Information for Members

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

November 12, 2019


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

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

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

international schools

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

26 members – American International School in Egypt

international schools

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

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

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

international schools

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

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Information for Members

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

March 3, 2019


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

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

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

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

reviews
Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)

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

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

Here we go:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Comment Topic Highlight

Back to School Initiatives and New Demands: Welcoming or Stressful?

September 20, 2018


Every school year, a school always goes through some new changes or simply experiences new things that the staff is now required to do or complete. The changes could be related to the school’s curriculum, to some new professional development based on new initiatives, new building procedures (like fire drills), new mandatory training (like child protection), etc.

Stressful

For many things (like ones actually dictated by the host country), they are mandatory and the admin simply just needs to fit those required things into their yearly meeting schedule.  Combine those required things with the other things and initiatives that a school wants to do, it can make for a sometimes stressful school year for the staff (and admin!). Furthermore, balancing these new things with your normal planning work and actually teaching students can prove to be very challenging.

So what are some of these new initiatives that international schools are focusing on in recent years?

A number of international schools are having their staff work with the Managebac program. There are 57+ comments related to Managebac on our website.

It’s also fairly certain that your school is now or will very soon be going through an accreditation. ISC has 347+ total comments related to school accreditation on 247 international schools at the moment.

With regards to curriculum, it appears that a number of schools are doing training with the Common Core curriculum. There are 24 comments that are about the different schools taking on this in recent years.

There are also 25 comments on IB training.  117 comments on different workshops going on in 90+ international schools.

And the list goes on…

What is a possible plan then for balancing all of these newly added things so that staff and admin don’t get too overwhelmed?  As one ISC member wrote about working at United Nations International School (Vietnam), “the [needs to be a] conscious adoption of a “less is more” ethos.”

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of new things added at a school. Our members can share what current international schools are doing in this topic. There are a total of 567 comments (Sept. 2018) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of the 65 comment topics called – “Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.).”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“The use of Kagan cooperative structures is the focus for this year. The entire faculty had 2 days of training before the commencement of the school year with another session upcoming later in the year. The goal being student engagement. Most of the faculty have been receptive and are already using the structures in their classrooms…” – Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea)147 Total Comments

“The school just finished a multi-year curriculum initiative designed to put the entire Pre-K through 12th grade curriculum documents onto Rubicon Atlas. The school seems to focus most on literacy in the Lower School, innovation and design in the Middle School, and IB/AP in the Upper School. School-wide, there is a focus on Differentiated Instruction, but this takes different forms in different divisions. There is a new Head of School coming in for the 2018-2019 school year…” – American School of Paris (Paris, France)47 Comments

“The administration said they care more about kids learning English and Maths rather than any other subjects. What makes the school unique, seems independent of what they are pursuing; bring more local students no matter what their academic level is…” – Changchun American International School (Changchun, China)122 Total Comments

stressed

“Professional development this year has included IBDP two-day Category 3 in-school workshops on the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge. All staff also completed a Stewards of Children online course and a one-day first aid and CPR course…” – Tsukuba International School (Tsukuba, Japan)25 Comments

“The school has offered, over the past two years, very little in terms of professional development. There has been talk of a curriculum change to the Cambridge Primary Curriculum for September 2018…” – Cambridge School Doha (Doha, Qatar)57 Comments

“The school is just setting up a Professional Learning Centre to improve instruction and practice at the school first. The school has designated professional learning time on Friday afternoons and encourages professional development…” –  YK Pao School (Shanghai, China)38 Comments

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Brazil

August 26, 2017


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

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

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

brazil

Brazil

Currently, we have 22 schools listed in Brazil on International School Community.

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

International School of Curitiba (11 Total Comments)
Escola Beit Yaacov (14 Total Comments)
Escola Americana de Campinas (12 Total Comments)
American School of Brasilia (15 Total Comments)
American School of Belo Horizonte (46 Total Comments)
Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo (39 Total Comments)
Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador (23 Total Comments)
Pan American School of Porto Alegre (25 Total Comments)
School of the Nations (32 Total Comments)

Hiring Policies

“Single teachers and teaching couples with out dependents are preferred. Maximum age that they can hire is 60 years old.” – Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador

“You would have a hard time getting hired at this school if you have a non-working spouse.” – Pan American School of Porto Alegre

“They go to Atlanta, UNI, and they use Search Associates as well as TIE sometimes. You may also write the school directly and interview over Skype.” – School of the Nations

brazil

School Campus

“The campus is beautiful, but the current buildings are struggling to meet the demands of the growing student population. A new main building is planned in the next 5 years. The area around the school campus is nice. In the past two years many bars and restaurants have been popping up all around the neighborhood.” – American School of Belo Horizonte

“School is located in a residential neighborhood, near all important amenities. School is close to a lake.” – American School of Brasilia

“Surrounding the school there are nicely taken care of garden areas. There are what seems to be full-time people going around and taking care of the greenery.” – Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo

Housing Information

“Staff are housed in nice apartments right next to the school. Everyone lives in 1 or 4 buildings in the same complex. You are responsible for your electric bill, which is usually not significant.” – American School of Belo Horizonte

“The dwellings come with basic furniture and appliances.” – Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador

“Furnished apartment provided with utilities included: electricity, water, condo fees.” – American School of Brasilia

“Total US dollar equivalent of annual benefits comes to approx: $15,800. The School provides modestly furnished housing for teachers on temporary visas who are single, providing a one or two-bedroom apartment depending upon single or shared accommodation; (b) for a married teaching couple with no children or with one child, and who are temporary visa holders the School provides a two-bedroom apartment or equivalent. All housing contains the following appliances and furnishings: stove, refrigerator, beds, sofa, dining room table and chairs, washing machine and basic kitchen utensils. The School will retain ownership of these items, which will be kept in good condition by the Teacher. The School will pay the rent, condominium fees, and property taxes related to the apartment/house. The employee is responsible for all other expenses, such as utility bills (water, electricity and telephone bills) but installation and maintenance charges for these utilities as well as Internet connections (not usage) shall be at the School’s expense.” – School of the Nations

brazil

Health insurance and medical benefits

“Medical insurance, which includes dental and life/disability insurance.” – Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo

“International health insurance is subsidized 100% by the school, and the medical facilities in Porto Alegre are often superior to those found in North America. International coverage is through Clements.” – Pan American School of Porto Alegre

“Medical insurance is provided which includes dental coverage as well. Excellent local health care and also for international travel.” – Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador

“All recruited foreign hire, be they on temporary visa or permanent residency visa, are covered by both a local health plan administered by the world’s largest insurance company, the Allianz Group, as well as an international health plan when traveling abroad, administered by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. Medical and hospital treatment abroad is covered up to US$ 100,000 and no limit is stipulated for treatment inside of Brazil. Basic dental care is also provided.” – School of the Nations

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

brazil

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

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #37: Tr. Ponnumuthu Thankaraj (A veteran international school teacher from India)

April 30, 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 Tr. Ponnumuthu Thankaraj:

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

I am a Mathematics Teacher and I love teaching mathematics for slow learners as well as gifted ones. I have done my Masters of Science with Major Mathematics from Vinayaga Missions University, at Salem, India. Also I have a degree in Education from Tamilnadu Teachers Education University,  at  Chennai. I have done a E-Comerce cource from Informatics Computer Institute Noida, Delhi which helped me to involve students into modern technology. I had a training with Cambridge International Examinations for A and As Level Mathematics through Gandhi School, Anchol, Jakarta Indonesia. I had a nine months training from Institute for Total Revolution, Vedichhi, Valod District Gujaraat, India. During my school days, I used to be very shy in nature, but now I have improved a lot and able to Train the Trainer position for a couple of times. I am basically from a small town called Mondaikad at Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu, India.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

My first International Experience was with Holyland International School at Kathmandu, Nepal, which I went by train and bus as mode of travel around three thousand kilometers from my home town with extreme climatic change from 32 degree Celsius to -2 degree Celsius on January 9th 1993. Even though  there is no visa requirement to enter into Nepal,  I consider it as my first International Teaching Community.

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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.

   #. Holyland International School, Kathmandu, Nepal
   #. Greenland International School, Kathmandu,Nepal
   #. Learning Realm International School, (LRI) Kathmandu, Nepal
   #  Arena Multimedia, Noida, UP, India
   #  Under Ministry of Education, Republic of Maldives  3 schools
        Laimagu School, Shaviyani Attol,
        Male English School, Male’,
        Majeedyya  School, Male’
    # Cathedral Vidya School, Lonavala, Pune, India
    # Bina Bungsa School, Semarang & PIK-Jakarta, Indonesia
    # Under Gandhi Group of Schools
         Gandhi Memorial International School and
         Gandhi School, Anchol
    #  Singapore International School, PIK-Jakarta
    #  GemsEducation Our Own, Fujairah, UAE, and now at
    #  Ayyeyarwaddy International School, Mandalay, Myanmar.
By teaching in above schools I followed, national school curriculum, IGCSE, A & O-Level, IB and State Common  Core Syllabuses.

member


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

While working in Indonesia and Myanmar, the People are very polite and respectful. I was selected as “The Most Patient Teacher-Secondary” from Singapore International School made me to smile since it happened within three months time. From  AIS, Mandalay I had a lot of fun by riding motor bikes for 9 hours with a group of 7 teachers and the water-festival at school premises made me happy which one can feel it by experience only. Students happily call me Teacher Pon Pon; it makes me to smile at times. Implementing Student Centered Learning by the slogan “Each One Teach One” , gave me satisfaction of teaching learning through Peer and Teachers as well as one to one learning. At one instance, without knowing local language, my barber shaved my mustache instead of trimming it.  It makes me self-smile whenever I thought of the situation how it happened 🙂  It is really fun as we are here from different countries and being one family like environment during luncheon.

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

I prefer not to bargain for salaries, it should be according to the qualification and experiences as per the school.  I had couple of experiences to bargain it.  It really made me to think how can a Teacher to bargain like a business person with the school.  The complete Teacher Resources for the particular class should be provided by the school, which will save a lot of time of preparation of lessons, instead of searching the resource itself.  As I am highly capable of teaching middle school and High school, managing students is not  a concern for me. There should be free internet facility for additional search of ideas/ images/project models etc.

member

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

Training the Students to Become Global Citizen.

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Thanks Tr. Ponnumuthu Thankaraj!

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

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

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Top 10 Lists

Retirement: Nine International Schools With Excellent Pension Plans

July 30, 2016


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

saving for retirement

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

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

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

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

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

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

man thinking about retiring

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

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

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

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

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

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

retiement piggypank

It’s never too early to think about retirement.

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

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

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Traveling Around

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

May 6, 2016


Traveling Around: Cyprus

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Can you relate?

• Driving on the left side with a steering wheel on your right side and feeling weird by every crossing.
• Thinking it was going to be much warmer than it actually turned out to be. I guess hanging out on the beach was not in the plans.
• Going into the mountainous region in the middle of the country and finding an empty cafe to sit down and have a drink to enjoy the view. We tried a local drink made from almonds. They served it warm like a tea, and it was actually quite tasty.
• Staying the whole time in what was probably the coolest AirBnb I’ve ever seen. This place was so unique and was a refurbished old monastery.
• Our AirBnb host was so great. We wanted to buy the best olive oil on the island and we asked him for his advice. He ended up showing us a secret bottle of olive oil he received from one of his relatives. He said he would ask his relative for another bottle and get it to us during our trip. He ended up just giving us his own bottle!  What a nice guy!
• Very much enjoying the city’s stray cat population. These cats would hang outside our AirBnb as well, mostly during night-time. We tried to feed them some food one night, but they were picky on what they would eat.
• There was a holiday happening in Cyprus during our stay there. They were celebrating the Greek liberation from the Turkish empire. We were so lucky to run into a huge parade. The local military dress was very interesting. Also in the parade were big groups of students, each from a different college. They all had to walk in a very special way, lifting both arms up as they walked down the street.
• Waiting in a long line to get to the Turkish side of the downtown area and watching some people trying to pass without having to show their passports.
• Enjoying the Turkish side of the country, but feeling bad that we didn’t explore more. We rented a car, but we weren’t allowed to drive our car on that side.
• Loving the first breakfast that I had in the country. It was a very cozy restaurant with lots of locals in it. I got served a piece of toast with avocado with asparagus and poached egg on top. Then they drizzled olive oil on top. It was so delicious. Too bad that we never went back to that place.
• Arriving to a seaside town and having to choose a fish restaurant to eat at. The one we ended up sitting down at didn’t serve us at all in like 15 minutes of sitting there. We left and try another restaurant that was full of people. Right when we walked in a table opened up. We sat down and within a minute our order was taken. After another minute we were served our food! The fish dishes were so delicious. It is funny choosing restaurants when traveling. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.
• Driving off the main road in the mountains to find a beautiful hidden waterfall.
• Coming back to Lefkosia in the night and seeing a huge Turkish flag made of lights on a hill in the Turkish part of the city. During the day, the flag is painted on. Seems like the rivalry between the two nations is still very high.
• Visiting the coastal towns of Limassol and Larnaca, to find many shop and restaurant signs in Russian. It seems like they do a lot of business in Cyprus.
• Stepping into the Mall of Cyprus and getting disappointed how empty does it looked. Maybe the business is better during the summer tourist season?
• Finding out that the capital has two names – Lefkosia and Nicosia. Road signs only say Lefkosia, though.
• Eating healthy breakfast in hip cafes in the central Lefkosia and finding an Icelandic woman’s vegan restaurant in Lefkosia.

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Currently we have 4 international schools listed in Cyprus on International School Community. Here are two that have had comments submitted on them:

•  American International School of Cyprus (27 comments)
•  International School of Paphos (77 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: Leysin American School

March 25, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International School Basel (Basel, Switzerland)37 Comments

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

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

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

International School of Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland)19 Comments

Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland)58 Comments

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

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

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

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

Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland)25 Comments

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

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #33: Tchialian Hong (A former student at an international school in Greece)

September 1, 2015


Every so often International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Tchialian Hong:

DSCN0579Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I was born to a Greek mother and a Chinese father. Greece and China: Two cultures both with ancient civilizations dating back, since today, at least 2,000 years.    

Which international schools have you attended?  Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to attend.

As a boy, I went to a Chinese primary school-which was in Malaysia, and later an international school in Athens, Greece. By the age of 16, I was fluent in Mandarin (standard Chinese language: Also known as: pu tong hua), Greek, English and Bahasa Malaysian (which is the language that the natives of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia speak). After graduating from high school, I studied at London University. During that time, I spent a lot of time reading other subjects, aside from engineering: thus became well-grounded in Engineering, Medicine, English Literature and Common Law.

I returned to Malaysia after graduating from London University. I had found my time, when I was studying in Tasis Hellenic International School, very productive – much more so than even London University. The student to teacher ratio was very small: very few students per teacher – which means subjects were explained very clearly – compared to local schools in Asian countries such as Malaysia. I found that with such a learning environment, all I had to do was “put in the hours” or rather finish the homework for the day, every day; and would be certain to score high results in my examinations as well as the final grades.

On this note: Another plus for international schools was that the final grades were calculated; not only on examination results, but also on attendance, homework, coursework, and small tests. This means: EVERY ounce of my effort in my studies……COUNTED. It was really encouraging. I scored A’s for all subjects: including Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, History, English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and Computer Programming. Later, when I studied at London University, I used my studies-foundation at the international school to expand on my knowledge.

I also learnt how to teach: I was offered a camp counsellor’s position in Camp Vacamas, New Jersey, U.S.A. In the beginning, all the campers yawned at me, but not at other counsellors. I later learnt, in subsequent teaching stints, in Malaysia: where I taught Chinese children, Indian children AND the local native children from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar: that “yawning” was a sign that I was very explicit in explaining lessons, and very specific: The children were actually realizing concepts, learning material which I was teaching. Today, I chat with children more than teach-much like international school teachers did when I was a teenager. You see, aside from school material, children want to know politics, philosophy-especially philosophy. Philosophy shapes souls. Empowers it.

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

Cultural shock: Asian kids do not behave like European kids. They can be very nasty, as in: disrespect, crude. If you admonish them, even verbally, their parents threaten you. Most of them leave school and get pregnant before they are of-age. The secret is: sometimes a teacher in Asia has to act like he is not smart. And say: God Bless-Asians are very superstitious.

What makes some international schools unique and special?

International Schools are special because of the philosophy and the politics: At least the one I went to – Tasis Hellenic International School. Ideas and principles are raised from “the four corners of the Earth.” There are students from the four corners of the Earth, that’s why it is called an international school. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is discussed. Advice is sought, until, like a sword that is tempered by repeated hammering, heating and cooling, A FOUNDATION IS ESTABLISHED! 

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

Diverse, empowering, encouraging, defining, happy. (God bless everybody!)

Thanks Tchialian Hong!

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 1 year free of premium access to our website!

Want to work for an international school and teach in Greece or Cyprus?  Currently, we have 8 international schools listed in both Greece and Cyprus on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• American International School of Cyprus (17 comments)
• International School of Paphos (51 comments)
• American Community Schools Athens (3 comments)

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Top 10 Lists

Top 10 ways to help new students transition at your international school

August 16, 2014


IMAG0612This time of year means Back-To-School for most kids, but for internationally mobile children it often means Start-A-New-School. A transition to a new school, country, language, and culture can be overwhelming, and children need time to adjust. Teachers and administrators can contribute to a smooth transition in many meaningful ways. The ten points outlined below can make a significant difference in the emotional and academic well-being of a child who is already dealing with all the challenges of a move. Although these points are meant for primary age children, they can be adjusted as you see fit for older children.

1. Show them where the bathroom is and give them a tour.

Show them where the bathroom is within the first ten minutes of meeting them. For obvious reasons, I cannot stress how important this. When we do forget, this can be a huge source of stress for a child the first day of school! On the first day, classmates can give the new students a tour or the school. If you teach the early primary years, some older students could do this. Feeling lost emotionally on your first day at school is one thing, but to be lost literally adds a whole lot of unnecessary anxiety.

2. Find a way for them to express themselves if there is a language barrier.

If the new student does not speak English or any other language that you speak, try to find another teacher or student who does. If a student is able to type, you can use Google translate or something similar, but finding a way to communicate with them is key. Also, make sure they immediately receive EAL/ESL. When new students have no previous knowledge of English whatsoever, receiving additional English support from the start provides them with the necessary foundation to begin communicating with those around them.

3. Get to know your new students.

IMG_1204Make sure to ask questions about their family, previous home(s), school(s), and how they are experiencing their move. Sometimes the days are over before we know it, so a good alternative to conversing with new students is to give them a small journal they can take home. Every day you can jot down a few questions which they can respond to, in writing or using illustrations, at home. Not only will their responses give you insight to each new student as a person, it will also provide you with some immediate feedback on (some of) their academic strengths/weaknesses. It might also indicate if the move is causing stress. Acknowledge their emotions in a supportive way, but also make sure to communicate any concerns through the appropriate support channels within your school.

4. Learn about their academic background.

Should they need learning and/or EAL/ESL support, inform all necessary parties promptly. If nothing is mentioned on their transcript, it never hurts to check with the administration and the parents in the first week of school. Parents with children with special needs may have very useful ideas and tools for modifications that worked well in a previous school. A transition can be challenging for any student, but when a student falls between the cracks academically, it will be even more difficult.

5. Make sure the other kids get to know the new students.

A new school year usually means a round of get-to-know-you games. In a bigger school, classes might get mixed around and even though the students already know of each other, many of them do not necessarily know all of their classmates. Finding out they’re not the only one who doesn’t know their classmates can be a relief for a new student. Nevertheless, don’t underestimate how much more a new student needs to adjust in those first days. If a new student is willing to share, encourage them to do a Show & Tell/ or PowerPoint presentation with pictures or other items that help explain where they are from, what their background is, and what their interests are. This will not only give them an opportunity to connect with their classmates, but it could also contribute to the global awareness of all the students, foster open-mindedness, and mutual appreciation.Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 9.17.40 AM

6. Give the other students a chance to help them.

In turn, have the other students make a list of things a new student should know about the school/area/after-school activities. Also, put a buddy system in place. Assign a couple of classmates to each new student and ask them to involve them during playtime at recess, sit with them during lunch, and walk with them to any other classes. Try to gauge if the students you paired up connect in any way. If not, match them with some others the next day. This will also give the new student the opportunity to get to know other classmates a little faster.

7. Explain school rules, procedures, routines, and expectations.

Most of the time, these will be reviewed with the whole class at the beginning of the school year. However, some rules, procedures, routines, and expectations that may seem clear to your school culture might not be so obvious to a new student. This could cause some serious misunderstandings, so make sure to be patient with them the first couple of weeks. Also, go over emergency and lock-down procedures early on in the year. Given the change and/or lack of many daily routines during a transition, new students will most likely be grateful for a classroom routines. However, they need to be given clear explanations of what is expected of them and possibly additional time to get used to them.

8. Put up a wall of fame.

Create a wall of pictures in your classroom of other people they will be seeing often. For example, the principal, vice-principal, their PE/art/music/drama teachers, the school librarian, the school nurse, and any other support staff they might interact with. So many faces, so many names! A visual reminder without having to ask can be helpful for everyone, even returning students.

9. Connect with the parents.

Most likely, the parents are super busy trying to settle in. Should you not see them during the first orientation days or a parent information meeting at the beginning of the year, a friendly line from their child’s teacher usually is very much appreciated. Also, an ‘Open House’ at the beginning of the year gives new parents an opportunity to meet the other parents and often triggers many first play-dates. Should they express any concern about their transition, makeB at Home 3D them aware of any in-school counseling available.

10. Give new students a story to identify with.

It is absolutely wonderful to see a growing list of resources about third culture kids (TCKs) available for parents and educators (please click here for a list). With B at Home: Emma Moves Again, I hope to give younger TCKs (in particular 8-11 age group) a story they can identify with while they experience their own move and search for ‘home’ and ‘belonging’. Also, I would like to encourage them to enjoy a passage in life that can be such a rewarding and enriching journey. By giving your students a story they can identify with and relate to, you can make it easier for them to express themselves about their own experience.

Untitled1This article was written by International School Community member Valérie Besanceney. Over the past nine years, Valérie has been a primary school teacher at five different international schools on four different continents. Valérie is also the author of the recently published children’s book B at Home: Emma Moves Again(available on Amazon). It is a fictional “memoir” about the experiences of a ten-year-old girl and her teddy bear who have to move yet again. During the different stages of another relocation, Emma’s search for home takes root. As the chapters alternate between Emma’s and her bear’s point of view, Emma is emotionally torn whereas B serves as the wiser and more experienced voice of reason. For more information on her book and the topic of Third Culture Kids, please visit her website: www.valeriebesanceney.com.

* Take a look at the International School Community Photo Contest related to this article. The top three photos will receive a free signed copy of her book!

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Video Highlight

Video Highlight: Internationale Schule Frankfurt-Rhein-Main (An international school in Frankfurt)

December 15, 2013


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

Internationale Schule Frankfur-Rhein-Main (11 Total Comments and Information)

I love how that American kid loves the swimming pool at ISF the best.  Not every international school has its own swimming pool, as we all know too well (teachers in non-purpose built international schools).

Boy this videos looks like it was filmed in the early 80s!

It mentions that they are owned by SABIS. According to their website, they have schools in 15 countries on 4 continents.

I would like to know more about how they place new students based on their knowledge level.  Does that mean that they don’t necessarily place kids with their age-level peers?

Sounds like the curriculum is very rigid. Every lesson of every day appears to be planned out for the teachers. I like how they write the objective of the lesson on the board, good strategy for EAL students.

Academic monitoring system examinations, I would like to know more about what those look like and what the students think of them. How cool that the parents can monitor their kid’s progress on the internet!  I wonder how many parents check that out each week though

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 39 international schools listed in Germany with 4 of them being in the city of Frankfurt.  Here are a just a few of them (The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right of the link):

• Frankfurt International School & Wiesbaden (8 Comments)

• Internationale Schule Frankfurt-Rhein-Main (11 Comments)

• Metropolitan School Frankfurt (10 Comments)

• Strothoff International School (27 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Frankfurt, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  For every 10 comments you submit, you will receive 1 month of premium access to International School Community for free!

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How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #1: Go travel crazy!

November 30, 2013


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

1269203_10151627517416587_2134762640_oHow NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #1 – Go travel crazy! (Take a trip during every break opportunity you get!)

We feel uncomfortable when we don’t have our next trip planned. Some of us even feel uncomfortable when we don’t have 2 or 3 trips planned to look forward to.

It is even worse when your colleagues have their trip planned and you don’t!

And even worse than that is when your colleagues copy the same trips that you are going on.  Ha ha!

So if you have enough money to travel with (because you are not paying for a car, car insurance, cable tv, etc…), then why not take this opportunity in your life and explore the world?  But all these trips can indeed add up and deplete your bank account, and you can’t necessarily be traveling to the Maldives during every break you have.

It depends a lot on where you are living too; how expensive these trips that you may be buying.  You might have to spend a lot of money if you are traveling from a rather small airport or from an airport that is in the middle of nowhere.  Flying out of those cities can really ‘break the bank’ in your feeble attempt to travel and also save money at your international school.

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Some say too that the day of finding cheap trips is over with.  Low cost airlines are not really so low cost anymore with all their extra add on fees *e.g. to check in a bag.  If you are not smart about when you buy the flights and what websites that you use to buy them on, then you will be paying a lot more money for your flights than you could be paying.

How sad when your friend has found a good airfare and then 5 minutes later when you buy the exact same trip, the price has gone up.  Flight prices change all the time and can change rather quickly.  Buying at the right times can help you save at least a little bit of money as you go travel crazy.

So, how many flights a year are international school teachers taking each school year?  It is probably between 15-20.  And to make things

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worse, we feel like any number less than 10 flights a year is hardly traveling at all (‘Groan’…said all your friends in your home country).  Maybe to save a little bit more money, we can try and cut down our number of trips a year, but that seemly is….unlikely!

To save you some money, we do have a comment topic related to this theme.  It is in the travel section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby.

‘Just paid $2000 for round trip to U.S. in Dec.’ – Okpo International School (14 Total Comments)

‘It’s not the cheapest destination to fly from. Expect $1000 to fly internationally, and during holiday periods airfares to popular destinations (Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia) can get close to that.’ – Beijing BISS International School (32 Total Comments)

‘Since Bangkok is a major travel hub, airfares to surrounding countries are almost always available at less than US $1000, and deals can be found with just a bit of work.’ – Wells International School (Thailand) (17 Total Comments)

Checking out these comments before taking a job at an international school can give you a better idea of the amount of money that you can expect to pay for flights out of that city.

