Around the world, there are countries (like Mexico) 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 countries, 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 country.
Currently, we have 31 schools listed in Mexico on International School Community.
21 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:
American Institute of Monterrey (61 Total Comments)
American School Foundation of Guadalajara (111 Total Comments)
American School Foundation of Mexico City (72 Total Comments)
American School Foundation of Monterrey (105 Total Comments)
American School of Durango (39 Total Comments)
American School of Torreon (51 Total Comments)
Madison International School (32 Total Comments)
Westhill Institute (23 Total Comments)
“Depends on you, if you are single you can save 10,000 a month. If married with children then maybe 2,000.” – American Institute of Monterrey
“If you have any debt – school or mortgage – you will find it difficult to save any money as peso has weakened.” – American School Foundation of Guadalajara
“Depends on your lifestyle but I saved nothing because I had a child.” –
American School Foundation of Mexico City
“The school building is excellent. The area surrounding the campus is desert and a nice suburban that is newly developed. It is on the outskirts of the town, but it is very safe and the building is new and very well-maintained.” – American School of Torreon
“The school caters for Elementary, PYP and MYP. It is quite a big complex and it is still expanding to cater for more classrooms. It is walled like any international schools over here so it is relatively safe.” – Madison International School
“School facilities are quite nice for Mexico (wifi, projectors, top notch gym and exercise equipment, etc.). As others have alluded to, the surrounding area is MUCH more proletarian than the school clientele.” – American School Foundation of Mexico City
“You have to live in the middle of nowhere (close to school) for your first year, unless you demand a housing allowance. It’s very unsafe. Someone was killed in our backyard a few years ago, and one of the teachers got his passport stolen. You have to pay for the utilities, but only if they confront you about it.” – Madison International School
“The teachers now have their own apartments. The houses are random.If you are a married couple you will be placed in a house. Some single teachers have houses due to availability.” – American School of Torreon
“Houses are very basic. Little or no furniture. When something is wrong with the house neither the school or landlord will help.” – American School of Durango
“I would recommend taking photos of your accommodation (walls, any marks, shabby painting) as now that I am transitioning out I am being asked to pay for things that may or may not have been my fault but I didn\’t expect the school to nickle and dime me at the end so I don\’t have any proof.” – American School Foundation of Monterrey
“The private health insurance is only for major accidents, otherwise is pretty much useless and you must pay out of pocket if you get sick.” – American Institute of Monterrey
“There is no preventative care. Insurance is private and supported by the national health care program. For example, maternity leave is mandated by the state and paid for via IMS (national health care ). There is no international coverage – just 50,000 for accident coverage while you are visiting the US or Canada. Coverage is poor compared to other international schools. Doctors and service at private hospitals is very good!” – American School Foundation of Guadalajara
“Health insurance and dental but find a good doctor. Many are not good here.” – American School Foundation of Mexico City
“Unfortunately this school year the deductible went up substantially and the coverage is still not covering anything preventative. This was not told to staff until the week before school started which in essence dropped a lot of people’s salaries as now more is going towards health care costs. As someone who did not previously make any claims I did not appreciate this change when it finally came time to use the insurance.” – American School Foundation of Monterrey
(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)
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Around the world, there are countries (like India) 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 countries, 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 country.
Currently, we have 133 schools listed in India on International School Community.
32 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:
American Embassy School New Delhi (39 Total Comments)
American School of Bombay (34 Total Comments)
Good Shepherd International School (409 Total Comments)
Hebron School (35 Total Comments)
Indus International School (Pune) (43 Total Comments)
Kodaikanal International School (35 Total Comments)
Oberoi International School (36 Total Comments)
Woodstock School (95 Total Comments)
“It depends on lifestyle. If you like the posh life, your money will be spent quickly at Mumbai’s many hotels and bars. However, if you live a more modest lifestyle and travel around India, you can easily save half of your salary. Expat couples with no kids can live on one salary.” – Oberoi International School
“Bonuses paid to expat staff who renew contracts are the main savings or opportunity to pay down student loans. Very little savings monthly, most people spend it during the generous breaks sightseeing Asia. Comfortable cost of living in India.” – Woodstock School
“See above for monthly salary – due to the unique nature of the school and it’s ethos, this really depends on your own situation, budget, and spending habits.” – Hebron School
“The school has a beautiful green campus in the heart of Delhi’s diplomatic district. There are three elementary buildings, and separate MS/HS buildings. In addition, there are shared spaces for PE and athletics, swimming, Performing Arts, cafeterias, etc. The neighborhood features many embassies and other compounds, but there is also a “camp” with a large population of squatters across the street from the on-campus faculty housing complex.” – American Embassy School New Delhi
“The campus is beautiful. It is probably the best thing about the school. It has its flaws, but it is a terrific environment for living and learning.” – Kodaikanal International School
“Not much changes in the Fernhill Campus, the reason is that the Junior campus will soon move together with the Main Campus.” – Good Shepherd International School
“The school owns all the apartments and they are all beautiful safe and guarded either inside the campus or walking distance from the school” – Good Shepherd International School
“School provides furnished housing for expat teachers.” – Oberoi International School
“Cold winters with little indoor heat – wood stoves most common. Think rustic and adventure and you will not be disappointed. Some of the homes updated, others have more historic character. All require walking/hiking to work and to town. Utilities negligible, except cost of fuel for heat in winters.” – Woodstock School
“There is an allowance for housing which covers expenses as well.” – American School of Bombay
“Fine for minor things. Setting not recommended if specialist consultation is required or for faculty with ongoing medical conditions. The hillside alone requires a decent level of fitness (or will soon provide an opportunity for fitness!).” – Woodstock School
“Health cover within India is included, and if need be can include arrangements for travel to home country in extreme circumstances. There is on site team of nurses who provide care in a ‘hoz.’ Local clinics and hospitals are surprisingly good for India.” – Hebron School
“They will count your absence when you are sick as deductible unless you have worked during your day off or exeats which translate to 7 days a week of work. Even the car that you used to go down to a decent hospital will be charged to you.” – Good Shepherd International School
“There is a doctor on site but in general the schools’ medical services are not well respected. Staff can now go to other local hospitals for medical treatment.” – Kodaikanal International School
(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)
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Around the world, there are cities (like Vienna) 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.
