Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #40: Amber Acosta (A teacher at the American International School in Egypt)

August 28, 2019


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

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Hi! My name is Amber Acosta. I grew up in Connecticut, but when I am back in the United States, I call Vermont home. I have a bachelors degree in business from Fordham University and a masters degree in teaching from Sacred Heart University. I have taught grade 2 for the past 5 years at the American International School in Egypt (West Campus) and am excited to start a new position this year teaching lower elementary technology, using my certification as an Educational Media Specialist. My professional interests outside of technology are STEM education, library, and makerspaces. I recently became certified in STEM and am looking forward to using my skills this year, as well as creating a makerspace at my school. I have a husband and an 11 year old son. My husband is a teacher, too. He teaches economics and business at the same school.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I did not really plan to teach internationally – I fell into it and ended up loving it! I taught in Egypt for one year after college before starting my masters, but did not necessarily intend to come back. However, my husband and I decided to move to Egypt (where he is originally from) in 2011. I contacted a previous administrator and found they had an opening for me at their school. The rest is history! I knew I would continue to teach internationally after that, especially after my husband joined me in teaching as well.

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 have worked at Global Paradigm International School and American International School of Egypt (West Campus), both in Cairo. Global Paradigm was in its second year when I joined, so there was a lot of room for me to be a part of the accreditation process and really help build the foundations of the curriculum. I enjoyed the challenge! Also, we had small class sizes and I loved feeling like my students and I were a little family. At the American International School of Egypt, we have a large student body and staff. I have really benefited from meeting so many teachers from around the world and learning from them through discussion and observation. Another great thing about AIS is that we not only have professional development in our staff meetings, but also have the chance through our stipends to take classes or attend professional development anywhere we wish. I have had the chance to grow so much in my time at AIS, as well as have fun! Our Seuss-themed Literacy Week is a blast for both students and teachers. Also, it is fantastic to take my students every year to the pyramids- where else can you do that?

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

My son has grown up with both Egyptian and American cultures and we also travel internationally for many of our vacations. He has developed such a broad perspective of the world and a curiosity about different cultures. I think one of the best cultural encounters anywhere is always trying the food in a new country!

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

My husband and I would absolutely love to teach in and explore a new country in the near future, so we have been thinking about this recently. It is very important to me that the school is progressive, has opportunities for professional development, and values teacher-input into curriculum. I would also like for there to be emphasis on project-based and real-world learning. My husband and I started and currently run the school gardening program, in which students grow, pack, and sell produce, so we would love to work somewhere that we could still be involved in gardening or eco-initiatives. 

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

Teaching around the world – awesome!

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Thanks, Amber Acosta!

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 receive one year free of premium access to our website!

Interested in comparing the schools and comments in Egypt. Check out our blog post here.

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: American International School in Egypt

February 24, 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 theAmerican International School in Egypt (New Cairo City, Egypt), described her way to work there as follows:

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As I leave my apartment in El Rehab, I don’t know exactly what I will see. Life in Cairo is always interesting and sometimes unpredictable. One thing that is typical is the sunny weather, and today is not any different. The first place that I see from the car I am driving is the El Rehab Mall 2. I go there sometimes to go to the grocery store as it is only steps away from my apartment.

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After Mall 2, you will see the first of many roundabouts. The right-of-way is actually with the car that is entering, NOT the car that is already in the roundabout.

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En El Rehab, you need to exit the area through a gate. There are guards there to keep the riff raff out. You need to show a card that you live there to enter through the gate.

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After you get outside of the gate, then you have a few more roundabouts to go through. Today I saw a group of children with brooms on the side of the room cleaning the streets. Well at least it looked like they were cleaning the streets. I wonder if they were getting paid to do so. It was the first time seeing them on my journey to school.

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Another common sight on the journey is seeing many abandoned housing developments. They are all over Cairo. I still haven’t received an official explanation for this. I can only imagine that there was enough interest and money to get these projects started, but then the money and interest went away for some reason. It is really strange!

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With 30+ million people living in and around Cairo, you are bound to see a number of people sitting on the curbs on most streets. So many interesting characters with I’m sure VERY interesting stories to tell.

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Around one of the roundabouts, you can find a number of men apparently waiting for work. Many of them are sitting around with sledgehammers next to them. I guess they get picked up by people needing some construction work done.

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There are a number of billboards around the city advertising the many international schools in Cairo. In the other places I’ve lived and visited, I’ve never seen this done before. I guess these billboard advertisements are contributing to the fact that a number of international schools have high numbers of local children attending them.

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There are a number of people selling things on the side of the road. Mostly fruits sellers, but there is a plant shop as well.

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What looks like a jail is actually a police academy. At certain times of the year, you will see many young recruits standing around the outside of this place. It is definitely a sight to see!

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Finally, I arrive at the school in about 15-20 minutes from El Rehab. The school is located all on one campus.

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Here is the gate you enter to get inside. Of course, there are guards to let you in.

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Once you are inside you can see the fields and playgrounds to the left.

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To the right, you will see the many schools buses that bring the children and teachers to school every day.

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The school has a nice terrace part with a cafe!

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When you leave out the other gate, you will see a guard that has been working at the school for decades. He definitely has some stories (and secrets) to tell I’m sure!

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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 Cairo?  Check out our blog article in our Traveling Around category about Cairo.

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

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Traveling Around

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

May 29, 2014


Traveling Around: Cairo, Egypt

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Can you relate?

• Getting off the plane and seeing the armed security forces casually strolling around the airport with machine guns hanging off their arms.
• Going to the Egyptian Museum and walking past tanks and armored vehicles ready to deal with any major problems.  There is heightened security leading up to the elections but the armed forces are subtle and seeing them is reassuring.  Very strange though seeing military checkpoints with umbrellas protecting the soldiers from the sun.
• Finally seeing Tutankhamen’s treasures including his Death Mask after 39 years of wanting to go and see it, including canceling a previous planned trip as it coincided with the weekend the last revolution occurred.
• Then, walking in his tomb and seeing his mummified corpse (and ‘negotiating’ with the guard to take photographs, even though cameras and pictures not allowed).
• No queues, no waiting anywhere.  Before the revolution it would have taken 30 minutes at each of the four tombs in Valley of the Kings before you could even enter and then it would be full of people.  I was in Tutankhamen’s tomb with just my mini tour group (total of three) we had the place to ourselves…
• The Pyramids and the Sphinx!!!
• Bargaining with the vendors whilst the Nile River Cruise ship goes through the lock (they throw their product onto the deck and if you want it you throw your money down to them) – best fun ever!!
• Finding out that snacks are really cheap at roadside stalls
• Encountering insane Cairo traffic – lanes are just a suggestion and horns are to tell a story – one hour just to drive around the roundabout at Tahir Square – cars were doing u-turns in the middle of the traffic – against the flow – just to escape…
• Shopping!!! Dealing with the vendors can be so much fun if you smile at them and have a laugh…
• Walking around the corner and seeing the immense statues of Rameses II at Abu Simbel (after a 3am start and a 3 and a half hour road convoy)
• Watching an artisan make papyrus and then seeing another use hieroglyphics to personalise it for you
• Seeing an Egyptian Muslim man propose to his girlfriend on the Nile Dinner Cruise – so beautiful
• Seeing an Egyptian wedding (different couple obviously :)) get married by the pool at the hotel you are staying and then watching the fireworks when they leave the party
• Experiencing all the different temples at different times of the day so the light reflects differently
• Mummified crocodiles!
• Meeting two amazing boys from Barbados to travel around Upper Egypt with (we became known as Two Cokes and a Sprite as that reflected the drinks we always ordered for dinner but it was also a cute description of the three of us)
• Being taken out to dinner by your guide (not included in the tour package) as an extra so you can taste ‘real’ Egyptian food at a restaurant that happened to be across the road from the Sphinx so we were entertained by the Light show as well…
• Experiencing the incredible hospitality of the local people (my tour guide and tour company owner really made sure that I was having the tour of my dreams).
• Realising that Egypt is currently a safe place to visit regardless what the media says – it is cheap to visit now (weather is best Jan – April) and the people appreciate you visiting as they are doing it tough since the revolutions…
• Independently kickstarting the Egyptian economy with all the shopping I did (seriously heavy bags (plural) on the way home!)
• New friends in Egypt and because of Egypt!

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Currently we have 23 international schools listed in Cairo, Egypt on International School Community.  Here are a few of the them that have had comments submitted on them:

Cairo American College (27 Comments)
• Cairo British School (30 Comments)
• Cairo English School (17 Comments)
• Ecole Oasis Internationale (17 Comments)
• El Alsson British and American International School (20 Comments)
• Hayah International Academy (19 Comments)
• Misr American College (37 Comments)
• The International Schools of Choueifat in Egypt (22 Comments)

This Can you Relate article was submitted by an International School Community member who is Australian and currently works in the UAE.

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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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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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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Information for Members

Top 27 International Schools With the Most Comments on ISC

December 4, 2022


Now there are 1209+ international schools that have had comments/reviews submitted on them on our website (up almost 100 schools from one year ago)!

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

Western International School of Shanghai  (566 total comments)

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

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

Copenhagen International School (414 total comments)

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 27? This list comes from December 2022 with a sample comment for each school.

Here we go:

27. Green School Bali

(Sibang, Indonesia) – 168 Comments
“As time has gone by the new airport has gotten better and better. Lots of eating options, good duty-free, loads of places to sit. Departing is fairly straightforward. Check-in, customs (who don’t care about your liquids as long as they’re not large), immigration, th…”

26. Changchun American International School

(Changchun, China) – 168 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…”

25. International School Saigon Pearl

(Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 169 Comments
“The airport can be very busy. The staff don’t always speak English and facilities are a bit limited for a major international airport to be honest. Best to get there early if you are departing…”

24. International School of Tanganyika

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

23. Concordia International School (Shanghai)

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

22. American School of Barcelona

(Barcelona, Spain) – 180 Comments
“The turnover 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…”

21. The International School of Dakar

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

20. Canadian International School (Hong Kong)

(Hong Kong, China) – 185 Comments
“CDNIS is an IB World School, implementing PYP, MYP, and DP. In a recent report by the IB governing body, CDNIS must make major administrative and governing reforms in the next year…”

19. Lahore American School

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

18. American School of Dubai

(Dubai, UAE) – 197 Comments
“Lately a number of teachers are heading to places like Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. They report great experiences! Oman remains the number one travel option, however, as it is right next door (door to door to Muscat is around the five hour mark) and has lots of great outdoor…”

17. Shanghai American School (Pudong)

(Shanghai, China) – 198 Comments
“There’s a new teacher coordinator who has been a great point of contact for new hires. Induction otherwise is done by partner teachers and departments. China has a lot of stuff to figure out once you get here, and there’s not enough time to help everyone with everything…”

16. Cairo American College

(Cairo, Egypt) – 199 Comments
“The subway costs 2 Egyptian pounds per ride. Taxis vary since you might have to haggle. Many people at the school use a regular driver. The one I use charges less than 200 Egyptian pounds for a trip to the airport, which is about an hour away…”

15. Ghandi Memorial International School

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

14. Tsinghua International School (Beijing)

(Beijing, China) – 209 Comments
“There is a new airport going in south of Beijing to relieve the traffic at the main airport…”

13. Khartoum International Community School

(Khartoum, Sudan) – 213 Comments
“Teachers stay because they feel appreciated, their voices are heard, and they get to make a difference. Teachers leave because it’s not…”

12. Oeiras International School

(Lisbon, Portugal) – 220 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…”

11. Keystone Academy

(Beijing, China) – 227 Comments
“Very near school is Pinnacle plaza with Jenny Wang grocery. This is also good for eating out. Newer and busier is Shine hills. Everything is here including a good cinema. Just open behind the school is a new plaza with a cinema and Sam’s Club and a food street, Starbucks, etc…”

10. Seoul Foreign School

(Seoul, South Korea) – 231 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.”

9. Tarsus American College

(Mersin, Turkey) – 283 Comments
“Down to two weeks of holiday in January. No other breaks and we’ve been told that in addition to losing our fall and spring breaks for intensive staff development other PD will be held on weekends…”

8. American International School (Vietnam)

(Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 303 Comments
“Now, it is extensive as it has not been done at all. Atlas Rubicon full steam ahead…”

7. Stamford American International School

(Singapore, Singapore) – 307 Comments
“The school is in the northeast corner of Singapore with very easy access to the city center. Staff can choose their own accommodation location based on their financial and lifestyle preferences. Most teachers live 2-3 MRT (underground) stations away. Public transport is excellent…”

Bangkok, Thailand

6. NIST International School 

(Bangkok, Thailand) – 311 Comments
“With the start of construction on the street the school is located on, the entire schedule has shifted to a later start. Elementary students begin at 8:00 and secondary students at 8:30. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive…”

5. Singapore American School

(Singapore) – 327 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…”

4. Good Shephard International School

(Ooty, India) – 410 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…”

3. Copenhagen International School 

(Copenhagen, Denmark) – 414 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…”

2. KIS International School

(Bangkok, Thailand) – 440 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…”

1. Western International School of Shanghai 

(Shanghai, China) – 566 Comments
“Airport is okay. It’s clean and easy to navigate. Immigration can take a long time to get through at peak times during the year but it’s okay. They have water fountains, which as a frequent traveler I really appreciate…”

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

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

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Information for Members

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

March 13, 2022


The journey to work is indeed an important one.  The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers when they are looking for jobs at schools in cities/countries to which they have never been.

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

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

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

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

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

On the way to International School Basel

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

On the way to Anglo American School of Sofia

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

On the way to Dulwich College Suzhou

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

On the way to The Bermuda High School for Girls

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

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

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

Email us here if you are interested.

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Information for Members

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

February 27, 2022


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

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

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

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

30 members – American International School in Egypt

28 members International School of Kuala Lumpur
27 members – Copenhagen International School
25 members – International School Manila
24 members – MEF International School Istanbul
23 members – Western International School of Shanghai
21 members – Fairview International School
21 members – Brent International School Manila

21 members – Seoul Foreign School
21 membersAmerican International School (Vietnam)
21 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City
20 membersInternational School Dhaka
20 members – International School of Tanganyika
19 members – Jakarta Intercultural School
19 members – Seoul International School
19 members – Graded School Sao Paulo
18 members – Shanghai United International School (Hongqiao)

18 members – Shanghai Community International School
18 members – American School of Barcelona
18 membersAga Khan Academy Mombasa
17 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
17 members – Qatar Academy (Doha)
17 members – International School Panama
17 membersPathways World School
17 membersInternational School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)
17 members – American International School of Johannesburg
17 members – International School Bangkok
17 membersGood Shepherd International School
17 members – Singapore American School

17 membersAmerican International School Dhaka
16 members – United Nations International School (Vietnam)
16 members – Cairo American College
16 membersSuzhou Singapore International School
16 membersWestern Academy of Beijing
16 members NIST International School
16 membersAnglo-American School of Moscow

15 membersCanadian International School (Singapore)
15 membersAmerican School of Kuwait
15 membersChadwick International School – Songdo
15 members – American School of Bombay

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/they 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 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 16 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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Comment Topic Highlight

Teacher well-being and high staff morale at int’l schools: How to get there.