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Video Highlight

Video Highlight: Seoul Foreign School (An international school in Seoul, South Korea)

October 17, 2013


There are many international schools to work at in Seoul!  How do these schools stand out from each other?

Seoul Foreign School (31 Total Comments and Information)

Nice to have full size flags of many of the students’ home countries represented in the common area. I wonder if they put up a flag to represent all the different cultures represented at their school (they do though appear to have an international day celebrating everyone’s culture; which most international schools do too). By the way, nice huge common area with very high ceilings! (not in the classrooms though in the building, they look really short.)

Well manicured lawns around the building.

Looks to be quite welcoming in the cozy hallways.

Great to hear many times in the video that their students are very hard working and self-motivated to do their best at school.  I wonder how many “students of concern” there are though as I am sure not ALL the students are as motivated to learn as they have eluded in the video.

What a huge soccer pitch, indoor swimming pool and theater auditorium!

It looks like their Christian Ethos is a big part of their school’s curriculum and daily practice, but they still appear open to having students from different denominations.

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 24 international schools listed in South Korea with 12 of them being in the city of Seoul.  Here are a just a few of them (The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right of the link):

• Asia Pacific International School (13 Comments)

• Branksome Hall Asia (8 Comments)

• Dulwich College Seoul (11 Comments)

• Dwight International School Seoul (12 Comments)

• Korea International School (Seoul) (21 Comments)

• Korea Kent Foreign School (13 Comments)

• Saint Paul Preparatory School (Seoul) (10 Comments)

• Seoul International School (72 Comments)

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Seoul, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  For every 10 comments you submit, you will receive 1 month of premium access to International School Community for free!

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #27: Sudha Sunder (An international school educator currently working in UAE)

August 31, 2013


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

SSunderTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I am originally from India, living and working in Dubai, UAE, for the last 19 years. So UAE is sort of ‘home’ to me.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I took a career break from an Indian school at which I worked for 6 years in the UAE. I left the school because I wanted to pursue further education and hence applied for part-time positions in various schools in Dubai and was offered a part-time position in an international school in Dubai (Universal American School in Dubai). I have remained in this school for 7 years now and moved from being a part-time teacher to full time teacher, to Department Head to ICT and Curriculum Coordinator; and currently holding the position of the Staff Development Coordinator. It has been a steep learning curve professionally and personally for me. I am currently a certified curriculum consultant in concept-based teaching (Lynn Erickson) and offer curriculum consultancy workshops in many international schools in the region and hence get to meet and work with a diverse range of international teaching staff.

Having said all of that, moving from a national system of education where students are “disciplined” from questioning the teacher in the name of “respect” ( at least when I was a teacher in the 90s – and agree that much has changed now) an international school environment was very challenging for me and my initial days were very draining.  Often times, in the early days of my international teaching career I have drawn solace on the fact that I was not a ‘permanent’ teaching staff and that my tenure was part-time. But I somehow wanted to make it work even for the short time. I turned to reading literature on international education and read avidly. During this time my admissions into the doctoral program at the University of Bath came through. My first assignment was about “teachers as reflective practitioners” that looked at my transition from teaching in a national system of school to an international school.

I give below some excerpts from the study:

What is my concern?

The classroom atmosphere and student interaction in my newly inducted environment in an international school concerned me. I was experiencing myself as a living contradiction (Whitehead 2006), because as a teacher I felt it was my primary responsibility to create a positive learning environment in the classroom and yet I was denying them the opportunity to do so (or at least that is what I thought).  Little did I realize the classroom management techniques in a multi-cultural environment are so different from schools where students are from the same nationality, particularly in the Indian system.

Why am I concerned?

I am concerned because as a teacher, it is essential for me to sustain and derive my joy in teaching. Students’ apathy bothered me.  A deep sense of dissatisfaction as well as a strong conviction that it was possible to make a positive change inspired me to become a reflective practitioner.

What kind of evidence can I produce to show why I am concerned?

I narrate below one classroom incident that raised my awareness of how my values were being denied in my practice, whereby I was experiencing myself as a “living contradiction” (Whitehead and McNiff, 2006).

Situation 1:

Date: Sunday, October 7, 2006.

(In the Middle East, Sunday happens to be the first day of the working week)

A project assigned to the students is explained with the help of a Power point. During this explanation, most students are talking to each other, some are painting their nails, and others detached and disengaged.  This overall atmosphere makes it difficult and de-motivating for the few students who are trying to focus attention.  At the end of the ten minutes of introducing what students are supposed to do, I ask them if they have any questions.

(Response) Student A: “So miss, what are we supposed to do?”

(Reaction): The whole class breaks into laughter, chaos and commotion follows. Some students slyly glance at me to comprehend my reaction.

The above scenario is common in most classes, perhaps with different questions at the end: highly non-contextual or insignificant such as:

Me (at the end of explanations): “Any questions?”

B: “Miss, may I go to the washroom?”

Or

C: “Nice dress, miss!”

In my previous teaching experience in the national system of education, students could be addressed easily as a single class or a group and the student-teacher relationship was highly disciplined with the teacher holding a lot of ‘power’. Students were often well behaved and  wanted to learn more from teachers and the interaction with teachers was highly respectful.  The current situation puzzled me. Where was I going wrong? I was not a “new” teacher. I had been teaching for 7 years! Before dismissing the current situation as “student apathy”, “indiscipline” and “disinterested in learning”, I realized this situation demanded a deeper understanding through critical analysis and reflection.

Turning into a “reflective practitioner” helped me realize that teaching in international school setting need to go beyond “Power Points” and that Power Points are often “Power Pointless” unless they can engage the students and provoke their thinking. Teaching in international schools demand paying significant attention to the fact that students are from various cultural backgrounds, and teaching and learning require differentiation strategies and project based learning wherein every student is engaged and challenged. I am not saying these are not applicable to national system of schools. But in my experience, I do think in national system of schools much of the learning is “controlled” in the name of “discipline”. This does not happen in international schools. Teachers have to move from being “sage on stage” to a “knowledge facilitator” at all times. “Respect for the teacher” is something that cannot be demanded and has to be earned in an international school setting. And if that happens, trust me, the students are the most adorable and fun to work with and more importantly they help you grow, as each day, each hour, they will challenge you. Flexibility and being a “life-long learner” is the key to success. Again, I am not saying these are not essential in national system of schools – of course they are- just that they are highly imperative in international  school settings due to the diverse multi-cultural student body found in such schools.

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.

This is my first and only international school experience (but a valuable and enriching one indeed!) [at Universal American School in Dubai]. Having been in this school for seven years and it has been a very rewarding experience and a huge learning curve for me. It has helped me grow as an individual and as a professional. I have drawn on experiences in the school for every single of my doctoral assignments and currently working on my dissertation which again in a Case Study at the school.

The school I work at is a very warm and friendly place where individuals who are willing to go the extra mile are truly valued and the relationship amongst staff very collegial. With over 75 different nationalities being represented in the teacher and student body combined, one can imagine that each day is a new cultural learning experience, that shows we are so very diverse culturally, yet the same as human beings.

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

1. A Korean student of mine (Grade 8) came to me very upset one day. She was upset because she sat in her History class for weeks together learning about this “new Greek philosopher – a name she had never heard of before” until that morning when she had realized that her teacher had been talking about none other than the Greek Philosopher, Socrates. The way in which her teacher from Australia was pronouncing the name “Socrates” was entirely different from how she had heard it being pronounced in her school back home in Korea, and it took her weeks to realize this!!

2. We have a board that hangs on the door of our English Department that says: “ENGLISH DOES NOT BELONG TO ANYBODY- it is a medium of communication and it belongs to anyone who wishes to use it!”

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

I think most international schools call themselves “international” without any depth to the meaning of the term. I specifically say this in schools that call themselves “international” yet have a significant and sometimes 95% of staff from the western world. I truly question the notion of “internationalism” is such schools and would certainly not want to work in such a school as I am not convinced that the learning experiences there would be of ‘international’ dimensions. There is some very interesting literature published on this (see Canterford 2003). So the first think I would look for is how “international” is the school in terms of its multi-cultural population. On the same lines, I would also want the school to respect every nationality equally as I truly believe that unless there is strong “nationalism” in each one of us the “internationalism” we pose will be empty and shallow.

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

Culturally enriching, questioning true internationalism.

Thanks Sudha!

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 United Arab Emirates like Sudha?  Currently, we have 29 international schools listed in Dubai on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: New York, United States (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

August 25, 2013


Traveling Around: New York, United States

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Can you relate?

• Being amazing on how there were not just one but multiple restaurants to choose from for all the different cuisines of the world.
• Checking out the China Town area and couldn’t believe how it really seems like we were in China (after having working at an international school in Shanghai for some time).
• Loving the new area to chill out next the Staten Island Ferry terminal, great views and not too crowded.
• Going to look at the new 9-11 memorial, long line to wait in…but the two water fountains were pretty spectacular.
• Buying too many things at all the unique cafes and stores, couldn’t resist wanting to try things not available in my host country.
• Traveling to this awesome city to see three of my friends from two of the countries that I have lived in, who now live in New York.
• Using the New York Subway system to get around and trying to act like I knew my way around it like a local (a bit of a fail).
• Thinking I saw Michael Cera near China Town, took a picture of him, and then hearing what my friends thought on Facebook…if it was really him (some thought so, some no).
• Trying to keep my head down while walk around in the city…couldn’t stop looking up at all the cool skyscrapers.
• Taking a stroll through 1/3 of Central Park and watching all the exercisers, relaxers, etc…the nature in that park is really wonderful.
• Looking at the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry…the second time that I’ve done that!
• Purchasing a Groupon for a grocery store there and getting $40 for only $20…stocked up on some supplies for when I go back home.
• Getting to see the Manhattan skyline both in the morning, afternoon, sunset and night…thanks to my friend for letting me stay at his awesome Brooklyn apartment.
• Enjoying my fair share of bagels…toasted with a bit of honey…for my breakfast.
• Going to see a concert at a old jazz/blues club just right off of Times Square…what a location!
• Thanking my friend for letting me use their Museum of Modern Art membership pass. Probably wouldn’t have gone if I would have had to pay.
• Taking pictures of all the New Yorkers doing their thing as they walk down all the streets…there are some very interesting people walking around New York!
• Walking to Bryant Park at night at having a cool drink with a friend for some catching up.
• Going into Grand Central Station and thinking about all the movies that have been filmed there.

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Currently we have 4 international schools listed in New York on International School Community:

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

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Blogs of International Teachers

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

June 12, 2013


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

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

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A Day in the Life of the International School Teacher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

East Asia: 207

SE Asia: 201

Asia: 113

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

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Life in Kunshan, China” (An international school PARENT at Kunshan International School)

April 30, 2013


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

Our 30th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Life in Kunshan, China”  It is not actually written by a teacher, but by a parent!  Check out the blog entries of this international school PARENT who currently sends their children to Kunshan American School in China.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

The Kunshan International School & Ikea Shanghai

“The school is quite large.  We were only able to see the kindergarten area today – a meeting with teaching staff and tour of the school will occur later in the month – but what we saw was impressive:  the kindergarten has a room with beds for naps, a separate and large room with great play equipment, a traditional teaching room and a separate reading room with about a dozen PCs for the kids to work on.

I was struck by the cost of the school:  only 12,500 RMB/semester for Logan and 10,000 for Jordan.  That works out to a little over $3,000/year for our two boys, a small fraction of what we’d have to pay to send the kids to school in Shanghai, and even less than we were paying in California for Jordan’s pre-school…”

It is interesting to get the international school parents’ perspective once and awhile.  I actually just witnessed a “tour” going on today at work with our school secretary showing around a new/prospective family.  I was out on break duty and was wondering what the parents were thinking as they watched all the students running around.  Were they impressed by the school’s playground and how the students were using it?  We should have the school secretary share more about what kind of feedback/statements she/he hears when giving a tour of our school.  It could prove to be quite intriguing to hear what prospective/new parents (and their children) are saying!

And then there is the cost of sending children to the international school in question.  Typically it can be very expensive for expat parents paying for themselves.  But we all know that many expat parents don’t typically pay for the tuition themselves, their company pays for them.  What a nice surpise then to find out the tuition at Kunshan International School is actually low when compared to other international schools in China.

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

The Kunshan International School

“The teachers seem to take a deep interest in the kids.  About a week before the start of school, Jordan’s (who was going to start kindergarten) teacher came to our house to visit on a Saturday, speaking with Jordan and answering questions we had.  She was going to all the students’ homes, getting to know them and allow them to get comfortable with her (of course, this just doesn’t happen in the U.S.)…”

I have never heard of this happening!  How great that a teacher at this international school goes to each student’s house to answer questions that the student and family have!  Does any one know of any other international school that does this kind of orientation?

Want to work for an international school in China like this blogger sends their children to?  Currently, we have 142 international schools listed in China on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

Beijing City International School (31 Comments)
Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (30 Comments)
Changsha WES Academy (12 Comments)
Guangdong Country Garden School (17 Comments)
American International School of Guangzhou (12 Comments)
Hangzhou International School (19 Comments)
Hong Kong International School (33 Comments)
• Access International Academy (Ningbo) (20 Comments)

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

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1998 (Santo Domingo, Riyadh, Erlangan & more)

April 20, 2013


Random year for international schools around the world: 1998

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

Utilizing the database of the 1410 (20 April, 2013) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 40 international schools that were founded in 1998.  Here are a few of those schools that also have had comments and information submitted on them on our website (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites)

The Ashton School of Santo Domingo (12 Comments) (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)

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“The Ashton School was founded in 1998, inspired by the ideals, methods and techniques of the New Zealand educator Sylvia Ashton.  The school started as a family project with just a house as its facility, fewer than ten teachers and only 35 students in Kindergarten through third grade.”

Al-Oruba International Schools (8 Comments) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

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“Established in 1998 by Mrs. Tomader Ayad and his Royal Highness, Prince Abdulla Bin Mosaad Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Al Oruba International School has built an admirable reputation in the Kingdom with devotion to over 3,000 students, Pre-K through Grade 12.”

BINUS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Simprug (13 Comments) (Jakarta, Indonesia)

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“Established in 1998 as a Senior High School, BINUS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Simprug was originally located in Kemanggisan and moved to its current location in Simprug, Jakarta Selatan in 2003. As an International Baccalaureate (IB) “World School”, BINUS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Simprug offers the IB`s internationally-recognized Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, and Diploma Programme.”

St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok) (8 Comments)  (Bangkok, Thailand)

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“St Stephen’s International School SIS, founded in 1998, is a private co-educational international school, serving the Thai and international communities. The school is accredited by the Worldwide Education Service WES from the UK, is licensed by the Thai Ministry of Education and is an approved candidate for Accreditation with ECIS and NEASC.

The St Stephen’s International School’s philosophy is based on ‘Leadership in the making’ and is guided by three main concepts: East Meets West – The Best of Both Worlds, Learning by Doing, A Disciplined and Healthy Lifestyle.”

Franconian International School (Erlangen) (13 Comments) (Erlangan, Germany)

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“The Franconian International School (FIS) was founded in 1998 to serve the needs of
a growing international community in the Nürnberg, Erlangen, Fürth and Herzogenaurach areas.

In September 1998 the FIS opened its doors in Haundorf to 25 students in a combined Grade 1-2 class. By September 1999 the FIS had grown to three classes, and moved to the Dassler-Villa in the west of Herzogenaurach. Our growing Middle School classes caused another move, this time in September 2003 to a restored convent, also in Herzogenaurach. Since August 2008 the FIS has occupied its own, purpose-built campus with state-of-the-art facilities in Erlangen. This facility includes modern classrooms, fully equipped science labs, specialist art and music rooms, two PC labs, library, cafeteria and a double gymnasium.”

Wroclaw International School (33 Comments) (Wroclaw, Poland)

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“The Foundation was formed in Autumn 1998. Its aim is to enrich the education of society by supporting activities which shape regional identity, contact with culture and achievements of other nations, and give aid to educational institutions by organizing international contacts, but the most important task is the support of the unique features of each person – his or her abilities.”

Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1410 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

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

April 1, 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article was submitted by guest author and International School Community member: Mary Anne Hipp (contact her here – mahipp@suddenlink.net or visit her Blogspot – http://mahipp.blogspot.com/)
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On our website we have a related topic in the School Information section of each school profile page that discusses the issue of the students’ demeanor at each school.  It is called “In general, describe the demeanor of the students.”  Our members have submitted over 70 comments and information in this topic on a number of different international schools listed on our website.  Here are just a few of the comments and information submitted in this topic:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves at International Schools: A dinner outing with the director and administration

February 16, 2013


In this blog series we will talk about the ins and outs of an excellent new teacher orientation programme at an international school.  A new teacher orientation programme can really play a very important part to your start at your new school, in your new host country.  What are all the must-haves then?  Check out our blog series here to read about the ones we have discussed so far.

Must-have #7: A dinner outing with the director and administration

IMG_0063-1In some cultures it is very much of a bonding moment between people when they share a meal together.  It is a time when you can really relax and have some nice conversations with each other.  Getting to know your director and other new teachers in this kind of setting will help you with future encounters with the director and also with your potential new good friends. Having a meal with your bosses can really start your relationship with them on the right track.

How nice is it when the administration treats you to a nice dinner out somewhere in your new town?  It really just sets the stage right to have a great start to your first year.  Sure it is not that important and of course it does not have anything to do with your job specifically, but it is nice to get some bonding time with the other new teachers as well as your new bosses. Also, there is the fact that you probably don’t have so much money when you first arrive to be going out to eat at a nice restaurant. Plus, you probably do not even know where the good restaurants are just yet anyway.

If there is not a dinner planned though for all the new teachers, it definitely feels like something is missing.  If there is a dinner planned, then there are a few scenarios that might happen.  Most often the admin plans a dinner out in the center of the city at a nice restaurant.  You can really take in your new “expat lifestyle” in this scenario!  If you have a director that is a little bit more personable, he/she might invite you over to have dinner at their house.  In this scenario, the director is really making an effort to show the new teachers that they are now “one of the family” on the staff at the school.

A less desirable scenario is when the dinner is just held at the school itself. Maybe the admin staff will get the cooking staff to make something special for everyone. Having the “dinner out” at the school is probably not making a very good impression on the new teachers, but depending on cooks, it could actually be quite nice.  Another way to not make the best impression is to have the dinner at some cheap restaurant (just across the street from the compound where all the teachers are living) with little planning involved on making the outing special in any way.

In either scenario, the conversations and experience had at the “dinner out” with the new staff will surely be ones that you remember.  A fun time is usually in store with a lot of laughter.  Take it all in because this dinner-out evening is just the beginning of your new and exciting expat life in your new host city.

Some members on our Facebook page have shared about eating out with their administration during the new teacher orientation week they experienced at their international school:

International School Geneva – Campus des Nations – “At IS Geneva there was barely an orientation week (just 2 half days) let alone any sort of dinner.”

International School Singapore (10 Comments) – “The head of school throws a BBQ dinner for the new teachers and one later for all staff to mingle with the new staff.”

Discovery College (Hong Kong) (5 Comments) – “We had a dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Also a drinks/appetizers with the larger ESF organization.”

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Not that you would ask about this topic at your interview or anything, but it might be important to ask the administrator who’s interviewing you the details of the new teachers orientation week.  You do want to know how they support new teachers to make a smooth transition.

On International School Community we have a number of principals and directors of international schools that are members. Currently, we have 20 Directors/Heads of School that have joined.  Some of the international schools they work at are:

The Bilingual School of Monza
• International Community School Addis Ababa
Olive Green International School
International School of Dusseldorf
ABC International School (Tokyo)
International School Groningen
Garden International School

Log-on today to check out the many comments and information submitted in this section topic!  Become the most informed you can be when it comes to finding out the benefits an international school offers to its new teachers.

So, does your international school include a dinner out with the director and administration as part of their new teacher orientation?  Please share your experiences!

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New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves at International Schools: An organized trip to help you get furniture for your new home.

November 30, 2012


In this blog series we will talk about the ins and outs of an excellent new teacher orientation programme at an international school.  A new teacher orientation programme can really play a very important part to your start at your new school, in your new host country.

Must-have #5: An organized trip to help you get furniture for your new home.

It is not ideal to arrive the first day/night in your new host city only to arrive at your new apartment and find it VERY unfurnished.  It doesn’t necessarily start you on the right foot with regards to settling-in with your new life when maybe you do not even have a bed on which to sleep.  For sure there are many international schools out there that place their new teachers directly into furnished apartments or houses (e.g many international schools in Asia or the Middle East), but there are still quite a few international schools that can’t offer that same benefit. And even if your new apartment is furnished, many times it is not FULLY furnished with all the things you need and would like to have.

So….what to do then?  The first step to getting new furniture into your house is typically by going to in nearest IKEA in your new host country.  Now how do you get there (or another furniture store)?  Navigating the public transportation in a new city when you don’t read or speak the local language can be a bit stressful and a bit of a headache.  Taking a taxi in many European cities is just not the norm and can get quite expensive. Even if you take public transportation there, how will you get all your new things back with you?  We all know we leave with many more things than we thought we were going to get when we first walked in!  It would be a must then (since you most likely will not have a car) to pay the IKEA shipping fee as you are checking out.  In some countries that fee isn’t so bad, but in others, it can get a bit expensive.  Don’t forget too, that everything will be in the host country language, including the drivers of the IKEA shipping truck that comes to your house in a few days.  Trying to let the drivers know that they have the right place (when and if they finally arrive) will be one of your first stressful (or very funny) culture shock moment for you, that is if you are not able to speak a word of the language of the locals.

How great would it be then if your new school helped to coordinate your first visit to IKEA?  There are some international schools that appoint a go-to person for all new teachers.  This person will plan many trips for you around the city, but most importantly, they plan the all important trip to IKEA.  A colleague of ours has worked at a school where this go-to person was actually the director.  The director even offered to drive his own mini van to IKEA himself.  He also offered for the new teachers to use his credit card to pay for all the purchases at the check out when the new teacher’s own credit card didn’t work at the register because it was first time they used it overseas or something (of course that new teacher paid the money back to the director as soon as they could).

Another colleague of ours worked at a school that had a go-to person that even organized a large moving van to come and take the purchases to each of the new teachers’ homes after the shopping trip.  The guys driving the moving van even brought the furniture items up from the street level, up many flights of stairs to some teachers’ apartments; very lucky indeed!  As an additional benefit to the new teachers was the ability to request help putting the furniture together from the school’s custodian (up to around 3 hours).  Not having to put together your new IKEA furniture is just what you would dream of having, especially after exhausting day of being a new teacher at an international school. Oh, and we forgot to mention that the new teachers also got an nice, sizable allowance from the school to spend on buying furniture as well!

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In the Benefits Information section of the school profile page on our website, we have a topic related to housing – Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?  There have been 100s of comments and information submitted in this topic on our website and many of them refer to the potential furniture needs that you may require. Here are a few of those comments:

“Housing is provided for single teachers. There are five schools houses about one or two blocks away from the school campus. Houses are not coed. Each teacher gets a bedroom and a bathroom and shares living space with 2 to 4 more teachers. The houses come fully furnished and they are equipped with appliances.” Colegio Inglés A.C. (Torreon) (12 Total Comments)

“Total US dollar equivalent of annual benefits comes to approx: $15,800. The School provides modestly furnished housing for teachers on temporary visas who are single, providing a one or two-bedroom apartment depending upon single or shared accommodation; (b) for a married teaching couple with no children or with one child, and who are temporary visa holders the School provides a two-bedroom apartment or equivalent. All housing contains the following appliances and furnishings: stove, refrigerator, beds, sofa, dining room table and chairs, washing machine and basic kitchen utensils. The School will retain ownership of these items, which will be kept in good condition by the Teacher. The School will pay the rent, condominium fees, and property taxes related to the apartment/house. The employee is responsible for all other expenses, such as utility bills (water, electricity and telephone bills) but installation and maintenance charges for these utilities as well as Internet connections (not usage) shall be at the School’s expense.”  School of the Nations (11 Total Comments)

“Apartments are located at Riffa, within 10 minutes drive of the school. They are within walking distance of most amenities. Most apartments are two/three-bedroomed, with good sized rooms, kitchen and two bathrooms. Most of the teachers reside in two apartment buildings close by to each other. All apartments are fully furnished. All items that you may want to purchase to personalize your apartment are readily available in homeware centres. Rugs and other traditional Arabic items are readily available at affordable prices. Apartment water and electricity bills (up to BD8) are paid directly by the school. Telephone bills are paid by the teacher.” Naseem International School (Bahrain) (19 Total Comments)

Log-on today to check out the many comments and information submitted in this section topic!  Become the most informed you can be when it comes to finding out the benefits an international school offers to its new teachers.

So, does your international school organize a trip to help new teachers get furniture for their new homes?  Please share your experiences!

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1990 (Caracas, Jakarta, Cairo & Berlin)

August 18, 2012


Random year for international schools around the world: 1990

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

Utilizing the database of the 1264 (18 August, 2012) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 22 international schools that were founded in 1990.  Here are a few of those schools that also have had comments and information submitted on them on our website (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites)

International Christian School (Caracas) (5 Comments) (Caracas, Venezuela)

“It was founded in 1990 as Academia Cristiana Internacional de Caracas. The school provides preschool (3 year old) through 12th Grade and is accredited by both Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and Association of Christian Schools International. ICS Caracas is a part of the Network of International Christian Schools.”

North Jakarta International School (20 Comments)  (Jakarta, Indonesia)

“NJIS, previously known as North Jakarta International School, is an independent, co-educational international school. It was founded in 1990 and is fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Schools of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). NJIS is also a member of the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS).”

Berlin Brandenburg International School (10 Comments) (Berlin, Germany)

“The International School Berlin-Potsdam (ISBP) was founded on 2 October 1990 and located in an eastern area of Potsdam in a large, rented villa on the Heiligensee waterfront. In September 1994, the school opened a second facility in a recently renovated villa down the street for its growing upper school.  On 1 June 2002 the school announced that it was changing its name to Berlin Brandenburg International School (BBIS) as of 1 September 2002. This change recognizes the fact that the school is no longer in Potsdam, that it is grateful for the strong support of the State of Brandenburg, and that it serves students and families in a large geographical area very well known both inside and outside Germany.”

American International School in Egypt (13 Comments)  (Cairo, Egypt)

“The American International School in Egypt has been one of Egypt’s leading schools since it opened its doors to its first 240 students in 1990.  Today, AIS Egypt has two campuses, with a combined student population of over 2000 students.”

