgarian cultural week.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Here is the road leading out of the school campus.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Here is that same road looking back towards the school.


You do need to pass through some security. Even taxis are not allowed through when you get visitors. This day I was actually leaving via an arranged taxi going to the airport. It was very cheap and quick. I think I was there in 15-20 minutes that day.

155595-linebreak

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

What to know more what it is like to visit and live in Eastern Europe?  Out of a total of 105 international schools we have listed in Eastern Europe, 55 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Pechersk School International Ukraine, Kyiv 122 Comments
International School of Belgrade Serbia, Belgrade 34 Comments
Anglo-American School of Moscow Russia, Moscow 66 Comments
American International School Bucharest Romania, Bucharest 20 Comments
Wroclaw International School Poland, Wroclaw 46 Comments
American School of Warsaw Poland, Warsaw 89 Comments
International School of Latvia Latvia, Riga 33 Comments
Anglo American School of Sofia Bulgaria, Sofia 49 Comments
International School of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan, Baku 39 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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Traveling Around

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

January 26, 2017


Traveling Around: Ukraine

ukraine
Can you relate?

• Listening to the local radio stations in our rental car and laughing at the unbelievably rapid speed of the disclaimers at the end of each advertisement.
• Getting a Thai massage in the best rated massage place in Kiev, good price too!
• Eating at a Georgian restaurant (delicious food!) and enjoying watching the Ukrainian tables next to us and how they (very often) toast to each other so that they can drink for alcohol.
• Staying at probably one of the nicer hotels in the city. The pool/spa was in the basement of the hotel and was decorated like a tropical tiki-style holiday.

ukraine ukraine

• Visiting one of the main markets in Kiev and getting crazy high prices from the stall workers, tourist prices, though in the end scoring a huge jar of local honey for only like five Euros.
• Spending the night eating at a really posh restaurant in Kiev and trying out some very unusual teas and very unique appetizers and entrees; very good quality food in Ukraine!
• Driving around the city center in our rental car and actually doing it without any issues, so many people (even locals) warned us that the driving in Kiev was dreadful and dangerous. Not the case for us.
• Trying to talk in English with the locals and encountering many confusing conversations and misunderstandings. Though both parties kept a positive and friendly, fun-loving attitude in the process.
• Going from eastern orthodox church to eastern orthodox church to eastern orthodox church to eastern orthodox church to eastern orthodox church, well those are the most ornate and beautiful buildings here. Though to be honest the other buildings have pretty amazing architecture and design as well.
• Scoring some really cool local beauty products for really cheap prices at a very nice organic grocery store in the city.
• Making an outing to find the statue of the motherland. Man, this HUGE statue is so cool. I think all cities should have something like this. I was in awe of it.
• Watching the local Ukrainians take groups pictures of their family and friends and finding it hard to find one where even one person was smiling in the picture.

ukraine ukraine

• Loving our tour of the city and then on the last day finding a really cool part of the city where there was a new development of houses, but the houses were style to look like how they looked long ago. Very cool, want to go back and see more of that part of the city.
• Making it a point to visit the local, famous chocolate shop in the center of the city. The locals loved this place! Roshen. But I actually also loved another chocolate shop called Lviv Handmade Chocolate. Now that stuff was delicious!

Currently we have 105 international schools listed in Eastern Europe on International School Community. 54 of them have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few of those schools:

Albanian International School (Tirana, Albania)19 Comments
International School of Azerbaijan (Baku, Azerbaijan)39 Comments
QSI International School of Sarajevo (Sarajevo, Bosnia)18 Comments
Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria)28 Comments
American International School of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia)29 Comments
International School of Brno (Brno, Czech Republic)25 Comments
International School of Estonia (Tallinn, Estonia)22 Comments
Britannica International School Budapest (Budapest, Hungary)19 Comments
International School of Latvia (Riga, Latvia)33 Comments
American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland)82 Comments
Wroclaw International School (Wroclaw, Poland)46 Comments
Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)66 Comments
International School of Belgrade (Belgrade, Serbia)34 Comments
Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine)122 Comments

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

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #35: Anita Sutton (A teacher at the British International of Moscow)

January 21, 2017


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

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I’m originally from a very small country town called Warwick, about 2 hrs south-east of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  My family is from all over, NZ, Australia and Croatia. 