January 16, 2022


We all want to work at an international school that is a positive working experience and where there is high staff morale.

High staff morale means that you are happy to go to work, all your basic needs are met (e.g. you have good benefits and you get paid well and on time), and you are excited to work together with other staff members, the admin, the students, and the parents.

But keeping a high staff morale at an international school is not as easy as one might think. There are many factors that can affect this. And with ever-changing staff and students, the strategy needs to be ongoing.

Internationals schools can create a harmonious state of well-being by putting time and effort (and probably money) towards a number of different areas. Some of these areas being: sending out care packages when times are rough (e.g. remote teaching), giving Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Day notes/gifts, providing free (really nice) lunches and opportunities to relax with friends and colleagues, offering a well-organized onboarding process, etc.

But it is not just the admin that has the responsibility to do these things to promote a harmonious state of well-being, the other stakeholders can also play an important role in this effort.

Some international schools have a Sunshine Committee that provides a number of positive things to staff and also hosts events/parties throughout the school year. Even parents can offer different things to promote high staff morale like holding teacher appreciation buffet lunches on special days.

Each international school is on its own journey with creating a harmonious state of well-being amongst its staff. Before taking a job at an international school, it might be a good idea to find a way to ask about the current state of staff morale, why it is that way, and what is the school doing to address this topic.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of staff morale and well-being. In this comment topic, our members can share what their experience has been working at various international schools around the world. There are a total of 510 comments (January 2022) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers on this specific comment topic (one out of the 68 in total) called – “What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff?”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“Morale is good at the school currently even though we have had a roller coaster of both face-to-face and online learning due to the rise and fall of Covid. Teachers have been given shared planning time and we meet weekly on Wednesdays (early dismissal for students) as a staff to work on both professional development and other school/staff priorities…” – The American School of Kinshasa (Kinshasa, Congo (DRC)) – 84 Total Comments

“The school tries to place an emphasis on a work and life balance. It is trying to promote a healthy working community. With almost all the staff living on campus, this is very much needed as there can be a working all the time feeling and that you are always at work. The Christmas holidays is a welcome break after a long semester…” – Keystone Academy (Beijing, China) – 143 Comments

“The staff has pretty high morale, and that is shown again and again at the end of the year climate survey. The middle school tends to be known as the happiest division. The school has been working to increase wellbeing by adding wellness options (fitness, culture, fun activities) at each PD day, allowing mid-day workouts in the school gym, mental health days in addition to sick days, and a surprise Thanksgiving bonus this year…” – American International School of Budapest (Budapest, Hungary) – 73 Total Comments

“There is a wellbeing committee that is allowed to host wellbeing days. But this feels artificial when we aren’t structurally creating an environment where wellbeing is sustainable. Teachers with more than 5 preps (sometimes multiple preps in the same class), teachers who have obligatory after school contacts year-round, teachers who are chided for taking mental health days, not hiring enough teachers to support the programs, and acquiescing to demanding parents to change courses/grades/teachers. Not the conditions for wellbeing…” – Shanghai American School (Pudong) (Shanghai, China) – 197 Comments

“Last year they provided a masseuse and a free one hour massage to all staff who wanted it. They also gave Christmas ornaments to teachers and presents to kids. There are staff BBQs, pool parties, trivia nights, and more…” – Schutz American School (Alexandria, Egypt) – 61 Comments

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Information for Members

ISC now has over 2230 international school profiles listed

December 29, 2021


At International School Community, we now have over 2230 international school profiles listed on our website!

The last 5 schools to be added:

International School Palermo (Palermo, Italy)
Montgomery International School Brussels (Brussels, Belgium)
The Ostrava International School (TOIS) (Ostrava, Czech Republic)
The Aga Khan School (Dhaka) (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Vittoria International School (Turin, Italy)

The top 5 schools with the most members:

American International School in Egypt (Main Campus)
(New Cairo City, Egypt) – 30 Members
International School of Kuala Lumpur 
(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 29 Members
Copenhagen International School 
(Copenhagen, Denmark) – 27 Members
International School Manila
(Manila, Philippines) – 25 Members
MEF International School Istanbul
(Istanbul, Turkey) – 23 Members

The top 6 most viewed schools:

Jeddah Knowledge International School
(Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) – 202983 views
Al Hada International School
(Taif, Saudi Arabia) – 171363 views
International School of Chile (Nido de Aguilas)
(Santiago, Chile) – 81737 views
British International School Moscow
(Moscow, Russia) – 71509 Views
The Universal American School
Salwa, Kuwait –55548 views

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

Berda Claude International School
(Phuket, Thailand) – 44 Comments
Montgomery International School Brussels
(Brussels, Belgium) – 0 Comments
American School of Marrakesh
(Marrakesh, Morocco) – 29 Comments
UWC East Africa (Moshi)
(Moshi, Tanzania) – 1 Comments
Wockhardt Global School
(Aurangabad, India) – 22 Comments

But check them all out yourself!  Get answers to your questions about the international schools you are interested in by clicking on the geographic region of your choice.  It’s a great way to learn about different international schools around the world and gather information!

International School Community has the following 2230 international schools listed on our website (last updated on 29 December, 2021)

Results: (185) Countries, (831) Cities, (2230) Schools, 
(42543) Comments

Asia (219)

Caribbean (39)

Central America (45)

Central/Eastern Europe (121)

East Asia (328)

Middle East (304)

North Africa (68)

North America (110)

Oceania (31)

SE Asia (343)

South America (102)

Sub-Saharan Africa (181)

Western Europe (339)

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #41: Jess Gosling (An international teacher working in Taiwan)

August 16, 2021


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

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Hi, my name is Jess Gosling and I’ve been living and working abroad for more than 10 years. I am from England, originally born in the South-East. I moved to the North of England when I started university and I consider the North-East my home. Travel has always interested me and my first overseas trip backpacking was when I was just 16, with a best friend. We took the ferry from Wales and toured Ireland staying with relatives. I didn’t think this was especially unusual at the time, but now I realise this was pretty adventurous! My next trip abroad was at 19. I saved for a year to pay for a five-month trip around South East Asia. I meticulously planned it, reading the Lonely Planet from cover to cover. Once in Thailand, I loved almost every moment. I was crushed when it came to the end of the trip. I have always been interested in other cultures, and feel most connected and alive when abroad.

However, I returned to the UK to study for a degree in History and Race and Ethnic Studies. During the degree, I spent one semester in California and travelled in Central and South America. After completing the degree, I worked again for a year to save to fund beginning my first overseas job in Japan. I knew I would need money for the first weeks and furnishing a new home. I was very keen to see what teaching would be like. I joined a programme that offered teachers with degrees the opportunity to become Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs). There was nothing ‘assisting’ in the role. In reality, I planned, created resources, and taught independently. I taught in fourteen local primary schools throughout Niigata, a city with almost no expats. This placement was fascinating, a city nestled between mountains and a beach. In the evening, after work, I’d go for a swim in the sea. At the weekends I’d drive through the surrounding mountains.

After a year in Niigata, I transferred to an area just outside Tokyo where I worked in ten primary schools. There was a fantastic expat community here and I made friends for life! The work was fun but exhausting. I knew I loved teaching, especially in the younger years. Living in Japan was eye-opening and a first taste of living outside of the UK. Working in local Primary schools was rewarding and interesting, but I felt that I didn’t know enough about my profession to do it justice. Hence, I decided to return to the UK to train to become a qualified teacher and move abroad again.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I decided to return home to qualify to teach, through the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) route. Before beginning the PGCE, I worked as a teaching assistant within Year 2 and Reception classes in a state-maintained school, which was a brilliant experience. I was able to observe teachers closely and I learnt a lot about classroom management. I completed the PGCE and worked two further years in the UK and gained QTS. After a total of three and a half years at home, I married and moved with my teacher husband to Egypt for our first experience teaching abroad in international schools. Whilst in Egypt, I experienced the H1N1 panic (akin to the pandemic we experience now) and resulting school closures, in addition to the Arab Revolution, it certainly was a baptism of fire!

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.

My first school was Cairo English School. It was a great place to work. I worked in Foundation Stage, which was the largest intake of the school, with 16 classes in Nursery and Reception! However, although it was a huge cohort, it felt like a community and the staff were close. The second school I worked at was in Vietnam, the ABC International School. This school was smaller, with approximately three classes per year group, on separate campuses for infants and juniors. One Headteacher I worked for there made it his mission to have ‘fun’ experience days for the children, which included a circus day and on Chinese New Year, dragons and performers came to the playground. He was such a lively spirit, I remember seeing him trying to outdo the children waiting for their bus by standing on one leg. It’s lovely to see management with a sense of fun and interacting with children on their level. In Taipei, I have loved working within Reception. We have developed our activities to be hands-on and experiential. We developed language through the five senses, which included bringing in animals.

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

The Taiwanese take hiking very seriously. They are always fully kitted out with walking sticks, expensive sporting wear, and large hats. I usually meet them just wearing shorts and a tee-shirt, sunscreen too if I remember it. When our paths meet (literally) they are always exceptionally friendly and it’s nice to get a greeting, often with an excellent English accent! Out and about in Taipei city, this never happens.

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

This is a great question and one I discuss in-depth in my book. A good management team is very important to me, representative of gender and diversity. This team should listen to their staff and take on suggestions and feedback. They should not be afraid to share their power and celebrate their staff’s strengths. Then, I would look at the school ethos and how they work in practice. I like schools that work on developing the whole child and have a family feel. Furthermore, I love when schools embrace becoming ‘eco’ schools with gardens and working within the local and wider community. Then, I would consider the environment in which I would live. At this age and stage of my life, I would like to live near other families, so my daughter can have a social life close by outside of school. These priorities are very different from when I first started teaching. Then, my focus was on location.

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

Exciting, interesting, mind-opening experience.

teacher

Thanks, Jess!

Jess Gosling is an international teacher who has recently authored, ‘Becoming a Successful International Teacher: A Step-by-Step Concise Guide to International Teaching’. She can be contacted via her website and regularly tweets at JessGosling2.

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

Interested in comparing the schools and comments in Egypt. Check out our blog post here.

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Information for Members

The 40 Most Viewed Schools on International School Community

June 13, 2021


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

It’s like, which school is the most popular amongst our 21.7K+ members?  Before reading below or checking out the page, which schools do you think show up on this list?

Are the ones at the top those “Tier one” international schools that we all hear about? You might be surprised which schools are really on this list then!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Most of the large shopping malls have gourmet markets that include Western foods and ingredients, and two or three chains specifically cater to them as well. A huge number of expat-oriented pubs and restaurants can be found, especially along Sukhumvit Road…”

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

“Pay is good, with a great retirement (EPF) program that can go up to 42% of salary (including both employer and employee amounts). Teachers are paid 10 times (August through June) but in June they also get their July salary.”

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

“Tons of activities if one wants to do something. It’s pretty easy to fund running, cycling, hiking, tennis, basketball, rugby, and so forth. Pretty much anything is on offer here!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“A fair number of teachers make multiple stops on their way back to “home” in Canada, USA, Europe, Australia, or New Zealand. Since these are long flights (~10-18 hours), it is easy to find extended layovers en route.”

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

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Information for Members

So Many International Schools WITHOUT Retirement Plans!

February 28, 2021


It is on all international school teachers’ minds. How am I helping to contribute to my future now (for when I retire/stop working) as a current teacher in the international school community?

Not that everything is all worry-free if you just stayed teaching and earning money in your home country, but living and teaching abroad can sound pretty risky to some people (maybe even many people).

If you are working at an international school that has an amazingly high salary with equally amazing benefits, then that is one story. Even if this type of school doesn’t actually offer a nice retirement plan benefit, you still have the opportunity to save a lot of money.

But if you are working at an international school and receiving a salary that helps you ‘just get by’ along with very average benefits (for example, there is not a retirement plan benefit that is on offer to you), then international school educators need to consider if the experience working at this type of international school is a good fit for their future plans.

Does an international school that doesn’t offer a retirement or pension plan benefit immediately equate to being a bad decision for your future? Not necessarily. If you are only planning on staying there for one to two years, then it shouldn’t make that big of a difference. If you receiving a high salary along with paid housing, not having an established pension plan benefit shouldn’t make that big of a difference because your savings potential is high. Hopefully, you have a laser-focused investment plan for all of that money saved.

But for those of us that are not so smart with money and don’t have the expertise to manage our own savings/retirement plan, it can definitely not bit a good fit to accept a teaching job at a school that doesn’t offer retirement plan benefits.

We did a keyword search on our Comment Search feature and found a number of comments related to international schools that don’t offer a retirement or pension plan benefit.

We found 26 comments when we searched the short phrase: “No retirement
Here are a few of those comments:

Amman Baccalaureate School (16) Total comments
No retirement plan right now is on offer as a benefit.”

Canadian International School (Tokyo) (93) Total comments
No retirement plan for teachers.”

International School Ho Chi Minh City (93) Total comments
“Unfortunately there is no retirement plan.”

We also searched the short phrase “No pension” and found 85 comments.
Here are a few of those comments:

Zhuhai International School (121) Total comments
“There are no pension plans from the school (included in the contract) although if you wished to establish one the office staff would be able to assist you in establishing one.”

Varee Chiang Mai International School (117) Total comments
“There is no pension provision, but an end-of-contract gratuity is awarded in lieu.”

Stamford American International School (307) Total comments
“There is no pension, but this means you can invest your money as you see fit. There is a 15% allowance that is paid monthly with your salary. This is “in lieu of CPF” which is paid for Singaporeans and PR.”

On the more positive side, we had a quick search for this key phrase “matching” (30 comments) hoping to find comments related to international schools that match the pension plan contribution of the teachers.  
Here are a few of those comments:

American International School Vienna (81) Total comments
“Under the newest contract, teachers now have 10% matching for retirement fund commencing at first year. Certainly better if you’re there short-term, though perhaps not if you’d plan to stay 30 years.”

Hong Kong International School (151) Total comments
“I spend a lot of money here because I love to do eat out a lot, travel, and there are many things to do in the city. With that being said, I save about 1,300 USD a month, not counting the school severance/matching scheme which is another 1,300 USD.”

Cairo American College (196) Total comments
“The pay continues to be good. There is now a higher matching for retirement. The cost of living is still very inexpensive in Egypt.”

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #39: Rachel Owens (A veteran international school teacher)

July 31, 2019


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

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Hi my name is Rachel Owens! I am an elementary school teacher and have taught pre-k, kindergarten, grade 2 and grade 3! 

I love teaching in the elementary school because the kids are so excited to learn and their energy is contagious! 

I grew up all over the Midwest in the United States. Born in Ohio, raised in Michigan and Illinois and then back to Michigan for college. 