American International School of Mozambique (11 Comments)  (Maputo, Mozambique)

“The American International School of Mozambique, founded in 1990, is an independent, coeducational day school offering an American-style educational program in English from PK through grade 12. The school year begins in mid-August and ends in mid-June. The School is governed by a 7-member Board of Directors, 6 of whom are elected by the AISM Association and one appointed by the U.S. Ambassador.”


The English Modern School (Doha) (7 Comments)
  (Doha, Qatar)

“Founded in 1986 as an independent and private educational institute, Stafford is a coeducational, international school. It follows the British curriculum which prepares the students for the London University IGCSE and Advanced (A/S, A/L) Level examinations. High performance in these British exams qualifies students for entry into British and other foreign universities. The curriculum is stringent and comprises a broad and balanced range of subjects.”

Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1264 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

Selecting an international school: Tip #2 – Location: Is the school conveniently located?

July 19, 2012


What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons for why teachers choose to work at a school abroad as well?  There are many kinds of international schools and they are all in different situations.  Finding out where exactly your international school is located and where you will be located is very important to know, before you make any big decisions to move or choose a school to attend or work at.  So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend or for you to work at?  Our new blog series will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.

Tip #2 – Location: Is the school conveniently located?

The American School of London (see picture to the left) and the United Nations International School are conveniently located, but not all international schools are in the same situation.  Some international schools are built way outside of the city center, far away, especially if you plan on living in the city center.  Sometimes your journey to work might be around 1 hour, one-way; an important thing to know before you decide on signing a contract to work at an international school.

If you don’t mind living in a 3rd ring suburb, maybe it wouldn’t be such a big of an issue that your school is so far away from the city center.  However, if you like to enjoy city life and prefer to live there as well, then it might not be the best fit to work at an international school that is not centrally located.

If you are a teacher with children that attend the school, living closer to school also might be a positive thing.  Maybe if you have children, you wouldn’t mind working at a school that is way out in the suburbs because that is always where you would prefer to live anyways.

Before signing a contract, an international school teacher definitely needs to evaluate their current situation and what their living-situation needs are.  Make sure to ask the right questions at the interview about how your current situation and needs match with the location of the school and where you would most likely be living in relation to that school.

If you had a choice, what would be the preferred way for you to and from work every day?  Would you rather ride your bike, take a bus, take the school’s bus, ride on a train, walk, drive your car, take a taxi, or a combination of 2-3 types of transportation?  What amount of time is an acceptable journey length: 10-15 minutes, 15-30 minutes, 45 minutes, or over one hour?

One colleague friend of mine worked at a school that was more than a one-hour journey from their apartment.  Most of the teachers there were taken to and from the school on one of the school’s buses “for teachers.”  One positive thing this teacher took away from that experience was that many teachers were forced to not work so long at the school.  Because of the fact that the school’s bus for teachers left at a specific time, you had to get on that bus…otherwise you would be stuck at school with limited options to get home!  Sometimes teachers do need to stay long at school to get work completed, but often teachers don’t really need to stay for hours and hours.  If you are forced to end your workday at a certain time, you would be surprised how much of your work gets done during that time constraint.

Another colleague friend of mine lives in the city center and their school is very conveniently located in relation to the city center.  Many teachers at this school also live where this teacher lives, and the journey from home to school is around 12-15 minutes by train and 20-25 minutes by bike.  Many of the teachers at this school are quite pleased that they at least have the option of living in the city center and also have a relatively easy commute to work.  There are also many options to get to work based on the needs and situation of each teacher.  It is nice when there are many transportation options available to the meet the needs of a diverse staff.

We have had hundreds of comments and information submitted about this very topic on a number of international schools on International School Community’s website.  For example on the Shanghai Rego International School‘s profile page there have been three comments submitted so far:

On the Misr American College school profile page, we have one rather informative comments about the school’s location:

If you are an international school teacher currently working abroad, please share your comments about if your school is conveniently or NOT conveniently located.

Additionally, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com as you are able to check out our over 830 members.  Many of our current members have listed they work at over 200 international schools around the world. Feel free to send these members a message with your questions about where most teachers are living in relation to the school and the city center.

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1985 (Copenhagen, Tehran, Istanbul & Riyadh)

July 13, 2012


Random year for international schools around the world: 1985

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

Utilizing the database of the 1238 (13 July, 2012) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 10 international schools that were founded in 1985 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Atlanta International School (4 Comments) (Atlanta, USA)

1985 AIS was founded by a group of parents, international educators and members of the business community whose aim was to provide the Atlanta area with the kind of international educational opportunities found in major cities throughout the world. Support from major corporations and public figures was obtained because of the school’s importance in the development of Atlanta as the premier international city in the southeastern United States.”

Al Hekma International School (9 Comments)  (Sanad, Bahrain)

“Al- Hekma International School (AHIS) is a co-educational international school offering an American curriculum to classes from Preschool through High School (PS-Grade 12). The school was founded in 1985 and is fully accredited by the Bahraini Ministry of Education and the Middle States Association for Accreditation of Colleges & Schools (MSA) in the U.S.A. AHIS is also affiliated with worldwide recognized educational institutions, that provide professional development and support for improvement and growth such as (NESA, NBOA, ASCD, AAIE, PTC, NAIS). Students in high school are also trained and tested to receive ICDL certificates through the schools accreditation with ICDL organization to provide students with the latest computer skills required for the future.”

A’takamul International School (0 Comments)  (Al-Rumaithiya, Kuwait)

“A’Takamul International School (ATIS) was founded in 1995, with our first graduating senior class in 2002. ATIS strives to provide a high quality international education based on the American-curriculum, while maintaining an Islamic ethos and Kuwaiti values. ATIS is a private, independent college preparatory school, and we enroll students from pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. Students are encouraged to take part in as many different school activities as possible and to excel in all of their endeavors. ATIS is a member of Kuwait Foreign Schools Activities Conference (K.F.S.A.C.) and participates in sporting events throughout Kuwait.”

International School of Stuttgart (6 Comments)  (Stuttgart, Germany)

“The International School of Stuttgart, founded in 1985, is a co-educational, English-medium day school, serving the needs of the international community of the state capital of Baden-Württemberg in Germany.”

Stafford International School (3 Comments)  (Colombo, Sri Lanka)

“Founded in 1986 as an independent and private educational institute, Stafford is a coeducational, international school. It follows the British curriculum which prepares the students for the London University IGCSE and Advanced (A/S, A/L) Level examinations. High performance in these British exams qualifies students for entry into British and other foreign universities. The curriculum is stringent and comprises a broad and balanced range of subjects.”

Chaing Mai International School (5 Comments)  (Chaing Mai, Thailand)

“Missionaries returning to work with the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) after World War II established a school for their children in Chiang Mai. Classes began on June 1, 1954 with eight students. In 1958, construction was begun on the present campus for “The Chiang Mai Children’s Center.” As more expatriate families moved to Chiang Mai and sought an English-language education for their children they, too, were accepted at the school.

In 1984, representatives of the Thai Foreign Ministry and the CCT agreed that the formal establishment of an international school in Chiang Mai was a necessary step to achieving the school’s legal status. Classes under the new name, “Chiang Mai International School” (CMIS) began in September of 1985 for Kindergarten to Grade 8. High School grades were progressively added from 1992 to 1995.”

The International Philippine School in Riyadh (IPSR) (0 Comments)  (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

“ The school originally started in the mid 1950’s with about a dozen pupils. It was government run, and was housed in a succession of buildings in Central Honiara. By the early 1970’s the need for a new school was recognized, and in the later half of the 1970’s, a new Woodford School project was included in the Solomon Islands National Development Plan. This project recognized “That a primary educational system offering a curriculum meeting international standards is a critical infrastructure requirement necessary to support Solomon Islands objectives of attracting investment and technical expertise.”

ISTEK Schools, Istanbul (8 Comments)  (Istanbul, Turkey)

“The İSTEK Education and Cultur Foundation was established in Istanbul on the 5th April, 1985 by a group of  eminent persons and institutions on the initiative of the former mayor of the municipality of greater  İstanbul, Mr.Bedrettin Dalan. It is an educational trust, aims to develop productive, creative and responsible  attitudes in individuals while adopting the principles and reforms of Atatürk. Working in national and  international contexts, aiming to make positive contributions to both the country and the world’s future,  and giving priority to scientific thought defines İSTEK as a foundation apart.

We currently operate ten K-12 schools and three separate kindergartens. In 1996, the Foundation also  established a university, Yeditepe University, which has now grown to become Turkey’s biggest university.  The Medical Faculty of the University runs one of the top rated hospitals in the region as well as  ophthalmology clinics. The School of Dentistry has a hospital on the Asian side and a clinic on the European  side of the city.”

Amager’s International School (0 Comments)  (Copenhagen, Denmark)

“AIS was founded in 1985 by teachers and parents who where concerned about the decline of educational standards.  It is located on the island of Amager (Copenhagen) which is joined to the mainland of Zealand in Denmark.”


Tehran International School (0 Comments)  (Tehran, Iran)

“T.I.S was established in the year 1985 with the goal to build educational links to other countries and render educational services to foreign students in Iran . Since its establishment, the school has been continuously involved in the educational progress where numerous foreign students are continuing their education in much the same manner as in their previous schools with most satisfactory results.”
Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1238 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1955 (Accra, Carabobo, La Paz & Surrey)

June 5, 2012


Random year for international schools around the world: 1955

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

Utilizing the database of the 1224 (05 June, 2012) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 7 international schools that were founded in 1955 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Ghana (British) International School (0 Comments) (Accra, Ghana)

“This is a far cry from the humble beginnings of the school when it first opened its doors on 1st September 1955. Back then, the school was known as the Gold Coast International School and was the brainchild of eight founding members. These were: Sir Kobena Arku Korsah and Justice Edward Akuffo Addo, both Justices of the Supreme Court of the Gold Coast, Dr Lusty of the University College of Gold Coast (now the University of Ghana, Legon), Mr Kenneth Humphreys, first registrar of the West Africa Examinations Council, Dr Ruby Quartey-Papafio, an educationist, Dr Kofi George Konuah, also an educationist and Mr Edward James Bailey of the United Africa Company and his wife, Mrs Valerie Bailey. The membership of the committee was later expanded to include the Indian High Commissioner as well as the American and French Vice-Consuls.

The vision for the school was a school that would provide quality international education to children of different races and creeds and a school that would serve both the international and local communities.

The first task for the committee was finding a suitable location. Looking at the school now, it’s hard to believe that the original school was a small bungalow originally allocated to the Director of Surveys. Yet that small bungalow was the setting for a school that became so popular that it had an enormous waiting list within its first three months of opening. By January 1956, the school committee had no option but to relocate to bigger premises.”

American Cooperative School La Paz (9 Comments)  (La Paz, Bolivia)

“Founded in 1955, the American Cooperative School of La Paz, Bolivia, is a private, co-educational school with a current enrollment of about 400 students. We offer an American based educational program, taught in English, from Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 for students of all nationalities. The high school curriculum is designed to prepare students for the college experience.”

Colegio International de Carabobo (5 Comments)  (Carabobo, Venezuela)

“Colegio Internacional de Carabobo in Valencia, State of Carabobo, Venezuela, was organized in 1955 with four companies: Celanese, Firestone, Goodyear, and U.S. Rubber. These provided the initial capital.

In 1958, a ten-classroom school was constructed in El Trigal, a residential sector of Valencia. During the 1962-63 school year, a library, four classrooms, showers and dressing rooms, and a photographic darkroom were added. In 1968, the High School building was constructed and was opened for classes on September 2, 1968. The building consisted of two science laboratories, a computer laboratory, and classrooms, a lounge, and offices. The High School library, constructed in 1968 and renovated in 2006, today houses 8,000 volumes. A “comedor” and Middle School were added during the early 1980’s. A multi-purpose recreational building was completed in August of 1988. Most recently, two annexes, a lower primary building, a second Middle School level, and a maintenance complex were added in the mid 1990’s.”

Marymount International School (0 Comments)  (Surrey, United Kingdom)

“Established in 1955 to meet the educational needs of families in the international business and diplomatic community, Marymount London is part of a worldwide system of schools and colleges directed by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, a Roman Catholic Congregation founded in Béziers, France, in 1849.”

International School of Penang (Uplands) (9 Comments)  (Penang, Malaysia)

“The International School Of Penang (Uplands) is a non-profit, co-educational primary and secondary School with boarding facilities, open to children aged 5 – 18 years old.

Since being established in 1955 at the top of Penang Hill and now established in a modern campus in Batu Feringgi, Uplands has strived to embody a caring community; a School where both international and Malaysian students are happy to learn.”

International School of Yangon (6 Comments)  (Yangon, Myanmar)

“The International School Yangon, founded in 1952, is a private co-educational day school, providing an American curriculum from pre-school through grade 12. The school is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). ISY is also a member of the East Asian Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS). ISY is committed to ensuring that its students achieve a high level of accomplishment using English as the medium of instruction. French, Spanish (high school) and Mandarin are taught as foreign languages. Standardized tests such as the International Schools Assessment (ISA), and the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) are conducted at ISY to evaluate student performance and school wide programs. In high school, ISY offers a college preparatory program, leading to a U.S. diploma and an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma. There are currently 252 students in elementary school, 115 students in middle school and 144 students in the high school. ”

Woodford International School (0 Comments)  (Honiara, Solomon Islands)

“ The school originally started in the mid 1950’s with about a dozen pupils. It was government run, and was housed in a succession of buildings in Central Honiara. By the early 1970’s the need for a new school was recognized, and in the later half of the 1970’s, a new Woodford School project was included in the Solomon Islands National Development Plan. This project recognized “That a primary educational system offering a curriculum meeting international standards is a critical infrastructure requirement necessary to support Solomon Islands objectives of attracting investment and technical expertise.”

Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1224 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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Highlighted Articles

The number of children at international schools reaches 3 million!

March 22, 2012


The latest figures published by ISC Research show that the number of children attending the world’s international schools has passed three million. This is phenomenal growth in just ten years. In 2002 there were one million international school students. It is this increasing demand for places which is driving the rapid expansion of international schools worldwide; a trend that ISC Research predicts will continue for the foreseeable future.

Ten years ago, the typical international school student was from an expatriate family. Today, that student is from a local family. The number of expatriate children attending international schools has not decreased, indeed there are many more . What has changed is the recognition by local families that international schools are a means of advancing to further education at some of the world’s best universities. “Parents of the next generation are looking towards international schools to satisfy the need for critical thinking rather than learning by rote,” says Clive Pierrepont, Director of Communications at Taaleem which owns and manages 13 schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. “The parents clearly see international schools as a route through for university opportunities.” It is this recognition, coupled with increased income, which is making attendance at an international school a real possibility for the wealthier local families. Today 80% of students at international schools are local children.

In a number of cities, this demand from both expat and local families, is outstripping supply. Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha all have significant problems. So much so, that many relocating expats with families are now demanding security of their school places before accepting new placements. In certain locations, it is the availability of good school places that is driving job decisions by expats rather than salaries and destinations. As a result of this demand, a number of countries are actively encouraging the growth of international schools including China, India, Malaysia, Korea, and the UAE.

International schools are typically fee-paying schools that deliver the curriculum wholly or partly in English (outside an English-speaking country). The good quality of learning at international schools is recognised the world over. Many of these schools follow, to a large extent, the English National Curriculum. Others deliver such highly respected international curricula as the International Baccalaureate and the International Primary Curriculum. Others deliver alternative national curricula such as American or Dutch. The best international schools have extremely good reputations, are accredited, and are used as models by national schools the world over.

ISC Research, the organisation that researches and analyses data on international schools worldwide predicts that the number of students in international schools will reach six million in another ten years and that the number of international schools will increase from 6,000 today to 10,000.

Managing Director of ISC Research, Nicholas Brummitt, says “The international school market has become big business. There are now a number of highly respected, multinational groups of schools driving growth forward. Examples of these are Taaleem with schools throughout the UAE and partnerships in other Middle East countries, WCL with schools in the US and Qatar, Nord Anglia with schools in China and Europe, Cognita with schools in the UK, Europe and Asia, ESOL with schools in a number of Middle East countries, Yew Chung Education Foundation with schools in Hong Kong, China and the US, and GEMS with schools in many parts of the world.  Most of these groups are expanding aggressively, either by buying existing schools, expanding current operations, or building new schools. There are also schools with campuses in several countries. These include a number of UK private schools with international operations such as Harrow (in Beijing, Bangkok with a third school in Hong Kong  opening in September this year) and Dulwich which has schools in China and is opening several more in Asia over the next few years.”

For more information about the international schools market visit www.iscresearch.com. ISC Research is the only organisation that supplies data and market analyses covering all the world’s English-medium international schools; data that it has been tracking for over twenty years. The latest market updates plus individual school information, news, statistical overviews, and country reports are all available from ISC Research.

For more information about what it is like to work at many of these international schools, make sure to visit www.internationschoolcommunity.com

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.03 – 03 March, 2012

March 3, 2012


v2012.03 – 3 March, 2012:

We have had a surge of new members on International School Community this past month taking us over the 300 mark. With 67 new members joining, we are now at a total of 326 members! It is so interesting to look at the range of members that we have so far: veteran international school teachers, teachers new to the international school community, teachers who are thinking about getting into our community, retired international school teachers, international school parents, international school directors, etc.  All premium members are able to send unlimited private messages to other members on our website to contact for information and also to network with if you have questions about what life at a specific international school he/she is currently working at or has worked at in the past.

Go ahead then and send a private message to one of our members that is currently living in one of the many different cities around the world represented on our website. International School Community’s current members work at or have worked at over 115 international schools! Check out which schools here and start networking today!

Our 320+ members have now also submitted over 3300+ comments and information on our 1120+ international school profile pages.  To celebrate these recent milestones, you can now get 50% off of your next membership subscription by using this coupon code: MARCH3241. With the discount, you can renew your premium subscription for as little as 5 USD!  Just go to your My Account page and click on “renew your subscription”.  This offer will expire on 17 March, 2012.

Premium members also have unlimited access to our 1126 international school profile pages.  On each school profile page there are 4 separate comment and information submission sections: School information, Benefits information, City information and Travel information.

There are many international schools profile pages getting updated all the time.  In the international school community, it is important we share what we know to help others make better informed decisions when looking for employment at an international school.

Thanks again for everyone’s support! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy the beginning of spring!

From the staff at International School Community.


Recently updated schools with new comments and information:

· 03 Mar  Vilnius International School (6 new comments)
Vilnius, Lithuania

“Age limit for hiring is 60. Often restrictions for non-EU dependents. This school posts vacancies on the Search website…”· 03 Mar  The American International School – Salzburg (9 new comments)
Salzburg, Austria

“The school is located in the southern part of Salzburg very near the city’s greenbelt in a semi-rural setting but only 10 minutes from the city center…”· 03 Mar  Highlands International School (11 new comments)
La Paz, Bolivia

“Hiring a maid is quite common here in La Paz and very inexpensive. The extra help can be nice, especially if you have a family…”· 01 Mar  Hampton International School (13 new comments)
Bangkok, Thailand

“Because the school is very small, all teachers have more than one additional duty – right now, this tends to be a sore point among teaching staff but as numbers grow…”

· 29 Feb  Escuela International de Sampedrana (6 new comments)
San Pedro Sula, Honduras

“The school pays teachers in USD. With 3.5 percent taxes taken out , the monthly salary is around 1850 US…”(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #9 – Maintain a sense of humor, but most importantly be ready to laugh at yourself.
“When you are living abroad, there are moments when the locals are looking at you strangely. You might be thinking that they are making fun of you, being rude, or just plain staring at you.  Most of the time though they usually don’t have an unkind intention towards you.  The initial reaction is to…”

· Great resource: ISAT – International Schools Association of Thailand
“If your dream is to work at an international school in Thailand, the ISAT website can be a great resource for you…”

· International schools that were founded in 1947 (New York, Cali, Medellin, Rome, and Sao Paolo)
“The United Nations International School (UNIS) was established in 1947 by a group of United Nations Parents to provide an international education for their children, while preserving their diverse cultural heritages. What began as a nursery school for 20 children quickly grew, adding…”

· Overview of an int’l school #4 – Makuhari International School
“At MIS, at present, around 60% of our children are Japanese returnee children, the other 40% are either dual nationality or foreign children…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #6 – “Remember to research.”
“When interviewing at an international school recruitment fair, it is indeed a difficult task to be 100% knowledgeable about each international school you interview with.  You do some final researching the night/morning before the interview, but…”

· Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #3
“The school goes through Search Associates. Teachers must have appropriate degree for teaching the subject of major concentration and by under 65 years of age. They are willing to hire interns for certain positions…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to have members leave comments on:


Last month we have had visits from 80 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 325 ( 67)
School profiles
: 1126 ( 38)
Blog entries
: 226 ( 21)
Posted comments & info
:
3301 ( 612)
Twitter followers: 297 ( 31)


MORE BIG improvements:

We have updated our Members List pageto include a sorting feature.  Now visitors and members are able to sort our 325 members more effectively now.  It is now possible to sort the list by Newest First, First Name, Last Name, Current School and By Location (also being able to sort these lists by Descending or Ascending order).  Go ahead and try it out and start contacting our members and networking today.  Who knows who you might find?!We have also just completed two more updates to the school profile pages.  Now there is a Youtube video that can be found sometimes on a school’s profile page.  If there is one available, then it will show up under the map feature.

The video shown will be related to the school, typically a review or an overview of the school from the school itself.

The other update on the school profile page is the school’s Facebook feature.  If the school has a Facebook page that they update with the news from their school, it will now show up on the school’s profile page on our website.  The feature can be found under the Members of this School feature.

Check out pictures of the improvements and other details here!


New members:

· Sally Loughborough
(Hampton International School)
· Alissandra Butzbach
(Baku International School)
· Linda Belonje
(KIS International School Bangkok)
· Karen Jones
(Ajial Bilingual School)
· Falustein Shoman
(Al Ittihad National Private School)
· Kiyo Horii
(Nishimachi International School)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Beverley Bibby
“I am in my 4th year of teaching at Seisen.  Seisen was my first experience in a PYP school.  It was a new learning curve, but…”

Check out the rest of her interview on our blog here.  If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Discussion Topic

Discussion Topic: Things I (an international school teacher) Have Not Done in a Year“After living abroad for so many years, I have forgotten all the things that you don’t do anymore.  We used to have a different life, didn’t we?  But now that you are living abroad, many of your routines have changed. Being that these changes have now become your new routines, you tend to forget about the things you used to do!Inspired by this blog entry by the Kirby Family, Things I Have Not Done in a Year, we invite our readers and members to discuss their list of things that they haven’t done in a year (or more for that matter).
Highlighted blogs of international teachers:
This international school teacher’s insight about moving back to your home country after teaching and living in Hong Kong is something we can all relate to:“I think I wouldn’t be completely honest if I said I was happy to be moving back to Canada. There are many things I am looking forward to about going back, foremost among them, being closer to our family, but there are many things I am going to really miss about Hong Kong, especially my job.  In early June I included an article in one of my posts that I wrote in 2005 about what I will miss about Hong Kong.  I’ve learned 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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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1947 (New York, Cali, Medellin, Rome, and Sao Paolo)

February 25, 2012


Random year for international schools around the world: 1947

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

Utilizing the database of the 1111 (25 February, 2012) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 5 international schools that were founded in 1947 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

United Nations International School (New York City, USA)

“The United Nations International School (UNIS) was established in 1947 by a group of United Nations Parents to provide an international education for their children, while preserving their diverse cultural heritages. What began as a nursery school for 20 children quickly grew, adding grades, students and faculty.  The rapid growth of the School demanded new and larger facilities.  By the late 1950’s, the School had campuses in Queens and in Manhattan, and broadened it student base to include the UN community, the Diplomatic Corps, the non-governmental international sector, and local New York Families.”

St. Francis College  (Sao Paolo, Brazil)

Colegio Bolivar  (Cali,Colombia)

“In 1944, Mrs. Gladys Bryson, foreigners residing in Cali and educator by profession, became a room of his home in San Fernando, in a classroom, the College was born Anglo – American Cali.  In 1947 the school already had up to 8 th grade students and tuition had cost $ 20 pesos from first to eighth grade and $ 15 pesos for kindergarten.  As the name of Colegio Anglo Americano in Cali was very similar to the American College, was officially changed to Colegio Bolivar in 1950.  In 1955, each student had his own desk. Also built a kiosk for the students to use during the lunch break and, years later, he built a larger one, and as the school grew to nearly 300 students, the kiosks were first used as classrooms.”

The Colombus School  (Medellin, Colombia)

“In 1947 a small group of American and Colombian businessmen founded The Columbus School in order to provide a U.S. style education for expatriate children and Colombian children who sought an alternative to the predominantly parochial education that was prevalent in the mid 20th century. Our founding fathers envisioned the need to prepare their children for a world that would be increasingly “internationalizing” and pledged to prepare students to achieve academic excellence through critical and creative thinking, global mindedness and bilingualism.”

American Overseas School of Rome  (Rome, Italy)

“For the first half of its existence the school was called the Overseas School of Rome. There actually was an OSR before 1947, but not the same school that was incorporated in that year. It was a little US Army school bearing the same title, located near Ponte Milvio started in September, 1946. We are greatly indebted to them for both starting the idea of our school and for their help when the school had to move at the end of its first year.

When news came that the allied troops were being moved to Trieste, five American and five British mothers (some from the original Ponte Milvio school) got together and decided to form a school which should be nondenominational and international, combining the best of the British and American systems. This group is responsible for the organization of the official corporation that became our school.

Next they had to find a place for the school. They managed to get the British and American Ambassadors, as patrons of the school, to put pressure on the Torlonia family to rent the palazzetto of Villa Torlonia on Via Nomentana as our first home. The school opened its doors to the public on October 16, 1947, with a grand total of 60 students.”

Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1110 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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Great Resource

Want to work at an international school in the Netherlands? – Tips for Expats in Holland

February 14, 2012


Life in Holland does indeed sound nice.  Riding your bike to work and watching the canals as you dart in and out of the streets of Amsterdam could be something very easy to get used to every morning.  The Insego website has highlighted some excellent tips that international teachers and their families could find very beneficial.  I wish there would be a resource like this on every country in the world!

We have highlighted some of the tips’ categories:

10 Tips for Unemployed Expats
“Whether you are an expat’s wife or you came here because you fell in love or you just moved to a foreign country looking for new opportunities, whatever the reason, you may find yourself without a job. Well, I’ve been there. Without a job I lost my professional identity and I didn’t like this feeling at all…”

Media for Expats in Holland
“One of the most popular discussions on Insego is finding out the cultural faux pas in The Netherlands. Faux pas is a French term which literally means “misstep”. But for most of us, it means defiance from accepted customs and traditions. Faux pas varies from different cultures. Some behavior might be acknowledged in one culture while it is a no-no for another.

