Our mission for the International School Community website is to have the most updated information about what it is like to work at the numerous international schools around the world. One way to help us achieve that mission is to have Mayors.
Being a Mayor is super easy, and the best part is that you get unlimited free premium membership to our website!
• Submit at least 3-6 new comments on your school every 1-2 months (on the 66 different comment topics). It takes like 5-8 minutes of your time to do this. It will take a Mayor 2 years to submit one comment in all 66 comment topics.
• Make sure to check on your school’s Wall and occasionally post updates about their school (any big changes to the school that are happening, good tips to know about, recent events at the schools, etc.)
• Make sure that their school has the most updated and correct information (e.g. basic info, links, Facebook page, Youtube video, etc.) on the Overview and Social Media tabs.
• Submit job vacancies that are currently available at your school.
• Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 481 Comments
• NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 298 Comments
• Tarsus American College (Mersin, Turkey) – 222 Comments
• Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China) – 155 Comments
• American School Foundation of Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico) – 129 Comments
• Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 180 Comments
• Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 140 Comments
• Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 387 Comments
• Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 172 Comments
• American International School Dhaka (Dhaka, Bangladesh) – 113 Comments
• International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 135 Comments
• Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 176 Comments
• Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 148 Comments
The more Mayors that we have on our website means the more our members will be informed; as there will be more up-to-date information on the schools they want to know about!
Become the Mayor of a school you work at (or have worked at) today!
* Please note that being the Mayor of a school is anonymous and that all comments and job vacancies submitted on our website are also done so anonymously. Posting on the school profile page wall though is not anonymous.continue reading
Occupation: Education Technology Coordinator
Industry: International Education
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Salary: $40,000 USD (not including severance)
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $3,330 (pre tax and retirement)
Each day starts with the regular breakfast. A Vitamin C drink ($0.50 each (multipack)), a plain greek yoghurt (about $1 per yoghurt) and a protein bar ($2 each) . Ever since January I have been walking to work. Regardless the school has a free shuttle bus for staff, transportation in general doesn’t cost me much throughout the week as I prefer to walk everywhere (gotta get those 10,000 steps per day). Lunch at school is also free and there are two options. After school it is raining and I need to get home quick, so I get a local taxi. The ten minute ride cost $3.50. At home I relax with my family (wife and baby), watch Netflix ($10 per month) and eat a home cooked meal of Pork Stew.
The usual breakfast and then I walk to work again and have the free school lunch. I have a working meeting with a colleague and we decide to go to a local coffee shop. Coffee and a Bagel as a snack runs up to $7.50. I walk home, but on the way stop to get an artisan donut for my wife and I. Each one costs ($3) but they are so worth it. My wife is out with her friends for a meal and I have my son to myself. I order from Seouls Shuttle Delivery service, an app which delivers (for a small fee) food from most of the popular restaurants in the expat district of Yongsan-gu. A Moroccan Chicken sandwich costs $6 and $3 for delivery. My wifes meal at a fancy Italian restaurant with drinks costs $20.
I wake up early to go work out. The walk to work is a good 20-30 minutes mostly up hill and is a good warm up. Luckily the school weight room is free to staff as is the gym where twice weekly basketball games are played between staff, some parents and occasionally the odd HS student or two. Free lunch at school. Walk home back to a home cooked meal.
Thursday is our end of year party. I walk to work and then get ready for a big lunch. We head to a Brazilian churrasqueria (an all you can eat restaurant which has different cuts of a variety of meats, served via huge skewers. This is $35 per person and one of the more pricey options around, but luckily it is being paid for by the school. At home I don’t eat much and a fresh fruit smoothie is enough to fill me up.
Last day of work for the school year. The habit of walking to work has not changed and neither has the free lunch. I get a taxi home again (I had a lot of things to take home from school) which is a bit more expensive this time as we went the long way ($4). At home we decided to order pizza from the cheapest pizza restaurant around $12 + $3 delivery for two medium sized pizzas, its a bargain but definitely not the best pizza you can buy.