I graduated from the Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelors of Education specialising in Early Childhood Education. I am a passionate Early Years advocate and am inspired by the Reggio Emilio approach. 

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

When I graduated from university I wanted to explore working in the UK. I lived in Bristol, UK for 2 years working in primary schools all over the district, which helped me gather lots of ideas, experiences and helped me build a bank of knowledge from more experienced teachers. 

After 2 years, a colleague recommended I look to the Middle East for more adventure, which lead me into taking a position as an EYFS teacher in a British International School in Dubai. I worked there for 3 years before taking up my current post in Moscow, Russia.

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 Jumeriah Baccalaureate School in Dubai and currently working at the British International of Moscow. 

Dubai was a great opportunity to learn about the melting pot of cultures, I had over 15 different cultures and heritages in my class of 20.

Because Dubai has such a range of expats your class list reads like a meeting of the United Nations. I got to work with a range of teachers from all over which was a great opportunity to learn new things and approaches.

Dubai has so much to do but I didn’t save very much money, but the experience was invaluable and had definitely given me the skills to be flexible and keen for a new adventure which led me to Russia.

In Moscow, the language is the biggest barrier but I am determined to speak a basic level of Russian. I am enjoying the change in climate, from 50+ for 8 months of the year to -3 to -18 for 8 months of the year. I also loved experiencing my first ever Autumn. We don’t really have Autumn in the area I’m from in Australia, it’s just scorching hot or warm. Moscow was so colourful, the red, the yellow, orange and the green, I had forgotten how beautiful nature was after the desert! Snow has been interesting but the architecture in Moscow is stunning!

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

Coming from the Middle East, when you greet someone it’s always 3 kisses to the cheek, back and forth. I arrived in Russia and kept going for the third kiss when greeting people, which, in Europe is one on each side, so it seemed like I was trying to be a little more than friendly when I first arrived in Russia. 

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

I found it has been really helpful to make sure that any school I am considering working at is supportive of their staff, and has a clear vision of where SLT see the school going. 

I also like to get a clear idea of how much importance Heads of school place the Early Years. Good Heads of School/Primary keep up to date with current research and know that when children have access to a strong foundational beginning in school, it is beneficial to building an exceptional student as they progress through school, which leads to a strong school and a happy student base.

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

Enriching, adventurous, challenging, rewarding, limitless.

teacher

Thanks Anita!

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

Want to work for an international school in the Eastern Europe like Anita?  Currently, we have 105 international schools listed in Eastern Europe on International School Community. 54 of them have had comments submitted on their profiles. Here are just a few of them:

Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine)122 Comments
International School of Belgrade (Belgrade, Serbia)34 Comments
Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)66 Comments
Wroclaw International School (Wroclaw, Poland)46 Comments
American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland)82 Comments
International School of Latvia (Riga, Latvia)33 Comments
American International School of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia)29 Comments
Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria)28 Comments
International School of Azerbaijan (Baku, Azerbaijan)39 Comments

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Traveling Around

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

August 14, 2016


Traveling Around: Slovenia

slovenia
Can you relate?

• Enjoying a nice walk along the river that runs through the city of Ljubiana. I definitely had thoughts that it would be nice to live here in this city.
• Loving that the symbol of Ljubiana is the dragon. I quite enjoyed the cool sculptures of dragons on one of the bridges going over the main river, Ljubljanica.
• Walking across the whole city, from our airbnb, to go to a restaurant that we had planned to check out only to find out that they had run out of food already. We never went back there!
• Running into a food fair in the center of the city. The food fair was very unique and had stands that sold so many different, delicious cuisines. We found out that the next day had another, different food fair in the same spot. We went back again the following day to check it out. 🙂