Here are the collected comments from our members on what they think are the cultural faux pas in Netherlands…”

What are the most common issues faced by expatriates?
“Transferring to another country whether for work, personal expedition or reasons of the heart can be tough and challenging. Aside from difficulty in adjusting to the new environment and culture, we also struggle with homesickness, making new friends and for some, finding a job and raising kids. Being an expat is a tough call. See what your fellow expats struggle with and may their experiences act as your inspiration and encouragement that you are not alone. You share the same experiences with many other expats in the world, so don’t be totally dismayed…”

What are some cultural faux pas in The Netherlands?

  • Dutch News– Quality English-language news about the Netherlands.
  • Dutch Daily News – Covers, analyzes, comments on and defines the news, culture, entertainment, lifestyle, fashion and personalities that drive the Netherlands.
  • Expatica.com- The biggest online English news and information provider for the international community in 11 European countries. It’s mission is to help Expats settle into their new country of residence. The content Expatica supplies covers various aspects of expat life, including relocation, culture, education, tax, immigration and local events.
  • IamExpat– Online media platform that covers the local needs of the expatriate population, plenty of practical information.
  • InterNations – Netherlands Expats Community, membership is invitation-only. Let us know if you want to join it, we will send the invitation.
  • RNW- Radio Netherlands Worldwide. daily news in English as well as daily Dutch press reviews, opinion articles and links to the radio programs
  • The Holland Times– News magazine covering Dutch current events and perspectives in the Netherlands.
  • The Hague Online News for expat communities in The Hague region, including reviews and regular listings of cultural and leisure events.
  • Xpat.nl -Publisher of famous Holland Handbook and Xpat Journal.


Amsterdam, Holland

Currently there are 9 international schools listed in the Netherlands on International School Community. They are:

Rotterdam International Secondary School
American International School of Rotterdam
American School of the Hague
International School of the Hague
The British School of the Netherlands
British School of Amsterdam
International School Amsterdam
Amsterdam International Community School
International Secondary School Eindhoven

Check out their school profile pages on internationalschoolcommunity.com by clicking on the links above.  If you currently work at one of these schools or have worked at one in the past, share what you know by leaving some new comments and information on your school’s profile page today!  Out of our 281 members (since 14 Feb. 2012) we have one member that has listed that they work at or have worked at an international school in the Netherlands.

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Great Resource

Great resource: Want to work at an international school in Jakarta?

January 16, 2012


The Living in Indonesia website (www.expat.or.id/orgs/schools.html) has some excellent insight on the many international schools in Jakarta.

There are many international educators interested in working at these schools.  There are 27 international schools listed on the Living in Indonesia website.  Some of the international schools listed on their website are: El SHADDAI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL – JAKARTA, ACG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, GLOBAL JAYA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, HOPE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL JAKARTA INTERNATIONAL MULTICULTURAL SCHOOL, etc…

Highlighted sections from their website:

JAKARTA INTERNATIONAL MULTICULTURAL SCHOOL

“Curriculum – JIMS is a fully registered Cambridge International Centre with the University of Cambridge International Examinations offering education for children aged 12 to 17 years old and a candidate school for the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate Organization for children from 3 to 12 years old. The nursery program serves children 1.5 years to 3 years old.

JIMS was founded in 1995 under the name of the Jakarta International Montessori School. In 2007, the school changed its name to Jakarta International Multicultural School. JIMS is located on a 1.5 hectare campus in the green Situ Gintung area. The school area and building are owned by JIMS with modern facilities, including a baseball field, baseball pitching area, large library with extensive book collection, football field, semi indoor basketball court  and two swimming pools. The school truly lives up to its multicultural name. JIMS is fortunate to have a school community which consists of representatives from five continents. The number of students has increased in recent years and we now have 130 students.”

JAKARTA WORLD ACADEMY

“Jakarta World Academy (JWA) is committed to “empower our students to embrace the future and to thrive as ingenious, global citizens”. It offers an English international education across two campuses with Toddler through Elementary at the Thamrin campus (JWA) and Toddler through High School at the BSD campus (SWA).

The Thamrin (JWA) campus provides a unique learning environment in the ANZ Square Building next door to Grand Indonesia in the very center of the city, providing an intimate learning environment that focuses on the holistic development of each child. JWA focuses on Early Years and Elementary programmes implementing the Reggio Emilia curriculum for Toddler – Nursery and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) for Pre-Kindergarten to Elementary. The IB PYP is a rigorous international education program, which uses children’s natural curiosity and excitement to learn through guided inquiry and develops young learners who are globally minded. The BSD campus, Sinarmas World Academy (SWA), provides the support of a large school (Toddler – Grade 12) community, including resources, learning and counseling support services and professional support that truly makes JWA an outstanding school for your child.

The student body represents 18 nationalities, including 35% international students and 65% students from Indonesia. Each class, Toddler – Kindergarten has a full time western expatriate homeroom teacher, expatriate Chinese teacher and Teacher Assistant. In Grade 1 – 5, each class has a full-time western expatriate homeroom teacher, Chinese Specialist and a half time Teacher Assistant. In addition to homeroom teaching staff, specialist teachers support the programs in Art, Music, Drama, Physical Development, Swimming, Special Needs, and Library.

JWA/SWA is a center for Teacher Professional Development. It an Apple Regional Training Center and provides training for Chinese teachers in cooperation with Peking University, China. JWA/SWA is a member of the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS).”

ROYAL BUCKINGHAM INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL JAKARTA

“Learning Well, Enjoying Life, Exceeding Expectations … At Royal Buckingham International School, our mission is to develop the skills, positive attitudes and personal qualities of every learner so they can become active contributors to the global community. We Prepare our students for the future, equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and understanding that will enable THEM to meet the demands of living in the 21st century. Students learn in an environment that is not only fun and safe, but also challenging and academically rigorous. The Royal Buckingham Institution community is inclusive and welcoming to new families. Students are placed at the centre of learning and teaching, and teachers tailor the curriculum to each child. Our global outlook on education draws on the unique, international experiences of our school community and incorporates that knowledge into lessons. The School is affiliated with the International Primary Curriculum (IPC).

At Royal Buckingham International School aim to create a range of opportunities for our students to integrate and interact with each other. Through understanding every student’s specific needs and learning styles, we seek to maximize their academic and personal potential, creating a harmonious international community of life-long learners. Our school continues to grow at a rapid pace, providing high-quality international education for the international community. Even with this growth, we continue to offer personalized learning and small class sizes. Students experience a familiarity and comfort that is usually only felt within smaller family groups.”

Currently, there are 10 international schools listed under Jakarta on International School Community:

Acg International School
British International School Jakarta
Jakarta International School
New Zealand International School
North Jakarta International School
Sinarmas World Academy
Global Jaya International School
Bina Bangsa School
Singapore International School (Indonesia)
Royal Tots Academy

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

Highlighted article: Teaching abroad in American and International schools

January 10, 2012


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

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

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

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

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

So, how does one apply to teach overseas?

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

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

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

There are several major sources to choose from:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taken from the article summitted  on overseasdigest.com

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

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: India’s most admired international schools

December 30, 2011


Within the hearts and minds of the uninformed, there is considerable prejudice against India’s small but growing number of new genre international schools. Left intellectuals and fellow travelers who dominate Indian academia and have considerable influence in the media, naively dismiss them as elitist and expensive. Yet contrary to popular opinion, the country’s estimated 105 low-profile international schools — of which number only 25 were sufficiently familiar names to over 20 sample respondents in the regions in which the international schools included in the EW-C fore Survey of Schools 2009 are sited — serve several useful social purposes.

For one, international schools — defined for the purposes of this survey as schools majorly affiliated with international examination boards such as the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), Geneva; Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), UK and The College Board, USA — discharge  the vital role of raising primary-secondary education standards. Delivering high-quality school education benchmarked with the latest innovations in Western countries where pedagogies and learning outcomes are seriously researched, they have already helped to upgrade the quality of K-12 education in India across the board. If today there is a new awareness of the importance of pedagogic concepts such as learning through understanding, joyful learning, introduction of ICT (information communications techno-logies) in education, counseling and pastoral care, India’s small minority of  international schools with their well-trained teachers and excellent infrastructure, have contributed greatly in creating it.

Moreover it’s important to bear in mind that although high-priced by Indian standards, they provide world class primary-secondary education at a fraction of the tuition fees levied by their counterparts abroad. Little wonder that a growing number of children from countries around the world are flocking to India’s international schools for the high quality English medium instruction dispensed by them.

Middle and upper middle class India has also been quick to appreciate the high market value of internationally benchmarked foundational education in a rapidly globalising world. Therefore it’s no surprise that the Woodstock School, Mussoorie (estb. 1852), which over the past 150-plus years has acquired a global reputation for dispensing high quality classes VI-XII education in the pristine Himalayan foothills to its 454 students, has retained its premier ranking as India’s most respected international school in the EW-C fore Survey of Schools 2009. Highly rated on the vital parameters of academic reputation, leadership/manage-ment and infrastructure provision, this American-inspired institution of academic excellence has outdistanced its former sister school  — Kodaikanal International down south, ranked second (again) this year — by a considerable aggregate score margin.

“We are delighted that for the second year running, Woodstock has been ranked the top international school in the country in the EW-C fore Survey of Schools 2009. But while Woodstock celebrates past achieve-ments, we continue to invest in the future. We are planning additions to the school’s academic programme over the next year, and we will continue to invest in our facilities and staff to fulfill our mission of producing world citizens and leaders. Our curriculum will also feature an enhancement of the outdoor education programme with specialist-led expedi-tions and skills-building exercises such as rock-climbing and wilderness first-aid. A challenging and exciting future awaits the next generation, and Woodstock will welcome the future with them, striving to provide education for a world of difference,” says Dr. David Laurenson, principal of Woodstock School, Mussoorie.

These two top-ranked institutions which have retained their rankings apart, there’s been considerable rearrangement of seating at the Top 10 table. The low-profile Hebron School, Ootacamund and Indus International, Bangalore have vaulted from sixth and twelfth to third and fourth respectively this year. And while the British and American embassy schools have retained their last year’s rankings, the high-profile Pathways World School, Gurgaon has moved up two places to No. 9.

“I’m very pleased to hear that indus international has risen from last year’s 12th rank to No. 4 this year in the EW survey of international schools.  I attribute this to the excellent leadership our chief executive Gen. Arjun Ray has provided the school, strong support from our parents’ community, and our cooperative and enthusiastic student body. I am especially pleased by the high ratings we have received under the parameters of individual attention to students and academic reputation. All this is the result of substantial investments we have made in terms of time and resources in teacher recruitment and training during the past year,” says Sarojini Rao, principal of the Indus International School, Bangalore (estb. 2003).

Among the schools which for mysterious reasons have slipped badly in the international schools league table this year are Mallya Aditi, Bangalore (3 to 11); Good Shepherd International, Ootacamund (3 to 5); The International School, Bangalore (8 to 15); Mahindra United World College, Pune (9 to 17);  Canadian International, Bangalore (10 to 18); Calcutta International School (13 to 21); DRS International, Hyderabad (17 to 23) and International School of Hyderabad (18 to 24).

On the other hand, three institutions which hadn’t made it to the international schools league table last year have made respectable entries in 2009 — Mercedes Benz International, Pune (16); Billabong High International, Mumbai (19) and Sreenidhi International, Hyderabad (22). Regretably the Trivandrum International School, ranked 16 last year, has slipped below the public radar and didn’t qualify for ranking this year.

Taken from the article at: http://educationworldonline.net/index.php/page-article-choice-more-id-1923

Check out the latest information and comments submitted on the 37 international schools listed in India on International School Community.

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1988 (Budapest, Johor, Berne, Bordeaux, Hanoi, Rome, etc.)

December 25, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1988

Utilizing the database of the 1018 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 10 international schools that were founded in 1988 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Koc International School (Istanbul, Turkey)

“Founded in 1988 by the Vehbi Koç Foundation, the Koç School has quickly become one of Turkey’s most selective and competitive university preparatory schools. It attracts an outstanding academic staff of Turkish and foreign teachers, and students who score at the highest levels of entrance examinations. Koç School seeks to be a leader and a pioneer in Turkish education and to set standards for other schools to follow.”

Bordeaux International School  (Bordeaux, France)

“Bordeaux International School, also known as BIS, is a private (fee-paying) international school for ages 3–18 located in Bordeaux, France, established in 1988 by the non-profit making Association Linguistique et Culturelle Internationale. Students are from both France and other countries. The medium of instruction is English and French in the primary streams and mainly English in the secondary school. The school moved to new premises in rue Judaïque in August 2005.”

British School Bern (Berne, Switzerland)

“The British School of Bern is an English-speaking, International day school established in 1988. It is for pupils of all nationalities from the ages of three to twelve years. It is an independent, nonprofit day school located in Gumlingen, a suburb of Bern. The school provides a modern British curriculum. The teaching allows each child to develop to his/her particular need through both same-age and cross-age groupings.”

International School of Budapest (Budapest, Hungary)

International School of Johor (Johor, Malaysia)

United Nations International School (Vietnam) (Hanoi, Vietnam)

“The United Nations International School of Hanoi is an international school in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1988 with the support of the United Nations Development Programme in Vietnam (UNDP) with the aim of providing an education to the children of UN staff and others. It now caters to the children of diplomats, aid workers, businessman, and other expatriates living and working in Hanoi. Classes range from pre-school to high school, and the IB Diploma is available to students in grade 11 and 12.”

Rome International School (Rome, Italy)

“RIS opened its doors to its first elementary school students in September 1988. We offer an international education to children aged 2 to 18. The Middle School opened in September 2001 and the High School in 2007. The school is located in a fully equipped campus comprised of classrooms, ample sports facilities, science labs, music rooms, libraries and computer labs, next to several acres of a public park, Villa Ada.The location is well connected by public transport.”

Khalifa School (Safat, Kuwait)

“Khalifa School, founded in 1988, is recognized as the first private educational institution for special needs students in Kuwait. Motivated by her grandson, Khalifa, Mrs. Lulwa Khalifa Alghanim established Khalifa School with the vision of providing equal opportunities for special needs students. The school combines the latest teaching methods and state of the art technology to provide appropriate educational opportunities for the students. The school is located in the capital area of Kuwait and is accessible from all locations of the country.”

German-American International School
 (Menlo Park, California, United States)

“The concept of a German-American School in the Bay Area in order to promote the German language and culture started in May 1980, with an ad-hoc committee under the leadership of Dr. Liedkte, Professor of German at the San Francisco State University. He was assisted by a group of dedicated parents and Mr. Rothmann, the German consul at that time and the Swiss consul, Mr. Frey. The result of many years of dedicated work, the German American School (GAS) was created by a small group of parents wanting to provide a good bilingual education for their children.”

Adana Gundogdu College (Adana, Turkey)

“Adana Gündogdu College was founded in 1988 by Mr. Yunus Gündogdu. It started with 88 students and now there are approximate 2000 students. Our school is located in Adana, which is located in southern Turkey. Adana is the city in the south of Turkey and has a university and several colleges. We have many attractions, a lake and not far from the center is the ocean. Our school includes a kindergarten, an elementary school and one comprehensive school.”

Check out the rest of the more than 1018 international schools listed on International School Community here.

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Great Resource

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

November 30, 2011


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

Teacher in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teacher in Casablanca

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

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

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

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

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

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: The benefits of international schooling

November 21, 2011


The benefits of international schooling: First-person account of the life and prospects of international pupils.

The graduation gown of the school was a uniform blue, but when the students lined up for the final photos they could not look more different from one another.

The picture my father took of me and my friends included an American born in Egypt, a Chinese girl, and a Dutch girl – and there was my friend Annelie, who is half-Swedish and half-Sri Lankan.

My school was the Overseas School in Colombo, Sri Lanka, an International School attended by what educators call “Third Culture Kids” – young people who grow up in two or more different cultures and try to live with their own, “third,” mix of this experience.

Around 17,000 German students attended German Schools overseas in 2006, part of a growing group of such children, Melanie Schulz from the German Foreign Office told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The daughter of a German father working in international development, I first went to Sri Lanka when I was barely 17.

Two years later and back in Germany, my world appears very different to me and to that of other teenagers in my home town Dortmund in western Germany.

“It is strange to see people in suburban terraces, who finish school, do local apprenticeships, marry their kindergarten sweetheart, have two children, and just seem to stay in a little world for the rest of their lives,” says Jenni Griewel, 21. Also from Germany, she finished one year abroad in Ireland in 2006.

Ruth Van Reken, from Indianapolis, a former nurse, who now works with children of diplomats, members of the army and missionary workers, confirms the overwhelming experience of children who grew up in different worlds.

“Life is learned in living out a full three-dimensional view rather than through history and geography books alone,” she tells dpa.

I still remember the day when my father received a phone call in our Colombo flat and later told my younger sister and me that the LTTE had moved their attacks from the north of the country and bombed the airport in Colombo just 30 kilometres away from our flat.

Even though we were normally not exposed to Sri Lanka’s civil conflict, I was frightened. When I mailed my German friends in Dortmund about this, nobody knew about it.

Nobody even knew what the LTTE – Tamil rebels fighting for a separate state in Northern Sri Lanka – was.

It is not just that your school pals can come from more than three continents. As a Third Culture Kid, you feel in the middle of things that appear very far away for other children.

For Reken, who spent her childhood in Nigeria and later co-authored the book Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Between Worlds, everything she does today is connected to her multicultural childhood.

“The applications of lessons learned from and in my life shape my entire way of thinking and viewing things,” she says, adding she is now far more sensitive to seeing “hidden diversities” that other people may miss.

As a result, Third Culture Kids can adapt better to the modern globalized world, she points out: “They use what they have learned from life including for many language acquisition, larger world view, comfortableness in moving and living between cultural worlds etc. Perhaps above all is often they can think outside the box.”

However, the impact of the cultural transitions Third Culture Kids are forced to make is not necessarily only positive. Some children don’t learn to grieve and cope with the separations they experience, Reken says.

As a result, they can develop depression, emotional difficulties and career problems in later life.

In German overseas schools it is part of the school’s task to prepare the children for reintegration into their home country, according to Schulz of the German Foreign Office.

Sometimes, however, even the term “home” is not clear when it comes to Third Culture Children.

“I never realized until I was 39 that when I left Nigeria as a child of 13, my entire world died except for my immediate family.

“All my friends, my trees I loved to climb, the sights and sounds of the market that were all part of ‘home’ to me, were gone forever. But I had no language or understanding of it when it happened,” she tells dpa.

Other children, who lived in many countries, don’t know at all what “home” is, she has learned from her work with Third Culture Kids. Basic identity questions remain for them, as well as a fundamental feeling of “belonging everywhere and nowhere.”

I do know where home is, but I now feel an unspoken connection especially with those friends in Germany who have also been far away from home.

Jenni did not want to move back in with her parents when she came back to Germany. “It wasn’t because it was not great there but I just felt it was time to be independent.”

Everytime I see my graduation photos, I am proud to have friends all over the world.

Having lived the experience – and the trauma – that the world is a bigger place, many Third Culture Kids seem to embrace the difference, complexity, and multiculturalism also in their later career choices.

Jenni is now studying to be a social worker. I have applied to study political science in Austria. My Chinese friend is studying environmental studies in Canada.

And Annelie, after living in Sweden, Sri Lanka, the Kashmiri mountains and Spain, plans to study sociology and work on human rights with the United Nations.

Reprinted from the expatic.com website here.

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Great Resource

Great resource: Want to work at an international school in Germany?

October 21, 2011


The How To Germany website (www.howtogermany.com/pages/internationalschools.html) has some excellent insight on the many international schools in Germany.


There are many international educators interested in working at these schools.  Currently, there are 21 international schools listed under Germany on International School Community.  There are 20 international schools listed on the How To Germany website.  Some of the international schools listed on their website are:

Highlighted sections from their website:

There are compelling reasons why you might choose to send your children to one of Germany’s many fine international schools.

“Many English-speaking expatriates are educating their children at Germany’s international schools, and an education at such a school has numerous advantages.

There is, of course, instruction in the native language. And, since the student body is usually quite international, they expose the young people to a variety of cultures. They also do a better job than most German schools of introducing the students to computers, and the program of sports and extracurricular activities is more like what they are accustomed to at home.

Physical plants and facilities are usually quite modern, clean and comfortable, with new equipment more conducive to learning. And the curricula among international schools is uniform, allowing ease of transfer. They usually are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and normally offer the International Baccalaureate. They may also offer the American high school diploma, British A Levels and, sometimes, the GermanAbitur.

The costs vary from school to school and in some cases may approximate what a US college education commands: as much as €16,000 per high school student per year. Preschool and elementary school grades may cost 30 to 50 percent less. Additional costs could include transportation, lunches, class trips and various special activities.”

Berlin Brandenburg International School


“Berlin Brandenburg International School (BBIS), founded in 1990, is an inclusive, coeducational English language day and boarding school serving the internationally-minded community of Germany’s capital region and beyond. The BBIS campus is located in the village of Kleinmachnow, bordering the southwest of Berlin, on a large, quiet wooded hill known as the Seeberg.

BBIS offers an international education programme. An International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, BBIS is the first IB school in the world to be fully authorized by the International Baccalaureate organization in Geneva, Switzerland to teach all four IB programmes covering the 3 to19 year-old age range. The school is also fully accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA).

From Early Childhood to grade 12, BBIS is truly an international school, with 680 students representing 60 nationalities. Classes are small, usually with fewer than 18 students. The school offers excellent facilities and an extensive extracurricular programme for students of all ages. In addition, specific support is provided for students with special needs and those for whom English is not a first language.

In grades 11 and 12 students have the opportunity to earn the IB Diploma, a qualification recognized by top universities throughout the world, or the IB Career-related Certificate, an exciting new professionally-oriented programme that, with a flexible and individualized curriculum, aims at helping students develop a broad range of career-related competencies.

The BBIS boarding facility, located directly on the school campus, houses 30 international students from grades 9 through 12. It is the first international, English-language IB World Boarding School in all of Germany.   For more details please visit www.bbis.de.”

St. George’s International School


St. George’s International School has been an integral part of the international community in Nordrhein-Westfalen since 1985 when it was founded by an English family in Cologne. Since then, St. George’s has founded further schools in Duisburg (2002) and Aachen (2007). With over 1000 pupils in its three schools, St. George’s success lies in its aim to offer children happy school years.

St. George’s provides a full school day for pupils aged 3 to 18 and incorporates all school years including Nursery School and Reception Classes, Early Years, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School until A-Level or IB diploma. Both diplomas are accepted world-wide for university entrance.

Individual support and attention are placed on pupils in regard to their native school system thereby enabling them to return smoothly to their native country’s system if necessary. 45 % of St. George’s student body is comprised of German pupils and the rest comes from 35 different nations; hence integration is not only theory but is practiced on a daily basis. A school uniform further enhances integration and solidarity between pupils. All children are introduced and immersed in traditions, holidays and history of the local German culture.

It is St. George’s aim to achieve the highest possible academic standard by means of small classes (maximum 20 pupils per class), a dedicated and enthusiastic staff and a positive atmosphere throughout the school. The student-teacher ratio of 7.5 to 1 allows for individual attention to be placed on each pupil’s specific need, for stronger and weaker pupils alike. Non English speakers are given extra support through the ESL department. The first foreign language taught is German which is divided into German for native speakers and German for non-native speakers; the second foreign language taught is French. After school clubs are offered on a regular basis.

More information on the programs can be found at:
www.stgeorgesschoolcologne.de
www.stgeorgesschoolduisburg.de
www.stgeorgesschoolaachen.de

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.06 – 9 October, 2011

October 9, 2011


Site Stats:
Current members: 151
School profiles: 897
Blog entries: 105
Posted comments & info: 1079
Facebook likes: 91
Twitter followers: 169

v2011.06 – 9 October, 2011:
Are you ready for your midterm break yet?  If you live in China (or Asia in general), most likely you have already gone on your midterm trip.  Some have gone to Bali, others to Vietnam.  If you live in Europe, then your midterm break is probably in just 1-2 weeks time, or week 42 as it is known amongst the locals.  Some will go to Malta, others to Greece.  If you live in the United States and work for a public school, then you most likely will not get any week off of work until Christmas.  Another one of the many perks teaching abroad at international schools!

We all need a break at this point in the year.  Ironically though, some trips take time to plan…a lot of time!  Hours and hours of searching on various search websites for flights.  More hours searching and searching for the right hostal or hotel to stay at or what tour to join.  The frustrating part sometimes is that the cheapest flight prices in certain countries are actually found on websites that are only in the host country’s language.  Great if you can read that langauge, but a bit challenging if you don’t.  It is good to have a native speaker help you out with checking out the airfares on those websites, just to double check you are getting the best deal.

The midterm break is a good chance to go visit some of your friends around the world.  Got a friend now in Egypt?  Now is your chance to go visit him/her!  At International School Community, networking and gathering information is very easy.  Get answers about schools that you are interested in by clicking on the school profile page link and sending a message to one of the members of that school on our website.  It’s a great way to get firsthand information!  Also, it is a great way to start making some new friends across the world that you can go visit.  Currently, International School Community members work at or have worked at 72 international schools! Check out which schools here.


Photo by Duncan P Walker


Recently updated schools:

· 09 Oct  Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (5 new comments)
(Lisbon, Portugal)
“The general allowance for all the shipping, baggage, flight, etc…is 2,250 USD, which is also taxed and reimbursed in Euros….”· 08 Oct  German-American International School (2 new comments)
(Menlo Park, United States)
“The settling-in allowance is 1000 U.S. dollars and the airfare allowance is the same amount as well but the flight is only for the start of the contract….”· 08 Oct  International School of Kigali  (7 new comments)
(Kigali, Rwanda)
“There are 21 full-time faculty, 1 classroom assistant and a Director who represent diverse nationalities. Nine nationalities are represented. Teachers are predominately from the US, with the UK, Uganda, Sri Lanka, and Kenya…”· 08 Oct  Nishimachi International School (7 new comments)
(Tokyo, Japan)
“The school has a retirement plan, but it is only available to teachers after 3 years of service…”

· 06 Oct  Universal American School (6 new comments)
(Hawalli, Kuwait)
“The school year comprises two semesters (four nine-week quarters of a 4X4 “accelerated block” schedule) between late August and early-June….”