Currently, we have 5 schools listed in Vienna on International School Community.
4 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:
AMADEUS International School Vienna (76 Total Comments)
American International School Vienna (81 Total Comments)
Danube International School (14 Total Comments)
Vienna International School (29 Total Comments)
“You don’t save that much working here, but on average a single teacher could save around 2500 Euros a year.” – Vienna International School
“If you are smart with money, you could save around 2-4 Euros a year.” – Danube International School
“This will vary greatly depending on spending habits and situation. As a single, and putting aside 15% toward retirement, living alone in a decent flat, traveling occasionally, I’ve saved about 9000 euro each year. Even with more travel and going out to eat more, it seems reasonable that one could save 2500-5000 each year.” – American International School Vienna
“The buildings have undergone several renovations, some of which weren’t really necessary in my opinion, but nice to see that the owners care about the facilities.” – AMADEUS International School Vienna
“The campus is next to very large Prater park, housed in an early 20th century building, next to Danube Canal.” – Danube International School
“Overall, there are more than 70 classrooms, seven science labs, art studios, music rooms, four computer labs, two libraries, a theatre, two gyms, a cafeteria, health unit, and a separate sports hall (which houses three indoor tennis courts or two basketball courts or ten badminton courts). There are various offices for counseling, the International Baccalaureate program, division offices, technology, and faculty departments. The exterior facilities include a soccer field, a running track, an elementary playground, an outdoor tennis court, and an outdoor amphitheatre.” – American International School Vienna
“Not everyone receives housing allowance.” – AMADEUS International School Vienna
“Housing and living expenses are high for single teachers with dependents and for families with non-teaching spouses.” – American International School Vienna
“The school offers a loan to pay for your housing, you need to pay it back within the first year. They help out with rental agency fees.” – Danube International School
“You get a housing allowance for the first few weeks of your placement. Around 1000 Euros.” – Vienna International School
Health insurance and medical benefits
“Local medical insurance is provided.” – Vienna International School
“Expat teachers just get health insurance through the local social health care system in Austria. No dental.” – Danube International School
“Outpatient is not covered, you can reimburse 85% of bills up to a maximum of 2,500,000 per year.” – American International School Vienna
“Vienna has excellent hospitals, the AKH (General Hospital of Vienna) is close to school and has a good reputation. Waiting time can be long though. However, the doctors are great” – AMADEUS International School Vienna
(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)
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The journey to work is indeed an important one. The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers when they are looking for jobs at schools in cities/countries to which they have never been. So let’s share what we know!
One of our members, who works at the International School of Brussels (Belgium), described her way to work there as follows:
The International School of Brussels is located in a leafy suburb of Brussels and nestled along the ancient Forêt de Soignes which is filled with towering trees and a variety of paths. The school began in an old chateau (that is still referred to as “the chateau”) but has since expanded to fill a campus that has separate buildings for each division and a variety of facilities. Today, the chateau is the main physical symbol of the school and houses administration, human resources, admissions as well as key personnel such as the school’s director and team.
Arrival at the school takes many different forms. Some teachers have settled into local life and come by car while others take advantage of the free yearly transport pass and arrive by bus, metro or tram. The location of your home will determine the best form of transport. Many of the younger teachers prefer to live in the Ixelles area near the Flagey ponds where they are between the center and the school. From Flagey, they can catch a 366 TEC bus that takes them in 20 minutes to the doorstep of the school. Departure times during the school year are at 6:48, 7:30 and 7:50 am and teachers often sit together as they ride into school.
Another option from Ixelles or the other side of town in Woluwe St. Pierre is the 94 tram which is more convenient for some as it leaves more frequently but it does require a 10 minute walk to school (The 94 tram cars are brand new and feature leather seats, laminate wood flooring and easy accessibility). In the morning the walk from the tram stop at Delleur is a pleasant downhill stroll but in the afternoon, it can be a bit of a hike up. The tram can be a bit slower than a bus, but it conveniently leaves at regular intervals.
Some teachers also enjoy biking to school. There are marked paths along most major routes and this is a mode of transport that’s becoming more popular. While paths are marked, cyclists still need to be aware as drivers can sometimes get very close to the bike paths. Biking along Franklin Roosevelt takes you past some beautiful embassy buildings as well as some architectural gems from the Art Nouveau era in Brussels. There’s also an option to cycle on the winding roads that pass through the Bois de la Cambre, a serene manicured park on the edge of the city that connects to the more wild Forêt de Soignes.