 slovenia slovenia
• Renting a car and doing day trips in and out of Ljubiana. Enjoying the freedom of having a car, but as I was the driver, I couldn’t fully enjoy the beautiful views of all the mountains and landscapes.  It is dangerous trying to take pictures and drive at the same time!
• The level of English of Slovenian people is quite high. Everywhere we traveled to in the country had locals that could speak in at least a conversational level of English.
• Going up at just the right time to enjoy the views of the Ljubljana Castle, which you can see from basically every part of the city. We went during the sunset.
• Appreciating the older buildings throughout the city, with their colorful facades and intricate designs. I wonder why we don’t make such cool buildings any more for our cities. They really make a city special and unique. Plus, they are great to look at and I would imagine they would make the locals very proud to live there.
• Checking out all the graffiti around the city. I wonder who are the people who actually do this graffiti. I would feel so bad defacing city property. Well some people don’t see it that way, but some day I would guess. I suppose the graffiti artists think they are making boring buildings more beautiful to look at.
• Loving the beautiful weather that we luckily got during our trip here. The view from our top floor airbnb was great!  The fresh, clean air too was very nice.
• It’s true that Slovenia really has everything. It has a seaside on the Mediterranean, which isn’t too far away (Piran is a super cool city). It also has mountains (the ALPS) which are awesome to look at. Plus their climate isn’t that bad either.  The nature on offer is just unbelievable. We found a number of amazing spots with great landscape views, and there weren’t hardly any other people around. Very serene!
• If there is one place that you should definitely go on your trip here, it is Lake Bled. This place and area is just so beautiful. It is truly like a storybook fairytale there. Loved it!

slovenia slovenia

Currently we have 105 international schools listed in Eastern Europe on International School Community. 52 of them have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few of those schools:

• American International School of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia)29 Comments
• International School of Latvia (Riga, Latvia)33 Comments
• 
Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)66 Comments
• 
Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine)51 Comments
• 
International School of Belgrade (Belgrade, Serbia)34 Comments
• 
Wroclaw International School (Wroclaw, Poland)46 Comments
• 
American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland)74 Comments
• 
QSI International School of Ljubljana (Ljubljana, Slovenia)9 Comments

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

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #34: Ms. Barbara Meinel Jacobs (A teacher at the Albanian International School)

December 15, 2015


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

RRona and meTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I’m from the USA, but I  have been involved in humanitarian work and teaching around the world since 1973. A close friend of mine was a Montessori teacher from Ireland and she had invited me to come to the UK to work with her. After 3 months I moved to Essen, Germany to set up a Montessori center for very small children. I had 3 little students: my 5 month old daughter and 2 boys, both 4 yrs old. One was German and the other was Finnish. Neither of them spoke English or each other’s languages, so I taught them in English 5 hours a day. They learned fluent English by the time my daughter was 11 months old.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

In March I moved on to Italy and from there got married, lived on a farm, and we traveled around Europe working with youth groups and setting up little Montessori/Preschools in Italy, France, and Portugal. This was just the beginning of our travels with our little growing family of six.

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.

Currently, I am teaching Preschool (EYFS) Albanian International School in Tirana, Albania. I’ve been teaching at this school since it’s conception in 2011. I started as Librarian sorting through 12,000 books and documenting their titles and authors. Then I taught English to the students that first year. The next year I started with the Preschool kids and have been involved in these ages ever since. I really enjoy teaching the littlest students of our school! It’s so much fun and exciting when they learn a concept, begin to speak English, make friends and discover something new about the world we live in.

My day begins at 4am. I wake up early so that I can think through the day, change any plans that may need to be changed and listen to calm music before I have to really get up at 6am. Then I leave the house at 7:30 and take a short walk to school.  

One of our favorite things to do during rainy season is to dance for our exercise/play time. Albania has a long rainy season of December through middle of June! It rains every day and it is cold. We keep the little ones inside so discovering “Just Dance Kids” on YouTube has been a life saver! The kids love dancing along with the figures on the screen and are now proficient dancers.