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


Recent blog entries:

· Featured article: Moving Overseas with Children by Teachers International Consultancy (part 2)
“If your child is joining an international school where many expatriate children attend, then expect the school to be the social as well as the learning centre for the community…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #2 – “Energy is eternal delight”
“We have all had interviews in one of those hotel rooms where the interviewers seem disorganized, unaware really of who is sitting in front of them at the moment.  Some interviewers due indeed look rather confused and out-of-sorts…”

· Educating children abroad can be an expensive business, so it’s important to start planning early
“One good benefit that international schools provide for their teachers is free tuition for their children to attend the school.  That is worth around £20,000!  Too bad teachers without children can’t pocket that money if they were offered the same benefit…”

· Comments and information about salaries on International School Community #1 (Hong Kong, Shanghai & Seoul)
“I have 14 years experience and my Masters. I earn about $1,500 per month in Won (about $400 of that is taken out of my paycheck for a retirement plan which is matched by school which I have access to at the end of the school year), and then another $2,000 in US dollars which is sent to my US account every month. I pay no taxes….”

· Great link – U.S. Dept. of State’s information on Teaching Overseas
“There is a list of 197 international schools that the U.S. Department provides assistance to. These school support an American-style education…”


Recently added schools:



Requested schools to be reviewed
:


This last month we have had visits from 60 countries around the world!


1000 comments and information celebration:

International School Community is celebrating over 1000 comments and information which have been posted now on our website!  Currently, we are at 1079. For a limited time, all members can use the coupon code (1000COMMENTS) to get 50% off of their next premium membership subscription.  With the coupon code: 1 month is only 5 USD, 6 months is now only 10 USD and 1 year is only 15 USD!

Take advantage of this special deal now as this coupon code is valid only until 8 November, 2011.  International School Community is the website to go to for international school teachers!


New members:

·Slc Chu (International School Singapore)
·Eli Mouland (Canada)
·Josselyn van der Pol (Berlin Brandenburg International School)
·Ian Lally (John F. Kennedy School Berlin)
·Anastasia AnastasiaV (The International School of Moscow)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Taylor Smith

“I was recommended a job by an old swimming friend who was already working in an international school.  The job was in Shanghai, China so without hestiation, I packed my bags and made the beiggest decision of my life (or so I thought at that point)…

If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Highlighted Link
An international school’s encounter with internet pirates“Over the past several months, the International School of Stavanger has been challenged with a new and unpleasant phenomenon – being taken ‘virtual hostage’ by internet pirates.In February, 2011 we started getting some emails from candidates applying for non-existent ESL and English teaching jobs. They referred to having seeing ads on various ESL employment websites.When I went onto one of these websites, sure enough there was a posting for an ESL job at our school starting in May 2011. The job would pay benefits including 1800 Euro per month and the advert suggested applicants write to an individual (who really does work here), referring to her as the ‘Recruitment Manager.’

Of course, the job was pure fiction. Probably the silliest part is the idea that we would be paying a Euro-based salary. The Norwegian Kroner is the only currency we use for salary payments. (However, that last piece of information is also what has led the police to believe that this mischief had been accomplished not by a disgruntled individual with a possible connection to the school, but was probably was a ‘phishing’ expedition.)”

Highlighted blog of an international teacher:
The Night Before
“Once I get there I am sure the excitement will set in again. I am sure I will still have periods where I am homesick. I am so glad that the internet, cell phones and skype have all been invented, and I have access to them.”

Getting to know the school

“The schedule here is quite interesting and confusing right now. They have an 8 period day, but periods 1 &2, 3 & 4, and 6 & 7 are block periods. Periods 5 and 8 are single periods. They also do not have the classes the same time everyday.”*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.
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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 2002 (China, Mauritius, Egypt, etc.)

September 25, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 2002

Utilizing the database of the 889 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found schools that were founded in 2002 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

The International School of Macao (Macao, China)

“TIS was established in 2002 to provide a Canadian curriculum and accreditation to local and expatriate students. English is the primary language of instruction.
TIS opened with an initial total enrolment of 58 students on the campus of Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) in 2002. By 2006, the School had grown to over 500 students and had become accredited with the Alberta provincial (Canada) government. Students graduate from TIS with an Alberta High School diploma that is accepted in universities around the world.”

Northfield International High School  (Port Louis, Mauritius)

“Northfields International High School (NIHS) is a privately owned secondary school situated in Mapou, district of Pampelmous in the north. From its small beginnings in 2001 NIHS has now over 280 students.”

Canadian International School of Egypt (Cairo, Egypt)

“The Canadian International School of Egypt (CISE) opened its doors on September 15, 2002.  It is the first Canadian school certified by the Ministry of Education of Ontario in Egypt and the Middle East.  The Egyptian initiators of this project chose the Province of Ontario, Canada’s most populated province, to provide the curriculum and most of the teaching staff for the school.”

Al Jazeera Academy (Doha, Qatar)

“Al Jazeera Academy opened its doors to students in September 2002. It is a modern international educational institution which comprises three separate schools within a single campus to cater for all students from Preschool to Year 13.”

Vale Verde International School (Burgau, Portugal)

“After the acquisition of a property suitable for the conversion of a school in 1997, the De Beer family developed the idea to fruition.  In 2002, Vale Verde International School was founded following years of investment required to bring the buildings in line with Ministry of Education requirements.”

International Montessori School of Prague (Prague, Czech Republic)

“The International Montessori School of Prague (IMSP) was established as a private school in 2002. It was originally located in the Blatenska campus of Prague 4. IMSP started with 16 children in two classes : Toddler (1.5 – 3 years), and Primary (3 – 6 years).  In September 2003 the school was moved to a much larger facility in the Hrudickova campus of Prague 4. That school year we started with three classrooms: one Toddler, one Primary, and one Elementary.  In 2005 a second Primary class was added, so now IMSP had 4 classrooms: Toddler, Primary 1 and Primary 2, and Elementary. In 2006 the Primary program extended its afternoon component with Yoga, Music and Movement, Arts and Crafts, and Czech languge and culture.”

Logos International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

“Logos opened its doors in September 2002 with an enrollment of 58 students ranging from pre-kindergarten to grade seven.  At that time,Logos consisted of a single renovated house and an adjacent empty lot where a basketball court and small swimming pool were soon built.  Since that time,Logos added an additional grade level each year.  In the spring of 2008,Logos held its first graduation ceremony for 13 seniors.  Logos’ brand new campus consists of a basketball/volleyball/hockey court,athletic field,playground,library,cafeteria,2 computer labs,2 science labs,multi-purpose assembly room,and a swimming pool.  All of the classrooms are air-conditioned and equipped with essential teaching tools.  Our new facility is twice the size of our former location. We are very excited about this new provision.”

New Zealand International School (Jakarta, Indonesia)

“On 14 April 2003 Mr. Chris Elder, Ambassador of New Zealand to Indonesia, officially opened the School and the enrolment reached 35 students. The school grew quickly, and in August 2004 space was secured at LPPI, The Banking Institute, on Kemang Raya, to house the Senior Secondary Students. Since that time our enrolment has steadily increased in all aspects. The growth had the effect of moving expansion plans ahead of schedule; the search for additional premises has been an exciting time.”

Bromsgrove International School (Bangkok, Thailand)

“From the vision of the school founders Riza Sripetchvandee and Ian Davison, a new school was opened in 2002 under the name of Windsor International School and ownership of Windsor Education Co. Ltd. The School was constructed at Soi 164 Ramkhamheang Road, Minburi, in Eastern Bangkok. Over the course of the next two years pupil numbers grew steadily.  A new building was opened in September 2004 to meet the demand from Early Years students. In April 2004, the School became affiliated to the prestigious and world famous Bromsgrove School UK and changed its name to Bromsgrove International School Thailand (BIST). Bromsgrove School UK was founded over 450 years ago and is a leading co-educational independent day and boarding school for some 1,500 pupils and is situated in the English Midlands and provides a first-class education with excellent facilities and resources, as well as enjoying considerable distinction in Sport, Music and the Arts.”

International School of Wuxi (Wuxi, China)

“International School of Wuxi (ISW) is part of the International Schools of China (ISC) – an organization that, for the last 20 years, has offered academically excellent programs to meet the intellectual, physical and emotional needs of students.”

International Community School (Atlanta) (Atlanta, United States)

Kongsberg International School (Kongsberg, Norway)

“Kongsberg International School is a non-profit foundation established in 2002 by Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS, Kongsberg Automotive ASA and Kongsberg Nærings- og Handelskammer (Chamber of Commerce and Industry). The school opened its doors in August 2003. The purpose of the school is to serve Kongsberg and its surrounding communities by providing a high quality international education for students, based on the International Baccalaureate Programme (www.ibo.org), using English as the principal medium of instruction. Although many of our students are Norwegian, a growing international community in Kongsberg and Buskerud has provided enrolment of students from over 22 nations.”

Access International Academy (Ningbo) (Ningbo, China)

“The AIAN student body is comprised of students from over 20 different nationalities.  Faculty members are predominantly from the United States.   The teacher-pupil ratio is approximately 1:4, which promotes individualized instructional practices.”

Singapore International School (Indonesia) (Jakarta, Indonesia)

“With the help of international consultants, SIS was able to redesign, construct and eventually turn an “abandoned” clubhouse into a school that is the talk of the town, in a housing complex of Bona Vista, South Jakarta. Located in a quiet neighborhood bordering the elite Pondok Indah real estate, the School is only two minutes from the Outer Ring Road making it accessible from many parts of Jakarta. The SIS complex boasts of an open, airy concept amidst lush, contoured gardens. In Bona Vista, SIS is able to enjoy all the amenities in this complex and this includes a competition-sized pool, soccer field, basketball courts and tennis courts. After a busy construction schedule, SIS finally opened its doors in its new complex in January 2002 with bigger classrooms and better facilities. The enrollment today includes a student population coming from at least 25 different nationalities.”

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.05 – 10 September, 2011

September 10, 2011



v2011.05 – 10 September, 2011:

School is back now in session. Many teachers have been at work and teaching students for a few weeks already.  A teacher just wrote to us talk to share what life was like starting year #2 at their “relatively new” international school.  Things on the teacher’s mind during the first few weeks so far were related to the following topics:
Getting to know the new director starting this year, knowing the school’s curriculum better now, knowing where things are located in their city and not being new to everything like in year #1, feeling more at home now that their apartment is already decorated, getting used to all of the school’s new equipment and materials, working with new teams of teachers at school and also getting to know the new teachers, making a bit more money now that they are moving up the pay schedule a bit, planning new holidays and vacations to explore more of their region of the world, going to the new shops and stores that have opened up in their city which is making shopping for certain things a lot easier and lastly, getting to inherit the old things of departing teachers from the previous school year!


Recently updated schools:

· 10 Sept  American Bilingual School (14 new comments)
(Kuwait City, Kuwait)
“ABS accommodations are single-occupancy only. Staff members are not allowed to invite a roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, driver, maid, etc. to live with them in ABS housing. You must pay…”
· 09 Sept  Dalian Maple Leaf International School (9 new comments)
(Dalian, China)
“There are several modern department stores and shopping malls in Dalian. In addition to Chinese chain stores there are Walmarts from the USA, Carrifours from France, and MyKals from Japan. There is a…”
· 05 Sept  Naseem International School (Bahrain) (20 new comments)
(Riffa, Bahrain)
“Be sure to bring enough cash to get you through to your first pay check at the end of September. There will be a settling in allowance of …”
· 05 Sept  Dhirubhai Ambani International School (5 new comments)
(Mumbai, India)
“The campus is situated at Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai, which is a fast emerging business district. Just off Bandra-Kurla Complex Road, it is accessible to students and teachers living in different…”
· 04 Sept  American School of Barcelona (3 new comments)
(Barcelona, Spain)
“I miss the students at ASB. They were so full of energy and character. I have worked at two other international schools now and the students at ASB are definitely the…” 

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


Recent blog entries:

· Featured article: Moving Overseas with Children by Teachers International Consultancy (part 1)
“Moving abroad with children requires a lot of planning in advance to make the transition as easy as possible for everyone. There’s no doubt that you’ll be faced with hitches along the way, but everything…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #1 – Bad interviews are good things
“No matter the reputation of the school, the people sitting across from you in the hotel room asking you questions in that school’s name are a stronger indicator of how it would feel to work at that school …”

· Member Search Feature: What positions do International School Community members have?
“After using the member profile search feature on the main homepage of International School Community, we found the following results…”

· Great link: Want to work at an international school in Thailand?
“We are often asked for ‘foreign schools’ in Bangkok and Thailand. None of the international schools in Bangkok and Thailand is really a ‘foreign school’ since they are all accredited by the Ministry of Education in Thailand…”

· How to Break into International School Teaching
“Some of the applications for recruitment fairs like Search and ISS can take months to complete.  Especially the confidential references that you need to get your references to submit….”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 61 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 135
School profiles: 877
Surveys: 5
Blog entries: 92
Posted comments and information: 939


Posting comments and information:

We encourage you to take some time to fill out some comments and information about this schools you know about.  Remember, posting in done anonymously. The more information we share, the more other members will know and be able to make more informed decisions if they are considering employment at an international school.  Also, the more members we have, the more people there are to leave information and to network with.  Please refer your international school teacher friends to join our community and to share what they know!

Officially, we also have 85 likes on Facebook and on Twitter we have 135 followers!


New members:

·Taylor Smith (Garden International School)
·Todd Bowler (Canadian International School – Singapore)
·Krista Wolfe (International School of Elite Education)
·Annette Harvey (Almaty Haileybury)
·YooKyung Shim (Seoul International School)
·ana De Anda (Monterrey Colegio Ingles Monterrey)


Current Survey Topic:
Vote here!


Member spotlight:

If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Highlighted Link
TIC website. Highlights from this page: TIC provides a personalised, reliable and responsive recruitment and training service tailored specifically to international schools and teachers worldwide. TIC are experts in international schools having over 25 years experience in international education. They have a huge network of contacts in great international schools all over the world; this enables them to help you find your perfect overseas teaching job. They offer a tailored recruitment service whether you are a teacher looking for a job overseas or a school looking to recruit.
Facebook page:
A great facebook group page for international school teachers.  Check it out here.  It is a community of educators working in international schools across the globe.  TIST is a site dedicated to a number of interests:
– Sharing instructional strategies
– Integrating instructional technology
– Insights on international teaching
– Questions and concerns about IB
– Cross-curricular and cross-continental collaborative projects
– Job fairs and the recruitment process
– Advice about future teaching destinations and cultural adjustment
– Keeping up with old colleagues and making new contacts
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9 Lessons Learned Regarding Intl School Hiring Fairs

Lesson #1 at International School Hiring Fairs: Bad interviews are good things

September 6, 2011


Bad interviews are good things

interviews“No matter the reputation of the school, the people sitting across from you in the hotel room asking you questions in that school’s name are a stronger indicator of how it would feel to work at that school. I talked to English department heads whose questions – and my answers – made it clear to both of us that we would, or would not, make a happy marriage. There was an unsurprising correlation between this marital element and the offering or non-offering of a position at each school. Schools touting themselves as “21st century schools” and banging their laptop program drums – and during interviews with which I expected flower petals to descend from on high – on an occasion or two turned out to instead voice sentiments belonging to, um, people who’d obviously never experienced the literacy magic that happens after a few months writing and conversing behind the wheel of a blog. No rose-petals there – instead, many mental leaves of wet cabbage fell, probably, in both our imaginations. Marriage for the next two years? We think not. Thank goodness for the bad interview, and for the “We’re sorry we cannot offer you a job at this time.” No apology necessary, really – good luck.”

How wonderful.  This idea behind feeling good about bad interviews is perfect.  Sometimes we get caught up in all the hoopla at recruitment fairs.  We see teacher after teacher getting job offers and then there’s you, not getting ANY offers.  We have all been there I’m sure.  The worst is when you are in the elevators with the people talking so excitingly about their latest job offers and new contracts they are going to sign the next morning.  Like we have said before, it is all about luck and timing.  And now, there is a new addition to our quote about job hunting…if you are the right match for each other, it will be glaringly apparent.  If you are the right fit for each other, then you are the right fit.  It is truly like finding a partner or a spouse in life – you need to be at the right time and at the right place in each others’ lives for things to work out, and you must have some chemistry between each other.

We have all left interviews thinking “Oh, I really would like to have the opportunity to work at this school” knowing deep down that the person didn’t think you were the best fit and knowing even deeper down that you also didn’t think you were the best fit.  Sometimes you just want to get affirmation that you are a “good catch” at the international school recruitment fairs (UNI Overseas Placement Fair, Search Associates, International School Services, CIS, etc.) and you want to get job offers from everyone.  Some teachers are told to accept and go to all offers to interview.  If you do just that, you many times find yourself in hotel rooms with some administrator who is not speaking the same language as you.  They are talking and going through their speech about their school, but you are just thinking this is not the person I want to be working with, it is not the school I want to be working at and this is not the country that I want to be living in.  At the end of one of our bad interview experiences, the school asked “so what do you think?” and the person responded “I’m sorry, I just don’t think we are a good fit to work together.”  They sat there with shocked looks on their faces!  Sometimes you just need to be blunt, to get your point across because some schools may not even realize they have also just experienced a bad interview.

interviewsTraits and signs that a bad interview is taking place at an international school recruitment fair:

  • The administrator is saying to their counterpart “So, who was this person again?”
  • They are only talking about the good benefits package and how great it is to live and work there.
  • The director is sitting in a corner of the hotel room going through a mess of paperwork on the bed while the principal is interviewing you.
  • The people interviewing you are literally arguing how you are not a good fit. (e.g. “We usually only hire people from the UK.” “We are looking to hire someone locally for the position.”)
  • The administrators are not even asking you questions about teaching only about if they can find a way to hire you that would be in agreement with the laws of the host country (or ways to get around it).
  • The interviewers are coming across as far superior than you and can’t stop talking about their school as if it was a top-tier international school, when indeed they are truly not!
  • The person interviewing you doesn’t even physically work at the school you would be working at and they are only talking about how great the company is that owns the school.

“Nine lessons learned” taken from The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs article by Clay Burell’s blog Beyond School.

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Great Resource

Great resource: Want to work at an international school in Thailand?

September 4, 2011


International Schools for Bangkok and Thailand

Wow!  There are many international schools in Thailand.  Actually, a high number of visits to International School Community each month are from Thailand.  So, it is no surprise that there are many people wanting information about the international schools there.

The website has a great map of all the international schools in Thailand.


It also has all the international schools listed in a table which shows which curriculum each school has, the city it is in, the level of education they provide to students and main language of instruction.

Other highlights from this page:

“We are often asked for ‘foreign schools’ in Bangkok and Thailand. None of the international schools in Bangkok and Thailand is really a ‘foreign school’ since they are all accredited by the Ministry of Education in Thailand, a legal process that eventually makes them Thai schools. International schools use a foreign curriculum, as opposed to the national Thai curriculum, from the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany, Australia etc.”

“An international school is loosely defined as a school that promotes international education, either by adopting an international curriculum such as that of the International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International Examinations, or by following a national curriculum different from that of the country the school is located in. These schools cater mainly to students who are not nationals of the host country, such as the children of the staff of international businesses, international organizations, foreign embassies, missions, or missionary programs. Many local students attend these schools to learn the language of the international school and to obtain qualifications for employment or higher education in a foreign country”

So, who wants to work in Thailand???

Check out the international schools listed in Thailand on International School Community.

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ISCommunity Newsletters

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

August 13, 2011


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


Recent blog entries:

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

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

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

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


Recently updated schools:

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

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


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


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

 

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


100 members:

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

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


New members:

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

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

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

July 31, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1978

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

The American International School of Nouakchott (Nouakchott, Mauritania)

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

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

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

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

New Cairo British International School (Cairo, Egypt)

British School of Kuwait (Safat, Kuwait)

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

Vienna International School (Vienna, Austria)

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

Acs International School – Hillingdon Campus (Hillingdon, England)

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

International School São Lourenço (Almacil, Portugal)

Sotogrande International School (Cadiz, Spain)

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

Fairview International School (Kuala, Lumpur)

American School of Douala (Douala, Cameroon)

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

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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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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1983 (China, South Korea, Senegal, etc.)

June 11, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1983

Utilizing the database of the 778 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 10 schools that were founded in 1983 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Chinese International School (Hong Kong, China)
When CIS opened its doors in 1983, its co-founders Nelly Fung, Kin-Yue Fu and Joyce Tai realized a long-held dream of a school that would offer the best of both Chinese and Western worlds.  Born in Asia and educated in Asia and the West, they saw a need in the late 1970s for an educational institution in Hong Kong that could provide an alternative to local schools teaching mainly an exam-based curriculum and to international schools teaching mainly Western curricula.  Their vision was for a school open to all regardless of nationality, race or creed, where students would achieve fluency in Chinese (Mandarin) and English and an understanding of the dual heritage that makes Hong Kong unique.

International School of Busan (Busan, South Korea)
The International School of Pusan (not Busan as it is now called) opened in September 1983 with seven young pupils in kindergarten and elementary school, and two teachers. Busan was not the expatriate centre that it is today but still the parents wanted their children to have a world-standard international education (rather than a national system education), so that they could transfer around the world. They also wanted a caring, nurturing, family-like ethos which would give the children a high level of self confidence and esteem, and would teach them tolerance and respect for other cultures. The basic education principles of BIFS were formed!

International Bilingual School at Hsinchu Science Park (Taiwan, China)
The school was proposed by the founder of the Science Park Kwoh-Ting Li and administered by Ministry of Education, National Science Council and administration of the Park. IBSH only admits children of employees of private enterprises in the Park, government organizations, Industrial Technology Research Institute, National Chiao Tung University and National Tsing Hua University.

International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal)
It was founded in 1983 in order to provide a non-sectarian alternative for international families who are temporarily based in Dakar. The initial leadership of the school was primarily North American, with strong support, which continues today, from the United States Embassy and U.S. Department of State’s Office of Overseas Schools.

British School Lome (Lome, Togo)
Founded specifically as an international school to meet the needs and interests of expatriate families living in Togo, BSL soon expanded to offer boarding facilities to students from across the region.

Colegio Albania (La Guajira, Colombia)
The school started with only 5 students! (if you can read Spanish, check out their history here)

Tanto International School (Stockholm, Sweden)
The Tanto School was founded in 1983 by Connie Näslund and Anne Haldane. The school expanded over the next few years to a total of five classrooms with an age range from four to twelve years old. The curriculum at this time was a mixture of British and American. After many years of dedicated service to the school both Mrs. Näslund and Miss Haldane retired.

Cempaka International School (Selangor, Malaysia)
Cempakans’ record in National Public Examinations ever since its inception in 1983 has been impeccable : 100% passes each year in all examinations.

American School of Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)
The American School of Bangkok was founded in 1983 as a kindergarten. It was originally called Didyasarin International Kindergarten. “Didyasarin” was the family of Mrs. Lakhana Tavedikul, the founder, owner, and Director of the school.

Ibn Khuldoon National School (Manama, Bahrain)
On the 22nd of September 1983 the concept of a truly bi-lingual system of education took form. It all started as a dream for Bahraini parents who sought an academic institution that would be bi-lingual and cater for the specific needs of Arab children, yet would meet high international educational standards.

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.02 – 7 June, 2011

June 9, 2011



v2011.02 – 7 June, 2011:
Well, the school year is winding down for most of us.  Some int’l schools are already out and some still have a month to go!  Either way summer is upon us and travel awaits.  Most of us go back to our home countries, some of us skip going “home” and explore new countries and then there are the few that stay in their host country to relax or because they have visitors coming.  Finally, there are the international educators that are moving on.   Lots of packing to do and shipping of boxes to their new destination.  Many will be taking a chance on a new school and new country; and a lucky few finally got a job to go work at their dream school in their dream country/city.

If you are moving on to live in a new destination, don’t forgot to update your member profile to show your new “current location” and your new “current school.”  Also, now that many of us have some more freetime on our hands, now is the time to share what you know by writing some new comments on the school profile page of the school you currently work at.


The offical launch promotion continues: All new members that sign up will automatically receive a free 1-month subscription of premium membership.  Make sure to forward this newsletter to your friends and colleagues so that they can also benefit from this promotion.  Current members can still benefit from this promotion.  Just sign-on and click on the My Account tab and then the renew your subscription link.  Use the coupon code “MESGRATIS” on the payment page (coupon code expires on 30 June, 2011)


New incentive program: Now when you submit comments on the school profile pages, you can earn coupon codes 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.


Site Stats
Current members: 74
School profiles: 778
Surveys: 3
Blog entries: 51
Pictures: 10
Posted comments: 221


Recent blog entries:

· Survey results are in – Which area of the world would you prefer to work in?
“it seems as if Western Europe is the top area of the world that internationals school educators want to live and work in….”
· Are students from one culture group “taking-over” certain international schools?
“Is it true that in most places in the world, where there are international schools, that there is many times a “dominant” culture group at each school…”
· Why do people leave international school teaching to go back to their own country?
“With regards to the single teachers, it seems that many of them move back to their home countries for reasons not necessarily related to money, but for love as well…”
· Highlighted article: Destinations and Dispositions (IKEA dependence)
“IKEA is indeed the best friend of international school teachers.  What a great friend too because…”
· It’s all about luck and timing: Getting the international school job of your dreams
“If you really want to live and work in a specific city in the world and there are only 2-4 jobs available at the two international schools there…”


Recently updated schools:

· International School of Ho Chi Minh City (6 new comments) (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
“The school goes to a number of recruitment fairs during the hiring season. Many times they go to…”
· International School of Chile, Nido de Aguilas (4 new comments) (Santiago, Chile)
“The campus is in an area that is one of the newest and…”
· Beanstalk International Bilingual School (5 new comments) (Beijing, China)
“The expat teachers at this school are mostly from USA, Canada…”
· American Community School (Amman) (4 new comments) (Amman, Jordan)
“The last time we went through the re-accreditation process was back in 2006, so now…”
· Academia Cotopaxi (American International School) (6 new comments) (Quito, Ecuador)
“There is a variety of housing options, but most teachers rent apartments that…”
· American Academy for Girls (Dubai) (4 new comments) (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
“The school prefers to hire single women. You need to have a minimum…”

(The last 40 schools to be updated)

Recently added schools:

Requested schools to be reviewed:


Member spotlight:


Noah Bohnen: “Colombia is truly a gem.  Having traveled to over 50 countries, there is no place quite like it.  When we were there, there were still very few tourists and you really felt like you were on a cultural frontier…”

 

*If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  If you are chosen to be highlighted, you will receive a coupon code to receive 6 months of premium access to our website for free!