An area of growing popularity to live in has been the town where the school is located, Watermael Boitfort. There is a lovely village and the walk to school is quick and pleasant. This is a nice option if you’re actively involved in coaching and need to arrive at school early in the AM or if you want the shortest commute possible and a chance to run home if you’ve forgotten something. Rent can be a bit more expensive in this area but the teachers who have moved there believe it’s worth it for the convenience.
Parking on campus is getting more tight but there’s generally always space if you come by car. Brussels is an easy city to own a car in. Expenses such as taxes and insurance are relatively low and gas is manageable if you’re mostly using the car for commuting. The school also offers financial assistance for kilometers traveled in lieu of the yearly Brussels transport pass as an option for drivers.
On a good day, I set my alarm for 6:15 so that I can leave my apartment in Ixelles with my car and arrive at school by 7 to get in a morning workout in the school fitness center. The fitness center has showers so if there aren’t too many teachers working out, I can sneak in a quick shower before walking to my classroom by 8:10 to prepare for the start of the day at 8:40. On a bad day (or after a late night), I can set my alarm for 7 and leave by 7:50 which gets me to school by 8:10 or 8:15. Campus security has been beefed up after the terrorist attacks a few years ago so entering by the large double gates sometimes takes a few minutes if there is a line up of cars. Most teachers are on campus relatively early and until the late afternoon so in the darker winter months, everything is well-lit. Some teachers stay later on campus taking advantage of faculty fitness classes or free language classes but others are just as eager to head out and try one of the many local beers.
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 Western Europe? Out of a total of 298 international schools we have listed in Western Europe, 137 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:
Metropolitan School Frankfurt (60 comments)
Bilingual European School of Milan (31 Comments)
American International School of Rotterdam (45 Comments)
Skagerak International School (42 Comments)
AMADEUS International School Vienna (70 Comments)
International School of Paphos (105 Comments)
Copenhagen International School (316 Comments)
International School of Helsinki (41 Comments)
Berlin British School (31 Comments)
International School of Stuttgart (61 Comments)
So what is your journey to the international school you work at? Earn one year free of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’. Email us here if you are interested.continue reading
It is on all international school teachers’ minds. How am I helping to contribute to my future now (for after I retire) 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.
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 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.
Amman Baccalaureate School (16) Total comments
“No retirement plan right now is on offer as a benefit.”
Canadian International School (Tokyo) (50) Total comments
“No retirement plan for teachers.”
Zhuhai International School (81) 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 (27) Total comments
There is no pension provision, but an end of contract gratuity is awarded in lieu.
On the more positive side, we had a quick search for this key phrase “matching” hoping to find comments related to international school that match the pension plan contribution of the teachers. Here are a few of those comments:
American International School Vienna (38) 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 (110) 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.”
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. So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?
How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #2 – Go out to eat all the time!
When you are on a trip, it is easy to spend lots of money going out to eat. I mean most likely you are staying at a hotel or in a room at some hostel and not able to cook a dinner for yourself there. So you can justify going to a restaurant for both lunch and dinner when traveling. It is a luxury, that’s for sure, because you wouldn’t normally being going out to eat for lunch and dinner where you are living. Not unless you are an international school teacher though!
In some locations in the world, you can indeed justify going out to eat for most meals during the week. I mean it could be that you are living somewhere where the food is really ‘cheap’. Even if you are making a lot of money (and have your housing, etc. all paid for), it is always nice to get a bargain for your meal and you would be a fool to not take advantage of this supposedly cheap and good-tasting food while you are living in your host country.
You could also justify going out to eat a lot in your currently location because going out to eat is more convenient than going somewhere to buy groceries, and then going back to your home to cook them (for maybe 1-2 hours let’s say…maybe you are short on time as well).
Some international schools in Shanghai have deals with nearby restaurants which allows for easy ordering if you want to buy a lunch from them. It is a nice perk if your school is waaaaay out in the suburbs somewhere. And because it is cheap, why not go for it?
But even in these types of locations where many international school teachers eat out a lot, it can start to get a bit excessive. All your pocket-money might start to dwindle away. Additionally, in locations where there is cheap food and you are also making a nice salary, there are also going to be more expensive places to choose to eat at as well. It is nice to live it up and take advantage of the expat life in most cities in the world, but there is a price to pay for that kind of lifestyle and you must be mindful of the amount of money you are actually spending! At some of these ‘expat-priced’ restaurants you pay a premium to get the style of food that expats like. Problem is that you most likely would NOT pay the same price for that same food in your home counties. A ‘you deserve it’ attitude comes into play and your wallet pays the cost.
Now to the locations where it is ridiculously expensive to eat out, let’s say Norway. What is an international school teacher to do then? Going out to a restaurant in these expensive cities will really take a toll on our bank account. Some people though still choose to do it. I think it is related to the idea that they are still ‘traveling’ in their host country. Like I said before, when you are traveling, you go out to eat all the time. Not all teachers do it in these expensive cities, but some do and it can get out of control real quick. Gotta be careful so that you are saving some money as well.
To save you some money, we do have a comment topic on our website related to this theme. It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.