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

A really funny thing happened to me last week. We had been preparing for the Albanian independence days celebrations at school. My kids were dancing and singing in Albanian for weeks in preparation for their show. On Saturday after the show I was walking down the street to the supermarket playing music in my head. Halfway home I realized that I was singing Albanian folk music instead of the usual music I play in my head. I’ve finally become Albanian! I’ve been here since 2010.

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

One of the important things I look for when searching for an international school is whether there is much pollution (I have asthma), a safe environment, and they won’t mind my age or nationality.

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

Exciting, fun, new friends, challenges!

Thanks Barbara!

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 the Eastern Europe like Barbara?  Currently, we have 105 international schools listed in Eastern Europe on International School Community. 54 of them have had comments submitted on their profiles. Here are just a few of them:

Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine)122 Comments
International School of Belgrade (Belgrade, Serbia)34 Comments
Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)66 Comments
Wroclaw International School (Wroclaw, Poland)46 Comments
American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland)82 Comments
International School of Latvia (Riga, Latvia)33 Comments
American International School of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia)29 Comments
Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria)28 Comments
International School of Azerbaijan (Baku, Azerbaijan)39 Comments

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School Profile Searches

Using the School Profile Search feature on International School Community: Search Result #5

May 30, 2012


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.  There are many different kinds of schools: ones that are small in student numbers to ones that have more than 1200 students, ones that are for-profit to ones that are non-profit, ones that are in very large cities to ones that are in towns of only 1000 people, etc.  Each international school teacher has their own type of a school that best fits their needs as a teacher and a professional.  You personal life is also very important when you are trying to find the right match.  Most of us know what it is like to be working at a school that doesn’t fit your needs, so it’s best to find one that does!

Utilizing the School Profile Search feature on International School Community, you can search our 1210 schools (updated 30 May 2012) for the perfect school using up to 8 different criteria.  The 8 criteria are: Region of the world, Curriculum, School Nature, Number of Students, Country, Year Founded, Kinds of Students and Size of City.  You can do a school profile search in three different locations on our website: the homepage, the Schools List page and on the side of every school profile page.  Past search results: Search Result #1 posted in December 2011, Search Result #2 posted in January 2012, and Search Result #3 posted in March 2012, and Search Result #4 posted on April 2012.

Search Result #5

Criteria chosen:

  1. Region of the world (Eastern Europe)
  2. Curriculum (MYP)
  3. School Nature (Non-profit)
  4. No. of students (300-700)
  5. Country (All)
  6. Year founded (All)
  7. Kinds of students (All)
  8. Size of city (All)

Schools Found: 5

Azerbaijan – International School of Azerbaijan (12 Comments)
Czech Republic – 1st International School of Ostrava (0 Comments)
Georigia – New School International (Georgia) (3 Comments)
Romania – Mark Twain International School (0 Comments)
Ukraine – Pechersk School International (10 Comments)

Why not start your own searches now and then start finding information about the schools that best fit your needs!  Additionally, all premium members are able to access the more than 4880+ comments and information (updated 30 May 2012) that have been submitted on the hundreds of international school profiles on our website.

Join International School Community today and you will automatically get the ability to make unlimited searches to find the international schools that fit your criteria.

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.03 – 9 July, 2011

July 9, 2011


v2011.03 – 9 July, 2011:
The summer has now officially arrived for basically all international school educators.  Some will continue their summer vacation until the end of August, but many international schools start up again at the end of July/early August.  If you are moving to a new school this year, many new teachers must start work around that same time frame or even earlier!  Take this time of relaxation (on a beach in Thailand or Mexico for example!) to fill out some information about the schools you know about on International School Community.  So far, our current members represent more than 45 different international schools!

Site Stats:
Current members: 86
School profiles: 831
Surveys: 4
Blog entries: 68
Posted comments: 461


Member spotlight:


Katie Jervis: “Originally, I was only going to go for a year in an attempt to save enough money to pay for teachers college…”
*If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


New members:
Tasha Fletcher
Chris Ma
Floralisa Badescu
Helen Temple
Nexus International School Putrajaya


New Survey Topic:

Vote here
!