New members:
Nicole Dolce (Lincoln School – Argentina)
Brian Lockwood (Nanjing Int’l School – China)
Allison Davis (Beijing BIBS – China)
Robin Doherty (Shanghai Rego – China)
Troy White (Amer. Int’l School of Cyprus – Cyprus)


New Survey Topic:

 


Vote here
!


Website updates:

We have added some more questions to the school and benefits sections of the school profile pages.  Many more updates are on the way, so stay tuned!


Highlighted Link
The International School Teacher is a forum/social networking/information gathering website designed for the international school teaching community.  The founder of this website is one of International School Community’s members: Troy White.


FAQ:
How do you figure out the population of each city?

We use the latest numbers from Wikipedia.   We also use the metro area population instead of just the city proper itself.   We thought it would give a better indication of the actual number of people that live in and around the city.


This last month we have had visits from 49 countries around the world!

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: Destinations and Dispositions (IKEA dependence)

May 28, 2011


What an interesting article by David Truss.

I’d like to talk about IKEA for a moment.  IKEA is indeed the best friend of international school teachers.  What a great friend too because it travels with you where ever to go to in the world.  Within the first 2-3 weeks of moving to a new country, each and every time I find myself at IKEA buying new furniture (sometimes even buying the same furniture that I purchase at my previous placement!).  I never used to buy so much IKEA stuff when I lived in my home country.

What draws me back each time?  It is common knowledge that a trip to IKEA causes your “inner-craziness” to come out in full force.  Navigating the maze of the store to get to the checkout lines, sometimes I need a straight jacket!  Now try doing that same journey in another country’s IKEA in Spain, China, etc…MADDENING! Yet, I’m still drawn to its “cheap” and “affordable” furniture and furnishings.

But like all good friends, you go through ups and downs in your relationship.  I always forgive IKEA and come back to him/her.  I always say to my best friends that “I will be very sad at your funeral.”  After looking at IKEA furniture like “Jeff” the trusty, cheap chair for years and years, of course, I will be sad at Jeff’s funeral when it breaks (true story).  Likewise, Jeff will be sad when I sell it away to somebody on in the internet or leave it with another friend when I move to a new country and can’t take it with me.

Maybe it is time that I finally say goodbye to IKEA for good.  But, IKEA seems to not accept when I say “no” to him/her!   IKEA responds “Take me back! I love you!  You know you can’t live without me!”  And every time IKEA wins me back, every time.

IKEA.  Thank goodness for you!

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Information for Members

School profile pages on International School Community: 4 comment sections and 3 survey sections

April 16, 2011


Each school profile page on International School Community has 4 sections: School, Benefits, City and Travel.  In each of those 4 categories, there are comment sections (see below) where members can leave firsthand information about what it is like working at a specific school.  3 categories (School, Benefits, and City) have survey sections (see below) where you can submit your votes on topics related to that category.  3 categories (School, Benefits and City) also have photo uploading features.

Our goal is for our members to submit real information that is very specific so that prospective teachers can make better, more informed decisions as they consider working at an international school.  International School Community has organized each school profile page to reflect each important aspect of the lives of international school teachers.  We have also organized it in a way to make it easier and faster to find the information you want to know about.

If you are a current member, please take a moment to share what you know about the school you currently work at or about the schools that you have worked at in the past.  If you aren’t a member just yet, join now today!

SCHOOL INFO – OPEN TEXT BOXES:
• What type/s of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations?
• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.).
• Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?
• Describe school’s location in relation to the city center and to the teachers’ housing.
• Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Describe workload details.
• Average class size for primary and secondary.  Describe any aid support.
• Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”?
• Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.
• What types of budgets to classroom teachers/departments get?
• PARENTS ONLY – General comments from parents of students that go to this school.

SCHOOL INFO – SURVEY TOPICS:
– General behavior of the students
– Method of teacher appraisal
– Human resources and Business Department
– Effectiveness of administration
– School visions/commitment/curriculum use
– Current staff morale indicator
– New teacher orientation
– Teacher collegiality
– Effectiveness of board or school decision makes
– Quality of school building and campus
– Quality of resources currently available at the school
– Support services (EAL, SEN, Mother Tongue Programs, etc…)

BENEFITS INFO – OPEN TEXT BOXES:
• Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?
• Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance.  If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?
• Average amount of money that is left to be saved.
• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances.
• Health insurance and medical benefits.
• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, afterschool activities, etc.).
• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents.
• Professional development allowance details.
• Pension plan.
• Describe your experience bringing pets.
• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city?
• Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises?).

BENEFITS INFO – SURVEY TOPICS:
– Cost of living in relation to the salary.
– Does the school pay staff on time?
– School’s help and guidance regarding work visas.
– Possibility of living here with a non-working partner on one salary.

CITY INFO – OPEN TEXT BOXES:
• Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.
• Locations in the city geared towards the expat lifestyle (grocery stores, bars, etc.).
• Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc.
• Detailed info about lifestyles: singles vs. couples, gay vs. straight, nightlife vs. quiet and big city vs nature.
• Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there.
• Sample activities, classes and clubs for teachers with children.
• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.
• Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals.

CITY INFO – SURVEY TOPICS:
– In general, how do you like living in this city?
– Availability and quality of local healthcare
– Temperament of locals towards foreigners
– Cost and efficiency of the public transportation
– Stability of local area and country
– Potential of making friends with locals and other expats outside of the school

TRAVEL INFO – OPEN TEXT BOXES:
• Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby.
• Describe proximity of major airport hubs to the city center and give sample taxi, train, subway and/or bus fares to get there.
• Popular travel websites to buy plane tickets or tours that are popular for expats living in the city and/or country.
• Places to travel to outside the city by bus or train.

 

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Information for Members

The Total Comments in All the City Information Sections: 4384!

December 20, 2018


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2059+ 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 automatically get one free month of premium membership added on to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

FOR UNLIMITED FREE MEMBERSHIP, BECOME A MAYOR OF A SCHOOL TODAY!

So, what are the recent statistics about the City Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the City Information sections is 4384 (out of a total of 29595+ comments); up 1855 comments since March 2017.

Example City Information section on 
NIST International School (252 total comments and information)

There are 17 subtopics in the City 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 subtopic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.

• Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city. (468 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Going to check out and relax in the church that was made in rock (Temppeliaukio) is a great things to do on a rainy (or sunny) day. They play relaxing music as you just sit in one of the pews and looks up to see the copper designed ceiling. So beautiful!” – Helsinki International School (Helsinki, Finland) – 41 Comments

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• Locations in the city geared towards the expat lifestyle (grocery stores, bars, etc.). (428 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Taipa has a lot geared towards expat. The local Park’n’Shop grocery store is full of imported things.” – The School of the Nations (Macao, China) – 20 Comments

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• Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc. (434 Total Comments)

Example comment: “You could definitely get a good main dish at a nice restaurant for 6-8 EUR. The public transportation is free for the locals, but for tourists, it is .80 to 1.60 EUR a ride. Of course there are cheaper tickets, like days passes, etc.” – International School of Estonia (Tallinn, Estonia) – 22 Comments

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• Detailed info about lifestyles: singles vs. couples, gay vs. straight, nightlife vs. quiet and big city vs nature. (343 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you like riding your bike around everywhere, there aren’t always the best bike paths in the city. In turn, you need to be alert at all times! With regards to nature, there are super green parks spotted all around the city center. There is also the Wisla river has some “beach” areas where people hang out on a warm day. It is a bit smelly there, but still nice.” – American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland) – 101 Comments

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• Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there. (448 Total Comments)

Example comment: “On a scale from 1 to 5, English level is somewhere around 3+. Not everyone speaks English, so knowing German is a big advantage.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 43 Comments

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• Sample activities that you can do around the city? Including ones that you can do with a family (children)? (301 Total Comments)

Example comment: “During the summer don’t miss out on Treptower park with Badeschiff (not good for those with children). There is an artificial tropical island not far away from Berlin and many people take their kids there during winter, or to Wannsee during summer. Should you want to go and do the recreational swimming, Berlin Bade Betrieb is there for you on numerous locations.” – Berlin International School (Berlin, Germany) – 12 Comments

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• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year. (483 Total Comments)

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Example comment: “Nov. 15 – March 15 is when the government heat is on in the apartments. That’s pretty much when temperatures are below freezing all the time. Over the weekend the weather changed to 5 – 10 degrees above freezing. Spring is about six weeks long. Then summer is hot.” – Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 143 Comments

• Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals. (220 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Walmart and Kalea (like Ikea) has just about everything you’ll need to set up house. El Martially in zona 14 sells used furniture but bring a Guatemalan friend to negotiate for you. You can also by hand-made furniture off the street very cheaply.” – The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (Guatemala City, Guatemala) – 75 Comments

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• Describe a funny culture shock moment that you’ve had recently in this city. (39 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Babies and toddlers with open butt pants and shorts are always fun to see pee all over the place. Trying to cross the street without getting killed is fun as well.” – QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China) – 64 Comments

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• Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations? (126 Total Comments)

Example comment: “When you first arrive, the school sets up a week-long itinerary. . .shopping at many shops, eating at a variety of restaurants. It’s one of the highlights of coming here. Many of the places seen during orientation are too expensive for people to return to often.” – The American School of Kinshasa (Kinshasa, Congo (DRC)) – 59 Comments

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What is the best part of living in this city for you? (200 Total Comments)

Example comment: “I love the ease of getting what you want, when you want.” – Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 136 Comments

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What advice can you give on how to set things up like internet, phone, experience dealing with landlord, etc.? (160 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Internet’s been funky lately but that’s just the new reality in China at the moment. Nobody can do anything about it.” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 409 Comments

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• Tell your experience moving your items to this city. What company, insurance policy, etc. did you use? (62 Total Comments)

Example comment: “SOS International is a popular choice and you can use it at their clinics here. It’s pricey, though.” – Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – 76 Comments

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• Tell about your experience with the local banks and dealing with multiple currencies. (162 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Most local banks charge $10-$20 for an account. The government now also charges 10% of any fees charged by the bank. Most banks then charge you 1% to withdraw dollars, even if you have a dollar account. This is because their exchange rate is horrible, so people take out the money in dollars then walk to an exchange bureau and get a much better rate. IST has a few agreements in place so that the first $1000 a month does not get charged the fee. Other than that, the banks are okay. Nothing to write home about and you have to watch for random fees, but you can usually get it sorted. Some people just use overseas accounts and you can get money from the ATM, but people often find thousands of dollars missing from accounts when they do that.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments

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• What are some locals customs (regarding eating, drinking and going out, family, socializing, etc.) that you find interesting for expats to know about? (115 Total Comments)

Example comment: “When you receive something in person, from somebody else, it is best to take it using both hands, not just one. Do it with two hands to show respect and appreciation.” – Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China) – 67 Comments

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• Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites. (149 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you are from an Asian country I would suggest finding an H Mart. The Buford Highway farmers market has country specific named aisles with all of the countries. The Dekalb farmers market has a lot of unique fruits (think durian) and vegetables that you won’t find in a typical grocery store as well. All of these markets are worth a visit, especially the Dekalb Farmers Market (don’t go on a weekend!) and are huge.” – Atlanta International School (Atlanta, United States) – 31 Comments

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• What is the most challenging/difficult part of living in the city? (197 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The Spanish spoken here is very difficult to understand. There is a lot of slang and people speak very fast.” –Santiago College (Santiago, Chile) – 24 Comments

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Surveys

New Survey: How is your experience using your health insurance and medical benefits?

July 15, 2015


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  How is your experience using your health insurance and medical benefits?

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It is not fun worrying about your health when you live abroad, as medical systems can vary from country to country in their efficiency, price and quality.

Some cities have only local hospitals on offer; meaning ones that are staffed by locals and that serve mostly locals. It is not uncommon for these hospitals to have a staff with poor English or any foreign language fluency. It might be necessary for you to find, or in a best case scenario – for your school to provide someone who can accompany you at the hospital to serve as an interpreter. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe quality of these hospitals isn’t necessarily poor, as one may suggest, but not knowing the local culture of “how things work” in a local hospital can indeed be quite nerve-wracking.

Other locations have more expat-oriented medical facilities and/or special-health insurance plans for foreigners. These types of hospitals can put expats at ease in how they are served.  They have foreign-hired doctors on hand that can speak their language.  Expat-oriented hospitals typically also have all the different types of medicine and prescriptions that you may need while living abroad. In less developed areas (ones that have lower employment desirability), you are in luck if you have access to these types of expat-oriented medical facilities.

8566688298_45da9904cc_zIt is all fine and dandy to have super accessible and well-resourced hospitals in your host country, but let’s not forget out the health insurance benefits package that you are receiving through your school.  It is clear that your medical insurance coverage can vary from school to school in their efficiency, price and quality as well. In one international school, they give you amazing health coverage with everything covered (including health insurance for you around the world), no co-payments, with most dental needs included. In the next school, you find yourself very limited to what you can do with your benefits.  A less desirable health insurance package might not include dental or cover you during your travels around the world or back in your home country.

Your health insurance benefits package should always be talked about and maybe even negotiated with your international school before you sign the contract.

Because things are so different for each of us at international schools across the world, take a moment to go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!

If you are interested, you can check out the latest voting results here.

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We actually have a comment topic related this to this issue. It is called: Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.

Right now there are over 598 individual comments (about 100s of different international schools) in this comment topic on our website.  Here are a few of them:

“The insurance is pretty good. At hospitals that accept it, you pay approximately $13 U.S. for the visit, treatments and prescriptions. The difficulty is not with the insurance, but the hit and miss quality of care available in town.” – Liwa International School (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)23 Comments

“You can get travelers 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 cover you anymore in Europe, well for non-Danish people with a CPR card.” – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)244 Comments

“Macau offers free health care coverage to all residents and all who hold work permits. This kicks in after about 3 months of living in Macau. The school helps facilitate private insurance until the government insurance starts up.” – The School of the Nations (Macao, China)20 Comments

“Health insurance is not the best. It only covers emergencies and specialist doctors, not a General Practitioner. I have been to the doctor here, and it was a good experience. Doctors were efficient and I got taken care of pretty quickly. I would advise asking people who have lived here a while, who to go to though.” – The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (St. John, Barbados)70 Comments

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Information for Members

How many comments are there in each of the 66 Comment Topics on ISC?

September 22, 2019


We have 66 comment topics on our website in 4 main categories: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information, and Travel Information.

ISC now has over 33000 comments that have been submitted on over 1100 international schools from around the world. Basic and Premium Members can access all of these 33000 comments for free on our Browse All Comments page.

After almost 9 years since our inception of ISC, which of the 66 comment topics are our members submitting into the most? Take a look below at all of our comment topics with the total comments submitted in them at the end of each one. Some of our most popular topics that have over 1000 comments are related to: School building, Accreditation, Hiring policies, School location, Language abilities of the students, Kinds of teachers/staff, Salary, Housing, and Allowances.

School Information Comment Topics (23):

• Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus. (1467 Comments)

• What types of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations? (1105 Comments)

• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.). (690 Comments)

• Describe their hiring policies and procedures. Share your interview experience. Any hiring restrictions? is there a particular curriculum experience required? How about single parents/number of dependents sponsored? (1456 Comments)

• Describe school’s location in relation to the city center and to the teacher’s housing. How do staff get to school before and after school? (1371 Comments)

• Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extra curricular responsibilities? Describe workload details. (761 Comments)

• Average class size for primary and secondary. Describe any aide support. (780 Comments)

• Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominate culture group? (1156 Comments)

• Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate. Is there a native English speaker or nationality requirement? Is it LGBT friendly country/school? (1196 Comments)

• What types of budgets do classroom teachers/departments get? (475 Comments)

• PARENTS ONLY – General comments from parents of students that go to this school. How was your child’s education and socialisation at the school? (164 Comments)

• What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer? (643 Comments)

• Name some special things about this school that makes it unique. (654 Comments)

• In general, describe the demeanor of the students. (565 Comments)

• Has the school met your expectations once you started working there? (314 Comments)

• What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff? (362 Comments)

• Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them. (437 Comments)

• Details about the current teacher appraisal process. (277 Comments)

• Is the student population declining, staying the same or increasing? Give details why. (414 Comments)

• How have certain things improved since you started working there? (222 Comments)

• How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country? (157 Comments)

• What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective. (281 Comments)

• What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school? (416 Comments)

• How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, etc.) (259 Comments)

Benefits Information Comment Topics (20):

• Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year? (1237 Comments)

• Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities? (1234 Comments)

• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. Describe the survivability for a family of four on one salary. (643 Comments)

• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? (1115 Comments)

• Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals. (947 Comments)

• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.). (410 Comments)

• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents. Describe the childcare in the area. (737 Comments)

• Professional development allowance details. (507 Comments)

• Pension plan details. (588 Comments)

• Describe your experience bringing pets. (240 Comments)

• Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?). (522 Comments)

• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city? (313 Comments)

• How is the school calendar? Is there ample vacation time? (492 Comments)

• 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? (262 Comments)

• Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school. (129 Comments)

• What is the process of getting reimbursed for things? (166 Comments)

• Details about new teacher orientation. (194 Comments)

• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school? (292 Comments)

• Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about? (199 Comments)

• Information on trailing spouses. Can they work under spousal visa (also availability of work) or is it possible to live only on one salary? (35 Comments)

City Information Comment Topics (17)

• Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city. (552 Comments)

• Locations in the city geared towards the expat lifestyle (grocery stores, bars, etc.). (490 Comments)

• Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc. (491 Comments)

• Detailed info about lifestyles: singles vs. couples, gay vs. straight, nightlife vs. quiet and big city vs nature. (392 Comments)

• Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there. (502 Comments)

• Sample activities that you can do around the city? Including ones that you can do with a family (children)? (357 Comments)

• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year. (549 Comments)

• Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals. (256 Comments)

• Describe a funny culture shock moment that you’ve had recently in this city. (115 Comments)

• Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations? (156 Comments)

• What is the best part of living in this city for you? (243 Comments)

• What advice can you give on how to set things up like internet, phone, experience dealing with landlord, etc.? (200 Comments)

• Tell your experience moving your items to this city. What company, insurance policy, etc. did you use? (81 Comments)

• Tell about your experience with the local banks and dealing with multiple currencies. (208 Comments)

• What are some locals customs (regarding eating, drinking and going out, family, socializing, etc.) that you find interesting for expats to know about? (146 Comments)

• Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites. (182 Comments)

• What is the most challenging/difficult part of living in the city? (237 Comments)

Travel Information Comment Topics (6):

• Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby. (355 Comments)

• Describe proximity of major airport hubs to the city center and give sample taxi, train, subway and/or bus fares to get there. (496 Comments)

• Popular travel websites to buy plane tickets or tours that are popular for expats living in the city and/or country. (240 Comments)

• Places to travel to outside the city by bus or train. (454 Comments)

• Are there many teachers that travel during the holidays? Where are they going? (290 Comments)

• What are the airports like in this city? (arriving, departing, shopping, customs, etc.) (332 Comments)
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Information for Members

Total comments in all the Travel Information sections: 2137!

August 18, 2019


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2098+ 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 automatically get one free month of premium membership added on to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

FOR UNLIMITED FREE MEMBERSHIP, BECOME A MAYOR OF A SCHOOL TODAY!

travel

So, what are the recent statistics about the Travel Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the Travel Information sections is 2137 (out of a total of 32776+ comments); up almost 458 comments since July 2018.

There are 6 subtopics in the Travel Information section on each school profile page.  Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out the total number of comments in that specific subtopic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.

Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby. (352 Total Comments)

Example comment: “You can fly mostly anywhere in Europe from Berlin. Unfortunately there has been a new airport in construction for many years now with no real outlook on when it will be complete. You have to connect elsewhere to fly internationally (i.e Copenhagen, Paris, London, Reykjavik etc.)” – Berlin Cosmopolitan School (Berlin, Germany) – 72 Comments

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Describe proximity of major airport hubs to the city center and give sample taxi, train, subway and/or bus fares to get there. (492 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Narita International Airport is the most convenient in terms of distance, parking, and bus connections. It is approximately 45-50 minutes by car on the highway (tolls are about $12 or $13 USD each way), 75 minutes by car by more local roads, and about an hour by bus ($25 USD). Haneda Airport in Tokyo is further away from Tsukuba and more conveniently reached by a combination of the Tsukuba Xpress and Tokyo subways (90 to 120 minutes and $18 to $25 USD, depending on the various options and combinations). There is also the more local Ibaraki Airport (which has free parking) about 45 minutes from town, but flights are very limited and only include a few destinations within Japan (such as Kobe, Fukuoka, Naha and Sapporo) and Shanghai and Seoul (and sometimes Taipei by charter flights) internationally.” – Tsukuba International School (Tsukuba, Japan) – 41 Comments

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Popular travel websites to buy plane tickets or tours that are popular for expats living in the city and/or country. (237 Total Comments)

Example comment: “My Switzerland is a very comprehensive and informative website for locals and expats. which provides a wide breadth of information.
https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/home.html” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 46 Comments

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Places to travel to outside the city by bus or train. (445 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Expatriate teachers are recommended to not use public transit. The school recommends hiring a school driver to drive us to our desired destination using the car the school provides us. School drivers for a very reasonable rate. If there is a place you want to go, ask the head of security and he will check to ensure it is safe to travel to your desired destination.” – Lahore American School (Lahore, Pakistan) – 116 Comments

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Are there many teachers that travel during the holidays? Where are they going? (284 Total Comments)

Example comment: “It truly depends on the teacher and their own personal situation. Many younger, single teachers will travel during breaks. Usual destinations are somewhere around east our southeast Asia. Teachers who are married with children will stay in Korea many times. During summer break, most teachers will go to their home country.” – Korea Kent Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 22 Comments

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What are the airports like in this city? (arriving, departing, shopping, customs, etc.) (327 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Queues at immigration can be very very very long. (between 15 min and 1.5 hours of waiting) Just make sure you have some battery left on that phone of yours! ;-)” – Dulwich College Beijing (Beijing, China) – 28 Comments

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Information for Members

It’s easy to network on ISC!

August 6, 2019


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

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

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

Currently, our top 40 international schools with the most members are:
24 members – American International School in Egypt
23 members – Copenhagen International School
21 members – International School of Kuala Lumpur
21 members – International School Manila
17 members – Seoul International School
17 members – International School of Tanganyika
17 membersJakarta International School
17 membersMEF International School Istanbul
17 membersWestern International School of Shanghai
16 membersFairview International School
16 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City
16 members – American School of Barcelona
15 members
Singapore American School
15 membersInternational School Bangkok
14 membersUnited Nations International School (Vietnam)
14 membersShanghai Community International School
14 membersShanghai United International School (Hongqiao)
14 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
14 members – Istanbul International Community School
14 membersNIST International School
14 membersBrent International School Manila
14 members – Seoul Foreign School
14 membersQatar Academy (Doha)
13 members – KIS International School (Bangkok)
13 membersGraded – The American School of Sao Paulo
13 membersAmerican School of Dubai
13 membersAmerican International School of Johannesburg
13 membersAmerican International School (Vietnam)
13 membersCairo American College
13 membersGood Shepherd International School
12 members –Suzhou Singapore International School
12 membersChadwick International School – Songdo
12 membersInternational School of Beijing
12 membersWestern Academy of Beijing
12 membersAmerican International School of Kuwait
12 membersAnglo-American School of Moscow
12 membersAmerican School of Kuwait
12 membersCanadian International School (Singapore)
11 membersAmerican Embassy School New Delhi
11 membersBilkent Laboratory & International School

The members of these schools include members that currently work there now or have worked there in the past.

With 100-300 new members joining each month, this list will continue to grow and grow; with even more members showing up as potential people to network with.

It is simple to network on our website: just click on a member and then click on the ‘Contact this member’ button (Premium membership access required).  Then write him/her a message.  When your message is sent, the other member will get an email alert letting them know that they have a new message waiting for them on our website (you don’t need premium membership access to reply to a private message on our website). Numerous International School Community members have already taken advantage of this unique feature on our website!

As far as we know, International School Community is the only website where you can quickly and easily network with real people at a specific international school.  Meaning, if you want to get in touch with somebody from the United Nations International School in New York and you are currently a premium member of International School Community, you now have 6 members that you can contact on our website that either work there now or have worked there in the past.  

Get the answers to your questions; now that is easy networking!

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Highlighted Articles

How to stay safe and well when teaching overseas

June 7, 2019


Mitesh Patel discusses the steps teachers can take to look after their mental and physical health when working in a new country.

Securing a new teaching position abroad can be tremendously exciting, particularly if you’ve triumphed through a frustrating and long-winded application process. It can be so exciting that it’s easy to forget that travelling abroad and living abroad are two very different things. Whereas when you’re on holiday it’s all about fun and relaxation, moving overseas means you need to be mindful of the more mundane practicalities of everyday life.

In fact, feeling at home in your new country is often the deciding factor in the success of a new assignment. You’ll find that a little planning goes a long way in staying mentally and physically safe and well when you teach abroad. Here are some simple tips to get you off to the best possible start:

  1. Make sure you are well informed pre-departure. There are always surprises (good and bad) when you move to a new country. It could be that shopping for groceries is a totally different experience to the one you are used to or that you are used to a lenient teaching style whereas now students are expected to abide by strict rules. Prepare yourself as much as possible by devouring expat guides, and reaching out to staff in similar situations – it can really help you settle in.
  • Find out about health care. Prioritising your health care needs are fundamental, from finding a local doctor to understanding what would happen to you in case of an environmental or medical emergency. Remember, health care often starts before you leave – for example, in Vietnam, foreign staff are required to have vaccinations before they apply for a visa. It’s always worth checking with your school to see if they can help guide you or organise whatever is necessary.
  • Build a support network. When you live a long way away from friends and family, it’s easy to start feeling lonely. Keeping in contact with existing links is important, if not always straightforward – for example, social media isn’t an appropriate avenue in China and Skype can be contentious in the UAE. Again, it’s worth knowing this before you go so that you aren’t left disappointed. Also check with your new school to see if they offer alternative routes if you’re feeling blue. And while it’s always comforting to be able to communicate in your native tongue, remember too the joy of learning a new language. You’ll find that throwing yourself into new activities and customs will ensure you quickly integrate into your adopted community.

Mitesh Patel is the medical director at Aetna International. For more information, please contact emea_marketing@aetna.com or visit www.aetnainternational.com

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Ten Commandments of Relocating Overseas

The New 11 Commandments of Relocating Overseas

July 1, 2018


It’s never easy to move to a new country, especially one where the culture is vastly different than what you are used to. Concepts such as immigration and international relocation have become increasingly common in the modern age, with developed nations such as the United States a popular destination for citizens across the globe.