Our last full day in Seoul before the summer holidays. We have lunch at home again then we head to a new artisan ice cream shop. We walk the 30 minutes there, choose a Saturday Morning Cartoons Ice Cream (Breakfast Cereal (Fruity pebbles) flavour) and a Mixed Cookie. The two Scoops come to $5. I had previously ordered some frozen pies from an expat chef and heated that up for dinner, each one costs $10 but they are so worth it. My wife had a home made salad, with boxed mac and cheese.
We wake up early to make sure everything is ready for the summer. I have the usual breakfast then we head to the airport. We usually get the subway which costs $5 per person. But as we have our baby boy (6 months old, so first flight) we are getting a taxi, this costs $55 flat fee for an International Taxi, but we think it is worth it to not have the stress of getting on and off subways with a baby and multiple suitcases. We eat at the airport. Coffee and sandwiches for my wife and I comes to $16, then we head off on the flight to the USA.
All for 3 people (my wife and I and our baby boy)
$100/month baby items (diapers/clothes)
$10/month drinking water (comes in 10l jugs)
$100/month for bills (electricity, gas, water)
$30/month apartment maintenance fee
$300/month restaurants and meals out (including coffee)
$40/month Transportation (Taxis and Subway)
$250/month retirement fund
Savings potential on my (mid range for Seoul) salary, and lifestyle is about $1400 a month, this in the last 6 months has been reduced as my wife stopped working after the arrival of our first born (together with no baby we were saving around $3000 a month). The above $250 a month for retirement is matched by my employer
This article was submitted by an ISC member. Why not submit your Money Diary article for your area of the world and earn free premium membership to the ISC website? Contact us here if you are interested.continue reading
Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?
Our 40th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Farleys Far Away” Check out the blog entries of these international school educators who work at Korea International School (Seoul) in South Korea.
A few entries that we would like to highlight:
“A very, very long time ago, Jim decided to teach in Taipei, Taiwan. He lived there for 2 years and met me when he got back. That was 12 long awesome years ago. This entire time he’s told me how he would like to move back to East Asia. For 11 years I said, “No. Way. Jose.
Then, at the beginning of this school year, there were rumblings of change at my school. Our state assessment scores left something to be desired (something being, native English speakers from the middle or upper class) and there are a couple of ways the district “fixes” this problem. One of those ways is by letting all the teachers go. If you have tenure, like me, they’ll place you for one year, then after that year, you’re on your own. It’s pretty bleak and I was sad to leave a staff of extremely talented, caring teachers, but what can you do? I know what you can do-you can leave the country!
We signed up for the Overseas Recruitment Fair at the University of Northern Iowa. That was an intense weekend. On the flight to Cedar Rapids we were sitting next to the middle school principal at Korea International School. Korea hadn’t really been on the radar, but after a brief interview on Sunday, and then several Skype interviews, and a little bit of research into life in Korea we were on our way.
That’s how it happened. 11 years of convincing and one quick weekend of deciding…”
Many times you need to wait until the right moment in time to start your career in international school teaching. Some teachers wait one year while others wait 12!
Want to learn more about what it is like to go to an international school recruitment fair? Check out our popular blog category called “9 Lessons Learned Regarding International School Hiring Fairs.”
“Let me start by saying, everyone is fine. But we’re experiencing the health care system here in Korea. On Sunday, about 15 minutes before Jim left for his trip to Singapore, I had him check out August’s *ahem* you know. Well, things weren’t looking so good down there (it turns out August has a hernia). I called the director of KIS‘ wife, who is a nurse. She was very reassuring over the phone, so I allowed Jim to go to Singapore.
My boss recommended I get him checked out at the Baylor Clinic in Jeongja, which is very close to us. We found the building with no problem and made it to the clinic-on the 2nd floor. There are 2 floors to the clinic. Both say “Baylor Clinic” in English, but the rest is in Korean. The 2nd floor clinic had people in the waiting room, but no receptionist. We sat and as I looked around, I saw at least 2 signs that said “Audiology” so we decided to go to the 3rd floor clinic.