When I was in 3rd grade, I started figure skating. It became my life. When I was 16, I was fortunate enough to join an elite group of synchronized skaters from Dearborn, Michigan called The Crystallettes. It was with this team that I learned the value of traveling. Being one of the three top skating teams in the country, I was able to represent our country in two international competitions- in Prague and Berlin. It was when I arrived home from those competitions that I realized I’d caught the travel bug. I couldn’t wait to grow up and see the world. 

My husband and I are both elementary teachers and have now lived and taught overseas for 7 years. We have two little boys who were both born during our time abroad. Jonah (3) was born in Kuwait and Eli (1.5) was born in Jordan. 

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

During my student teaching year in 2011, I started looking into what it would take to be an international school teacher. I come across the Counsel of International Schools (COIS) website and they happened to be having a job fair the following week. I booked a ticket on a bus to Chicago for $1 and made my way the Windy City. When I arrived at the fair, I was in way over my head.

I was surrounded by seasoned educators with years of international experience. What I thought was surely a small group of people interested in leaving the United States to teach in distant lands ended up being a whole community of teachers that I am so glad to be a part of today. After 7 interviews of hearing I needed experience before I could come to their school, I finally heard my first yes; which is how I started my international teaching year in Kuwait.

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.

My husband and I have taught at 2 international schools.

The first school was The American School of Kuwait. It was a great place for us to start our teaching careers. The school was already establishing programs such as Lucy Calkins R&WW and Responsive Classroom long before a lot of more prestigious schools were. It was also a great place to start our family. All the teachers live in two apartment buildings on a small compound which meant I had a built-in community of friends for ourselves and our little one. What made this school a unique and fun place to work was the staff that worked there. There isn’t much to do in Kuwait besides shop, go out to eat, and hang out at the pool (gosh that doesn’t sound too bad actually!) so you develop really deep and lasting friendships with your colleagues.

Then we moved to Amman, Jordan and worked at American Community School (ACS). We loved living in Jordan! It really has the perfect climate- mild and short winters, warm springs and hot summers. There is so much to do for both kids and adults there. The Dead Sea is just a 45 minute drive south and 45 minutes north is forests and mini mountainous areas for hiking. The school was wonderful! It is a smaller school, which we found we prefer and love because we got to know all the kids from multiple grade levels, knew all the staff well, and it truly felt like one big family. We grew so much as educators during our time at ACS. Being trained in Adaptive Schools, working with Paul Anderson for NGSS science, and working with Tim Stuart for PLCs were all experiences that we will carry with us to our next schools. Something unique and fun about ACS is every year at the end of the year the teachers make a End of Year Staff video that is shown to the students to kick off the summer. This year’s video was one of epic proportions as we took on legendary Queen! It turned out amazing! Here it is > https://youtu.be/MYybe0QmXzs

As for where we work now… well that’s what we are wondering too! Back in Dec 2018, we were hired to work at the Anglo-American School of Moscow. We were thrilled to begin working at an IB school where we knew we would grow exponentially as educators and where our children would thrive in their first classroom experiences. Unfortunately, due to political strife with Russia, our work visas were denied and the school had to cancel our contracts. 

Newspaper article link

AAS has been very supportive in our process of figuring out what comes next for our family- but we are still disappointed that Moscow isn’t going to be our next home. For now, we will be living in Fort Collins, Colorado, where we will continue to search for jobs overseas that will be a good long term fit for our family. We are excited to see where we end up next!

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

This summer while staying with my sister-in-law in Michigan, my 3 year old son heard us talking about some upcoming workshops she was attending, including one on masonry. My son asked “what’s masonry?” and he was told it is when you build things with stone. And his immediate response was, “Oh, so like the pyramids in Egypt?” In that moment I knew we were doing the right thing by raising our kids overseas. The cultural knowledge and appreciation my 3 year old already has is well beyond what most kids (and even adults) in the United States have. 

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

First and foremost we look for a location that is going to be safe and has a good quality of life for our children. Having both of my children born overseas, this life away from extended family is all they know. So we want to make sure that if they don’t get to be around grandparents and cousins, they need to be in a spot where they can still thrive, have friendships, be safe, and be happy.

Professionally, we look at the what programs/standards are being used by the school (Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop, NGSS, etc) and what professional development opportunities there are. We also look to see if we think this is a school where we can grow either in our teaching practice or in leadership opportunities. 

I also think that the ability to save money is important. If we are choosing to take our children and ourselves away from family, then I’d like to be saving a bit of money to prepare for our kids’ long term futures.

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

 The. Best. Way. To. Teach

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Thanks, Rachel Owens!

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 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 Rachel Owens?  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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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #38: Tareq Hajjaj (A teacher at The American School of Belo Horizonte)

September 11, 2018


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

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Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I very much consider myself a third-culture kid despite living 25/31 years in Western Sydney. This area is the most culturally diverse area in the southern hemisphere and I grew up experiencing both Australian and Arab cultures.

Born in Kuwait, I spent the first four years of my life there before migrating to Australia. Throughout my life I frequently travelled to Jordan to visit my extended family. My family originates from Palestine before it was partitioned. And previous to that, we have routes in Egypt.

My schooling and tertiary education were completed in Sydney. When I was completing my high school studies, I was considering teaching as my profession. Although, I decided to study a Bachelor of Commerce first knowing that obtaining a Masters of Teaching would only take two years of full-time study on top of that.

Throughout my tertiary studies, I worked in a variety of education and community welfare jobs. At that time, I never thought I would be embarking on an international teaching journey. I was very much a typical guy in his 20s in Australia. I loved Rugby League, Touch Rugby and cycling and all my travels with friends via domestic trips. By the time I graduated, I was ready to experience a life-changing international journey.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

During my last semester of university, I attended a job fair organised for the post graduate students completing educational courses in my university. At the fair were some recruiters looking for teachers to work in the UK and I immediately was interested. The process was straight forward. The recruiter organised an interview with herself and then a principal within a school. They liked my enthusiasm and how I was looking forward to the adventure and willing to learn about the UK curriculum. From there I had to collect documentation such as police checks, and I was helped to apply for a Youth Mobility Visa. Before I knew it, I was offered a short term maternity leave contract for a Grade 5 class and a few weeks after graduating, I was ready for a September start in the UK.

Before going to the UK, I took a detour to visit a close friend of mine in Shanghai for one week. He was about to begin his 2nd international teaching post. It was a wonderful visit which opened my eyes to a new culture.  It wasn’t long before I was back there teaching kindergarten.

In my first year of teaching I was extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to have completed six weeks of casual teaching in Australia, a semester block as a Grade 5 homeroom teacher in an East London public school, and being the first teacher to open the one of two new kindergarten classes (a first for the school). My life was very different; I met so many new people, learned how to speak basic conversational mandarin, enjoyed a diverse lifestyle in two major world class cities and grew a lot as a teacher.

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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.

I have worked in England (Brookside Junior School), Egypt (Cairo English School), China (Shanghai United International School, Fudan International School and Guangdong Country Garden School), and Brazil (The American School of Belo Horizonte.) In this time I have had the opportunity to teach Canadian British Columbian, UK National Curriculum, American Common Core Curriculum as well as the International Baccalaureate. All schools were fun places to work.

Cairo English School stands out as the school with a stunning campus. It had over 1500 students and chaotic hallways but the students were always cheerful and there were always many extravagant events going on around the school.

An even bigger school was Guangdong Country Garden School. They had over 4500 students! It was impossible to even meet all the students. I worked in the kindergarten. I remember the play times with over four hundred 3-5-year-old students running around in many directions. It was a boarding school, and it was common to see even kindergarten students still having lessons in the evening.

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Both Fudan International School and The American School of Belo Horizonte are smaller schools with approximately 350 students from K-12. I was the Grade 5 homeroom teacher at both schools so I was given a lot of freedom in planning a lot of the curriculum according to the American Common Core and IB syllabi, and the school’s scope and sequence.

It is still hard to decide whether I prefer the larger schools or smaller schools. They both have their advantages. Every school was unique in its own way.

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

I have been in Belo Horizonte for two months now. My impression is that Brazilians are very social and love to enjoy themselves. Every weekend there is loud music coming from different places in my neighbourhood and many social gatherings within my apartment complex. Just about everybody greets you in a friendly manner and people are usually excited to hear where I am from and speak of their desires to visit there.

Belo Horizonte is considered the Brazilian Belgium. It may not be known for having beautiful beaches like the other places in Brazil, but it is known for producing beers of good quality such as Krug Bier, FalkBier, Backer, Küd, Wäls and Artesamalte. To complement this you will find the popular night spot of Savassi heaving every weekend complemented by music festivals.

Whilst Belo Horizonte seems to be unknown from the outside world, it is the third largest city in Brazil. It boasts the most bars per capita with over 12,000 bars in the city. Most of these are informal sit down spots where you can enjoy an informal meal. Beagá (the city’s nickname which is its initials in Portuguese) also boast a fine arts culture with beautiful street art sprawled around the city. It is definitely a hidden gem (and ironically the mining capital of the country).

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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?

It is very important to be responsible and choose your employer well. That means finding out as much as you can about the position and the school, where you will live and information about the country you will be living in. After you have found out as much as possible, evaluate what is really important to you.

For me, as I have moved around a few times in my 7 years of teaching. Now I am more inclined to look for supportive school that will offer me 2-3 year contracts and ongoing professional development so I can take my teaching pedagogy to the next level.

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

An amazing and unforgettable experience.

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Thanks, Tareq Hajjaj!

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 Tareq Hajjaj?  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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Comment Topic Highlight

Has Your International School Appraised Their Teachers This School Year?

May 13, 2017


Schools say they are going to do them, but for some reason they just don’t get done for one reason or another. It maybe that it is truly an impossible task to complete in one school year, to appraise all staff members.
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Even when the administrators divide and conquer (to appraise all the many staff members), it still often times doesn’t get done. Sometimes they start off in August-October with a few goal making meetings, but often that is as far as it goes for that school year.

This begs the question, are appraisals really necessary? I guess there are pros and cons to doing appraisals, maybe all pros. But if the appraisal is not done so in an effective manner or is perceived as an unauthentic experience, it seems like it will not be so meaningful for both parties.

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It is possible to just go on with your jobs and through casual drop-ins make informal appraisals. It’s possible that if you are not really doing your job very well, most staff members know…including the administration.

It is also nice when staff members just organically make their own professional goals though and work towards achieving them for that school year; inviting their administration and other staff to observe certain lessons or to even get involved.

It’s certain that some international schools have indeed figured it out, doing appraisals from start to completion every year. But for many, maybe those with a high administration turn over, it is still a long-term goal to get a formal appraisal system underway and working effectively for everyone involved.

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

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of appraisals, so you can stay the most informed as possible. “There are 51 comments (premium access only) that have the word appraisal in them, and a total of 144 comments in our comment topic called – “Details about the current teacher appraisal process.”  Here are a few of those 144 comments related to appraisals about various schools from around the world:”

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 144 comments in this comment topic (May 2017).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“Primary teachers are observed by newly-appointed Heads of Department that have little to no experience” – Wycombe Abbey International School (Changzhou, China)78 Total Comments

“The school has worked with Pam Harper over the last year to define student learning and align teaching to it. The model that has been adopted, the Teaching for Learning Index, serves as the framework for professional learning and appraisal.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand)176 Comments

“Teachers are observed, given a print of the evaluation and a brief feedback meeting. No data is formally collected/recorded.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo) (Tokyo, Japan)93 Total Comments

“In a year and a half of teaching here, I have only had one formal classroom observation. The principal gave me an excellent evaluation and apparently hasn’t felt the need to return!” – Misr American College (Cairo, Egypt)53 Comments

“They have a system called Responsibility for Learning which is tailored to the situation. New teachers go through a pre-determined portfolio process supporting professional standards. Returning teachers are given options as to how to best support their own growth. Administrative visitations are ongoing and both formal and informal.” – American School of Dubai (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)84 Comments

“Teachers are observed twice in an academic year. At the end of the year, the results of these observations are then combined with evaluations from the senior Thai admin (who never see you teach). The score is then tabulated and you are given a bonus based on this score. Teachers can see the results of the observations but are not allowed to see the evaluations from the Thai admin.” – Assumption College (Bangkok, Thailand)21 Comments

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Blogs of International Teachers

International School Teacher Blogs: “Jazzystan” (Two teachers that work in Kazakhstan)

November 17, 2016


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

Our 46th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Jazzystan”  Check out the blog entries of these international school educators who work in Kazakhstan

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

Ode to the Almaty Pigeon Market

“Last Sunday, Anna and I had our good friends Frankie and Keith to visit from Bishkek, where they have recently moved. Keith used to live in Almaty and Frankie had been before so it was trickier to wow them with the ‘go-to’ visitor activities. (The top choices being Big Almaty Lake, Kok Tobe etc. which are great by the way.) So we decided to go a pigeon market we’d heard of. We have actually tried to go to this pigeon market a number of times but always end up lolling about having brunch and missing it as it closes at 12. But, finally, we made it there and it was definitely worth the wait.

The market is right next to Kazan Cathedral, the oldest Orthodox Cathedral in Almaty, debating back to 1854. The cathedral is plainer than most orthodox churches I have visited before and has a refreshing amount of fresh flowers. It is also home to a cat and a small but nifty little gift shop. I’d highly recommend the gift shop if you really like gold things with saints faces on which I really, really do. To work out where church is- check out the map on this Tripadvisor page…”

How fun to visit the local markets in your host country. You really get a firsthand look at the locals and what they are buying and selling. Of course, the best ones are the ones that are selling things that you would consider a bit strange; crickets, exotic animals, and pigeons!

After searching the keyword “market” on our Comment Search page, we found 76 comments. Here is one of them from Qatar Academy (Sidra): “Once the weather cools, there is an outdoor market next MIA (museum of Islamic Art) they sell food from around the world – Indian, Arabic, Thai, American, etc…clothes, art, knick knacks. It’s a nice way to spend the weekend outside, it’s one of the largest green spaces in Qatar and great for families too. I generally bring a blanket and a book during the winter months when it’s not hot and the sun isn’t intense for long periods of time (though there are shaded areas too.)”

 

“Most people in Almaty are bilingual and many speak three or four languages. The two big languages in the city are Russian and Kazakh. Linguistically unrelated, Russian is a Slavic language whereas Kazakh is Turkic. Kazakh is on the rise but in central Almaty Russian is the language you hear floating around the streets. Both are written in the Cyrillic alphabet but Kazakh has some bonus letters added. In 2015, the Minster of Sports and Culture announced that there would be a gradual move to transfer Kazakh into the Latin alphabet. We hope this doesn’t happen. The Uzbek government has been promoting the use of the Uzbek in the Latin script since the early 2000s.  However, the strange mixture of Cyrillic and Latin Uzbek all over Tashkent hurt our eyes and brains.

