Information for Members

We Just Passed 40000 Total Comments: Free Premium Membership for All!

April 2, 2021


It’s true, ISC now has over 40000 comments!

Here is a bit of history about how many comments that we have had on our website since it started back in January 2011:

0 Comments – January 2011
71 Comments – May 2011
939 Comments – September 2011

2147 Comments – January 2012
4578 Comments – May 2012
5965 Comments – September 2012

6767 Comments – January 2013
8004 Comments – May 2013
9109 Comments – September 2013

10018 Comments – January 2014
10689 Comments – May 2014
11455 Comments – Sept 2014

12981 Comments – Feb 2015
15023 Comments – Nov 2015
16017 Comments – Feb 2016

18000 Comments – Sept 2016
19000 Comments – Dec 2016
20200 Comments – March 2017

22010 Comments – August 2017
23000 Comments – November 2017
24000 Comments – January 2018

27000 Comments – May 2018
30000 Comments – January 2019
33000 Comments – Sept 2019

36000 Comments – March 2020
40000 Comments – March 2021

We would like to formally thank our community of members (now at over 21000!) for submitting all of the comments on our website.

Are you an International School Community member that wants to submit some comments but currently doesn’t have premium membership?

48 hours of Premium Membership Promotion: Right now EVERY member on our website has premium membership access for 48 hours. Just log on and enjoy free, full access to our website.
This 48 hours free promotion will expire on 4 April, 2021 (11:59pm PST)

Don’t forget to submit comments during this time (which are done so anonymously, by the way) because during the next 48 hours you can get EXTRA premium membership added your account.

We want members who participate and share what they know to have free premium access to our website. For it is them that keep our website up to date and full of useful comments!

After you submit some comments, check out the other things you can do with premium membership access:
1. Check out our the latest posted job vacancies.
2. Take a look at our compare school salaries page. (783 schools with 1438 comments about salaries are listed on this page)
3. Make a search on our Comments Search page. Find the specific comments you’d like to read about, faster!
4. Do unlimited school profile page searches and check out our easier-to-use/updated school results page.
5. Contact one of our 21200+ members and use our Member Search feature to find someone to network or ask a question to.
6. Go to our School Comparison page and compare 109 schools using eight different comment topics. Who will win?

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Information for Members

The Unique ISC Compare Schools Page: It’s School vs. School!

March 21, 2021


It has been a couple of years since we launched this unique ISC premium feature, the Compare Schools page!

Our members are always looking to compare one international school to another. Using the 39900+ comments that our ISC Mayors have also helped to submit, we are excited to have an ISC page where you can compare two international schools based on eight pre-selected comment topics. Maybe the results will help you make the important decision of signing a contract with one of them!

So, here is how it works. When you select two schools from the drop-down menus, you will be able to compare the following eight comment topics:

  1. Salaries
  2. Savings
  3. Housing
  4. Retirement
  5. Professional Development
  6. Health
  7. Workload
  8. Staff Morale

Additionally, once you have selected two of the listed schools (here is an example), you can see a point score that each school received for each of the 8 comment topics.  The total score for each school is also displayed, clearly showing the “winner” with the most points.

Of course, the score is based on teacher-submitted comments/reviews, therefore it is subjective, but having in mind that multiple teachers are submitting comments, we believe that this unique ISC page reflects the realistic situation at a specific school.

At the moment, we have 108+ schools available to be compared. If your school is already listed, please have a look at each displayed comment and assigned score. If you would like us to improve some of the comments or scores, write to us here.

However, if your school is not listed yet, we need your help to get it added! Please write to us by contacting us via our Help and Support page with the details for each section and your suggested score for each comment topic. Or just submit some new comments on your school profile page and we will eventually add your school to our Compare Schools page.

Thank you in advance for your feedback and support; making this feature the best it can be. It is truly a unique feature to help people gather information and analyze it so that they can make the best decisions for themselves when working in the international school community.

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Information for Members

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

March 14, 2021


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

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

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

American International School in Egypt
(30) members

Copenhagen International School
(26) members

International School of Kuala Lumpur
(25) members

Western International School of Shanghai 
(24) members

International School Manila
(23) members

Seoul Foreign School
(21) members

MEF International School (Istanbul)
(21) members

Jakarta Intercultural School
(19) members

Seoul International School
(19) members

International School of Tanganyika
(19) members

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

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

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Information for Members

So Many International Schools WITHOUT Retirement Plans!

February 28, 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Information for Members

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

January 14, 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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• Professional development allowance details. (617 Total Comments)

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

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• Pension plan details. (676 Total Comments)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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