‘Spanish Stairs is the great place to hang out. It has many nice shops, restaurants and a beautiful view, especially in the sunset. For restaurants, I recommend Pastaritto-Pizzaritto in Via Quattro Novembre. Prices are decent and the food is delicious.’ – Marymount International School (Rome) (Rome, Italy) – 7 Comments
‘I like “Witwe Polte”. It’s a small restaurant in the 7th district. It’s called the Spittelberg area, where you can also find a beautiful Christmas market in winter.’ – AMADEUS International School Vienna (Vienna, Austria) – 13 Comments
‘There are some great places to eat near and in the main market, Mahane Yehuda. There are always people around there and it is very lively. Though it can be a bit touristy, there are also a lot of locals that are here as well.’ – Jerusalem American International School (Jerusalem, Israel) – 8 Comments
‘It is a bit touristy, but there are many restaurants around the Dam tram stop. Just a short 5-7 minute walk in many directions you can find some cozy restaurants to eat at. There are Christmas markets already set up right now, it is nice to walk around during the evening.’ – International School Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – 26 Commentscontinue reading
I was born, grew up, and graduated from college (BA in Mathematics and English Language and Literature) in Hungary. During my third year of college I found a flyer by the college entrance showing “Teach in New York” and I immediately got interested. As a result, I got in touch with AAECA (Austrian American Educational Cooperation Association) that was recruiting teachers to the Big Apple from all over Europe. I traveled to Vienna for an interview and, after I was accepted, for a weekend workshop. From then on it all worked out quite smoothly and just about a month after being handed my college diploma I found myself on a plane heading for New York City. After the initial chaos in NYC I was placed in Walton High School to teach 9th-10th grade Mathematics. After one year I was reassigned to teach at Bronx High School for Law and Community Service and remained there for the following two years. During this time I met and married a Filipina and then we decided to move to the Philippines.
After teaching three years in the NYC public school system I got a position as Secondary Mathematics teacher at Cebu International School. There I got familiar with international teaching and the IB Diploma Programme. After my initial two-year contract with CIS I moved on to teach Upper School Mathematics at Xiamen International School in China, where I taught in both the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP). During my 2nd and 3rd year at XIS I was appointed the Head of the Mathematics Department and for my final two years I held the position of the Diploma Programme coordinator as well as Pamoja Education’s Site-Based Coordinator.
After my five years in Xiamen I recently moved to Shanghai to continue teaching Secondary Mathematics at Western International School of Shanghai (WISS).
How did you get started in the international teaching community?
My first international school experience was in the Philippines, in Cebu city at Cebu International School. Through them I got introduced to International Baccalaureate’s Diploma Programme and became a DP Mathematics teacher, teaching Mathematical Studies SL and Mathematics SL. From here on living the life of an international school teacher came naturally and I very much enjoy what I do.
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.
In SY2006-2008 I worked in Cebu International School. After teaching three years in the NYC public school system this place felt like paradise to me. The students were attentive, kind, and genuinely fun to work with. Being in a small school such as CIS helped me make friends and rediscover what teaching was really all about. Being part of a small but genuinely kind and helpful community was an amazing way to start working in Asia, so far from my roots.
In SY2008-2013 I worked at Xiamen International School. After my first year at XIS I gained the respect of both the Upper School principal, Dr. David Freeman, and the Headmaster, John Godwin, who entrusted me with the position of the Head of the Mathematics Department. I held this position for two years before I was given the opportunity to be the Diploma Programme Coordinator for SY2011-2013. During these five years at XIS I also became MYP Mathematics Moderator and DP Mathematics Examiner, as well as Site-Based Coordinator for Pamoja Education. As the school is about a 40-minute bus ride from the island, where most faculty and families live, I started to regularly cycle to school to the point when it became routine to pedal to and from work every day.
Now, in SY2013-14, I am at Western International School of Shanghai (WISS) as a secondary Mathematics teacher and I immensely enjoy the start of this new chapter in my life in this fantastic school with such an amazing staff. Although the school is only a 5-minute bus ride from my home now, keeping my passion for cycling will be much easier as there are plenty expat cyclists who organize regular rides around Shanghai.
Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
Having “cultural encounters” in China is really a daily experience. Moving around the city and observing the local customs and habits really became natural by now, after having spent five years in China. One of the many habits of the Chinese that still put a smile on my face is to see them walk backwards as a form of exercise in the pajamas. This morning as I ventured out for my morning jog, I discovered a running track nearby my home. (We just moved to Shanghai a few days ago and I’m still discovering my area.) On the track, at 6am, I found at least 15 people of all ages walking backwards in their pajamas to perform their (I guess regular) morning exercise. Yes, I smiled.
What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
Having a non-teaching spouse and two school-aged boys my very first criterion is whether the school accepts two children as dependents. Once that’s given I check the school’s location, the programs they offer (which is crucial for me being an experienced MYP/DP teacher), and the salary and benefits. The size of school becomes important only when seriously considering an offer simply because I have experience with both large and smaller size schools.
In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
Living life full of energy.
If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here. If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!
Want to work for an international school in the China like Denes? Currently, we have 22 international schools listed in Shanghai on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:
“Nine Lessons Learned” taken from The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs article by Clay Burell’s blog Beyond School.