It is interesting the language abilities of the local people. Good to know about these abilities before you move there so you can get prepared. Luckily, we have a comment topic related to the language of the local people. It is called: “Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there.” Here is a sample comment from this topic from Alexandria International Academy: “Language in Egypt is Egyptian Arabic. Many younger people people some English, though the level is usually fairly low. It’s generally easy enough to get around with a basic understanding of Arabic, but the locals can tend not to be very helpful when language difficulties arise.”

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Want to work for an international school in Kazakhstan like these bloggers?  Currently, we have 17 international school teachers that have listed that they currently live in this country. Check them out here. We also have one member that is from this country.

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

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Cairo, Egypt

September 4, 2016


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.

Cairo, Egypt

Cairo, Egypt

Currently, we have 32 schools listed in Cairo on International School Community.

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

Cairo American College (Cairo, Egypt)27 Comments
Cairo British School (Cairo, Egypt)30 Comments
Cairo English School (Cairo, Egypt)20 Comments
El Alsson British and American International School (Cairo, Egypt)20 Comments
Hayah International Academy (Cairo, Egypt)20 Comments
Misr American College (Cairo, Egypt)47 Comments
Nefertari International Schools (Cairo, Egypt)28 Comments
The International Schools of Choueifat in Egypt (Cairo, Egypt)22 Comments
American International School in Egypt (New Cairo City, Egypt)62 Comments
Modern English School Cairo (New Cairo City, Egypt)25 Comments
The International School of Egypt (New Cairo City, Egypt)43 Comments

Hiring Policy

“The previous comment is correct that foreign teachers are promised work visas but never receive them. Teachers just have to work with tourist visas. This is a dangerous position to be in because the Egyptian government is starting to deport foreigners, particularly Americans, who are working illegally in the country with tourist visas.” – The International School of Egypt

“This is a bit of an issue at AIS. They seem to hire people without checking references and most interviews are just over the phone or Skype. Several people get fired a year due to behaviors that I am sure would have shown before hiring should AIS do face to face interviews and checking references. I think this will change this year since there is a new Director. Currently, they do not go to any recruiting fairs, but are supposed to this year.” – American International School in Egypt

“The school can’t hire people over 60 years old.” – Nefertari International Schools

Cairo, Egypt

Housing Benefits

“Staff can choose where they want to live. A housing allowance is given at 1200 EGP per month Which is never enough to cover an apartment in a “good” neighbourhood. Rent costs on average per month for a single teacher only in a good working apartment 3000+ per month utilities are all billed separately which the teacher has to pay for.” –Cairo British School

“I found a great apartment for the housing allowance that the school gives. Some people rented much fancier places and paid more out of their salary. I lived in a great location and had a two bedroom apartment that my landlord also lived in so he was right there if I needed anything. He spoke English quite well to which helped in communication. My utilities were around $20 US per month. I had a cable bill and that was the same. I got internet on a USB stick from the telephone company which was $17 each month. I found the whole experience positive and cheap.” – Misr American College

“The apartments that teachers are placed in are fully paid for by the school.” – Cairo American College

“There is a housing allowance of 1500 LE if you don’t take the teacher housing, which is really terrible and disgusting. The housing allowance isn’t enough to actually rent an apartment though. Rent would be at least 2000 or more in the area, not including utilities.” – The International School of Egypt

School Location

“For the teachers that live in El Rehad and have their own car, it typically takes 15-20 minutes to get to work in the morning. You can hire a taxi through the school to get to school in the morning is 100 EGP. You can get a car through Careen though for 30 EGP one way. To drive to the city center from the school could take 45 minutes depending on traffic.” – American International School in Egypt

“The school is located in Ismailia Road, next to New Cairo and Heliopolis. Teachers get free transportation to and from your home to the school.” – Nefertari International Schools

“Teacher’s can live wherever they choose. The school is in the heart of the city that it is located in. Staff ride the school bus to and from school” – Cairo British School

“Expat teachers get a housing allowance and assistance in finding housing. I was easily able to find a nice apartment within the budget that is within walking distance to school.” – Misr American College

Cairo, Egypt

Language of Students

“Other comments are right on. Most students do not know much English so it is really hard to teach them using English language textbooks. There are very few who can write complete sentences, even in high school. The students all speak Arabic in the classroom, even though they are only supposed to speak English.” – The International School of Egypt

“All Egyptian nationals go to this school. In one classroom, you might find one kid that has parents with a non-Egyptian passport, but they will most likely be from another Arabic speaking country.” – American International School in Egypt

“Common languages spoken in hallways: Arabic.” – Nefertari International Schools

“English is the main language spoken in the school of course. from time to time you may hear the additional arabic being spoken. The school is made up of mostly high tier Egyptian families.” – Cairo British School

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

Cairo, Egypt

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

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Comment Topic Highlight

What type of classroom/department budget do you get at your international school?

March 12, 2016


Many of us teach abroad to save money!  So, why do some international schools make their teachers pay for simple supplies? Well not all do, but according to a number of comments submitted on our website, some indeed leave their teachers in a situation where they need to.  Why do some international schools give nice big budgets to classroom teachers and others do not?

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Some might say that only the for-profit international schools don’t give appropriate budgets. However, that would not be true. A number of non-profit international schools also leave their staff with limited budgets to buy supplies.

Let’s say that your international school does provide some money to buy some supplies. It is nice to get at least something for your classroom! But the question is, when you are working abroad, where can you/the school buy these supplies?

If you order from your host country, then it will be cheaper, but the supplies might not be exactly what you want or have a quality you are used to. If you order from abroad, then the costs will be higher because of shipping and the wait time will most likely be a long time (with the risk of never even getting your order because it gets lost somewhere along the way).

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Another question to consider is does a big budget for classroom teachers equal to better instruction and more learning for students.  Teachers can get quite creative in a budget-less classroom, and it is fairly certain that good learning still happens.

But when an emergency arrises and materials that are necessary for the lesson/curriculum are not there, a number of teachers will use money out of their own pocket to buy them. It is the sacrifice that many teachers choose to do to make sure that their students are getting the best education possible and that the promise the school has made to paying parents can be met.

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But does the administration/owner of an international school really want their own teachers to be using their own money to buy basic and necessary supplies for their classrooms?  It would be hard to believe that they would. But when other factors (like a recession in the world or a declining student population) come into play, sometimes schools don’t have a choice to provide a nice budget for their staff.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to what kind of budgets international schools offer, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “What types of budgets do classroom teachers/departments get?

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 212 comments in this comment topic (March 2016).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“Teachers have no budget to spend in their classrooms. They can take supplies from the resource room, which has basic materials like pens, white board markers, tape, etc. Everything else has to be paid for yourself.” – The International School of Egypt (New Cairo City, Egypt)12 Comments

“Budgets for resources are never an issue – if you have a good reason for purchasing something and can demonstrate the learning that it will support then you are generally approved. Art, Maths and Science materials are often ordered in from overseas and are of high quality.” – Ican British International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)51 Comments

“In past years, teachers have been required to submit their budget requests in October for the following school year � a full ten months before the beginning of the year being budgeted for! This was a major source of stress. As of today, no one has been asked to submit a budget and the budget process has not been discussed.” – American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland)64 Comments

“The businessman Mr. Strothoff pays for the school and pays most operating costs. In general, teachers fight for basic things such as staplers, two-hole punchers, tape, whiteboard markers, etc. Departments have budgets but protocol for ordering and getting something as simple as a pear of scissors is 100 layers of red-tape.” – Strothoff International School (Frankfurt, Germany)49 Comments

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Highlighted Articles

Gay International School Teachers: Can You Feel Comfortable Everywhere?

August 23, 2015


For all international school teachers, it is hard to adapt to your new host country.  For gay international school teachers, it can be even more of a challenge.  In recent months, it made world news that the USA’s government legalized gay marriage.  Not all countries have gone down a similar path though. As a result, there are varying gay rights (or lack there of) across the globe.

2011 Capital Pride Parade - Dupont Circle - Washington, DC

Regardless of the kinds of gay rights the country has, there are definitely gay international school teachers and couples that work at international schools all over the world. But like we all know, not all countries (and schools for that matter) are all that welcoming to gay teachers. On the other hand, some schools (and the countries they are in) are very welcoming.

Maybe a good strategy for gay teachers is to just ask the administration during their interview, to ask them how things are at their school and in their country.  Better to know more information before you decide to sign a contract with a school.  Some schools might respond by telling you that they currently have gay teachers working there and that they don’t experience any discrimination both at work and in the community. Other international schools will stare back at you blankly, not knowing how to respond to your direct question about being gay at their school.  If a school shows hesitation, it might be a good indicator that they are indeed not the best fit for you at that time.

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You might say though, that regardless of what the administration says, it is important to do your research about each city and country. Even if the gay rights are not so progressive in a certain country, it does not mean that you should give up an opportunity to work there.  There are always other gay people to connect with once you arrive, both in the community and hopefully also at your school.

A great website to stay up-to-date with the current events (all things gay related) of each country is globalgayz.com.

Another great resource is the International School Community website. Using our Comments Search feature, we found 33 comments (a premium membership feature) that talked about what life is like for gay people in that city. Here are just a few that we would like to highlight:

“The city is huge and very diverse. City center is inhabited by lower-income citizens, as it’s very loud and dirty. The city is muslim and definitely not gay-friendly, though you could see a gay bar here and there and there was a transsexual pride going on this year. The city itself is very lively, with nice bars and cafes in a walking street Yeni Carsi near Taksim square.” – MEF International School Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey)50 Comments

“Berlin has a long history as being gay friendly. Schöneberg is considered the gaypart of the city, and if you walk anywhere southern form Lietzenburger Straße you will see a lot of rainbow flags on balconies as well as in bars and shops. If you want to avoid nightlife, don’t live in Kreuzberg: this is the party/hipster area. Friedrichshein and Prenzauler Berg are emerging as a very popular places to live, and the prices in these neighbourhoods are rising. Charlottenburg is a very nice and quiet neighbourhood especially for the ones for kids and it’s not far from anything (check out Goethestraße area).” – Berlin International School (Berlin, Germany)12 Comments

“I’ve heard from my gay friend here that dating can be a bit difficult. If you’ve seen the new show last year called Looking, then that pretty much is accurate in our dating is here for gay men. There are definitely endless bars to go to at night. Just be careful of the location of the bar and how safe is it there at night. Good to use Uber to get yourself home after you dance the night away!” –International High School of San Francisco (San Francisco, United States)37 Comments

“Do not go to a night club unless you know they are foreigner friendly. Fights occur at the other ones. There is a gay club in town, but homosexuality “does not exist” in their way of thinking/culture. Ulaanbaatar (UB) is the ugliest city in the world in the world’s most beautiful country. UB is quiet, as their aren’t that many people. A great place for a single male, but couples may find it boring. Many foreign women marry Mongolian men, too, so it’s okay on that front.” – Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)68 Comments

“I had friends who were gay that had no troubles while living here, they just maintain a low profile…not all over one another in public. I made sure to avoid public displays of affection while out with my husband too though. I mean, it is an ultra-conservative society and one should behave accordingly. We also wore clothing that covered our shoulders and our knees because of respect for the locals which are uncomfortable with all the skin that Westerners like to show off. My husband and I are a mixed race couple and we had no issue with that at all. We did not know what to expect when we came to Cairo but for two years we were treated very well and never experienced any racism that we noticed.” – Misr American College (Cairo, Egypt)37 Comments

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #26: Usha Iyer (An international school educator/director currently working in India)

July 25, 2013


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

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 11.05.45 PMTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I hail from Tamil Nadu (India). I am from Chennai but brought up in Dehradun, Uttranchal. The serene valley and the beauty of the hill culture exist here. It’s a small place but known for its best of the residential and day schools. I studied in a residential school but I was a day scholar. Mine was not an international school but we had a multi cultural environment as other nationality kids did study here. We had Anglo Indian teachers who taught us good discipline and grammar. I did my college also in Dehradun as my mother refused to send me to Delhi (Capital Of India) for my studies as she felt the city life could spoil me.

Teaching happened as it had to happen. I was a self made woman and felt that I should stand on my own legs .My father had instructed my mother to enroll me in the hotel management course in PUSA institute in Delhi .As he was working in Indonesia and communication was not that easy those days , I not doing hotel management and opting for teaching was not known to him. I wanted to earn and I felt I must pay for my post graduation. As I was obstinate in pursuing my goal my mother gave in. My father was very upset as there was no need to work; he felt it that way as he was making good money.

There was no look back after that. I got an opportunity to work in the same day and residential school. I was just 19 years and handling the 5th graders very efficiently. I finished my post graduation and procured the teaching degree while still teaching.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I got opportunity to work in a metropolitan city after marriage. It made a big difference in terms of interacting with different people. In fact after a very short span of 4 years of working in the city schools, I left for Saudi Arabia. That was my first opportunity working outside India in the International school of India. I could see a lot of Indian Muslim kids but we did have a lot of Muslim kids from Indonesia and other countries and a lot of kids from Pakistan. It was a wonderful experience as I got to learn Arabic. I lived in an international community where I was interacting with Egyptian, Lebanese and women from Philippines. I did make a few Lebanese friends.

It was a great experience for me as I learnt the prayers from Quran. I coming from a Hindu background I found it a cultural difference as the kids were allowed to do Namaz three times in school hours. There were separate prayer rooms for them to render prayer.

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.

1993-1997 – It was a great experience for me at the International Indian School Jeddah at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia  as I learnt the prayers from Quran. I found them very cooperative and we used to have fun days too where in we cooked our nationality food and have a good get together. What I liked about the school is it was very impartial .Although I was not a Muslim but I was chosen to represent Jeddah, Saudi Arabia along with an Indian colleague of mine to attend the two week workshop at Dubai. There were 52 delegates all over from the Gulf who attended the workshop. It was an icing on the cake for me. I got an opportunity to interact with people from Bahrain, Kuwait, U.A.E, Sharjah, Qatar etc. This kind of exposure opened my vistas for me to evolve a better English teacher as we could exchange notes on best practices. I came back to Saudi Arabia and the principal gave me an opportunity to establish the unique English lab which I dreamt of.

1997-2000 – It was another opportunity which God had given me to work in Nigeria. I was very keen in working in an international school but destiny had decided it differently for me. I was walking on the roads of Ikoyi, Nigeria. I just felt like walking with my resume into a Black school, called Kemsons School. The director seemed to be of a pleasant disposition. I told her that I want to head the school. She just looked at me and said yes, go ahead. It was fun setting up the school. I constructed a classroom made of glass instead of the regular walls for the play group kids and the kids loved it.

The best part for which I was applauded was when I conducted the FUNFEST for the school and raised 7 million Nairas The director was very happy with me. The most interesting thing about Nigeria is when I approached companies for sponsorship ,there was such a good response, especially from Lufthansa, the German airlines. They sponsored air ticket to go to London and back. That was the first prize in the raffle ticket .I was instrumental in telling the fun world Nigeria to bring down the toy train to our school.Oh! everyone enjoyed it.