When we got there, I called Raina, our bilingual school nurse, and had her talk to the receptionist. It turns out the Baylor Clinic is an ENT. Good for a sore throat but probably not so good below the waist. However, Raina found out that there is a pediatrician on the 6th floor of the same building. Awesome.
As we waited for the elevator in front of a bank, a teller ran out and handed August a handful of candy, so he was in good spirits about the trip. He seriously had like 8 pieces of candy in his hands.
Ah yes, this is more like it…”
It is hard to know what going to the hospital will be like when living in a foreign country. You sure have some great memorable moments and not so great moments.
Want to learn more about what international school teachers think of the local hospitals in their host countries? Luckily, we have a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this theme called “Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.” Here are a few examples of comments from this topic:
‘We have insurance with Metlife valid throughout the world. We also have a supplemental emergency medical evacuation insurance with AMREF. There is basic local care, but for serious or more difficult cases, evacuation to either South Africa or Nairobi is necessary.’ – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 140 Comments
‘Health insurance is okay, not great, but not awful. Co-pays range from 10-20% at some more expensive hospitals and international medical centres. Dental coverage included but again 0-30% copay depending on the procedure (cavities are covered 100%, root canals are not, for example). Local hospitals are a mixed bag. Some great, some very “Chinese” in their approach to medicine. Would recommend that you ask coworkers for referrals and get prior approval from insurance company whenever possible. In Shanghai, you will be able to find a competent, western-educated specialist in any & every medical field, although you may have to search a bit.’ – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 50 Comments
Want to work for an international school in South Korea like this blogger? Currently, we have 28 international schools listed in this country. Here are a few that have had comments submitted on them:
• Daegu International School (Daegu, South Korea) – 15 Comments
• International School of Koje (Geoje, South Korea) – 51 Comments
•Dwight School Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 35 Comments
• Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 45 Comments
• Seoul International School (Seoul, South Korea) – 82 Comments
• Colegio Granadino Manizales (Manizales, Colombia) – 43 Comments
• Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 57 Comments
Additionally, there are 63 International School Community members who currently live in South Korea. Check out which ones and where they work here. Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!continue reading
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 #4 – Stupidly buy things impulsively
When you move somewhere, you typically don’t know where to buy anything. You usually need help, and fast! But that help isn’t always there for you at every moment and you inevitably find yourself out and about, all alone in your new city, making stupid purchases.
Let’s face it, you are basically a tourist when you first arrive at your new placement, and even the smartest tourist (most veteran international school teacher) can make mistakes. When you go out shopping for the first few times, you don’t know exactly what things should cost. You also don’t know exactly what is available in the whole city/area either.
Let’s say that you found some cranberries (not many countries have these readily available to buy in stores) and get super excited. You think, yes I’ll buy this, I deserve it! You also may think that you will not be able to find them again. We all know that scenario; the store has a product one week and not (or never again) the next!
You also many think in your head that the cranberries might be costing a crazy high price. However, it is sometimes hard to know because you may not completely understand how much money you are actually spending. In the first few months, you are not so familiar with the new currency that you are now dealing with just yet. If that is the case, you typically decide to make this impulsive purchase.
Maybe you buy the cranberries because you think that no other store will have them for sale (even though there might be one right next to your school for example). Maybe you made a special trip to an inconvenient location in the city that day, a place that you wouldn’t normally be going to on a weekly basis, and that is the reason you make the purchase. All of these scenarios add up to you potentially buying something that could be found cheaper somewhere else and maybe even at a place closer to your house (saving you even more money).
During the first few months, international school teachers find themselves spending money on things that can be found cheaper in another place/store. Your goal of saving some money is then put on hold, at least during this time of adjusting to your new city.
You can try and do your research to not let this happen to you; ask around, check out the expat websites for your city, etc. Doing this before you go out shopping can help you stop making these impulse purchases at stores you don’t know so well.