Website updates:

Many updates are planned for later this July!  Stay tuned for updated school and member profile pages and the blog format.


Highlighted Link
http://peacequilt.wordpress.com/ is a 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. Many international schools have become involved already. A teacher who is inspired can inspire students and other teachers!
FAQ:
What do you mean by “kinds of student” in the school search function?

For many international schools the kinds of student there can be very important to know for certain teachers who prefer a certain type of students population.  “Mostly int’l” means that the majority of the student population is from other countries in the world, even if the majority of the population is from one specific country that is not the host country.  “Half int’l/half local” signifies that around 50% of the student population is from the host country.  “Mostly local” means that the majority of the student population is from the host country.


Incentive program for free premium membership:
Now when you submit comments on the school profile pages, you can earn a coupon code to receive up to 1 year free of premium membership access!  Putting-in 15-29 comments gets you 6 months free. Submitting over 30 or more comments will get you 1 YEAR FREE!  Please remember that the comments you submit on the school profile pages are anonymous, but we can keep track of which members write how many comments in our system.  Once we see you have submitted your comments, we will send you an email with a special coupon code to extend your current premium membership.


Recent blog entries:

· International schools that were founded in 1996 (China, South Korea, Moldova, etc.)
“Busan Foreign School opened its doors to the Busan community and its surrounding areas in October of 1996. With only two students originally, it has….”
· Which international schools do International School Community’s current members represent?
“At International School Community, networking and gathering information is very easy.  Get answers about schools that you are…”
· Do you want to teach in one of the most expensive cities in the world?
“I was just talking with an international school teacher friend of mine who is part of a teaching couple with 3 children.  They are looking for…”
· TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #1 – Learn as much as possible about…
“1. Learn as much as possible about the host country in order to have realistic expectations.  How much can you learn about a host country before…”
· To touch your produce or to not touch your produce: that is the question!
“I don’t know about you, but I prefer to touch my fruit before I buy it….”


Recently updated schools:

· American School of the Hague (5 new comments)
(The Hague, Netherlands)
“Take home pay examples: single teacher BA step 10 = 3488 EUR, single teacher…”
· Cairo British School (31 new comments)
(Cairo, Egypt)
“The school building is very small, no sporting facilities, the students have to go by…”
· Pechersk School International (11 new comments)
(Kyiv, Ukraine)
“Travel in the city is easy; taxis and mini-buses are plentiful and cheap. A single taxi fare…”
· The International School of Azerbaijan (5 new comments)
(Baku, Azerbaijan)
“Azerbaijan has a varied climate; notably hot summers, warm autumns and…”
· Qatar Academy (5 new comments)
(Doha, Qatar)
“I interviewed with 2 administrators at the Search fair in Boston (2011). They were very…”
· American International School Bucharest (1 new comment)
(Bucharest, Romania)
“The interview went very well, she was willing to allow me to lead the interview by…”

(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!

 

New survey: Which curriculum do you have the most experience in?

Survey number 4 has arrived!  Topic: Which curriculum do you have the most experience in?

Have you ever been at a job fair and had a school say “sorry were looking for…” teachers with more experience in a certain curriculum? I know I have.  Sometimes I wish I had experience in every curriculum so that I could be a more desirable candidate.  Because I have experience in one curriculum, does that mean I should teach in that curriculum the rest of my life? I hope that teachers get an opportunity to experience other curricula (if a school will hire you without experience in their curriculum), as it will broaden your frame of mind about your teaching and teaching in general.

So, which is it?  Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1996 (China, South Korea, Moldova, etc.)

July 4, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1996

Utilizing the database of the 827 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 24 schools that were founded in 1996 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Shanghai Community Int’l School (Shanghai, China)

Shanghai Singapore International (Shanghai, China)

Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)

“The SSIS was established in 1996 to provide quality international education to children of expatriate families in Shanghai. Currently, there are 2 campuses in Shanghai, MinHang Campus and XuHui Campus.”