The parents trusted me so much. My director met with an accident and I had to run the school without her. That’s the phase when I took the decision of sending my students to London on an educational trip and a cultural exchange programme. It was a great success. The best part was when we went to get their visas. The U.K embassy refused to give visa to my teacher as her passport had no stamping as it was totally empty as she has not  travelled to any country. It was a herculean task convincing those officers.

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

I was back in India in 2000. After having traveled to Malasia, U.K., Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Nigeria, U.S., France either for professional development courses or to work, it was very difficult to compromise with quality and standards. I was very happy when I got an opportunity to set up an International school from scratch in Bangalore, India. It was named India International school. I became the founder principal of that school. I always wanted to have a student cultural exchange programme and wanted to enroll students from different races and community. I established the school in 2002 but it was achieved in 2009 and we had 1000 children. I travelled to Bangkok for several presentations. We had Thai kids enrolled in our school, followed by Chinese, Children from Hong Kong and Korea. It was very satisfying. What really made me happy was the school was created by me. The infrastructure, curriculum, the cross cultural environment everything was created by me.

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

I have been so far running school for others. Now, I look at establishing an I.B. school. I have started my preschool in 2012. It has been rated as the best 20 preschools in Bangalore. Slowly it will have its elementary and high school wings and what I intend to do is to give the young children very strong roots and the wings to fly so that they can discover far more new horizons.

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

Beautiful, soul satisfying, enriching, enlightening and delightful.

Thanks Usha!

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 Saudi Arabia like Usha?  Currently, we have 5 international schools listed in Jeddah on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #25: Laura Swash (A veteran int’l school educator currently working at Pajoma Education)

June 24, 2013


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

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 4.18.10 PMTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I am originally from England, from Colchester in Essex.  Just under twenty years ago, I was teaching Sociology and History at The Sixth Form College in Colchester. I took my BA and did my doctorate at Essex University and my PGCE at the Institute of Education in London.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

A friend of mine moved in 1994 to Oman, and invited me to visit her. While I was out there I met an international teacher. Before that, I thought you could only teach ESL overseas. I had no idea that international schools even existed. A tiny seed lodged in my brain, and two years later I set out to teach Humanities in Thailand.

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 started at TCIS (Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok) in Bangkok, in 1996.  It had only been open for two years then, and was a very exciting place to work. The students were wonderful, and all of the teachers were thrilled to be in at the start of something big. Since then I have worked at several international schools, the most memorable of which were AIS (the American International School in Cairo) and the International School of Tanganyika, in Dar es Salaam. I now teach IB Diploma Psychology online for Pamoja Education, and write materials for MYP and DP.

What made these schools unique was the nature of the students: in these years I was teaching firstly a mixture of Thai and Taiwanese students – extremely polite and charming and in general very keen to learn, but often afraid to admit to not understanding; then the Egyptian students – much more challenging when it came to classroom management, but very warm and humorous with some great characters in the classes; finally, at IST in Dar es Salaam, there was quite an international mix of students and a huge opportunity to learn about many different cultures in a wonderful location.

In all of the international schools in which I have worked, the teachers have also been sometimes crazy, always interesting and always committed to education in its broadest sense.

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

I am a little puzzled by the term ‘reverse cultural encounter’ – they are all just cultural encounters, I think. There have been several memorable ones.  The earliest (rather than the latest) is one of the funniest. TCIS In Bangkok supplied a white minibus to take the teachers from the housing compound where most of us lived to the school. It used to pick us up outside the small launderette on the compound.  During our first week, several of us new teachers were waiting for the bus. It came, and the driver popped into the shop with his washing, while we got in. When he came out, he did not seem to know the way to the school, so we assumed he was a new driver, and showed him with a map, as our Thai was as non-existent as his English. On arrival at the school, the security guards would not let him in: it seems he was a driver just dropping off his washing, and nothing to do with the school. He had been startled by the five foreigners sitting in his bus and thought it was best to do what they asked! Poor man…and a real introduction to the warmth of the Thai people.

A more recent example happened at IST in Dar es Salaam. We had a severe water shortage and a message was sent around asking us all to conserve water at school.  The school gardener immediately turned on the hosepipe. When we asked him what he was doing, his reply was that he needed to water the garden before the water ran out.  An example of the different ways of thinking that are possible.

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

I am past that now, but important things that I used to look for were the educational philosophy and curriculum (preference given to IB); quality of the training given to teachers; the health care package; the location of the school; the teachers’ housing; the attitude of the local community to women; and nature of the social and sporting life outside the school; the profile of the students and teaching staff.

It sounds like a lot, and none of these was a real ‘deal breaker’ but together they make the experience.

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

Eye-opening, educational, humbling, challenging, fulfilling.

Thanks Laura!

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

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12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

Selecting an international school: Tip #8 – Are the teachers fully qualified?

February 23, 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 a 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 if the international school’s teachers are fully qualified or not?  It could be beneficial to ask these types of questions at your interview, before you make any big decisions to move or choose a 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 #8 – Are the teachers fully qualified?

This is not typically a concern with mainstream international schools, but it can be a concern with some newer schools and in certain regions of the world.

pic1104Some might say having qualified teachers from early years all the way to secondary school are essential for an international school to thrive.  Why then do some international schools hire non-certified teachers?  Of course there are many reasons why schools make such choices for their staff.

One reason is that qualified teachers are sometimes hard to come by in some (if not all) countries. Additionally, the more experienced teachers may not be considering positions at less established international schools.  In some parts of the world, the pay is low.  Being that certified teachers seek out positions that value their teaching degrees (that they have worked hard for), they might not even consider working at some schools where the pay and benefits are less than desirable.

Another factor that comes into play is timing.  Some international schools get into “binds” every once and awhile, and sometimes the best choice is to hire a less qualified (or not qualified) teacher to fill the position. That non-qualified teacher is just waiting and waiting for the right moment, when the stars align for them, to finally get that job at the nearby international school versus staying at the “language” school down the road.  Also, when international schools are trying to fill vacancies for the coming school year during not ideal times of the year (e.g. the summer months or even May), they might not have the same pick of qualified teachers as they would have had back in January and February.

Even another reason that international school hire non-qualified teachers could be related to money.  International schools (especially for-profit ones) are always on the look-out on how to save money. Hiring non-qualified teachers can potentially save the school money as they can sometimes pay them less.  If there is a pay scale at the school, they would most likely be on the bottom of it.Mr-Boli-and-Primary-186

Many educators without university teaching certificates are the ones that are already living abroad.  They maybe moved abroad when they got a job at an English-language school or had an interest in “teaching English” in a foreign country.  We are sure that there are some great English-language schools around the world, but most of the teachers at those schools would prefer to work at an international school; mainly because of the better pay and benefits.  More established international schools though won’t consider them because they might not have the exact teaching qualifications that they require. The less established international schools might consider these less-qualified teachers though, especially if they are scrounging to find quality candidates to fill their positions.

It is true that you can be a good teacher, even an excellent one, without a teaching certificate from a university. Experience in the field can definitely equal quality teaching, and parents and other qualified teachers shouldn’t be so turned off to working with them.  If you agree to that statement, maybe we shouldn’t be so caught up in whether an international school has an all-qualified staff.  We all work hard to do the same job, it isn’t as if qualified teachers would work any harder at the school.  On the other hand, it is important to honor the time spent when teachers do go an get diplomas in education.  Many people with university teaching certificates have worked very hard to make teaching their career choice and not just a “job”.  It can be a bit of an “unfortunate circumstance” and a downer when a qualified teacher shows up at their new international school to find out that their colleagues are all “English teachers”!
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On our website we have a specific topic in the School Information section of each school profile page that discusses the issue of which international schools have qualified teachers or not.  It is called “Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.”  Our members have submitted 100s of 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:

“About 65% North American, 20% European and 15% local and other. All teachers are certified and have at least 4 years’ experience…”
MEF International School Istanbul (27 total comments)

“The school has both Colombian and expat teachers. All of the expat teachers are North American and all are qualified teachers. The Colombian teachers are also well certified. There is not a high turnover rate at the school. Many expat teachers, though young, stay three or four years and some have been at the school much longer…”
Colegio Granadino Manizales (43 total comments)

“High Staff turnover. Probably 1/3 local hires vs. expats. The qualifications can be low. Many first year teachers with no teaching degree. Most expats are Americans and Canadians. People do not stay here because the taxes are high, the frustration level with the administration is high, and the level of academic rigor is low…”
American School Foundation of Mexico City (35 total comments)

“You will find a range of teachers from New Zealand to Canada, via UK, Egypt, Palestine, South Africa, Australia, France and more. Most teachers are expat hire. Local hire teachers are well qualified. The school is still only 7 years old so turnover rate is hard to reflect on. It ranges from 1-7 years at current time…”
Khartoum International Community School (37 total comments)

“Turn over rate last year was very low. This year is different with several teachers in the Secondary school being pushed out. The school pays on time and there are good benefits. Many teachers in the Secondary school do not have formal teaching qualifications but they have good subject knowledge…”
Western International School of Shanghai (57 total comments)

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

If you are not a member yet, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com and automatically get one full month of premium access. You will become a part of our over 1950+ members!

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1945 (San Jose, Cairo, Athens & more)

December 14, 2012


Random year for international schools around the world: 1945

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 1328 (14 December, 2012) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 7 international schools that were founded in 1945.  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)

Lincoln School (San Jose) (18 Comments)  (San Jose, Costa Rica)

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 11.29.33 PM“In 1945, a group of visionary Costa Rican parents and US immigrants founded Lincoln School to provide a bicultural and bilingual education for their children. Lincoln is a non-profit, private educational institution offering programs from Preschool to 12th grade. It is governed by an elected Board of Directors, where parents are encouraged to participate actively.”

American School of Guatemala (Colegio Americano) (0 Comments) (Guatemala City, Guatemala)

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 11.35.37 PM“The School was founded in 1945 by a small group of parents who wished to provide their children with a bilingual, coeducational, quality education. Legal statutes were drawn up embodying the founding principles and establishing a framework for an enduring institution. Under these original statutes, a board of directors was elected by members of the American School Association. In addition to establishing a governing board, the statutes clearly outlined the non-profit, non-denominational, non-political character of the school and established a sound basis for decision making. The statutes also made provision for a separation of board and administrative functions.

The first classes were held on June 10, 1945, in a large family home in zone 9. Thirty four students were enrolled in grades Kindergarten through five. By the end of the first school year, there were 75 students and 12 teachers.”

Cairo American College (19 Comments)  (Cairo, Egypt)

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 11.33.54 PM“In the fall of 1945, fifty students enrolled in grades one though eight at The Cairo School for American Children and began attending classes in a rented, three-story, vine covered villa located at 36 Road 7 in Maadi. Fourteen high school students were admitted at the beginning of second academic year when the high school curriculum was added.”

American Community Schools Athens (3 Comments)  (Athens, Greece)

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 11.35.42 PM“In 1946, the British Army School was established in several homes in the Glyfada area to educate the children of British military personnel who were stationed in Greece at the close of the Second World War. The history of ACS begins here; for shortly after its inauguration, the school began to admit British and American civilians. In 1949, many more American children arrived in Greece, and a high school was opened for them in Kolonaki. Also established was an elementary school , in Psychico, which was later moved to a facility in Filothei. The British Army School had metamorphosed into the Anglo-American school.”

American School of Paris (8 Comments) (Paris, France)

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 11.37.26 PM“Americans in post-war Paris ask Ms. Edward Bell, whose husband was a Director of Missions for the Northern Baptist Conference, to come to France and open an American school in the American Church on the Quai d’Orsay. Founders include the American Embassy, Guaranty Trust, the Morgan Bank and the American Express Company.”

The Newman School MA (4 Comments) (Boston, United States)

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 11.48.58 PM“The Newman School was founded as Newman Preparatory School in 1945, the centennial of Cardinal John Henry Newman‘s conversion to Catholicism, by Dr. J. Harry Lynch and a group of Catholic laymen, for the purpose of providing college preparation to veterans returning from service to their country in World War II. Over the years, “Newman Prep” evolved into a co-educational, diploma-granting program, and eventually began to accept younger students into the ninth grade. During the 1960s, the school operated The Newman School for Boys as a separate four-year (grades nine through twelve) and then six-year (grades seven through twelve) college preparatory school. Walter J. Egan was head of the School for Boys during most of its existence. ”

Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1328 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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Surveys

Survey results are in: How many more years do you expect to keep teaching abroad at international schools?

November 21, 2012


The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted expect to keep working abroad at international schools for at least 1-3 more years.

For many of us, I suppose teaching abroad at international schools is a temporary circumstance in our lives.  Some of us have international school colleagues that move abroad to teach, and after their one and only international school posting, they are now living and happily working back in their home countries. Sure, there is a chance of them moving abroad again, but it likely to not happen again.  Many people look for stability in their lives, and many people ultimately find that stability back in their home countries.

For other international school educators, when they start working at international schools, they can’t seem to get enough of this life.  Working at international schools and moving from country to country can be very addictive.  10 total people out of 23 voted that they will be working at international schools 7-10 more years and even maybe for forever!  The salaries/benefits, work conditions and standard of life must be quite attractive for these people. If things are going well and you are not having to worry about money, why not choose to stay working at international schools?  It is nice to not have to worry about paying for housing or any utilities for example.  It is also maybe nice to not have to clean your house or wash your clothes as you may be able to hire a house keeper to do those things for you in your current position.  These people might have met their partner while living in their host country and now have decided to stay abroad for the long term!

Then there are the teachers that have made the all-important (and possibly difficult) decision to make this year their last one (3 people in our survey have said that this is what their future holds for them).  To say goodbye to the international school teaching world is sometimes not an easy decision to make.  Livin’ the ‘good life’ will soon be ending for you, and you may not ultimately want things to end.  Also, the anticipation of reverse culture shock is not necessarily welcomed with open arms.  Cringe!

On the other hand, your current situation might just be a very bad fit for you, enough of a bad fit that you have decided to not take the risk of working at another international school.  A very negative experience at one international school might have you come to the realization that this life really just is not a good fit for you.

Moving back home has it pros and cons, and one must look at them carefully.  One reason to not move back to many of the states in the United States is that the job market for teachers is not so good right now.  There are many, many teachers applying for one position still right now.  Hopefully as the U.S. economy improves, more money for staffing and for school districts in general will become available which may lead to more jobs for prospective teachers.  I think the same thing is happening at many international schools right now.  Many international schools are looking for and actually finding more families with children to attend their school.  More students typically means a higher need for more staffing.  How nice would it be if the power was back in the candidate’s hand at the recruitment fairs; more options and opportunities for us!

There are many factors to consider when deciding to stay abroad or move back home.  Knowing about what kinds of teachers work at an international school and the average staff turnover rate can prove to be helpful information to know; just to see what others are doing who maybe from the same country and situation as you.  Luckily on International School Community, we have a School Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that discusses this very topic.

• Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate.

There have been many comments and information submitted in this topic on numerous school profiles on our website.