Another way to not stupidly buy things: always go out shopping with a local (they know the best stores and they know the local language as well) or with another international school teacher that has been there a few years already.
Going shopping in another country can be quite exciting. So many new stores and new products that might very much interest you. Just make sure to do your research as must and you can to stay the wiser, and you will not be wasting so much of your hard-earned money during the first few months!
To save you some money, we do have a comment topic on our website related to this theme. It is in the benefits section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals.
“Carrefour has quite a decent selection of imported products. There are also Metro supermarkets around although quite far from WISS. Smaller grocery stores also have good deals from time to time (nearest on Jinfeng lu). For quality meats and other products it’s also possible to shop online and have groceries delivered.” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 93 Comments
“There are different areas of the city where sales items tend to concentrate, so ask a local. E-mart is the dominant local discount chain (a cross between Target and K-mart), with reliably low prices. Costco has several branches in Korea–reportedly they recognize US Costco cards.” – Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 39 Comments
“There is a flea market that is on Sundays and Wednesdays, Jakuševac. It is like a bazaar selling everything and you can bargain for the right price. You never know what you will find there, but you will also find something.” – American International School of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia) – 29 Comments
“In my experience, the best deals have not been deals at all because the quality is questionable. You get what you pay for in Asuncion. The better quality things are almost always more expensive. If something is too cheap, think twice!” – American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay) – 58 Commentscontinue reading
Comments and information about salaries at international schools on International School Community
Every week members are leaving information and comments on the salaries that teachers are making at international schools around the world. Which ones pay more? Which ones do you have to pay very high taxes? Which ones offer tax-free salaries? All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?
Why do some international schools keep their specific salary information so secret? Even at international school job fairs, you don’t really get to see the exact amount of your yearly and monthly salary until you see the contract paperwork. Even then sometimes you don’t know what will be your exact take-home pay each month. At International School Community, we want to make the search for salaries easier for international school teachers. In the benefits section of the school profile page, there is a section specifically for salaries. The topic is: “Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?”
Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to salaries that have been posted on our website:
The English International School of Padua (12 total comments)
“Salary is paid on the last working day of each month. Salary is paid in Euro, whilst wage slips are in Sterling. Italian bank accounts are opened for the transfer of salaries. The school assists in this process at the start of the academic year.”
Yongsan International School of Seoul (10 total comments)
“No taxes are paid. You are paid in local currency. Teachers can expect to make around $2900 in USD each month.”
Frankfurt International School & Wiesbaden (8 total comments)
“Reduced tax contributions for your first two years working in Germany. It is a monthly salary paid x 13 months after 2 years. Deductions to your salary are income tax/health insurance/Unemployment which is approx. 43% of your monthly salary.”
Check out the other comments and information about these schools on our website: www.internationalschoolcommunity.comcontinue reading
v2012.06 – 2 June, 2012:
Summer vacation is the time of year all teachers are waiting for (and I suppose all students as well!). The 1.5 to 2 months of summer break is especially important though for teachers who work at international schools because it is typically when they take their annual trip back home. When you live in a foreign country, half way across the world, it does indeed feel good to go home. Even though you do create a new ‘family’ when you live abroad with the other international school teachers that you are working with, your home is most likely where your birth family lives. Going home too can simply mean just going back to your home country, not necessarily going back to where you grew up.
There are some positives to going back to your home country during the summer:
• You get to see your old friends from when you went to University maybe or people that you went to high school with. It is important to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances; Facebook still can’t compete with real face to face meetings with these people from your life. Also, you can tell them all about the adventures you have been on while they have been staying-put most likely in the same city that they went to high school in!
• If you go to your home country during the summer, you get to stock-up on all the favorite products from your old life. Many international school teachers love to go to their favorite grocery stores to stock-up on all the products not available in their host country supermarkets. Be careful though, food products weigh a lot and can easily make your suitcase go over the allowed weight on your flight back!