7. “Benefits, preps, class sizes, and student mix.” (Part 2)
“When it came down to thinking I’d be choosing between two very attractive schools, I told one of them how I hoped that saying ‘no’ this time, if the decision went that way, wouldn’t close the door to a ‘yes’ next time in years to come. The gentlemanly answer of the man I said this to was so winsome, I don’t know what to say, other than that it made me want to work in this man’s school even more. The answer was no less impressive for its simplicity, which was, simply, ‘Your saying no to us will offend us no more than we’d want to offend you if we said no to you. It’s the nature of the beast, and we understand that, so no doors will close at all.’”
It is all about luck and timing.
When luck and timing are both in alignment, then the offers start coming in for you. However, those offers are still ones that you need to sit back and closely look at before saying ‘yes’ to an administrator at an international school recruitment fair. The immediate and complete understanding is difficult with regards to these important considerations: benefits, prep times, class sizes, and the student mix. You might not entirely understand the ramifications of these factors until you actually get there. This dilemma is one that makes going to these recruitment fairs a bit stressful at times.
There are too many to list really. Just to name a few: housing and housing allowance, average monthly salary after taxes, flight allowance, moving allowance, settling-in allowance, free local language classes, gratuities and bonuses, transportation, saving potential, etc. If you ask any international school teacher, the one that they list as the most important will most likely always be different. They all are important to an international school teacher working in a foreign country. Which benefits though are you willing to be flexible on, that is the question. You need to know that ahead of time if you plan on making your decision to sign a contract within 24 hours of receiving an offer.
It is hard to know what that would be like at an international school that you haven’t worked at yet. It would be great to be able to contact a teacher that either works there now or has worked there in the past (you can easily do just that on International School Community) to know exactly what the prep times are and whether they are enough or not enough. Surely having sufficient prep time is important. Make sure to ask about it and make sure that the school gives you an honest response. I know one friend that works at an international school where there is very limited prep time which results in this person having to work a total of 70 hours a week!
Having 20 students on your own isn’t that bad. Having 20 students in your class with a full time teaching assistant is even better. Having 14 students or less in your class might be too small actually. However, having 30+ students in your class on your own or even with a teaching assistant might prove to be a deal breaker when it comes to working at international schools. I actually haven’t known this to be the case in the international schools I know about, but it probably does exist in some schools. Make sure to get a clear idea about class sizes during your interview, and how they may or may not change in the near future for many international schools are either expanding or losing students these days; most schools seems to be in flux all the time.
It is important for some international school teachers, for some it is not so important. Is an international school really an international school when over 80% of the student population is from the host country? The answer to that question might be found here. Either way, it is up to your preference. Working with a student population as diverse as Vienna International School (12 Comments submitted on this school on our website) that has a student population that represents over 100 different nationalities could be very rewarding and inspiring in which to work. Working at Ibn Khuldoon National School (12 comments submitted on this school on our website) which has a student population of mostly local host country students might also be very rewarding and inspiring to work at. Each school can have its own pros and cons about their student populations. Sometimes it depends on the ethos of the school; how the students think and behave and interact with the teachers, the other students, their parents, and the community.
Potentially burning bridges and closing doors
If all these benefits and other factors don’t seem to match up for you at this point in your international school career, then the answer you will most likely give to the international school administrator is ‘no.’ The reason that it should be ‘no’ is because all indicators then are pointing to an international school that is not the best fit for you at this time in your life. Hopefully, like Burell explains, this ‘no’ answer won’t be burning any bridges for a potential good/better fit in the future. I would imagine that most international schools would respond in the same way as the one he interviewed with at the recruitment fair. For it is true to say that international schools are looking for candidates that are the best fit for them and ‘their situation’ too.
There are over 4200 submitted information and comments about over 1175 international schools around the world on International School Community. Each international school has its own profile page, and on each school profile page there are four sections: School, Benefits, City and Travel. Members of internationalschoolcommunity.com are able to read about and submit their own comments and information in those four sections, all in a very easy to read and organized manner. It is a great way to get a better glimpse into what could be your future life as you venture out into the world to work at your next international school! It is also a great resource at your disposal as you interview with different international schools when job hunting.
The overseas education of more than four million American children and youth since World War II is an unwritten chapter in the history of American education and represents the schooling of several generations under circumstances unique to human history.
Today the U. S. departments of Defense and State operate or assist more than 300 schools in over 100 foreign countries. Additionally there are more than 600 private American owned or supported schools abroad.
The mission of AOSHS is to collect, record, and preserve the unique history of educating American children and youth abroad; and to enhance public knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the contributions made by American educators and their students in the advancement of democracy around the world.
The American Overseas Schools Archives (AOSA) was first established on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff in 1989. The AOSA is dedicated to preserving the history and memorabilia of the kindergarten through grade 12 education of an estimated 4 million American children who attended more than 900 American overseas schools over the past 150 years.
In 1995 the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) was incorporated as a non- profit IRS 501(c)(3) organization. The AOSHS office and archives are located in Wichita, Kansas.
They even have a section called: Overseas Educator Information. There is much information about the teachers that work at these schools. There is a picture on this page showing a reunion of some overseas teachers in Japan. How cool to be reunited with the colleagues that you worked with in another country a long time ago perhaps. I know after being at my third schools now, I am already starting to lose touch with the teachers that I worked with at my first international school.