One International School Community member said about working at Khartoum International Community School: “You will find a range of teachers from New Zealand to Canada, via UK, Egypt, Palestine, South Africa, Australia, France and more. Most teachers are expat hire. Local hire teachers are well qualified. The school is still only 7 years old so turnover rate is hard to reflect on. It ranges from 1-7 years at current time.”

Another member said about working at Tsinghua International School (Beijing): “Can’t really comment too much on this as things may have changed. When I was there lots of staff were from North America, but what could be called “old Chinese hands.” They’d lived in China a long time. Other staff were Chinese with American passports. All were great, but at the time, not many were what you’d think of as north American trained teachers. Very high turnover when I was there.”

Another member submitted a comment about working at Colegio Granadino Manizales: “The school has both Colombian and expat teachers. All of the expat teachers are North American and all are qualified teachers. The Colombian teachers are also well certified. There is not a high turnover rate at the school. Many expat teachers, though young, stay three or four years and some have been at the school much longer.”

So how many more years do you expect to keep teaching abroad at international schools? Please share what your plans are!

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

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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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Highlighted Articles

Teachers International Consultancy: Advice from International Teachers on Moving Overseas

July 27, 2012


Over 10,000 teachers will this summer be packing their suitcases, finalising their visas and saying goodbye to their families and friends as they start a new life teaching overseas. They will be joining 293,000 other qualified, English-speaking teachers already working in international schools around the world.

For the new teachers who will be making this move within the next few weeks, now is the time for last minute plans. And who better to ask than those teachers who have already done it

Teachers International Consultancy (TIC), an organisation that specialises in recruiting teachers for international schools, recently surveyed many teachers who had moved overseas this time last year. The big question was, just exactly what matters most when emigrating?

What’s most important in those first few days?

TIC asked international teachers for their advice on the five most important things to take with you when moving abroad.

Everyone agreed that you need to be as fully prepared as possible before you arrive in a new country, so researching such topics as currency and culture are vital. Many teachers suggested having copies of your accommodation arrangements and school details with you when you arrive in your new country and to keep these with you, along with your passport and any visa details plus a pocket guide book, during your first few weeks. Other ‘must haves’ in those early days include international plug socket adapters, a laptop and a flash drive or memory stick with all you have accumulated electronically, some of your favourite teacher resources, your camera, adequate currency of the country, all your banking details including direct contact information, pillow cases, favourite toiletries, basic emergency medical supplies, and photographs of family and friends. One teacher said the one thing that made a huge difference to her were some simple household items: “it’s great when you arrive in an empty house or apartment and can at least make yourself a cup of tea,” says Suzie King who is now teaching at the British School of Egypt in Cairo.

Many people said to think about appropriate clothing for your destination to ensure it suits the climate (not only upon arrival but also year-round) and also to meet the cultural expectations. With international schools located in virtually every country of the world, this can range from fur coats and hats necessary for places like Russia and Kazakhstan, to linen and cotton for Singapore, outfits that keep arms and legs covered for many countries in the Middle East, and Abayas for women in Saudi Arabia.

Making the adjustment

According to the teachers who were researched by TIC, one of the hardest things to adjust to when moving abroad is leaving friends and family. There were plenty of suggestions for coping with this in the very first few days. These included setting yourself up as soon as you can with Skype, email and Facebook in order to communicate easily, cheaply and regularly with friends and family.  Other tips were to talk and socialise with other teachers from your new school. Some schools have a buddy system to help teachers settle into the first term or year, but don’t just rely on that person. Several respondents said talk to as many people as you can, say ‘yes’ to as many social invitations as you can, and don’t just wait for people to come to you. One teacher said “invite people over or take food you cook to school to share as a way of making friends with the staff.” Another said “if it’s safe, walk around, get a map, look for the local stores and explore them, go to the international church, talk to other teachers for tips on where to shop or where to go in general.” Mary-Ann Shelley who is now teaching at the International School of Qatar says “ask questions, be open to new ideas, and listen and absorb rather than comparing things to ‘back home’”. And Jenny Cleaver who moved to El Gouna in Egypt last September says “learning a few words in your new language helps with the locals; they really appreciate it.”

Advice that all teachers who were interviewed agreed upon was to be open to new experiences when arriving in a new country. “You chose to live in a different country where the culture is different and things are done differently,” says Suzie King. “Learn from that. I’ve definitely become more internationally-minded as a result of this. Every culture does things its own way. It has been very interesting for me to get to know so many people from so many different cultures. I think it’s great to see similar things done in a slightly different way.”

For more information on moving overseas, including advice and case studies on other peoples’ experiences, visit the Teachers International Consultancy website at www.findteachingjobsoverseas.co.uk

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #14: Carol Craig (An international teacher currently working in Nairobi, Kenya)

June 27, 2012


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

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I started teaching when I was forty and realized after about 6 years working in RI and CT that if I wanted to make enough money to save anything I would have to go overseas to do it.  I also found that teachers in the U.S. were ill-treated in their school districts and that kids and parents were running the show in education stateside.  I had come out of sales and engineering fields where I was accustomed to being respected in my fields.  I started teaching math and science to educate young people about climate change and other important factors about the world around them.  I have lived all over the U.S. and always loved adventure, so I was a perfect candidate for being an overseas teacher.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I heard about a job fair coming to Boston and decided to see what it was all about and low and behold, I got hired at my #1 choice in the Caribbean and off I went the next year.

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 have worked at a school in Port of Spain, Trinidad ( International School of Port of Spain) and then in Cairo at an all Egyptian school called Misr American College and now we are in Nairobi (Aga Khan Academy Mombasa).

All of the schools have been wonderful and fun.  Each of them had their own unique reasons for being such. For instance, I am a scuba diver and living on a Caribbean island allowed me to dive occasionally.  I have been to Grenada 3 times and to Tobago many times since I first started coming here.  I also met my husband while at this post and we just celebrated our third anniversary.  He is a local island man and has now shared many new and exciting adventures with me as a trailing spouse of an overseas teacher.  We spent an exciting two years in Egypt and even lived through the uprising/revolution there.  During our stay there we traveled all over Egypt taking a Nile River cruise, climbing Mt. Sinai and diving in the Red Sea, just to name a few of the adventures.  There were so many places to visit that we never went anywhere else during our time there.  We still have some spots that we did not get to, but when the contract ended, we came home to Trinidad for one year while he worked and I wrote a book.  Now we are in Kenya for a new adventure.  I had done summer volunteer work for four years in a row here when I first started teaching, so I have had experience with this part of the world.  There is still so much to see and do; it is a great country to live in.

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

The cultural encounter that put a smile on my face was when I discovered a new roadside produce stand and I filled my canvas bag with an assortment of lovely fruits and vegetables which would have cost around $20US back home, but was only around $2.50 ~ Yea!

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

I look for a school that has a reasonable student/teacher ratio, I look at information on the standard of living based on salary, I look to see if housing is included, I read other teacher’s opinions about the school through websites like this (I do take comments with a grain of salt as more complainers tend to post vs. contented employees), I ask other overseas teachers what they know about a school I may be applying to.  I also talk to my director if he/she is someone who has worked the circuit.  I go to a myriad of websites to see what the new location is like economically, politically, and what there is to do from a sightseeing standpoint.  I ask a lot of questions during an interview regarding the teaching venue, the curriculum, the technology that is available and the extra-curricular expectations.  Is there medical insurance and also adequate medical facilities available?  What are some of the other benefits that I can expect?  Will there be an orientation and someone available to help us get settled into life at the new location?  What are the travel arrangements and also what visa requirements are there?  There is a lot to ask when getting ready to move overseas.

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

Exciting adventure of a lifetime!

Thanks Carol!  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 teach at an international school in Kenya like Carol?  Currently, we have 9 international schools listed in Kenya on International School Community:

Aga Khan Academy Mombasa
St. Austin’s Academy Nairobi
Braeburn Mombasa International School
Oshwal Academy
Brookhouse International School
The Banda School
International School of Kenya
Pembroke House
Greensteds International School

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Recently Updated School Profiles

Recently Updated School Profiles #16: QSI Int’l School of Sarajevo, American Int’l School of Niamey & Misr American College

June 14, 2012


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


14 Jun  QSI International School of Sarajevo (8 new comments)      Sarajevo, Bosnia
:

One of the new comments: “There are about 22 teachers on staff. Many of the current staff hold advanced degrees. A large percentage is from the USA, then there are also teachers from other countries too. Average stay for staff members is three years. There is about the same number of men and women teachers.”

13 Jun  American International School of Niamey  (9 new comments)    Niamey, Niger :

One of the new comments: “The current houses that the teachers live in are within a 15 minute bike ride or walk from school and accommodations are large and fully furnished…”

10 Jun  Misr American College (34 new comments)      Cairo, Egypt :

One of the new comments: “My workload here was fabulous but some teachers were overworked. It was not consistent. I had 18 hours of classes per week and others had 32 of 45. Not sure how they figured out who had what but it was inconsistent. When I left, my job was split between two Egyptian teachers and is no longer an expat position. Make sure the contract has, in writing, what you can expect regarding your face time with students…”

Check out the rest of the international school profile pages that have been recently updated on International School Community here.

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.04 – 07 April, 2012

April 7, 2012


v2012.04 – 7 April, 2012:

We hope everyone is enjoying their spring break.  The range of different countries being visited during this time of traveling (with the international school teachers that the ISCommunity staff know) is quite intreguing and exciting: Bucharest, Tbilisi, Aruba, Madrid, Amersterdam, Bangkok, Colombo, Almaty, Tenerife, London, Dubai, etc.

In the international schools we have worked at though, it seems quite common that the more veteran teachers (ones that have been at the same international school for 20+ years) don’t seem to travel as much any more.  Is that the future of international school teachers?  Do you “lose interest” in traveling the longer you stay at an international school post?

It is true however that there are some good reasons for deciding not to travel during school breaks: saving money, spending time with family, going to a summer home, high airline ticket prices, etc.

Furthermore, if you travel “too much” sometimes people start seeing trips as being all the same, appearing a bit too similar.  Not that the cities and countries are the same, but the experiences and actions are the same sometimes.  For example: going into an old church, walking through a museum, shopping at the main market, checking into a hotel, going through security at an airport, going out to restaurants every night, not being able to communicate with the locals very well, getting a coffee at the Starbucks, etc.

Some times traveling naturally gets to this point.  Not that you stay at this point and never go back, but it is possible that when you travel as much as international school teachers do, it is bound to happen at some point.

So if you did decide to travel this holiday, what goals did you have for this trip? (e.g. pleasure, adventure, beach, visit old friends, etc.)

With regards to our website, we have had another surge of new members on International School Community this past month taking us over the 400 mark.  Now, ISCommunity members currently work at or have worked at over 141 different international schools in over 50 countries!

Furthermore, we have just reached the 4000 milestone for the number of submitted comments and information!  More information and comments means our members being more informed about the world of international school teaching!

From the staff at International School Community.


Recently updated schools with new comments and information:

· 06 Apr  Haileybury Almaty (31 new comments)
Almaty, Kazakhstan
“The common language in the hallways, lunchtime, break time is Russian. The teachers have to constantly remind the students to speak in English…”· 06 Apr  American School of Warsaw (12 new comments)
Warsaw, Poland 

“Average monthly salary for teachers is $3600, paid in United States Dollars. No taxes are taken out…”· 05 Apr  Britannica I.S. (Belgrade) (11 new comments) 
Belgrade, Serbia 

“The school typically prefers to hire single teachers. 60 years old is the age limit…”

· 04 Apr  QSI International School of Tbilisi (8 new comments)
Tbilisi, Georgia

“There is a flea market that is open every day near the highway and river. There are many people selling antiques and also…”

· 03 Apr  Kongsberg International School (7 new comments)
Kongsberg, Norway

“There is a one hour commute from Oslo with direct train links to the city and to the main airport as well…”

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


Recent blog entries:

· Teach Internationally – Opportunities the World Over for Qualified Teachers
“With over 6,000 international schools throughout the world, it’s a market much bigger than most people – even those within the education sector – realise…”

· TEN COMMANDMENTS OF RELOCATING OVERSEAS: #10 – Surround yourself with positive people. Do not allow negative comments and attitudes to darken your outlook.
“It is hard to stay positive, but when culture shock is at its worst, it is very easy to slip.  Sure the other new teachers at your school (and the veteran ones) have a lot to say to you about the host country and culture, but…”

· International Teaching Predictions for 2012 #3: Africa
“With the Egyptian elections over, I predict a huge requirement for teachers in Egypt as the country pulls itself up by its bootstraps and with the help of international investment will try to change the face of the country…”

· Survey results are in: Which international school recruitment fair have you had the most success at?
“The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community have had the most success at the Search Associates international school teacher recruitment fairs…”

· International schools that were founded in 1970 (Salalah, Nairobi, Monterrey, San Josa and Brussels)
“Founded in 1970 in response to the need for a top quality co-educational school in Monterrey, Mexico, Colegio Ingles offers international students…”

· The number of children at international schools reaches 3 million!
“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…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to have members leave comments on:


Last month we have had visits from 93 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 405 ( 80)
School profiles
: 1167 ( 41)
Blog entries
: 252 ( 26)
Posted comments & info
:
4003 ( 702)
Twitter followers: 323 ( 26)


One month free promotion ending soon:

International School Community will soon be ending its one month free of premium membership promotion for new members.  Make sure to let your colleagues and friends know about this promotion before it expires.  If you are not a member yet yourself, sign-up today!


New members:

· Sonya Terborg
(Riverstone International School)
· Paula Sweetten
(King’s College –
British School of Madrid)
· Jordanka Marceta
(American International School Budapest)
· Orlando Fold
(SRS Dubai)
· Marina
(Atlantic International School)
· A Ranc
(International School of Paris)


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

While living in foreign country you might periodically ask yourself: What is this thing?“You eyes search around for a purpose. I can‘t see what this is for?! You try and fiddle around with it. Try and turn it on! Is this right?”“I just found this on the bottom of one of my walls, very close to the floor, and just outside my bathroom. When I turn it on, the green light goes on but nothing happens.  So, I guess I will just keep it off.  Thank goodness for the internet.  It turns out it is some sort of thermostat.  I am still not for sure if I will use it though.  For sure people don’t typically have these things on the walls (near the floor) in homes in the United States…”

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).

Check out this blog entry
 to leave a comment about the strange things you have found in your home while living in a foreign country.

Highlighted blogs of international teachers:

This international school teacher’s blog is about teaching and living in Japan.
One of her blog entries (One Week After) is describing her experience when the big earthquake hit Japan last year:

“The students broke into groups in all 3 of our classrooms. I wandered around, listening to their conversations. The students were animated, hanging out with friends, sharing their passions and their proud moments from the week. And then 2:47. The classroom started shaking. I was standing near a group of girls who immediately got under a table. Usually, earthquakes stop within seconds, but this didn’t. It was rocking us like babies in a rocker, and it wasn’t stopping…”

Another one of her entries (Teaching and Discoveryis about how teachers feel when they first go back to school after the summer holidays:

We’re back to school again, and it’s almost as if we never left. Great group of kids again. The students always amaze me with their energy and joie de vivre. It would be hard to go back to students who don’t find school so amusing…”

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

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Highlighted Articles

Teach Internationally – Opportunities the World Over for Qualified Teachers

April 4, 2012


Tamara Thorpe, a primary teacher from New Plymouth, New Zealand, is one of over 250,000 English-speaking teachers currently working in international schools around the world.