Still, between 2.2 million and 6.8 million U.S. citizens are known to have themselves according to 2017 figures, as some look for new pastures during retirement, some relocate for the purpose of work, and others decide to travel for school or self-fulfilment.

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Whatever the reasons behind your move, relocating overseas can be extremely challenging, particularly from a financial and emotional perspective. In the post below, we’ll consider the 11 commandments of moving abroad, as you look to embrace new opportunities and immerse yourself in a new and unfamiliar culture.

1.    Make Positivity Your Watchword 

As we’ve already said, issues such as international relocation and economic migration are extremely relevant in the current political climate, particularly since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump and the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

This means that some will continue to talk about international relocation in negative terms, which in turn may dampen your enthusiasm for the move and discourage you from taking the plunge.

However, if you’ve made a strategic decision to relocate abroad and determined that the benefits outweigh the potential issues (whatever your motivation may be), it’s important that you do not allow such negativity to undermine your best-laid plans.

In this respect, positivity and clarity of thought must be your key watchwords when relocating abroad, as you look to maintain your focus, do not allow negative comments or attitudes to shift your outlook. Surrounding yourself with positive people in the first place is central to this, as while you always want to hear a diversity of thoughts and opinions you must engage with individuals whose minds are progressive and open to new opportunities.

2.    Remain Flexible in your Attitudes

On the subject of your mindset, there’s also a pressing need for you to remain flexible and agile when relocating abroad.

This applies to both your preparation and the transition period that takes place when you arrive at your chosen destination, as these experiences will vary considerably depending on your reasons for moving and your choice of international location.

When it comes to the former, an agile mindset will enable you to adapt to the setbacks that occur while planning your relocation, from organizing the logistics of your move to securing accommodation in time for your arrival. Remember, even the best plans can go awry, so you’ll need to manage your expectations and adapt positively to any changes that you encounter.

The same principle applies when adapting to a new culture and way of life, as this takes time, patience, and a willingness to learn quickly from your mistakes. Even in an increasingly multicultural world, there are subtle nuances that separate global cultures, and a flexible outlook will ensure that you learn and adapt to these quickly.

Relocated

3.    Gain a Real Understanding of your New Host Country

Prior to your move, you’ll also need to gain a deep and realistic insight into your new host country.

Like we say, multiculturalism may have helped to blur the lines between independent cultures, but each country will have its own unique heritage and prevailing way of life. This will have a direct impact on every conceivable aspect of everyday life, from the clothes that you wear to the way in which you interact with locals.

The key to this is conducted detailed and informed research, which charts a country’s history and its standing in the current world order. This prevents you from forming an impression of your new home based on outdated perceptions and clumsy notions of nationality, which can lead to significant issues when you initially move abroad.

Instead, you can relocate with a clear understanding of your new host country, and one that is based on knowledge, insight and relevant, real-world observations.

4.    Expect to Encounter Different Attitudes and a Diminished Sense of Urgency

In the western world, the pace of technological advancement has made patience an increasingly sparse commodity. This is reflected by the demands that we place on others and the devices that we use, as we’re increasingly accustomed our creature comforts and things being done almost as soon as we’ve requested them.

When relocating east to a less developed economy, however, you may find that these things can no longer be taken for granted. More specifically, the locals may have a diminished sense of urgency that compels them to complete tasks at a slower pace, while the amenities and the facilities that you use may fall below the standards that you expect.

And there’s nothing wrong with feeling that way.

Remember, we are creatures of habit and we only know what we know until we expand our outlook.

It’s crucial that you prepare for this before completing your move, and manage your expectations as you look to grow accustomed to your new surroundings.

This will help with the challenging transition period, while hopefully preventing you from enduring any strained or unpleasant interactions with the locals!

5.    Maintain a Strong Sense of Humor

As we’ve already said, relocating abroad can be extremely challenging both from a financial and an emotional perspective.

This sense of difficulty can be compounded further in instances when things go awry, and it’s easy for feelings of doubt and anxiety to build in a relatively short period of time.

However, a strong and omnipresent sense of humor can help with this, as it prevents you from taking yourself or the process too seriously and makes it possible to seek out positivity even during challenging periods.

The same principle applies when you first arrive abroad, as you’ll need to prepare for the fact that making social faux-pas and linguistic mistakes are part and parcel of adapting to a new culture. By laughing with others and seeing the funny side of these instances, you’ll feel empowered and ultimately transform a potentially negative cultural experience into a positive one.

Relocated

6.    Try to Understand the Host Country Perspective in any Given Scenario 

The issue of social and cultural interaction is an important consideration, as this will dictate your day-to-day experience when you first move abroad.

In order to facilitate positive experiences, you’ll need to make a concerted effort to understand the host country perspective in any given scenario. After all, you’ll be talking to individuals that are likely to have enjoyed entirely different upbringings to your own, and this will leave with an alternative view on a host of potential issues.

By comprehending these viewpoints and taking them on-board when you first engage with locals, you can participate in open and positive conversations that hopefully serve as an entry point into new and exciting relationships.

Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of clashing regularly with locals without every really understanding and allowing for your differences.

7.    Plan for a Difficult Adjustment Period of Around Six Months

While you may well know that you’re in for a challenging period of adjustment when you first move overseas, this alone is not enough to ensure that you negate this. In fact, you’ll need to plan strategically for this transition, by considering the various stages of your adjustment and expecting it to last for at least six months or so.

We’ve broken down these phases below, so you can prepare for them and develop viable coping mechanisms.

  • The Honeymoon Phase: This phase applies to any type of new experience or relationship, and it tends to inspire an innate sense of excitement and adventure. From your new home and office to the people that you meet, your mind is open to a host of exciting possibilities and far more willing to embrace change. You should definitely make the most of this phase as it unfolds, while recognizing that it cannot be sustained indefinitely. 
  • The Negotiation Phase: The second phase usually triggers a period of anxiety, as the excitement of your international adventure fades and the realities of everyday life in a foreign country take hold. Linguistic and cultural differences can take root here, creating a sense of uncertainty and alienation that is difficult to overcome. It’s important at this stage that you focus on your work and developing relationships with locals, as this will help to settle your mind and encourage a far greater work-life balance.
  • The Adjustment Phase: If you’re able to maintain your focus and overcome the issues posed by the negotiation phase, you’ll enter a more settled period of adjustment after six months or so. At this stage, your new surroundings become normal, while you’ll have learned the cultural and linguistic nuances that can prove so problematic. It’s important at this stage that you maintain the positive behaviors in terms of work and social interaction, as you must not become complacent even as you begin to settle.

8.    Look for Ways of Strengthening and Maintaining your Enthusiasm 

When attempting to cope during the formative phases of your relocation, it’s absolutely imperative that you identify viable ways of maintaining your enthusiasm.

This is particularly important from a social perspective, as there may be times where you’re alone in your new apartment and develop a tremendous sense of isolation from your fellow man.

To overcome these feelings, you’ll need a robust and fortified mindset, and one that is constantly striving to maintain a keen sense of optimism. Socialising with your new colleagues is an excellent way to achieve this, as this helps to maintain contact with the outside world while also building positive and long-standing relationships.

Joining a local meetup.com group in your new city is also a worthwhile measure, as this exposes you to new experiences and relationships while providing a crucial learning experience.

Socialising

9.    Use Home Comforts to Manage Your Transition

In order to make a successful transition to a new culture, you’ll need to commit to your new surroundings and ensure that you maintain an open mind.

However, this does mean that you cannot ease the transition period by leveraging home comforts where possible, as this can have a decidedly positive impact on your mindset during the adjustment period.

You could make sure that you access some of your favorite TV shows and box-sets online, for example, enabling you to access a slice of home whenever the mood takes you.

Similarly, try to combine an appreciation of new cuisine and dishes with some of your old dietary staples. Consuming your favorite food and drink from home can provide genuine comfort during times of transition, reminding you of your loved ones in the process.

10.Look Out for the Signs of Culture Shock

While you may well struggle with various issues when transitioning to a new culture, this is part and parcel of relocating abroad and can generally be overcome with a number of relatively simple measures.

In more serious instances, however, you may find yourself struggling with the effects of culture shock. This is a far more debilitating condition, and one that can close your mind to new experiences and ultimately force you to return home.

The symptoms or effects of culture shock are numerous, and include a sense of feeling uprooted and a sustained feeling of disorientation. These can be compounded by the sensation of being overwhelmed by the need to make significant changes, and this can cause you to become intolerant of the very culture that you seek to integrate into.

It’s important to address these effects as early as possible, before such feelings take root and completely alter your mindset. You may want to seek out professional guidance and counselling to deal with these issues, or at least share your feelings with a trusted friend or loved one.

11.Negate the Emotional Side of Relocation by Partnering with Professionals

On a final note, it’s crucial that you manage the emotional aspect of relocating internationally before you complete the move.

This is particularly true if you have a family, as younger children may be overwhelmed by the prospect of leaving their family home and leaving their friends behind.

To focus on this, you should ensure that you partner with a skilled and reputable removals firm, particularly one that has experience or organizing international moves. This will enable you to delegate the practical and logistical requirements of your move to an industry expert, so that you can spend your time attending to the needs of your loved ones.

This is an important consideration and one that can aid the transition process, while also helping you to make the most of your time.

Bio: At A1 Auto Transport, we have a wealth of experience when dealing with domestic and international locations, and can effectively manage your relocation overseas. This type of service is worth its weight in gold, particularly when moving to a brand new country and an unfamiliar culture.
* pictures are from pixabay.com

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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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Comment Topic Highlight

How Much Do Flights Actually Cost from Various Cities Around the World?

December 27, 2016


It’s holiday time and most of us are on some trip enjoying our time off. We might be home with our families in our home countries, or we also might be on some tropical island (if we are so lucky!).

How Much Do Flights Actually Cost

But where you go often depends on how much the flight costs to the place you want to go. If your school is paying via your flight allowance benefit, then perfect! But if you are paying, then you for sure are looking out for the best deal (sometimes for hours on flight search websites!)

It is hard to know what it is like flying out of a city you haven’t lived in yet. How much are the flights to within the host country itself, to nearby countries and to your home country like England or the United States for example?

If the flights are too expensive in relation to your salary, then it might be very likely you won’t be going home a lot for the holidays. If going home every holiday season is important for you, then it is good to know this information up front before you make a decision to move and live somewhere.

How Much Do Flights Actually Cost

An average international school teacher probably goes on at least one flight every one to two months while living abroad. That means many cities in a number of different countries. These costs can add up and take away from your savings, but it is just what international school teachers like to do!

When job searching, make sure to consider the full picture of the host country airport that you might just be using if you sign a contract with a school there.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to getting the inside scoop on how much flights actually cost from various host cities across the world, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby.

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 141 comments in this comment topic (Dec. 2016).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“Direct flights to the US can be up to 2000USD (JFK), Europe around 1500USD and Australia similar. Prices shoot up around major holidays. There are a number of low-cost airlines operating, which means you can fly more or less anywhere in East/South East Asia for less that 200USD.” – Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China)54 Comments

“Flights purchased 21 days in advance on discount airlines within Europe can be as little as 20$. But beware, sometimes these flights are cancelled with little or now warning, and you’re left having to purchase a much more expensive one with a different airline at the last-minute. Flights to Asia or the USA will run between 500-1000$, depending on when you travel. Everything is more expensive in July and August, so try to plan travel in off-peak times for the best deals.” – Oeiras International School (Lisbon, Portugal)111 Comments

“Check KLM’s website every now and again. They sometimes give great deals on empty seats from Denpasar to Singapore. I’ve flown it for $59 on occasion. Also- pro tip- If you have money to spare and want a few hours of luxury. When checking in, go to the Business Class counter and ask if there are any empty seats. They used to sell them for $50 extra. Now they’ve fixed the price at about $110.” – Green School Bali (Denpasar, Indonesia)54 Comments

“Doha is a central airport in the world – usually the stopover for flights from Europe to Asia, so there are amazing flight options from here. Cheapest weekend flights are to other middle eastern countries/cities – Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Bahrain/ Oman. You can get good deals on Qatar Airways too. Popular destinations from here (but not in a weekend): Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, Turkey. I think the flight prices aren’t too bad (in relation to salaries here) they might seem expensive when you exchange to another currency.” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (Doha, Qatar)59 Comments

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Highlighted Articles

Why Many Teachers Choose To Raise Their Kids Abroad

August 31, 2016


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

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

family at home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Singapore American School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“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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Lessons From Your Country

Six Lessons from Living in Venezuela: Apply Liberally

November 17, 2015


Having lived and taught high school students in Venezuela since July of last year, I have had time to reflect on all that Venezuela and its people have taught me. On a recent beach side run, I compiled my lessons into categories that might capture what this experience in South America has helped me learn.

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Lesson 1: PATIENCE

Venezuelans spend a large amount of time waiting for things and they do so quite patiently. I have joined them in long lines for hours where I observe their tiny children waiting almost as patiently as the adults do. I have not yet witnessed a single toddler meltdown or an angry customer.Venezuelans regularly wait in lines outside stores to buy whatever products are in short supply (flour, sugar, milk, toilet paper). Not one person lost it last October, waiting 40 minutes inside a sold-out sealed-up airplane on the tarmac with no air-conditioning (where a woman two seats behind me fainted). We simply sat there and sweat buckets and waited patiently knowing that eventually “this too shall pass.” I have become significantly more patient while waiting.

Lesson 2: GREETINGS

One bit of cultural advice I received during the first week here, was that upon entering a social gathering, it is customary to make the rounds and greet each person—even if I don’t know them. This took some getting used to.  I was forced to reflect on how often I arrive at a party in the United States, and typically talk to the folks I know first. Eventually I meet some of the new people but only when the opportunity presents itself or if I’m actually introduced to them. In Venezuela, we greet everyone as if they are new friends to be met and the inclusive atmosphere sets the tone for each social gathering.

The same custom applies upon leaving a party;there is no slipping out the door when no one is looking. We make the rounds and say “goodbye” to each person there. And we accompany both the hello and goodbye greetings with a light cheek-to-cheek press while making a soft kiss sound with our lips.  It is downright decent and human. It’s not just the adults who greet others this way; my students do it, too.  Before heading to the airport for our Model United Nations trip to Boston, a school van met all the students whose parents had driven them to a central location and I watched as student after student arrived in their parent’s cars. It was 5 am and each sleepy student greeted every other student AND every parent who brought their son or daughter to the location AND greeted the two of us teachers—all with the same warmth and kindness. It was lovely.

Venezuelans do a lot of greeting each other warmly: when they see each other at the office, out for a run, at the market,etc. At work, my colleagues actually take the time to exchange a few pleasantries before launching into a request. This extends to e-mail and phone conversations as well; it’s not considered polite to simply say, “Hello, Joe. I was wondering if you could attend a meeting today.” No. Much better to start out with, “Hello, Joe. How are you doing today? That’s a terrific looking shirt, is it new?” And THEN you can get to the business portion of your request. It’s been a good reminder to actually SEE the person you’re talking to; to ACKNOWLEDGE the receiver of your email or phone call. At times it’s been a challenge since we Americans tend to be fairly rushed and all business and “who has time for all this chit-chat, just let get me to saying what I need!!” Taking the time to start with a greeting is a habit I hope to hang onto when I return to the rushed pace of the U.S.

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Lesson 3:  SLOWLY, SLOWLY.

There’s not a lot of rushing here–especially on the roads. Driving in Venezuela is chaotic and borders on the lawless.Unprotected intersections are often clogged with gridlock but with the proper combination of tenacity and generosity, everyone appears to get to their destinations. I have seen surprisingly few accidents and the key ingredient seems to be going slowly. It’s sort of a “You’ll go first; then I’ll go next—trust me!” game of roulette, but the game can be successful if we all inch along carefully without too much rushing.

I haven’t observed a lot of Venezuelans rushing through anything; it’s as if they have all the time they need to be present to each other more authentically. When it comes to language acquisition, a valuable phrase our Spanish teacher taught us was, “Puedes hablar despacio, por favor?” Could you speak slowly, please? And, really, what is the all-fire hurry? What exactly are we racing towards anyway?

Lesson 4: LIVE WITHIN THE LIMITATIONS

If we get through a weekend in which there is a consistent supply of water, electricity AND Internet, it is an unexpected bonus. However we have learned to live within the limits of having the water turned off during times of rationing. When the power suddenly goes out, we have spontaneous candlelight dinners. If there happens to be a pint of ice cream in the freezer, we traditionally get it out and eat every last bite because who likes ice cream that’s been melted and re-frozen? We put down our phones and Ipads, break out the paperback books, do a little writing on paper, take a walk or take a nap.

The scarcity of products is a condition we have learned to accept. This has been true at the market as well as at school. When I got my classroom stapler from the school secretary in August, I was given TWO ROWS of staples (not two boxes—two ROWS). I’ve been forced to get creative by using whatever book titles and supplies can be found. One “splurge” food for the first few months here was bacon and we found it in the stores every week. Oatmeal,on the other hand, was nowhere to be found. Upon returning from Christmas break, we loaded our suitcases with oatmeal (which sadly burst open and scattered into every nook and cranny of our bag). And then the month we returned, we couldn’t find bacon anywhere, but lo and behold, there was some oatmeal on the shelves.We have learned to get by with whatever we find and get along without what we cannot find and we do just fine.

Lesson 5: SHARING REALLY IS CARING

When your colleague has two children under 2 years of age and she can’t find milk but you have an extra carton, it’s a no-brainer. You share. The beauty of it is, that same colleague has the sugar you haven’t been able to locate and the exchange benefits everyone. Mention that you’re down to your last tablespoon of coffee and no store seems to have any, and the next day a friend arrives to your classroom with a pound she didn’t need. Can’t find flour? Someone else has two bags, and only needs one–so there you go. When my swim goggles broke the first month here, my friend who forgot to bring bug spray made an exchange with me. We share everything from meals to rides to tips for survival. As most of us are far from home, we are each others’ families; one young family with children the same age as our two grand kids, helps fill the ache of missing our little ones during mid-week dinners and weekend boating excursions.

We come back from all of our trips laden with gifts for the people who care for us. Secretaries, guards, maids, custodians,assistants and friends are thoughtfully considered and when they receive the gifts we bring them, we are liberally showered with gratitude and appreciation.

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Lesson 6: SEE THE BEAUTY

Before we came here, our superintendent told us that living in Venezuela would be a “bi-polar” experience. He was right. We stand on the balcony of our luxurious apartment overlooking an infinity pool and the Caribbean and boom–the power goes out. Or we come back from a morning run or an afternoon of snorkeling and all we want is a shower but —DANG–there’s no water. Or as in the example our administrator used when he hired us, “You might come home from work and all you want is a cheese sandwich, but your maid ate your last piece of cheese. The good news is you have a maid; the bad news is she ate your last piece of cheese.” We choose to see
the beauty.

There is so much to celebrate in Venezuela—the views are magnificent, the weather is spectacular and, oh my god, we LIVE at the beach. But the beaches are littered with trash, the city’s buildings are dilapidated, street dogs and stray cats are everywhere. Sure we could focus on the things that break, the food borne stomach-bugs that can lay us flat, or the crime rate. But instead we choose image1-1to see a culture that nourishes our souls—and in so doing we have been treated to a school year that has given us an opportunity to travel throughout South America and has re-energized our passion for work and for life.

These have easily been the most memorable months of our lives. Without a doubt, we better understand our own lives by immersing ourselves in another culture to provide us with lessons we never imagined we needed to learn.

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This article was submitted by guest author Connie Finnegan.

Bio: After 25 years of teaching in Wisconsin, Connie Finnegan taught high school English at Colegio Internacional Puerto la Cruz in Barcelona, Venezuela between 2013-2015.

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For the Newbies

How Do I Get into International Education #2: How Do I Find That Coveted Position? (Part 2 of 2)

October 20, 2013


(This article is a continuation of Part 1)

If the meat market or job fair theme is not for you, another option is to work directly with an independent recruiter. In light of the changing attitudes toward job fairs and tight budgets, many educators are now turning to recruiters. They provide many of the same benefits as the major recruiting organizations, but offer more individual attention. As with the organizations mentioned above, some charge educators a fee, others are funded by the schools. A unique advantage to using a recruiter is that they have more intimate contact with schools and are focused on helping both. The screening process is bilateral. They work with schools to screen candidates for best fit and also screen schools in an attempt to provide a match for candidates that will be mutually beneficial. One of those agencies is Carney Sandoe www.carneysandoe.com. Although they advertise schools around the world, they seem to have more placements in the United States. One recruiter that is relatively new and growing stronger every day is Teacher Horizons www.teacherhorizons.com. A recent check of their listings revealed a number of postings throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Snake oil—diamond—or diamond in the rough?

http://www.icmstudy.com/icm/images/course_imgs/info.jpg

To quote a phrase made famous by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Доверяй, но проверяй (doveryai, no proveryai) for those non-Russian speakers among us, “Trust but verify.” As you begin to sift through the offers rolling in, it is important to do your research. Before interviewing with a school, and certainly before accepting a position, it is in everyone´s best interest to do your research. You want to get an objective picture of the school, administration, potential colleagues, students and families, not to mention the country and city, it´s politics, and possibly, if this is a priority for you, even what brands of deodorant are available. The rub in all of this is the term objective. Bear in mind that everyone has an agenda. Unfortunately, there is a lot of, at a minimum hyperbole and at worst, fiction out there. As long as you approach your research with that in mind, you will be usually be able to find the facts among all of the roses—or thorns.

The first place to look in your search is a school´s website. It will give you a good picture of what´s going on and their priorities. It also can give you a look between the lines. If for example the information is up-to-date and relevant, someone at the school has made it a priority to present a current picture of the school. If it´s not, it could be that it is no longer relevant, that they are not proud of what is going on, or simply that everyone is too busy to take care of it. Look closely at the vision, mission and values of the school. Do they represent your vision, mission and values in education? Are they practical and relevant? Do they look like they lead to an actionable plan, or do they look like cookie-cutter, feel-good idealisms that do not really say anything? Look at the goals and the strategic plan. Are they achievable by mere mortals? Are they missing? If there is no strategic plan, could it be that the ship is rudderless?

Another option are the myriad of school review sites. Among the most common, is International Schools Review www.internationalschoolsreview.com. A weakness to this site is that you do not have to be a member to post a review [on International School Community you need to be a member to leave comments]. There truly are facts to be found here, but only with a microscope. First, to read the reviews, you must be a member. The fee is reasonable but might be the best investment. This anonymity for posting, opens the door to the hyperbole and fiction referred to above. The thing to keep in mind as you read these reviews is that if it seems very rosy, it was most likely written by someone with a vested or financial interest, i.e.: a founder, board member or administrator. If on the other hand, it seems like hell on earth, it was most likely written someone who left the school under less than friendly terms. You have to read between the lines to find the kernels of truth, but hopefully you will also be able to identify some rational and objective reviews.

Other places to look are the International Baccalaureate (IBO) site, www.ibo.org, or discussion forums found on such sites as Linked In www.linkedin.com, or Internations www.internations.org. Ultimately, it is incumbent on you to do the research to be sure that you make informed decisions that are right for you.

Talk to me!

Burnout stress - woman sleeping on computerSo you have your papers in order, you have jumped through all of the hoops. You know about the schools and countries you are considering and you heard that they have a position. The next step is to sign the contract, right? Well, not so fast. You still have to convince them that you are the perfect person for the job.

Before blasting out 200 CV´s with a form cover letter, do your homework. Although at job fairs, it may seem that international schools are isolated entities in “competition” with each other, the reality is that it is a small group. The directors of these schools know each other, and whether they are best friends or passing acquaintances, they talk and compare notes. You want them to see that you have carefully considered your skills and their needs and that you truly believe that you are a solid fit. Remember that there are a set number of hours in a day and just as you have limited time to get things done, so do directors and recruiters. Do not waste your time or theirs by sending a letter of interest to a school that is not a clear fit for your skill set.  Likewise, if you do not know enough about a school to write an individually crafted cover letter, why should they be bothered to find out about you? That being said, everyone has a dream location in mind, but if you allow yourself the opportunity, you will discover that some places you never dreamed of living, can provide a rich, colorful and amazing experience. Having grown up in a time (in the U.S.) when most people imagined Africa to be nothing but desert, bugs and snakes, and New York City to be nothing but crime, it is easy to understand how we let our preconceived ideas limit our opportunities and potential. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to ignore those preconceptions and be open to consider any country. Wherever you go, I can assure you that you will find warm, open, friendly and dedicated colleagues and citizens.

The first step in landing a contract for a job that will be rewarding for you and beneficial to your employer, is to know yourself and be honest with yourself and on your CV. There has been a great deal of news lately about how common it is to lie on a CV. There are two perspectives from which to view this. “One is that everybody is doing it, so if I don´t, I can´t compete.” If that is your perspective, ask Lance Armstrong how that worked out for him. Further, exaggerating your CV might land you a job, but if you are not truly qualified for that job, it will inevitably end badly. On the other hand, as an educator, we are role models and just as we would cringe at giving a student a grade for something he did not do, what would it say about the character of an educator who got a job fraudulently. Be honest—completely. It will not open every door, but it will open the right one.

A career change brings with it a lot of excitement, frustration, exhaustion and in some cases, panic. International education is not for everyone but if I still have your attention at this point, you are on the path to an amazing life, with all its joys, heartache, highs and lows.

In the next article, we will talk more about the interview, what to look for, what to expect and what questions to ask.

Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 4.34.33 PMThis article was submitted by guest author and International School Community member: John Brown.

(John has held both administrative and teaching positions for over 20  years, with the last five being in international education. He is a well respected presenter at regional, national and international education and technology conferences as well as a consultant, who has helped set standards in teacher training and assessment, use of technology in the classroom, curriculum development and effective management practices. A graduate of Tarleton State University in Texas, USA, with graduate studies at North Texas State University and Texas Wesleyan School of Law, he is currently teaching IB Psychology and Spanish at an international school in Portugal. His current projects include development of an online tutoring system for Spanish, consulting on development of a National Language Policy for the United States, and research into the effects of early language learning on brain development. You can contact John at jbb0906@gmail.com.)

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For the Newbies

How Do I Get into International Education #1: “Is it for me?”

August 8, 2013


imagesIn the news recently, you may have seen the advertisement for a company looking for four couples to make a one-way trip to Mars. There were over 10,000 people who applied. It´s not clear what their motivations were, but perhaps some of those adventurous genes can be found in international teachers. You can rest comfortably, though, in the assurance that an international teaching assignment is not, necessarily, a one-way trip. Whether you are a new or veteran teacher or administrator, the exciting world of international education is both challenging and rewarding. This article is the first in a series that will help you decide if it is for you and how to prepare for success in the endeavor.