• You get to see your nieces and nephews in person, noticing how they are getting so much older now and all grown-up. You can do things with them like taking them to the movies or going out for a few games of bowling.
A few alternatives for your summer if you don’t fancy going home:
• Some international school teachers just want to stay put in their host country during the summer. Some feel that you don’t have the time to really explore the city, the nearby cities, or the other cities in the country during the school year. And if you are currently living in the northern hemisphere, summer is the best time typically to explore these cities. Some teachers also just simply stay put to save money.
• A month-long trip to Africa or a month-long trip to the Chicago area where your family lives? A question you might be asking yourself in April. Some are faced with this international school educator’s dilemma each summer. For many international school teachers, the price of the flight to go home is actually the same price it would take to go to more exotic places like Kenya or Costa Rica or even Bali. Who would want to go home (a place you have seen many times already) in place of going on an exciting adventure? Many choose the adventure option each summer!
So, are you planning on going home this summer? Are you the international school teacher that makes their annual trip home each summer, the one that stays in the host country, or the one that is traveling to another country on some adventure? Share your stories and reasons for your summer plans here!
From the staff at International School Community.
· 31 May North Jakarta International School (13 new comments)
“Teachers live in school-provided, furnished housing in the vicinity of the school…”
· 30 May Yongsan International School of Seoul (8 new comments)
Seoul, South Korea
“Many of the teachers are from United States with just a few more single teachers than teaching couples…”
· 28 May Bina Bangsa School (13 new comments)
“There is a baggage allowance of US$500…”
· The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #8 – “Courtesy is cool, good will is good stuff.”
“As an international school teacher you definitely don’t want to intentionally close any doors that might lead to other opportunities in the future…”
· Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bilingual Children #3: Young children soak up languages like sponges.
“I think the key with students learning the target language faster than adults is that they are going to school (their job) every day for 7-8 hours…”
· International Teaching Predictions for 2012 #7: Latin America
“I find that growth in international schools often follows a construction boom, and Brazil in particular…”
· Survey results are in: How much does your school pay for your housing benefits?
“Some of my international school teacher friends don’t get any housing allowance, namely those that are living in Western Europe…”
· New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves at International Schools #1: A Trip Around the City
“Should your new international school be organizing a trip around the city for all their new teachers…”
· Which international chools do IS Community members represent?
“Currently, International School Community members work at or have worked at the following 179 international schools…”
Why for-profit schools can be good.“GEMS schools director: ‘We don’t care about profit.’ GEMS currently runs 10 schools in the UK, but it acquired these schools from other operators, rather than creating them from scratch. It now plans to open six new schools over the next two years, and promises that they will charge more competitive fees than many existing private schools.”
“In 2009, the firm’s then chief executive Anders Hultin warned that the Conservative’s proposed free school programme would fail, if private firms weren’t allowed to run schools for a profit…”
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:
This international school teacher’s blog is about teaching at British International School Shanghaiand living in Shanghai, China.One of their blog entries (New Year, new role…building the team) is describing how international schools are sometimes in a pickle trying to organize good, useful, purposeful, effective, etc. professional development on the few days back after a break:
“Following our wonderful Christmas break in India, it was great to get back and see our colleagues at BISS; and especially the Humanities team, who I am excited to now be leading. Although, I cannot believe how cold Shanghai has become! Our first day back was a training day and was well structured and enjoyable; following a warm welcome back from Sir Terry, the secondary and primary staff split to follow separate training schedules. Our day (secondary) was focused on Formative Assessment and was extremely interactive and practical…”
Another one of their entries (Cutting Ties…) is about how each international school is different and has their own rules about how they would like their school to be run:
“I was recently contacted by my previous employer, an International School in Vietnam, who politely asked me to close down the Edmodo groups I had set up whilst at the school. In particular they wanted me to close a group I had set up named ‘Social Connections’ that was created to allow students (and staff) to remain in touch after moving on…as so often happens on the international circuit. They stated that new school policy dictated that any contact with students must cease when you leave…”