Tamara had always been interested in the idea of working internationally. “And the tax free option was extremely appealing!” she adds. So when a teaching job became available at the Sharm British School in Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, Tamara grabbed the opportunity. She has since moved to the El Gouna International School which is near to Egypt’s Red Sea. “The first year here was very exciting and different,” says Tamara who is now into her third year of teaching in Egypt. “We teach a version of the UK curriculum. The children are well behaved and there is a great mix of nationalities here. Due to the revolution and changes occurring here, I have seen more Egyptian children enter our international section of the school. The staff are also from all over; the majority from the UK. I am the only Southern Hemisphere teacher on staff.”

Socialising and Exploring…I love it!

Tamara says that most of the friends she has made are work colleagues or are friends of work colleagues. “Socially there are lots of people from different countries which is always interesting,” she says. “I met my fiancé here; he is from Barcelona and lives and owns a company here, so that is a great aspect!” Another great part of living in Egypt for Tamara is the exploring. She describes a recent trip to the desert: “We spent three days on a White Desert Safari. Wow, I absolutely loved it! We had a Toyota Land Cruiser 4×4 and all that desert to explore! We camped in tents, had fires every night, no luxuries as in bathroom facilities but that’s part of the experience! Being a New Zealander, I’ve grown up camping so it was all good for me! I would recommend it to anyone visiting Egypt.

As for recommending teaching in Egypt, Tamara says “Look into the region and the school. Read as much as you can about the country; Lonely Planet is great. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting in to. I found TIC very helpful (Teachers International Consultancy) and will continue to use them for future job searching.”

International teaching jobs – many opportunities

TIC is an organisation that provides free support to teachers who are considering working in an international school. This includes recommending international schools that best suit a teacher’s experience, personality and location preferences. The options for skilled and experienced English-speaking teachers are wide.

With over 6,000 international schools throughout the world, it’s a market much bigger than most people – even those within the education sector – realise. International schools are those that use English as the language for teaching and learning, and they offer an international curriculum. Most typical curricula used are the English National Curriculum, an American curriculum or an international curriculum such as the International Primary Curriculum or the International Baccalaureate. Most international schools are independent, highly respected, well-equipped and skilfully managed employing fully qualified English-speaking teachers from around the world, mainly from the UK, New Zealand and Australia, South Africa, Canada or America. These schools not only attract English-speaking children from expatriate families but also children from the local population; typically the wealthiest of the local families who recognize that an international, English-speaking education opens a lot of career doors for their children. “In fact, international schools are now catering for the richest 5% of the non-English-speaking world,” says Nicholas Brummit, Managing Director of ISC Research, an organisation which supplies data on the world’s international schools and analyses developments in the international schools market.

It’s a market that is developing significantly as ISC figures attest. “There were 2,584 English-medium international schools in 2000,” says Nicholas Brummitt. “By April 2008 that number had grown to 4,827. Currently there are 6,000 international schools and by 2021 we predict that number to be 10, 000,” he says. That means a lot of jobs for  English-speaking teachers and Headteachers and the reason why they’re looking, says Andrew Wigford of Teachers International Consultancy, isn’t just about salary. “In research that TIC carried out recently, the number one reason for teaching overseas was the adventure and the opportunity to travel,” he says. “Every single one of the respondents said that the experience of living and working internationally had enriched them as a person and the vast majority said that the experience had been good for their career too, with 89% saying that it had improved their skills and job opportunities.” Andrew adds: “For Tamara, she’s learnt to work with a new curriculum and she’s gained excellent experience of teaching children from many different countries which will help her significantly with any new job application, both internationally and back home.”

If and when she chooses to move on from El Gouna, Tamara will have plenty of options. There are another 130 international schools currently in Egypt; 69 alone in Cairo. And, according to ISC Research, there are many more further afield. Qatar has 362 international schools and Pakistan has 355, with 307 in India, 218 in Japan and 155 in Thailand.

Advice

So what is the best advice for other teachers considering a move to an international school? “Apply to accredited international schools or schools that are part of respectable organisations such as COBIS, BSME, FOBISSEA and others,” recommends Andrew Wigford. “You can find details of these organisations on the TIC website. If a recruitment organisation is helping you with your search, make sure that they only recommend you to accredited international schools, or that they personally vet non-accredited schools in advance of your interview. Also make sure your cv is up-to-date and well written.  International schools will be looking for strong personal skills as well as teaching experience.  More and more international school interviews are being conducted through Skype so be prepared for this. Make sure you have the correct equipment set up and have practiced communicating through Skype in advance of any interviews. Work through a reputable organization when searching for foreign teaching positions. There are a few unscrupulous owners in some international schools who do not take the appropriate procedures to ensure that foreign teachers have the correct health and safety coverage, visa back-up, or suitable accommodation. Teachers have been known to find themselves in difficult circumstances, sometimes a long way from home. So working with an established organisation to oversee your placement will give you the security you need. If you work with an organisation that is specifically experienced at recruiting for the international school market, they will be able to give you all the advice and expert support that you need and will know – and may well have visited – many of the schools that you are considering. This will help you significantly during your job search. Once you’ve been offered a job, make sure you cross-check all your terms and conditions and know exactly what you will be receiving and when, including any relocation support.  If a recruitment agency is representing you, they will review your contract with you. If you are still considering a job move for this summer, it’s not too late to do something about it. There are still vacancies left. But take action now or you’ll miss the opportunity.”

For more information about teaching opportunities in international schools go to www.findteachingjobsoverseas.com

To read over 3800+ comments and information about working at over 1160+ international schools go to www.internationalschoolcommunity.com

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Discussion Topics

Discussion topic: Is your destiny in the international school community?

December 14, 2011


Are you thinking about starting in the international school community?  Do you know what you are really getting yourself into?  It is hard to know if you don’t have friends already in the International School Community.

We would like to highlight a blog entry from the T Tech Tips’ blog. This international school educator provides some great insight to the real lives of international school teachers and the decisions that we are faced with as we move around the world from school to school.

“It’s that time of year again in the international education world of contracts, decisions, and thinking about your future. Kim Cofino has a great post about finding the right fit…the right school. Whether you are an international educator or not it’s worth a read.  International Teachers are different…we’re weird….we don’t like stability, we like change and challenge. We like travel, culture and to be honest I think we all like just being different. If you’ve met an international educator you’ll know what I’m talking about. Countries, airports, and airlines are just common conversation.

But that’s us…..we live on year by year contracts, don’t try to make us sign a multi-year deal….cause that’s a deal breaker in itself (part of the reason we left Shanghai). We’re renegades, we’re individuals, and nobody is going to tell us where we’re going to live or that we can’t leave….cause we will just to prove you wrong. Yeah….International Educators are different. We expect open bars at conferences. We expect conferences to be in amazing locations. Borneo, Bangkok, Greece, Shanghai, Singapore, Egypt, Nice, etc. Yeah…..international conferences are rough.”

It is true that we (international school educators) are strange.  Most people’s families don’t lead lives like us.  My relatives all either live in the same city as each other or the city next to that city.  He is right in saying that we are living a wonderful live when the expectation is that we are sent to conferences in international locations around the world; that does not happen to teachers teaching in the public school system in the United States.  There was just a PYP conference in Malta and an ECIS conference in Lisbon this past October.  Many teachers from my school were attendees!

“And then there is the friendships you create. Deep meaningful friendships with people who become your family. My best friends little brother, who I’ve known since he was in 6th grade graduated from University as an elementary teacher and decided to try out the international teaching thing. His first posting has been Kuwait where he’s in his second year, meaning that he’s now having to decide whether to stay another year or decide if it’s time to move on. He wrote a blog post, a couple lately actually, talking about his decision and how attached one becomes to friends, a country and these amazing kids we have the honor of teaching. Some very reflective blog posts from a young teacher trying to figure out life, education, and the meaning of it all.”

It is tough to leave friends and your host country of 2-3 years. It is important to note forget the students that you will miss.  Not necessarily the individual students, but the general demeanor of the kids at the school.  One school I have been at had really “active” kids, another school had kids with less “personality.”  International school teachers must keep that in mind as they are thinking about moving on because you can’t just find the same kinds of student just anywhere.

“As I’ve done more consulting and conferences in the past two years people ask me quite often, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

It’s a questions I honestly can’t answer because I don’t know where I see myself in 1 year. But here’s what I do know.

So this year when it came to deciding to sign contracts at ISB for another year we sat down with the administration to see if I could have my cake and eat it too. Could I work in a school with students and continue to consult and present? Three years ago we reached an agreement that allowed me to take days without pay up to 20% to do consulting. Which brought me to ISB in the first place. With a new contract season upon us it was time to see if we could come to an agreement again….and I’m happy to say we did.

Next year I’ll be on a 90% contract at ISB as the High School Technology & Learning Coordinator. So I’ve given up 10% of my contract to focus on following my recent passion of consulting and presenting.”

What a great opportunity to take your career to the next level!  I guess there is much flexibility in our jobs working at international schools.  For die-hard members of our international school community, it truly is hard to decide where you will be in five years.  Most of us plan year to year, maybe 2 years in advance.  Some international schools allow a year to year contract, others make you sign a two-year contract.  Either way, each year international educators always have a mini-plan in the back of their mind about where they would like to go next.  It is what excites us; the endless possibilities of where you can live and work.

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2011.08 – 10 December, 2011

December 10, 2011


Site Stats:
Current members: 195 ( 23)
School profiles
: 985 ( 30)
Blog entries
: 152 ( 25)
Posted comments & info
:
1677 ( 250)
Facebook likes: 118 ( 13)
Twitter followers: 206 ( 11)


School Profile Search Result #1:

Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you. Utilizing the School Profile Search feature on International School Community, you can search for the perfect school using up to 8 different criteria.
Search Result #1

Criteria chosen:
1. Region of the world (All)
2. Curriculum (USA)
3. School Nature (Non-Profit)
4. No. of students (Medium: 300-700)
5. Country (All)
6. Year founded (16-50 Years Old)
7. Kinds of students (Mostly International)
8. Size of city (Medium: 750K-3 Million)

Check out the results of this example search on our blog!


New members:

·Gary Conomos
(North Pine Christian College)
·jltassie Anderson
(Anglo American School of Sofia)
·Jennifer Kim
(Korea International School)
·Becky Galvan
(A’takamul International School)
·Cory Greenberg
(Copenhagen International School)
·Damir Tejic
(International School of Beijing)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:


Jo Hughson

I worked at SRIS for three years. I taught Grade One and Grade Two in the time that I spent there. SRIS had a fantastic and diverse range of teachers that I felt privileged to work with. I learned a lot from them…”

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!


v2011.08 – 10 December, 2011:

The holiday break is nearly upon us!  Is it cold where you live right now? It is for most people in the northern hemisphere.  There are though however some of us that are working in locations closer to the equator, and their weather must be quite nice right now.  Some of us farther away from the equator have already taken out our winter jacket and even have progressed to the “heavier” winter jacket this past week.

 

So, the big question is: Why did we choose to work here?  And that question is mostly directed towards the weather of your current location.  The local people where you are living probably say to you, “Out of all the places you could have chosen from (In their mind…Barbados, Thailand, Rome, etc.), how is it possible that you have chosen this cold, miserable place?  What they don’t realize is that some of us actually prefer to be in a place that has four distinct seasons.  Some of us like like the snow!

 

There are many reasons to move to another country: Money, Travel, Love, Career, etc.  We must be honest (not usually in an interview though) and admit that moving to another country based on its climate is very important for most international school teachers.  That is why International School Community has included a category under the City Section on the school profile pages about climate: Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.  Here is an example:

 

Right now there are 38 comments and information that have been submitted in this category on a number of international school profile pages on our website.

Feel free to make your own searches (both close to the equator and farther away from the equator, depending on your preference!) for international schools based on your criteria on International School Community.  Members with premium membership are able to do unlimited searches on our website.  If you are already a member, you can easily renew your subscription on your profile page.  If you are not a member, become a member today and get 1 month free of premium membership.

With regards to our current members, International School Community’s members work at or have worked at 84 international schools! Check out which schools here.


Recently updated schools:

· 09 Dec  International School of Ouagadougou  (7 new comments)
(Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)
“Settling-in allowance is 600 USD, you get around 2000 USD for a flight home every year. Other benefits are French lessons, a car loan and recruitment leave…”
· 09 Dec  Bahrain Bayan School (6 new comments)
(Isa Town, Bahrain)
“It is important to note that female teachers applying are unable to sponsor their dependent husband and children. The age limit for hiring is 58 years old. The school retirement age is 60, so they usually don’t hire people close to that age…”

· 08 Dec  The American School of Kinshasa  (4 new comments)
(Kinshasa, Congo, The Democratic Republic of the)
“TASOK is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The School was re-accredited in 2008…”

· 08 Dec  Dasman Model School (7 new comments)
(Kuwait City, Kuwait)
“The school offers a bilingual program for students in grades K to 12. DMS has a fully self-contained Special Needs Division within the main school…”

· 08 Dec  Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok (7 new comments)

(Bangkok, Thailand)
“Tuition for 2 children studying at TCIS is free although there are annual student supply fees of Baht 15,000+ / child to be paid by teacher for education materials, PreK-Gr2 lunch/snacks, insurance upgrades, year books, ID card, and graduation…”

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


Recent blog entries:

· Out of the thousands of international schools, people ask me why did I choose to work here?
“One year you are thinking that Asia is the place for you to move to the following school year, but then suddenly you open your eyes and you are actually in South America…”

· Educators Overseas: Helping teachers secure a job teaching abroad.
“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…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #4 – “Being yourself is better, come what may, than trying to be someone else.”
“Even worse is when you realize mid-interview that you are indeed not the “best fit” as you had hoped you would be for that international school you have been wanting to work at that in the city you really had been wanting to live in…”

· Great resource: Association of International Schools in Africa
“Curious about what international schools there are in Africa?  The Association of International Schools in Africa website has 100s of international schools listed that are found in many of the African countries…”

· Comments and information about salaries on International School Community #2 (Hangzhou Int’l School, American School of Bcn & Int’l School of KL)
“Our reps are in the process of renegotiation our salaries. It is a difficult time in Spain right now, so it is not likely we will get much of a raise. The board is focusing on…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 73 countries around the world!

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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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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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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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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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ISCommunity Newsletters

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

July 9, 2011


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

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


Member spotlight:


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


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


New Survey Topic:

Vote here
!