One part of their website has all the American Overseas schools and their alumni associations listed alphabetically. Some of the schools listed are:
American International School in Vienna
Asociacion Escuelas Lincoln
American International School of Kabul, Afghanistan
Antwerp International School (AIS)
American Cooperative School of La Paz
There are many, many more schools listed on their website here.
Most of the schools listed on the American Overseas Schools Historical Society website are also found on International School Community. Some of the schools listed on our website can be found here (the number of comments and information submitted by our members is also listed next to each school’s link):
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
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!
(North Pine Christian College)
(Anglo American School of Sofia)
(Korea International School)
(A’takamul International School)
(Copenhagen International School)
(International School of Beijing)
“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.
· 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)
“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…”
· 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…”
Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments on the following schools:
New Comment: “If you have a BA with 4 yrs experience your salary will be around 38K euros. If you have a MA with 8 yrs…”
New Comment: “KIS is fortunate in having a fully staffed Travel Office to coordinate student, staff and community travel. Our travel partner ‘Around the World Travel’ is an India-wide agency with…”
New Comment: “The monthly accommodation allowance is JPY 30,000.00. The average rent for a 2bd apt is JPY 50,000.00.”continue reading
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.
· 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…”
· 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)
“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)
“The school has around 11 teachers and they are from Guatemalan and the United States…”
· International School Dhaka (3 new comments)
“This well-resourced school has a purpose-built centrally air- conditioned buildings and classrooms, specialist teaching rooms including…”
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!
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.”continue reading
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 current results we got (from 24 July 2020) along with five random schools from that region:
Asia: 68 Schools
American International School Dhaka (110 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) (70 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 (49 total comments)
Lincoln School (San Jose) (61 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: 67 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 (155 total comments)
International School of Latvia (33 total comments)
East Asia: 222 Schools
Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (155 total comments)
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (180 total comments)
Hong Kong International School (148 total comments)
Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan) (81 total comments)
Keystone Academy (119 total comments)
Middle East: 152 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 (83 total comments)
North Africa: 41 Schools
Alexandria International Academy (79 total comments)
American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (62 total comments)
Cairo American College (174 total comments)
Misr American College (53 total comments)
George Washington Academy (91 total comments)
North America: 50 Schools
American School Foundation of Guadalajara (117 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: 8 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: 182 Schools
Ican British International School (74 total comments)
Northbridge International School (59 total comments)
Green School Bali (148 total comments)
Sekolah Victory Plus (143 total comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (135 total comments)
South America: 64 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 (95 total comments)
Uruguayan American School (32 total comments)
Sub-Saharan Africa: 71 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 (58 total comments)
Western Europe: 167 Schools
American International School Vienna (81 total comments)
International School of Paphos (123 total comments)
Copenhagen International School (375 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 1140 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.continue reading
For the past 9 years I have met more than 30,000 people. How? By traveling the world and handing out Dutch pancakes for free wherever I go!
My story started 9 years ago, when I was studying in Hong Kong for a university exchange program. My friends there cooked Asian food for me and in return I decided to serve them Dutch pancakes. This was a big success and people liked the pancakes and the atmosphere a lot. Back then I already thought that if this event was such a success in Hong Kong, why not anywhere else in the world?!
When back in the Netherlands I started hosting people at my apartment on Saturday nights, first for 10 or 20 people, but when encouraging my friends to invite more people, it soon grew out towards 100+ people every week. A few months into this, my landlord decided that he wanted to sell my apartment. At that moment I had to make a decision whether to rent a new apartment or to invest my salary in flight tickets and to travel the world in my free time. I decided on the second one and have since then been a nomad for the past 5+ years.
Initially I just approached my own friends who lived all over Europe and asked them whether they fancied to host an edition in their apartments. This worked, but the pace was low (only 1-2 editions per month). At one point I decided to approach strangers on Facebook, Couchsurfing, etc with the question whether they would know of suitable locations or to host the event in their own apartments. Luckily I was always able to find a location this way. However, nowadays the event has outgrown the capacity of regular apartments, so I decided to switch to bars, hostels and more professional venues.
Over the course of these 9 years I have organized the pancake events for around 460 times, in 78 countries and in around 200 different cities, literally all over the world, from Tokyo to Rio de Janeiro and from Dar es Salaam to Boston. During these events we prepared more than 50,000 Dutch pancakes!
All the places I have visited are of course very different from each other, but the atmosphere at the events is surprisingly similar: people are generally very enthusiastic, easy-going and open to meet many more people. They are also often very willing to help and support, for example by finding locations for the events, helping with groceries, bringing along cooking material, preparing pancakes, or help with cleaning. Occasionally the location even looks cleaner than before the event!
I have always wondered what drove the success of these events. I think the following factors made the difference:
Even though I have organized these pancake events for 9 years already, I never looked further than 3 months. There were many moments that I thought about stopping, for example if I experienced disappointments or setbacks or if I did not feel like putting in the effort required to organize more editions. However, there were always many more moments that I felt so happy having completed editions successfully and getting a lot of positive feedback from participants. That has always kept me going!
As for the Dutch pancake nights, I keep on searching for ways to make the experiences for the participants more unique, for example by making them larger (I now think of creating an XXL edition for more than 1000 people), at more unique locations (in an embassy, on a yacht, etc), by creating social impact (e.g. community building, charity), or otherwise.