Luanda International school (Angola, Luanda)

Busan Foreign School (Busan, South Korea)

“Busan Foreign School opened its doors to the Busan community and its surrounding areas in October of 1996. With only two students originally, it has since expanded to encompass nursery to twelfth grade, currently educating over 220 students from 25 different nations. In addition to the increase in enrollment, the curriculum has developed into a highly rigorous American standards-based program that offers students a wide variety of courses and activities.”

Tall Oaks International School (Accra, Ghana)

“The nursery was established in August 1996, to provide a safe, healthy and happy learning environment for children aged between 12 months and 5 years.”

Lekki British International School Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria)

“Welcome Lekki British School is the original British School in Nigeria. We opened our doors in 2000 to students and parents who are looking for a truly British School experience.”

Ocean of Light International School (Nukuʻalofa, Tonga)

“In 1996 as a response to a need from the community and as a social and economic development project, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Tonga established the school and registered it as a non-profit institution offering an international standard of education to the population of Tonga. Licensed by the Ministry of Education the school is now a well-known institution in Tonga.  The school opened its doors on March 3rd, 1996 with nine students, one teacher and one assistant teacher, covering classes one, two and three. By the end of the year the roll increased to 20. The following year approval was granted by the Ministry of Education to add classes 4, 5, and 6. More teachers were hired and the roll increased to 56.  By then the Board realized the difficulties of enrolling children to class one from the grass root level with no English background.”

American Academy for Girls Kuwait City (Salwa, Kuwait)

“The Al Jeel Al Jadeed Educational Institute opened The American Academy for Girls (AAG) in September 1996 to only 79 students from kindergarten through to grade five. Today, AAG has approximately 860 students from pre-kindergarten through to grade twelve.”

Qatar Academy (Doha, Qatar)

Jeddah Knowledge International School (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

Horsholm International School (Horsholm, Denmark)

The International School of Azerbaijan (Baku, Azerbaijan)

“Since its foundation in 1996 TISA has served both the expatriate community and those in the local community who are seeking an international education.”

Qsi International School of Chisinau (Chisinau, Moldova)

“QSI International School of Chisinau, a non-profit institution that opened in September 1996, offers high quality education in the English language for pre-school (beginning at age three years), elementary students (through the age of 13 years), and an expanding secondary program (currently to age 15).  The primary purpose of the school is to meet the needs of the children of foreign expatriates living in Chisinau who require this type of education with a view to continuing their education in their home countries with a minimum of adjustment problems.”

The International School of Bucharest (Bucharest, Romania)

ISB was founded in 1996 in a rented building with a total of just 17 pupils to meet the needs of the English-speaking community. Within a couple of years the school had grown in both size and scope. In order to serve an increasingly mobile international community, the curriculum gradually took into consideration the practices and requirements of a number of different systems.”

Pechersk School International (Kiev, Ukraine)

Canadian International School Bangalore (Bangalore, India)

Hanoi International School (Hanoi, Vietnam)

“In 1996 a joint venture company was launched following an agreement between the Centre for Education Technology (CET) and International School Development Inc. (ISD). The joint venture ship was on the basis of 30% interest to CET, which is the Vietnam side, and 70% interest to ISD, the US side.  The company then opened Hanoi International School in late 1996 using premises leased from the school next to today’s HIS. The student roll at the end of the first year was 54 from Pre-School to  Grade 11. Within that first cohort of students, 15 nationalities were represented. On the teaching side there were 13 teaching staff, including the Principal, and 16 Vietnamese support staff.”

Sekolah Ciputra (Surabaya, Indonesia)

“Much has been achieved since Yayasan Ciputra Pendidikan founded the school in 1996. Today Sekolah Ciputra is an international school and one of the most highly regarded IB World Schools in Indonesia. We believe that our International IB students are truly global citizens.”

International School of Skopje (Skopje, Macedonia)

St. Andrews I.S Green Valley (Pattaya, Thailand)

Arqam Academy – Doha (Doha, Qatar)

Dasman Model School (Kuwait City, Kuwait)

British International School (BIS) Phuket (Phuket, Thailand)

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Information for Members

The total comments in all the Benefits Information sections: 10704!