The first thing considerations are: Do I have what it takes, and what are my motivations? Part of our psychological makeup as creatures of habit, mean that change is very difficult. Don´t believe me? When was the last time you changed your hairstyle or wardrobe?  On the other hand, change, can bring invigoration and excitement which leads to greater motivation and focus. So let´s look at some of the characteristics of a successful international educator. Stamina is vital. Think of your first year of teaching. International education is definitely not a “kick back and relax at the beach,” kind of job. In short, cannot be viewed as “just a job.” It is an adventure requires a energy and and a state of mind that thrives on seeing the opportunities in the daily challenges. Our Mars-bound friends will no doubt discover that in their three year training and conditioning program, their success is as dependent on this mindset as is that of an international educator. Creativity and a proactive approach will let you get ahead of the next curve ball thrown your way.

DSC_3137Another characteristic of success is flexibility—not the yoga kind, although many find that helps too. As creatures of habit, change is difficult for everyone. As an international educator, you may find that you are on the receiving end, instead of the giving end of  “we’ve always done it that way.” You will almost certainly be asked to step out of your comfort zone, whether it is in the classroom, or with foods and customs. In preparation for the Mars trip, these lucky souls will be learning everything from gardening to medicine. It is unlikely that you will need those skills, but a broad tool chest of skills and interests will definitely make life more interesting and effective. Bear in mind that every educator and every school have different perspectives on how to do things, and no one has a monopoly on “the best.” No one enters or should enter international education on a crusade to change the world. As shocking as it may be, our way — or my way — or your way, is not always the best. A successful international educator will be open to alternative ideas. Ultimately, that is what makes us all better at what we do. Above all, flexibility and curiosity which will be discussed further in an article on dealing with culture shock, will provide a much richer experience.

Effective and happy international educators also possess stick-to-itiveness—that perseverance that allows one to shake off the frustrations and challenges and keep an eye on the goal. Jumping into international education successfully, is not something done on a whim. Rather, it is for the long haul. Challenges are everywhere, from home country to the farthest reaches of society. Those challenges are amplified by a multitude of other issues, which will be addressed in later articles, but the bottom line is that even when things seem overwhelming, a successful international educator will grab hold and keep pushing ahead. So, whether your motivation for entering international education is a career move, an adventure or a chance to discover the world, you are there to teach children. But just as importantly, if you are open to it, you will learn much more than you teach.

The life of an international educator is a wonderful one, full of adventure and boredom, excitement and frustration, challenge and reward. But without a doubt, it is a remarkable opportunity that will provide an amazing insight into the world in which we live. A friend of mine, and long time international educator, said it best, we “do an ordinary job in extraordinary places.” Life is not about the destinations, it´s about the journey.

In the next article, we will look at the nuts and bolts of getting started—specific steps to prepare you for opening the doors.

Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 4.34.33 PMThis article was submitted by guest author and International School Community member: John Brown.
(John has held both administrative and teaching positions for over 20  years, with the last five being in international education. He is a well respected presenter at regional, national and international education and technology conferences as well as a consultant, who has helped set standards in teacher training and assessment, use of technology in the classroom, curriculum development and effective management practices. A graduate of Tarleton State University in Texas, USA, with graduate studies at North Texas State University and Texas Wesleyan School of Law, he is currently teaching IB Psychology and Spanish at an international school in Portugal. His current projects include development of an online tutoring system for Spanish, consulting on development of a National Language Policy for the United States, and research into the effects of early language learning on brain development. You can contact John at jbb0906@gmail.com.)

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Surveys

Survey results are in: Where are you spending your ‘extra’ money while teaching abroad?

September 15, 2012


The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted are spending their ‘Extra’ money on traveling, clothes and food.

I guess it comes as no surprise that international school teachers are traveling a lot.  If we have the time and means to do it, then we often take advantage of this time in our lives (because it might not last for ever!).  We love the fact that we are getting more time for holidays throughout the school year (than maybe you would be getting in your home country).  Some international schools are also celebrating up to three countries’ national holidays!  Being that many of us don’t have family living where we are currently living in the world, there is sometimes no good reason to stick around our host city during our vacation time.  When holiday time comes around, we are all asking each other “Where are you traveling to?”

At one point in my international school teaching career, I was traveling so much that I was averaging 12 new countries a year!  New countries!  And I was at a placement with the lowest salary of my teaching career.  I guess then it all depends on your location in the world and how well that city’s airport is connected to other cities in the world.  Sometimes the cost of living in the city can play a factor as well to how much money you have left over for traveling.  If you pay rent in your current placement, having a roommate too can help you put more of your earnings towards traveling instead of a higher monthly rent that you would be paying if you were living by yourself.

There are many factors to consider.  Knowing about all this information about traveling before you sign a contract can quite important then…that is if traveling is one of your top priorities while living abroad.  Luckily on International School Community, we have a Travel Section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile that discusses this very topic.  There are four topics in this section:

• Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby.

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

• Popular travel websites to buy plane tickets or tours that are popular for expats living in the city and/or country.

• Places to travel to outside the city by bus or train.

There have been many comments and information submitted in the Travel Section on numerous school profiles on our website.

One International School Community member said about working at American School of Barcelona: “It is easy to get to almost every European city from Barcelona for a decent price. You do have to shop around and it is better to book ahead. A flight from Barcelona to the east coast of the USA at Christmas costs around 500-900 Euros.”

Another member said about working at American School of Asuncion: “It is very difficult to travel on a regular weekend, since Asuncion is basically in the middle of nowhere, and flights to the closest cool cities (Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro) are expensive. It is also becoming more and more pricey with the Visas required for Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. They range from $60-140.”

Another member submitted a comment about the traveling opportunities while working at Kodaikanal International School: “KIS is fortunate in having a fully staffed Travel Office to coordinate student, staff and community travel. Our travel partner ‘Around the World Travel’ is an India-wide agency with decades of experience in providing national and international travel options to and from KIS.”

We also have other comments and information topics in the City Section of the school profile pages that are related to clothing and food.  One of these topics covers the best places in your host city to find good deals on clothing and other shopping.  We all can benefit from hearing about places that are good to go to versus spending time and energy going to ones that aren’t so good in our host city.

For those international school teachers that put going out to eat a lot as a top priority while living abroad, there are also topics that discuss the best places in the city to go out to eat.  We even have a topic that is about restaurants that appeal to the expat community living in that host city (we all want a little ‘familiar’ food every now and then!).

Some of us spend our ‘extra’ money buying imported goods.  Typically the food sold in the local expat grocery store is at a very high price, prices you would never pay if you were living in your home country.  But because of the ‘extra’ money that many international school teachers have while living abroad, we can afford buying these products. Well we can often buy these high-priced products, but maybe not live on these products!

So what are ou spending your ‘extra’ money on while living abroad?  With the appeal of being able to travel to most places in the world and being able to go out to eat more often, it is indeed difficult to save your ‘extra’ money at times.  According to the survey results though, there are some international school teachers that are saving their money.  Some schools actually force you to save in a way, when they transfer part of your salary into your home country bank account while they transfer another part into your local bank account.  Typically you can live on the money transferred into your local account, letting you save the money in your home country bank account very easily and make is ‘less accessible’ to spend too!

To save or not to save…that is the question!

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Surveys

New Survey: Where are you spending your “extra” money while teaching abroad?

July 17, 2012


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  Where are you spending your “extra” money while teaching abroad?

You tell your old teacher-friends from your home country about it.  It is the one thing you can boast about as it is not so common probably in your home country: A teacher having “extra” money.  International school teachers really do have an opportunity (in most placements) to be making “extra” money, some placements more than others.

Because you typically don’t need to have a car and sometimes don’t need to pay for your rent (among many other things that take a big cut out of your paycheck each month), international school teachers have some discretionary income for sure.  In some international schools, the percentage of your income that is discretionary can be over 50%!

Most teachers I know specifically go into the International School Community to make money.  Many of us have a good opportunity to make this extra money and then are able to do what we really would like to do with our lives.  Now this could mean many things to different people, thus our survey question.

Do you like to spend your extra money on traveling, new clothes (or getting them make for you) and going out to eat all the time?

Or maybe you are teaching abroad to increase the money in you savings account in your home country?

Are there any international school teachers out there donating their extra earnings?

On www.internationalschoolcommunity.com, each school profile page has a topic under the City section that is specifically about the places you can go and spend your extra money.  It is called:

Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals.


Copenhagen International School

We have another topic on each school profile page under the Travel section that is specifically about how much traveling costs in that city in the world.  It is called:

Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby.


American School of Barcelona

Finally, if you are into saving money while teaching abroad at international schools, we have a topic in our Benefits section on each school profile page about saving potential. It is called:

Average amount of money that is left to be saved

American School of Asuncion

There have been 100s of comments and information already submitted in these topics on numerous school profile pages on our website.  Log-on today to check out the latest comments related to how teachers are spending their “extra” money while teaching abroad.  If you currently work at or have worked at an international school, please also log-on and share what you know about how you and your colleagues spend their extra money.

So, Where are you spending your “extra” money while teaching abroad?  Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted Article – International Teaching: What Is It Really Like?

March 7, 2012


Have you ever wondered what teaching in London or Paris is like? Are you curious about Norway, Turkey, or the Philippines? Would you consider teaching in Kuwait, Indonesia, Zambia, Bangladesh, or Abu Dhabi? Education World interviewed four teachers who did more than just consider.


Istanbul, Turkey

“I knew I wanted to see the world,” Donna Spisso told Education World. “I had a masters and eight years of experience when I left the United States. When I taught in Rockingham County, in Virginia, I took five years to save up for a two-week trip to England. At that rate, I was not going to see much!”

“I’ve been abroad for 20 years now. It began as a one-year break after ten years of teaching in New York City,” Laura Forish told Education World.

“If I had to do this all over again, the only thing I would do differently,” said Bill Jordan, “is to get out of stateside public education sooner than I did.”

“Although our lives have been very ordinary in one sense, they have been filled with adventure and new learning every day,” added Karen Dunmire. “Both our girls (ages 28 and 21) were born overseas. Our best friendships have come from the ranks of teachers who’ve chosen this life, even for a brief time. Our girls speak several languages and easily navigate around the world, as that has been their world.”

Those are just a sampling of comments from four teachers who have taught abroad. They have taught in more than 15 nations and have more than 60 years of combined international teaching experience.

LAURA FORISH

For Laura Forish, that one-year break became a new way of life. Since her first foray into international teaching, she has taught at the American Community School-Cobham (England) and at American Schools in London and Paris. Twenty years later, Forish was still teaching abroad.


Paris, France

Education World: You have taught in what many people would consider “dream” places — Paris and London. Is it hard to get positions there?

Laura Forish: It’s all a question of being in the right place at the right time and being persistent. A solid rsum and a minimum of two years of experience is a requirement. Flexibility is also necessary because international schools do not have the same support services United States’ schools offer. Often one is called upon to wear a variety of hats. Although such places as the Munich International School are Christmas-card beautiful, for someone from New York City being in a city was very important.

EW: Did you know the language or about the culture before you left?

Forish: I spoke minimal French, but it certainly has improved. The language as it is spoken bears some — but not much — resemblance to the language as it is taught in textbooks. Culture shock is real and happens to everyone. It is not a fleeting thing but something that lasts through the years. Culture shock was just as real in the United Kingdom, so it should not be thought of as language-based only.

EW: As a foreigner, were you accepted?

Forish: Tough one. I’m always an expatriate American. Those with whom you bond tend to have similar backgrounds. Although they may be Brits or French, they have lived outside their culture. Except for a short stint in Guatemala, I have always lived in places where physically I “fit in,” and that’s a big difference. I can look the “native” when it’s appropriate and act the “foreigner” when I feel like it. For me, that’s a wonderful combination.

EW: What is life like as a teacher in France?

Forish: The physical environment may change, but teaching is something that changes very little once you’re in the classroom. In my current position, our day lasts from 8:45 till 3:30. After-school sports and activity programs run until 6:15.

EW: Was there anything special about teaching in the places you have taught? Were there negatives?

Forish: The big negative is professional. You’re out of the mainstream. Going to a conference is a big deal. Continuing education can be hard to arrange as well, although with online courses becoming more popular, that is easing some.

Another negative is compensation. I am not paid as well as my cohorts in the United States are. Some of this differential is because of the dollar to French franc exchange rate. Salaries vary greatly from school to school. In general, schools in what are considered “hardship” areas tend to pay better than those in “prime” locations: Paris, Rome, London. In my experience, this is based not on the cost of living in these areas but on the availability of teachers.

However, as I’ve done this for 20 years, I obviously feel that the positive outweighs the negative. I have met some wonderful people — as colleagues, as students, as parents of students, as neighbors.

The school population is really exciting. Many students are true global nomad. They’ve lived all across the world. In my current school, the 850 students from grades pre-K through the 13th year of the International Baccalaureate program represent approximately 45 nationalities. Roughly 50 percent of them hold U.S. passports.

EW: You’re a 30-year teaching veteran. In your opinion, is teaching abroad mainly for the young?

Forish: No way! Living in a different culture expands horizons and empathy levels. It’s not always easy, but it’s rarely boring.

KAREN DUNMIRE

Karen Dunmire and her husband, Denny, have been teaching abroad for more than 30 years. Currently, she is middle school principal at the American School in Warsaw, Poland.

Education World: You have spent more than 30 years abroad. Where have you taught?

Karen Dunmire: After the Peace Corps, Denny and I met and started our married life in a very remote boarding school of 700 in Sesheke, Zambia. Our first girl was born there. She was delivered by kerosene lamp in a government hospital. Very memorable and wonderful.

We returned to the United States to complete graduate degrees at Michigan State and then went to Indonesia. Our second child was born in Singapore. We came home to Lake Placid, New York, for what we thought was to be forever, but we stayed only two years, returning to Indonesia for two years and then [moving] to Abu Dhabi for three. In 1992, we went to Kuwait. In 1994, we moved to Poland, where we’ve been for seven years.

EW: Did this nomadic life affect your children?

Dunmire: Our kids were always ready to explore a new country. They have probably been the ones who’ve kept us moving. It is a wonderful life for families who are open to new experiences. We just kind of fell into this and love it.

DONNA SPISSO

Donna Spisso has taught in Spain, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the Dutch Caribbean. For the past six years, she has taught in Bangladesh.

EW: In Bangladesh, you were a foreigner in a country with a culture very different from your own. Were you accepted?

Donna Spisso: Bangladeshis like to be associated with foreigners. There is some status attached to it. Teachers are respected. It is harder to become part of the community in Europe if you don’t speak the language. In Bangladesh, everyone’s second language is English.

EW: What are the schools like in Bangladesh? Is it safe there?

Spisso: My school has approximately 600 students in pre-K through 12th grade. My day runs from 7:30 to 3:30, and we’re on a block schedule. We do have air conditioning, but when the power goes off, we lose it.

Safety? Driving a car in Bangladesh requires the utmost attention. At any given time, a motorist must watch out for men walking their cows or goats — they graze on the median sometimes. Women are walking to the garment factories. Rickshaws and taxis clog the roads, waiting for customers. Brightly painted trucks, horns blaring, stop for no one. People cross the street without looking where they are going! There are no sidewalks, no traffic lights, and no stop signs in our area — and if there were, no one would pay any heed!

EW: Why did you choose to teach in Bangladesh.

Spisso: Bangladesh offered a great package. In Europe, you pay taxes. In Bangladesh, we pay none. My school, like many others in the developing world, provides free tickets home annually; pays rent, utilities, and health insurance; and, for a nominal fee, provides a car and pays for its maintenance.

The trade off, of course, is quality of life. No one would agree to work in the developing world if the benefits were not excellent. If you work in Europe for only two years, you don’t worry about the future, and schools capitalize on that. If international teaching becomes your career, that’s a different story. You have to be able to save.

I find the students here very dedicated and their parents solidly behind their education. I have a lot of academic freedom and few discipline problems, and my husband and I are saving for our retirement. Travel is excellent. I have fulfilled my dream of seeing the world.

BILL JORDAN:

Bill Jordan taught in Norway, Turkey, and the Philippines and then created WWTEACH.com, to help other people find overseas teaching jobs.

Education World: Bill, you have taught in three very different places. Few Americans know much about the Philippines. What was teaching there like?

Jordan: It was in the Philippines that I found out why teachers rarely go back to teaching in the United States after teaching abroad. Where else can one be paid to hike a volcano, snorkel beautiful coral reefs, or learn about survival deep in the jungle?

My school had a resource center that rivaled those in universities. The science department had a full-time lab technician who took care of the labs. I’d just tell her what equipment I needed and poof — it was set up in my room. If I wanted to work with a video recorder, the equipment arrived — Hollywood-style, with a camera person to take care of all the recording while I just worried about teaching! I requested a small radio, and I received a brand-new $200 dollar portable stereo system in my room for the year. More than a dozen people staffed the large library. Ready and waiting to help, they were an interesting mix of locals and expatriates from all over the world.

EW: Did you have any teaching experiences that you think you will always remember?

Jordan: We had frequent power outages, making teaching computers challenging. I used pantomime to teach my beginning English as a second language classes. And I butchered the pronunciation of everybody’s names: Si-Nyong Lee, Nobuyoshi, Umer Khaldoon Aftab Ahmed …

Think of New York City and how different it is from rural Montana. The same is true overseas. Every place is very different from the other places, but it is always fun and exciting. In the Philippines, I learned that kids will be kids no matter where you are. Teaching, learning, testing, and sharing is fundamentally the same no matter where you live.

Students came and went constantly, but I never got used to the gifts they gave. Things like that just didn’t happen to me stateside. It was nice being in a place where teachers were valued.

Taken from the Education World website.
 

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Great Resource

Educators Overseas: Helping teachers secure a job teaching abroad.

December 7, 2011


There are many ways to secure a teaching job at an international school.  The website Educators Overseas also offers such a service.  Here is what they have to say about their philosophy of helping candidates find the “right fit” in their search to teach abroad (taken from their website):

Honesty Throughout the Process

The word “recruiter” is sometimes associated with the idea of telling a job candidate what they want to hear, just so that they’ll take a job. At Educators Overseas we pride ourselves on being the exception to this rule.

  • Realistic Outlook – Some schools can only hire people under or over a certain age. Others only want single, unaccompanied teachers or those who have experience working overseas. We will review your qualifications and will be honest with you about your chances and opportunities to find a job.
  • Honesty – Apparently there are some teacher recruiting companies who delete any Facebook posts that put their company or the schools they work with in any negative light at all. Rather than deleting such posts we address the issues straight on.
  • Quality Schools – we support the teacher bill of rights and work only with quality schools. This unofficial document was created jointly by international school teachers to communicate a few things they expect from their new international school. While we can’t enforce the Bill of Rights, we can and do let schools know that we support the Bill and do not represent schools in egregious violation of the Bill’s spirit or points.

Assistance as You Move Abroad

Unlike other teacher recruiting agencies, our service to you does not stop once the contract is signed and is not limited by the job you accept.

  • Travel Guidance – Although you’ll find a lot of information on your own via the internet, visit our Destinations pages for more information on the city and country you’ll be going to. For some jobs you’ll be given a mini travel guide to start you off right.
  • Cultural Acclimation – To help you prepare to transition abroad (and also while you’re in country if need be), you we will give you exclusive access to an e-course especially designed for expats moving abroad.
  • Transitions Abroad – Moving anywhere is a big deal, but moving overseas, especially for the first time, is even more of a transition. To help you prepare for your big move abroad Educators Overseas stays in contact with you every step of the way, providing your information about shipping, vaccines, the local language, and answering any questions you may have about moving to, teaching in, or living in your new country.

Support After Arriving in Country

What happens after you arrive at a school? If you used another teacher recruiting company chances are you won’t hear from them again once you move abroad. At Educators Overseas, once a teacher accepts a job at an international school, we continue to provide ongoing support to teachers to ensure a smooth transition overseas and an outstanding experience in their host country.

  • Expat and Teacher Community Abroad – Once you move abroad you’ll be considered an “expat”, short for expatriate – someone who is a citizen of one country but temporarily residing in another country. The good news is that expats stick together and develop their own sense of community and family in another country. We will put you in touch with expat groups so you can start building your own community even before you go. Educators Overseas will also provide you with resources and information about living in your new country and in some cases a mini travel guide.
  • Embassy Contacts Abroad – The Embassy (in the capital city) and Consulates (in other cities) of your home country provides services and support to its citizens residing in the host country. Educators Overseas will connect you with your country’s Embassy so you can receive important alerts and information distributed by the Embassy.
  • Help Finding Partner a Job – If you move to a new country with your spouse or partner and he or she decides they want a job, just let us know. We will provide you with prospects, ideas, and local contacts to help them find work. We also partner with some exclusive telecommuting job companies and will send you job alerts for telecommuting opportunities at your request.
  • Assistance While Living Abroad – If ever you have a concern, problem, or question as a teacher overseas, email Educators Overseas and we will do our best to help you. With contacts all over the world, we’ll work to provide you with resources to help resolve any issue, whatever your question. In many cases one of our employees will have lived or at least traveled to the city or country you are in. For as long as you are living abroad, Educators Overseas will remain your partner and will be here for you with any advice, suggestions, answers, or friendship.

Seems like they are making the decision to change your whole life and move to a foreign city somewhere around the globe a bit easier than if you were doing it all by yourself.  The recruiting fairs like Search and UNI don’t seem to be offering these same services to their candidates looking for jobs at international schools.  How nice and convenient to have the organization that helped you secure a job abroad help you even after you get the job and are living in your new city! We wonder though what this looks like in practice.

Check out more about Educators Overseas and see if they are a good match for what services you are looking for in your job search.  It might be a good alternative to signing up to go to an international school teacher recruitment fair for some teachers new to the International School Community.  Does anybody have any personal experience working with Educator’s Overseas?  We would be interested in hearing your experience on our blog.

Check out our website as well for the latest comments and information (now over 1600!) from members representing over 80 international schools around the world!

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Highlighted Articles

Highlighted article: 6 countries that aren’t really countries!

November 15, 2011


From the Matador Trip section on the Matador website, they highlights a few “countries” that aren’t really countries.

With international school teachers always looking for new places to visit during their holiday breaks, this list of “new” countries is just what we are looking for!

Highlights from the article:

“If you’ve never heard of them before, it’s quite possibly because they don’t yet exist as countries in the eyes of much of the world. What is interesting is that these non-states, despite a lack of formal diplomatic recognition, often function as more or less independent nations. Many have their own currencies, governments, and visa procedures for would-be travelers, and some even see a respectable number of tourists each year. For countries that aren’t meant to exist in the first place, that is.

Some are places you can go and explore just like any other. They just happen to be the sovereign version of Schrödinger’s cat. They exist but they don’t. You can visit, but you can’t.”

They have highlighted 6 countries by they state this is by no means a complete list.  There are a few more like Transnistria to Bouganville Island and Sealand.  We choose to highlight the information that they provided for Kosovo.

Republic of Kosovo

Capital: Pristina

“The Republic of Kosovo was established in the aftermath of the Kosovo War in 1999, but was not recognised by Serbia, prompting a tug of war over the new nation’s identity. Eighty-five UN member states (plus Taiwan, who isrecognised in turn by only 23, but was not interesting enough to make this list) say that the Republic of Kosovo is a country. Russia, China, and Serbia disagree.

And so, pending any progress from the diplomats, the sort-of-republic plods along anyhow, signing up to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the meanwhile.”

How do I visit?

“You can travel to the Republic of Kosovo from most borders that are not Serbia. Trying to enter Serbia afterwards can cause headaches, as Serbia appears to consider entering the country via the Republic of Kosovo as an illegal entry. So if you would like to go, try and get your visit to Serbia out of the way first.”

So, which of these countries have you been to.  I must admit that I haven’t been to any of them…..just yet!

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Ten Commandments of Relocating Overseas

TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #5 – Look for ways to strengthen and maintain your enthusiasm

October 15, 2011


TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS

5. Look for ways to strengthen and maintain your enthusiasm.

We all have been there before; alone in your new apartment, not wanting to go out onto the street to the nearby market, not wanting to be confronted with a bunch of people that are speaking a language you don’t understand, feeling tired all the time and wanting to sleep through your whole weekend, etc.

Look for ways to strengthen and maintain your enthusiasm

It takes some mental toughness to get your spirits up again, to grasp at a tiny bit of enthusiasm when you are knee-deep in culture shock feelings. If this is your 3rd international school you might have said to yourself, “this time it is going to be different. I am going to accept people’s offers of invitation to go out around the town. I am going to be more positive and active during the first 3-6 months after I arrive.”

Sometimes it feels like every other new teacher at your school is full of enthusiasm and you are the only one not feeling that way, but it is true that all new teachers go through this tough stage of culture shock which is trying to stay positive about your situation and keeping an up-beat attitude about the host country and culture.

Ways to increase and maintain your enthusiasm:

§ Invite some of the new teachers out for a drink at a bar in town, for a walk around the nearby park, for some dinner over at your new apartment, etc..

Look for ways to strengthen and maintain your enthusiasm

§ Join a meetup.com group in your host city. There are many groups on that website from all over the world. Sometimes it is good to just get away from your work colleagues and meet some other expats in other industries.

§ Start up a blog about all your new experiences living abroad. Keeping your friends and family up to date with all your new experiences can be quite motivating, and your friends and family look forward to your new entries and enjoy hearing about all your adventures.

§ Make sure you have some of your favorite TV programs to watch on your computer. We have all experienced in at least one of the host cities we’ve lived in the long wait time that there can be when getting internet installed in your new apartment. Having some TV programs or favorite movies to watch in the meantime can definitely keep your enthusiasm from dipping too low.

§ Make sure you don’t pass up your first travel opportunity of the school calendar. Looking online for flights to new destinations can really boost your enthusiasm for the expat life that you have chosen for yourself. If you are not feeling like traveling, just start asking around with the other teachers at your school. Once you hear where they are going, you will for sure want to get on the bandwagon and get your trip planned as well.

Look for ways to strengthen and maintain your enthusiasm

§ Before you move, make sure to pack some of your favorite home country food products. When you have a day that you are feeling down, you can get one of these products out for dinner. Having some familiar foods can really make you feel back on track. It might just be too much of a shock to your system to only be eating the host country’s cuisine.

Anybody have any more good ideas for keeping up your enthusiasm? There are many more for sure. Just try and keep in mind the reason that you decided to take on this new challenge and change in your life. The life of an expat is indeed quite nice, but it is not full of wonderful moments all the time. International school teachers need to be prepared to handle these tough situations we experience every once and awhile when our enthusiasm for this lifestyle temporary dims.

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