In case you are also curious to join a Dutch Pancake edition, feel free to visit the event in Hong Kong on Saturday 21 July: https://www.facebook.com/events/201543413811969/
If you cannot make it to the edition in Hong Kong, then here you can find the calendar with other editions: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Dutch-Pancake-events-1127435713963068/events
Here you can find two related videos about the Dutch Pancake Night:
– My TEDx speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPa7V5shQAs&t=250s
– An impression of the event: https://vimeo.com/256783761
Next to that, I do hope that people will be inspired by this journey, connecting people through 3 different ingredients: milk, flour and eggs. And I do hope that people will also start using their own ingredients to shape their own unconventional lifestyle!
Robin Vogelaar has a background in finance (at MIT Sloan School of Management) and management consulting (at The Boston Consulting Group and ING Bank in Amsterdam) and currently travels the world bringing people together through Dutch pancakes and supporting NGOs and social enterprises with volunteer consulting on any strategic topic.continue reading
When you work in a public school district in the USA, it is typically unlikely that you will also have to spend time specifically working on curriculum development. Unless I suppose when you are getting paid extra to do so. Usually curriculum development is handled at the district office.
But at international schools, it is very common place to also have this task added to a teacher’s annual workload. Especially at small schools with fewer teachers, then the odds are quite high you will spend a number of hours doing curriculum development.
Who even can remember how this work was done 20 years ago, but of course now it is all done online. A popular choice amongst international schools is Rubicon Atlas. Though this service has a lot of good features and is “easy to use”, it is not always so popular and user-friendly for teachers.
Many international schools require teachers to plan their lessons every day and then also update their units on whatever the school uses for their written curriculum. It can be a lot of work! Each international school needs to think about what is the right balance for the teachers and who is responsible exactly for the updating of their writing curriculum.
Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of curriculum development, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, etc.)”
Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 128 comments in this comment topic (March 2017). Here are a few that have been submitted:
“Since this is a new-ish school, there is still a considerable amount of curriculum development going on. The MS/HS uses Managebac and the PS uses something similar. There is a decent amount of time allocated during the day for division and grade level planning.” – Keystone Academy (Beijing, China) – 14 Comments
“I have to say, there is a lot of “reinventing the wheel” when it comes to curriculum, particularly in Elementary. We are expected to create several Unit plans for Reading and Writing Workshop when we already paid for (and have in our possession) Lucy Calkins detailed Units and Plans available. In this regard, work is highly repetitive, redundant, and unnecessary. Of course, there is a need to review, modify and adapt Units and Lessons to meet the needs of your kids, but in the Elementary division, it seems reinventing the wheel is more cherished than using the proven resources we already have.” – American International School Abuja (Abuja, Nigeria) – 36 Comments
“The goal is to have a UbD plan for every unit of every class. Some departments are closer to achieving that goal than others, depending on the schedules of curriculum review cycles. Each department is given specific goals, and some meeting and planning time arranged (occasionally pull-out times during a school day, for which substitutes are required for your classes) to facilitate the process, but much of the work is expected to be done during teachers’ planning times.” – American International School Vienna (Vienna, Austria) – 38 Comments
“International teachers are expected to undertake all of the curriculum development work, and the school introduced the use of Atlas Rubicon at the back end of the 2015/2016 school year. This development is expected to tail off, however, as the authority with oversight of the NIS schools has decreed that all curricula must be uploaded by the end of the 2015/2016 school year, with the understanding that no changes will be made after that time.” – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana (Astana, Kazakhstan) – 37 Commentscontinue reading
Japan is unique among Asian countries. Many expats, even those who have lived in Asia for years, struggle living in Japan. I’ve seen families leave after only a year. What makes Japan so difficult? Is it the culture? Some secret only known to the initiated? The answer, while it may seem obscure, is simple.
Japan is not Asian.
I don’t mean this literally, of course. Metaphorically, however, it is true. Japan is the America of Asia, and the key to enjoying life in Japan is to understand this. It’s not that Japanese speak English well. Most can’t. Nor is it that Japanese eat mostly Western food. They don’t. In fact, culturally, Japan is perhaps one of the most enigmatic countries in the world. You can spend a lifetime in this country and still not understand all of the intricacies of a simple business transaction.
So what is it that makes Japan un-Asian?
It’s economically Western. Things aren’t cheap here, and it pisses people off. Yet no one bats an eye at the high price of living in Western Europe. Why? It’s a trade-off of salary for lifestyle. Yes, your salary might not go far in Vienna, Paris, or Stockholm. But generally international teachers move there for the culture, not the money. Asia, in contrast, remains one of the premier locations for expats wishing to live a lavish lifestyle. A typically international school salary puts you in the top 1% in countries like Thailand or Bangladesh. Top salaries in China soar over top salaries in Japan. Working at a major international school in Tokyo or Osaka, you can expect to be firmly middle class, at best.
The teachers I know who leave Japan after a few years are those who are used to having nannies, hired help, frequent vacations to beach resorts, and people catering to them as something special. This kind of lifestyle is unaffordable in Tokyo. Take traveling, for example. In Japan, hotels charge per person, not per room. And it’s not uncommon to be charged $200USD per person, per night. Nor is transportation cheap. Bullet train tickets from Kyoto to Tokyo run upwards of $150, one way. Just accommodation and transportation for a weekend trip could be well in excess of $1,000. You can live a good life in Japan on an international school salary, but not the same expat life you could in other Asian countries. Much like living in Copenhagen, this means going local. Don’t buy all American products at jacked up prices in Costco. By local, Japanese products. Eat, drink, and live like a local, and perhaps you can live an upper-middle class lifestyle.