November 25, 2019


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2110+ 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 on 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 10704 (out of a total of 34612+ comments); that is up 6082 comments from around 12 months ago (Nov. 2018).

Example Benefits Information page on KIS International School (Bangkok)
(316 total comments) Bangkok, Thailand

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 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? (1269 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? (1279 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) – 433 Comments

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• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. (672 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) – 256 Comments

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• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? (1134 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. (980 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) – 72 Comments

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• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.). (433 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) – 81 Comments

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• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents. (755 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) – 160 Comments

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• Professional development allowance details. (534 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. (610 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. (259 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?). (542 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) – 39 Comments

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• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city? (332 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? (517 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? (276 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. (139 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) – 46 Comments

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• What is the process of getting reimbursed for things? (179 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. (212 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) – 175 Comments

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• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school? (320 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? (209 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) – 69 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? (53 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) – 64 Comments

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Why Many Teachers Choose To Raise Their Kids Abroad

August 31, 2016


When I was a kid, three of my closest friends went off the rails.  They ended up in prison.  In each case, they apprenticed with a bit of shoplifting.  Things went downhill from there.  I didn’t grow up in a bad neighborhood.  But it wasn’t all sugar and lollipops.

That’s why my mom didn’t work when I was young.  She stayed home.  She wanted to give my brothers, my two sisters and me stability in a world that wasn’t stable.

family at home

My mom was careful with money.  My dad was a mechanic.  They had four kids.  That’s why I was surprised when my parents asked if I wanted to take trip around the Mediterranean Sea with a bunch of other 7th grade students.  “I’ll take a part-time job to cover the cost,” said my mom.  “But you have to save at least $350.”  It was 1982.  I was a 12-year old with a paper route.  The trip cost $2,800.  That was five times more than what my cash strapped parents had paid for their family car.

Today, I understand why they wanted me to do it.

For 4 months, I took weekly night lessons with a dozen other kids in a retired teacher’s home.  The teacher volunteered. We learned about the countries we would see.  We studied their geographies, cultures, architectures and religions. I became our 12-year old expert on Islam. 

I left for my month-long trip on March 28, 1982.  I still remember the date and most of what I saw. We went to England, Greece, Egypt, Israel and Turkey.  I spent two extra weeks with relatives in England.

It was, by far, the best educational experience that I ever had.

Thousands of parents take it one step further.  They raise their children overseas.  Their kids attend international schools.  These aren’t French schools servicing French children, or Thai schools servicing Thai students.  Instead, they support the families of expatriates working abroad. They’re like the United Nations. 

For many kids and parents, these schools are a dream. Almost every child who graduates from an international school eventually goes to college.  In the 12 years that I taught at one, I wasn’t aware of a single high school drop out.

Although it may have happened, I wasn’t aware of a single teen pregnancy. Racism was almost non-existent.  There was a heightened awareness of different religions, cultures and demographics, both social and financial.

Singapore American School

I taught at Singapore American School.  It’s the largest American school outside of the United States.  There are 4000 kids from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Most are U.S. passport holders.  But the student body represents more than 50 different nationalities.  Most of the teachers have children. 

In 2014, ICEF Monitor stated that there are more than 7000 international schools worldwide.  Devin Pratt and his wife Dianna have worked at six of them.  Devin began his career as a Social Studies teacher in Texas. He’s now the Assistant Head (Superintendent) at Frankfurt International School.   Dianna works at the same school as an educational technology coordinator. Their two children, Dagan and Dominique, have lived in Cote-d’Ivoire, Africa; Saudi Arabia; Taiwan; India and Singapore.

I sat with Devin on his porch in Frankfurt.  Some of the neighbor’s homes peeked through the trees on the sunny hill below.   Birds chirped.  I couldn’t see or hear a single car.  I couldn’t hear another voice.

