The Journey to School

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

August 27, 2016


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

One of our members, who works at the Xian Hi-Tech International School (Xian, China), described his way to work there as follows:

The road to XHIS…….

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

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

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

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

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

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

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

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

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

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

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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 China?  Out of a total of 165 international schools there are 110 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Beijing BISS International School (Beijing, China)36 Comments

Beijing City International School (Beijing, China)31 Comments

Beijing International Bilingual Academy (Beijing, China)35 Comments

International School of Beijing (Beijing, China)25 Comments

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

Western Academy Beijing (Beijing, China)43 Comments

Changchun American International School (Changchun, China)50 Comments

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

Guangdong Country Garden School (Foshan, China)48 Comments

Guangzhou Huamei International School (Guangzhou, China)48 Comments

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

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

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

Creative Secondary School (Hong Kong, China)39 Comments

Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China)34 Comments

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

Canadian International School Kunshan (Kunshan, China)28 Comments

Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan, China)41 Comments

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

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

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

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

Shanghai Community International School (Shanghai, China)33 Comments

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

Shanghai United International School (Shanghai, China)40 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)47 Comments

Wellington College International Tianjin (Tianjin, China)54 Comments

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

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

Zhuhai International School (Zhuhai, China)59 Comments

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

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Blogs of International Teachers

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

April 11, 2016


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

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

Screenshot 2016-04-09 11.10.31

A few entries that we would like to highlight:

How Did I Get Here?

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

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

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

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

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

Surviving the International School Job Fairs

Day Two and Three – Saturday & Sunday

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

• WEAR YOUR POWER SUIT – DRESS TO IMPRESS

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

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

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

• breathmints – use them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Great Resource

Great Resource: want to work at an international school in Shenzhen, China

January 25, 2012


The Start in China website (http://www.startinchina.com/) has some excellent insight on the many international schools in Shenzhen, China.


There are many international educators interested in working at these schools.  There are around 16 international schools listed on the Start in China website.  Some of the international schools listed on their website are: Sheck Hard Kindergarten, Green Oasis International School, Quality Schools International (Futian), etc…

Highlighted sections from their website:

GREEN OASIS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

“Green Oasis offers the CIPP (University of Cambridge International Primary), CLSP and IPC. It provides programs for children aged 4 to 14 and has classes in Mandarin and Maths that meet national standards. Green Oasis has professional facilities, labs and so on. The campus is located near Shenzhen’s Central Park, close to SEG.”

SHENZHEN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

“The SAIS school was created by the efforts of a group of businessmen from Shenzhen and Lee Academy of Lee, Maine USA. The school offers Pre-school and Kindergarten as well as grade 1 – 8 (American system). High school tuition fees are 95,250 RMB per year but include free lunch, transport and books. The school now has 163 students from more than 15 countries.”

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF SINO-CANADA

“The International School of Sino-Canada (ISSC) was founded in 2002. ISSC teachers are hired in Canada by “Atlantic Education International” and then sent to China. Students will receive a program that is fully certified and inspected by the Department of Education from New Brunswick, Canada. Graduates will receive a regular Canadian diploma and transcript. The school offers programs for pre-grade one and grade one to five (elementary school), middle school and high school. Tuition for high school is US$ 7500.00 per term (about 51K RMB).”

SHEKOU INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

“Shekou International School is a non-profit school originally founded by oil companies in 1988, but now sponsored by International School Services. It is the oldest international school in Shenzhen. ISS is based in Princeton, New Jersey USA. The school offers programs for children aged 2 to 18. The school has two locations in Shekou: Jingshan Villas and Bayside. SIS is the first international school in Guangdong to hold the Chinese NCCT (National Council of Curriculum and Textbooks) accreditation as well. Tuition for kindergarten is 132K RMB, elementary and middle school is 148K RMB and high school is 156K RMB per year. Shekou International School presently has over 650 students representing 40 different countries. Among them 20% are American, 55% are Asian and 20% are European.

Currently, there are 3 international schools listed under Shenzhen on International School Community:

Shekou International School
QSI International School of Shekou
Green Oasis School

Check out the latest comments and information that have been submitted on these schools or submit your own at International School Community.

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Highlighted Articles

International school student numbers rise in Shenzhen

January 13, 2012


The number of students enrolling in international schools in Shenzhen had risen significantly this year (2011).

Several schools, such as Shekou International School, Shenzhen American International School and Nanshan International School, had increased enrolments by about 30 percent, the schools said.

The International School of Sino-Canada (ISSC) had increased enrolments to about 300 this year, almost doubling last year’s figure.

Almost 700 had enrolled at Shekou International School, 30 percent more than last semester.

Most of the students were aged between 2 and 17 and from countries and regions such as the United States, Europe, Japan and South Korea.

The increases were mainly due to a sharp rise in the number of foreigners and their families settling in Shenzhen and the increasingly high quality of the city’s international schools.

Several new international schools had opened this year, including Buena Vista Concordia International School (BCIS) which opened Aug. 19, and the international department at Shenzhen Foreign Languages School is to open soon.

“We had high expectations about the future development of the school due to an increasing demand for international schools,” said Linda Coate, director of the admissions and public relations department of BCIS.

Meanwhile, more than 1.3 million students started the new semesters at public and private schools Thursday. Among these, 270,000 children of migrant workers had been accepted by public primary and middle schools, the city education bureau said.

According to government policy, all students with Shenzhen hukou and more than 500,000 qualified non-hukou students at primary and junior high schools did not need to pay tuition fees.

There were nine new public schools in the city, including five primary schools and four middle schools. They were mainly in Longgang and Bao’an districts and Guangming and Pingshan new zones.

The city planned to build 23 new schools in these areas in five years, providing about 38,000 school seats, the bureau said.

Taken from Shenzhen Daily by Wang Yuanyuan, Gu Yanwen

Currently, there are 6 international schools listed in Shenzhen on International School Community:
Shekou International School
QSI International School of Shekou
Green Oasis School
Shenzhen American International School
International School of Nanshan Shenzhen
Buena Vista Concordia International School

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