Coming to Japan from developing Asian countries, expats lose considerable social and economic status. They find themselves unhappy, and return to the Asia they know and love. Cheap Asia. English Friendly Asia. Cater-to-foreigners Asia. So why stay? What does Japan have to offer, if not generous salaries and a super affluent lifestyle?
The answer is, of course, culture. Part II coming soon…
This article was submitted to us by an International School Community member guest author.continue reading
The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted have the Middle East as the region in the world they would most NOT want to move to next.
Well, what is so undesirable about living in the Middle East? The really hot weather basically all year round? The vast difference in the culture in comparison to your own? The local food is not to your liking? It could be any number of reasons why most of our members voted that the Middle East is the place they would most not want to move to next.
Being that many people don’t want to move there may present a problem for international schools in that region. How can the schools find quality candidates to move to their Middle Eastern country and work at their school?
One major attraction for candidates looking for a job at an international school is the salary and benefits package. And it is widely known that many of the international schools in the Middle East (Non-profit ones and For-profit ones) offer excellent benefits with tax-free, very high salaries as well. I guess though that disregarding how high the salaries are or how amazing the benefits package is, many international schools teachers will still turn a blind eyes to an opportunity to interview at a school in this region.
Let’s remember though that there are still many international school teachers that are interested in working in the Middle East; some might even put working in the Middle East as their number one choice. Those who put ‘saving money’ as a top priority are likely to consider working at an international school in the Middle East. Those who also are career-minded will find a number of ‘Tier 1’ school in that region which can even be quite competitive in which to even get an interview.
International schools in the Middle East are also known for their flexibility to hire single teachers with dependents, teaching couples with dependents, and single teachers with a non-teaching, trailing spouse. Not all international schools around the world will be able to hire these types of candidates. Not every teacher with dependents though desires to have their children grow up in the Middle East region (i.e. they will most likely be living in compounds…which is not to everyone’s liking.).
If you are a single teacher, maybe the Middle East is also not the best place for you to move. It might be hard to find/going out on dates there. It might be hard to meet the locals, but it also might be difficult to find other expat people to go on dates with since a high number of them might already be married.
Luckily on International School Community, we have a City Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that discusses many aspects of the city/region for each school. One major reason to help international school teachers know more about where they would like to move to next is the weather. Fortunately, we have a comment topic related to weather called:
• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.
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 : “For six months of the year, the Eastern Province has beautiful weather – from about mid-October to mid-April, ideal for outside activity. After that, it begins to get hot and from July to September it is very hot and sometimes very humid – generally oppressive. That is when everyone is very grateful for the fact everything is air-conditioned. Fortunately, school is out for much of that time and everyone who can leaves the area. From mid-October, the temperature starts to cool off and the Arab winter can be very pleasant, even requiring a few light wool sweaters and socks at night. In years when there is a fair amount of rain, especially when it comes in December or earlier, the desert blooms and everyone with a car packs up their tents and heads out to enjoy the flowers , watch the baby camels, and view the glorious night time sky undiluted by city lights.”
Another member said about working at : “Always good except for rainy season, which changes around each year. It can last for 1-2 months.”
Another member submitted a comment about working at : “From November to April, the weather is cool (22 to 28 Celsius), with little rain and lots of sunshine! You do get occasional thunderstorms though.”
If you are currently a premium member of International School Community, please take a moment to share what you know about the weather in the different regions/cities of the world at which you have worked. You can start by logging on here.
Stay tuned for our next survey topic which is to come out in a few days time.continue reading
Michael Pohl is Thinking Education … Are you?
With more than twenty years classroom teaching experience behind him, Michael now runs training and development sessions for classroom teachers in thinking skills and also in how to best meet the learning needs of gifted students in inclusive classrooms. He has run over 1800 workshops on the teaching of thinking for teachers and Principals in China, Taiwan Saudi Arabia, Spain, Vienna, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and across both New Zealand and Australia.
A former member of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, Michael regularly presents at local, national and international conferences on issues concerning giftedness, creativity and thinking.
With a Masters Degree in Gifted Education and formal qualifications in Adult Training, Michael is the Director of Thinking Education, currently working with many schools in diverse contexts on an on-going basis, returning many times to work with teachers as as they create a culture of thinking in their classrooms. He has worked in complex secondary settings in inner metropolitan settings, to remote schools in outback Australia, with clusters of schools in Wellington NZ, to International schools across Asia and in Europe.
Amongst his recent publications are books on the teaching of complex thinking, models and strategies for teaching and learning, inquiry-based instruction, another on a whole-school approach to the explicit teaching of thinking skills, books for the middle years of schooling and for teachers concerning the education of gifted students and numerous articles for national and international journals concerned with Gifted Education.
All are available from the Thinking Education website.
Michael currently has an on-going relationship with The Alice Smith School in Kuala Lumpur and the International European School in Taiwan and is due to revisit both in 2012.
Should you be interested in having Michael work with your school, or present to a local or regional conference, please feel free to contact him via the website at http://www.thinking.education.com.au or simply email at email@example.com reading
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:
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”