“For part of my childhood, I grew up in government subsidized apartments in the Dallas, Texas area,” said Devin.  “We eventually moved to Plano when my mom remarried. It’s a high socioeconomic area where many of the kids’ parents expected them to go to college.  Just having that influence helped me.” 

Devin says that there are few negative distractions at international schools. “Almost all of the kids are focused on education and their school based activities.  Most don’t consider not going to college.  They’re positively pulled by their peers and by supportive communities that value global education and diversity.”

At many of the schools, teachers can also save a lot of money.  I’ve written two columns, here and here, describing some of the schools. 

But raising kids overseas isn’t perfect.  Derek Swanson is from Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He teaches at the American Community School of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab EmiratesPreviously, he and his wife taught in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The couple has two sons. The youngest is four years old.  The oldest is seven.  “Maintaining relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members is challenging at times,” he says.  “But technologies [like Skype] help considerably.”

Derek’s children follow a U.S. curriculum.  But they learn much more. “Our two boys have learned a fair amount of Vietnamese, Arabic, and Tagalog,” says Derek.  “They also have a fair understanding of the conflicts in Vietnam and how that affected the people there.”

Kate Smith (I’ve changed her name to protect her identity) is another American overseas.  She teaches 2nd grade at Pechersk International School, in Kiev, Ukraine.  Kate, her husband, and their thirteen year old daughter have also lived in Turkey and Belgium. 

multicultural

“My daughter has been exposed to many different cultures, languages and different ways of thinking,” says Kate.  “She has grown up thinking it’s normal to be able to speak 3 languages. She isn’t as materialistic as her cousins who live in the U.S. and she has learned to value experiences and people over things.”

Kate credits a lack of exposure to U.S. based television. “When she was younger, I asked my daughter what she wanted from Santa.  She looked puzzled and didn’t know how to reply because she has what she wants and needs.  She hasn’t been exposed to the advertising on American TV.”  

But living overseas, for Kate, isn’t without its challenges.  “Buying clothes and shoes in foreign countries is always interesting. In our current country, they speak Russian or Ukrainian (and I know neither). I have bought some foods expecting them to be something they are not!”

Gael Thomlinson and her husband, Brad, teach at the British Columbia Canadian International School, in Cairo Egypt.  It follows a Canadian curriculum. As with most international schools, the students come from dozens of different countries. Gael teaches music.  Brad teaches math.  Previously, the couple taught in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

Their two nine-year olds, Lisa and David (I’ve changed their names to protect their identities) enjoy living overseas.  Gael says, “We’ve made great friends from so many different countries. We travel a lot and have visited places like Sri Lanka and Nepal– places I had never dreamed of going. My kids are comfortable amongst many nationalities and they get over language barriers quickly so they can play with new friends.”

Broad cultural acceptance and confidence are common traits among these global kids. Stacy Bradshaw (I have changed her name) is a high school English teacher.  She’s a single mother of two children, aged nine and six.  For two years, she and her children lived in Taiwan.  They recently moved to Korea.  This fall, her children will attend Osan American Elementary.  It’s a U.S. Department of Defense School.

writing mandarin

Stacy and her children have visited 10 different countries in the Pacific Rim region. “My daughter is now a fluent speaker of traditional Mandarin,” says Stacy.  “She’s also my translator. My children love the adventures that come from exploring new cultures, which have provided a hands-on, visual learning experience that they continue to reminisce.”

Devin and Dianna Pratt’s daughter, Dominique, is now a Master’s student at Clark Univeristy, in Massachusetts. She earned a scholarship through the Global Scholars Program for international students.  She grew up in six different countries.  Dominique graduated from high school in Singapore.

“I’m proud of how I grew up,” she says.  But Dominque admits that living overseas has created a pull to live in other places.  “I don’t feel like I’m a local anywhere.  I like the idea of moving on.  I feel myself getting antsy about moving somewhere else.” 

I asked her about U.S. based teachers.  If they have kids, and a sense of adventure, should they consider moving abroad?

“If I were to have kids,” she says, “I would see it as a positive thing.”

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This article was originally posted on Assetbuilder.com.

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