Website updates:

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


Highlighted Link
http://peacequilt.wordpress.com/ is a blog. This project began as an idea back in September 2008, the idea being to unite schools all around the world, in some way, potentially as a celebration of the London Olympics, 2012.  The people involved asked themselves to think of an idea of uniting schools all over the World. Many international schools have become involved already. A teacher who is inspired can inspire students and other teachers!
FAQ:
What do you mean by “kinds of student” in the school search function?

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


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


Recent blog entries:

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


Recently updated schools:

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

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


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


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

 

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

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

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

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

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How NOT to Save Money

How Not to Save Money #9: Finding a New, Amazing Grocery Store in Your Host City

October 17, 2016


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

How NOT to save money when teaching abroad #9: Finding a New, Amazing Grocery Store in Your Host City

When you move abroad, the goal isn’t to recreate your exact life and lifestyle as you had in your home country. Check out the 10 Commandments of Relocated Overseas for more information about moving abroad.

International school teachers try their best to take in the local culture and local foods; it is a part of getting acclimated to their new setting.  On the other hand, it is important to “take a break” from that goal, and get some foods that remind you of home and your home culture.  In addition, having a wide variety of food choices while living abroad is also quite important.

One challenge of buying products in grocery stores in your host city is that you might not be able to read which food product is actually in the package/box. If you are not able to read in the local language there, it might be a challenge to even figure out which food products some items are. If you don’t know what it is, most of us wouldn’t necessary buy it.  Plus, if you are not able to read and understand all the ingredients of a product, then you probably won’t buy those ones either.

how not to save money

It is hard knowing exactly where to go grocery shopping during your first year of living in a new city. You tend to just go to the ones near to where you are living. Every once and awhile you might hear from a colleague of a new grocery store you should check out. Even if the grocery stores near to you are good (if you are lucky that is), it is still good to keep your ears open to what else is available in your host city.

Even after five years of living some place, things change and change fast sometimes. You can easily get into the routine of just going to the three stores around your home and be quite content with the food options those places have. But even the same chains of grocery stores in your host city can be very different from each other depending on their location (e.g. in a rich neighborhood vs. a non-rich neighborhood).

how not to save money

Recently, my partner and I were in a different location of our host city than we usually are when we were doing some grocery shopping. We went into this grocery store thinking that it would be quite similar to the same one we go to nearer to our home. But once we started looking around, this store had so many more products than we were used to!  Completely different products, more imported products, and brandnames (local and foreign) that we were used to buying but with many more varieties.

Of course, we got that awesome excitement feeling straightaway.  It’s that feeling of finding something new (and maybe familiar as well) while living abroad and the realization that there are many more options for groceries for you in your host city.

As you might have guessed, we filled up our grocery carts with many of these new products (well new products to us)…spending more money than our usual grocery store outings. Finding new food products, especially ones geared towards to the expats in that city, can definitely do some damage on your back account!

how not to save money

Finding a bunch of new products that you didn’t know existed in your host city can be one of the best feelings while living abroad. International school teachers definitely do their best to enjoy the local grocery stores and buying the local products (which can also be awesome and delicious) they sell in those stores, but mixing those products with some other ones that remind you of home or at least of a cuisine that is familiar to your palate, is also very desirable.  Just be careful though, because it can cost you a lot of money buying all these products you think you just “must have!”

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We have a comment topic on our website related to the theme of grocery stores in your host city.  It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Locations in the city geared towards the expat lifestyle (grocery stores, bars, etc.). Here are a few examples of comments related to grocery stores:

“There are “Foreign Food Markets” in Itaewon where you can buy anything, literally ANYTHING you could find in an American grocery store. And if they don’t have it, typically they can order it for you. Of course these shops are more expensive. Local grocery stores are well stocked with a wide variety of foods. The local grocery store closest to our campus, Saruga, carries everything (slightly higher prices though) and even has a (perfectly legal) “Black Market” in the middle of it where you can buy all kinds of food imported from the US. The only things we ever buy at the Black Market stalls are things like chips or candy (for parties), and some seasonings or spices.” – Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea)83 Comments

“One grocery store that I like is called Pomme’s on Davie St. They have a lot of organic items and produce from all over the world including many items made locally.” – Vancouver International School (Greybrook Academy) (Vancouver, Canada)11 Comments

“There are a number of grocery stores in the area that have imported items from the US and UK. Lulu’s Hypermartket is great.” – Rowad Alkhaleej International School (Dammam) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)69 Comments

“Oscar’s is a good grocery store in the area that caters to expats. You can get anything you need at the surrounding malls.” – The International School of Egypt (New Cairo City, Egypt)43 Comments

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Information for Members

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

July 12, 2021


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

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

Asia: 69 Schools

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

Caribbean: 24 Schools

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

Central American: 32 Schools

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

Central/Eastern Europe: 73 Schools

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

East Asia: 225 Schools

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

Middle East: 155 Schools

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

North Africa: 41 Schools

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

North America: 51 Schools

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

Oceania: 9 Schools

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

SE Asia: 187 Schools

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

South America: 66 Schools

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

Sub-Saharan Africa: 72 Schools

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

Western Europe: 172 Schools

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

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

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

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Information for Members

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

March 14, 2021


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

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

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

American International School in Egypt
(30) members

Copenhagen International School
(26) members

International School of Kuala Lumpur
(25) members

Western International School of Shanghai 
(24) members

International School Manila
(23) members

Seoul Foreign School
(21) members

MEF International School (Istanbul)
(21) members

Jakarta Intercultural School
(19) members

Seoul International School
(19) members

International School of Tanganyika
(19) members

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

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

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Information for Members

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

January 14, 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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• Professional development allowance details. (617 Total Comments)

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

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• Pension plan details. (676 Total Comments)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Information for Members

A Member Spotlights Summary: We have had 35 highlighted members so far!

March 26, 2017


Since we started our website back in February 2011, we have had a total of 35 member spotlight articles highlighted on our blog. Thanks to all 35 members who have participated so far!

Learning more about our fellow international school teachers can be very enlightening, inspiring and also quite interesting!

Who were the 35 members that have been our members spotlights so far you ask?  Well they haven’t all been teachers, some have held other positions either in a school setting or in a field of eduction with also a connection to international schools. Others had prior experience working in international schools. Here is the breakdown of what job titles they have:

International School Teachers: 25
Staff Development Coordinator: 1
International school directors: 4
Curriculum coordinator: 1
Principal: 1
Veteran international school teacher: 1
International School Consultant: 1
Members of an international school board of directors: 1

There are 6 parts to the questionnaire that all member spotlights fill out:

• Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?
• How did you get started in the international teaching community?
• 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.
• Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
• What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
• In exactly five words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

It is pretty amazing the amount of experience and useful information that our member spotlights have provided in their answers to these six parts.

So, how did all of our members answer this part of the questionnaire: In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

• Living life full of energy
• Culturally enriching, questioning true internationalism.
• Beautiful, soul satisfying, enriching, enlightening and delightful.
• Eye-opening, educational, humbling, challenging, fulfilling.
• Successfully making a positive difference!
• truly rewarding challenging and capability enhancing.
• Discovery. Rewarding. Engaging. Relationships. Awesome.
• Opportunity for growth, an eye opener.
• Exciting, inspiring, educating, challenging and fulfilling.
• Adventure, culture, education, difference, satisfaction.
• Open-minded, Professional, Dedicated, Discovery, Fun
• Transforming, Exciting, Challenging, Embracing, Engaging
• Make the best of it.
• Challenging, enriching, frustrating, reflective, confirming
• Exciting adventure of a lifetime!
• Fantastic Educational Humbling Expanding Gratifying
• The job of a lifetime.
• Challenging,  invigorating, demanding, breathtaking , fun!
• Hard work, but immensely rewarding.
• Stimulating,  unpredictable,  addictive,  inspiring, challenging.
• Fascinating, exciting, lucrative, wide-ranging and addictive!
• Eye opening, cultural, well paid, opportunity, life changing.
• Exciting, interesting, enlightening, educational and unique.
• 1. Rewarding 2. Different 3. Adventurous 4. Dynamic 5. Unpredictable
• Full of variety, rewarding, challenging.
• Rewarding, eye-opening, fun, flexible, and ADDICTIVE
• The opportunity of a lifetime.
• Lifelong learning at its finest!
• Rejuvenating, Creative, Innovative, Culturally Rich
• The novelty never wears off!
• Exhilarating, Challenging, Adventurous, Broadening, Inspiring
• Enriching, adventurous, challenging, rewarding, limitless.
• Exciting, fun, new friends, challenges!

These 35 members have a wealth of knowledge about working at a number of international schools. Maybe you have worked at an international school that they have worked at as well?!  Here are just a few of the schools that they either currently work at now or have worked at in the past:

• Cebu International School  – 7 Comments
• Xiamen International School (Xiamen, China) – 25 Comments
• Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 222 Comments
• Benjamin Franklin Int’l School (Barcelona, Spain) – 66 Comments
• Universal American School in Dubai (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) – 17 Comments
• Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok – 21 Comments
• American International School in Egypt – 62 Comments
• International School of Tanganyika – 145 Comments
• Mahatma Gandhi International School – 3 Comments
• British Early Years Centre (Bangkok, Thailand) – 10 Comments
• American School Madrid (Madrid, Spain) – 54 Comments
• Frankfurt International School & Wiesbaden (Frankfurt, Germany) – 13 Comments
• Albanian International School (Tirana, Albania)19 Comments
• British International School Moscow (Moscow, Russia)11 Comments
• Stamford American International School (Singapore, Singapore)47 Comments

Thanks again to everyone who has participated in the Member Spotlight feature on our blog so far.

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here at editor @ internationalschoolcommunity.com.  All highlighted members receive 1 free year of premium access to our website!

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Top 10 Lists

12 Submitted Comments That Teaching Couples Should Take Note Of

September 23, 2016


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

teaching couple

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?
“The school does go to the London fairs, but like the previous common mentioned, they do look for teaching couples before hiring single teachers. There are also new visa restrictions underway limiting the number non-EU students and staff that can work at/attend the school.” – Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland) – 63 Comments

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

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

8. Information about benefits for teachers with dependents.

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

7. Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?

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

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

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

teaching couple

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

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

4. Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?

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

3. Information about benefits for teachers with dependents.

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

2. Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?

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

1. Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country?

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

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

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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. 

multicultural

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

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

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

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

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

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

writing mandarin

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

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

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

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

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

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This article was originally posted on Assetbuilder.com.

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Surveys

Survey results are in – How many countries have you traveled to so far this year? (in 2011)

January 3, 2012


The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community have been to 1-3 countries in 2011.  We were thinking that people would have traveled to more countries as a typical international school teacher travels many times throughout the year, especially during winter and summer holidays.  Maybe we will do this survey again at the end of 2012 and see if we get similar results.

There are many reasons though why international school teachers decide not to travel so much, and one of those reasons is to save money.  Even though the international school teacher lifestyle affords us many opportunities and enough salary to travel and to travel often, traveling is still not that cheap.  The price of the flight and the hotel, plus the cost of going out to eat 2-3 times a day can add up pretty quick and soon you are spending 500-600 USD for a 4-6 day vacation to a city in Europe (for example).

In the near future International School Community will have new member profile pages, and you will be able to make a map of where you have traveled to in the world.  You will also be able to state where you will be traveling to next.  One way international school teachers get inspired to travel is by hearing about the travels of their colleagues.  Sometimes you get good ideas on where you might want to travel to next.  So, stay tuned for when we update our website in 2012.

Related to traveling…a great traveling website that we have subscribed to is the matadornetwork.com website.

We have highlighted entries from their website in these blog entries of ours:

Highlighted article: 6 countries that aren’t really countries!

Three Job Fairs, Three Jobs: An International Teacher Hiring Saga

Great link – 10 Steps to Becoming Fluent in a Language in 6 Months or Less

So, what countries are we going to travel to in 2012?  For many of us, the options are endless really.  Go on safari in Africa?  Go see the pyramids in Egypt?  Spend a week on a beach in Thailand?  Ah, the life of international school educators!  If you are an international school teacher and keep a blog about your travels, contact us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.com and we will highlight it on our website.  We will also give you a coupon code to receive one extra free month of premium membership to our website.

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Great Link

Great link: 2011 Quality of Living worldwide city rankings – Mercer survey

November 30, 2011


Who works at one of the 7 or so international schools in Vienna? If you do, then you are living in one of the cities deemed to have the highest quality of living by Mercer.

It sounds great to be living in the city ranked number one, or even in the top 10.  At a certain time of your life and in your international teaching career maybe one of these top cities just might be the perfect place to settle down.  That is though if a vacancy pops up at an international school there, and by some stroke of luck you get the job.  It is all about luck and timing.  It is even more so about luck and timing when it comes to securing a job at an international school in one of these supposedly top city locations.  The international schools in these cities do appear to also have attractive benefits packages.  When you couple attractive benefits packages and a top city to live in, the schools find that there are a higher number of teachers staying long-term instead of the shorter tenures we usually see at other international schools in “less” desirable locations.  Long-term teachers at a school means a lesser likelihood of vacancies popping up.

So, how do these decide the quality of life in cities across the globe?  They use criteria from the following ten categories:

1) Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc)
2) Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services, etc)
3) Socio-cultural environment (censorship, limitations on personal freedom, etc)
4) Health and sanitation (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc)
5) Schools and education (standard and availability of international schools, etc)
6) Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transport, traffic congestion, etc)
7) Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc)
8) Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc)
9) Housing (housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services, etc)
10) Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

Indeed there are many factors to consider when thinking about accepting a job at a great international school, but maybe not in the best location.

From the article, here is what Mr. Parakatil said about the following regions around the globe:

Americas
“The disparity in living standards between North and South America is still considerable. Though a number of South and Central American countries have experienced positive change, political and safety issues predominate in the region. In particular, drug trafficking, drugs cartels and high levels of street crime, combined with natural disasters, continue to impair the region’s quality of living.”

Europe
“European cities in general continue to have high standards of living, because they enjoy advanced and modern city infrastructures combined with high-class medical, recreational and leisure facilities. But economic turmoil, high levels of unemployment and lack of confidence in political institutions make their future positions hard to predict. Countries such Austria, Germany and Switzerland still fare particularly well in both the quality of living and personal safety rankings, yet they are not immune from decreases in living standards if this uncertainty persists.”

Asia-Pacific
“As a region, Asia Pacific is highly diverse. Countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore dominate the top of both our general and personal safety rankings, in part because they have been continuously investing in infrastructure and public services,” said Mr Parakatil. “In general, the region has seen a greater focus on city planning. Nevertheless, many Asian cities rank at the bottom, mainly due to social instability, political turmoil, natural disasters such as typhoons and tsunamis, and lack of suitable infrastructure for expatriates.”

Middle East and Africa
“The recent wave of violent protests across North Africa and the Middle East has temporarily lowered living standards in the region. Many countries such as Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen have seen their quality of living levels drop considerably. Political and economic reconstruction in these countries, combined with funding to serve basic human needs, will undoubtedly boost the region as a key player in the international arena.”

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