Member Spotlights

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

August 28, 2019


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

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

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

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching around the world – awesome!

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Thanks, Amber Acosta!

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

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

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Highlighted Articles

11 International Schools that are Close to Nature

October 25, 2021


Many of us international school educators would ideally like to teach abroad and also have close access to nature.

Escaping into a forest or a big green park can often reset our minds and bring our stress levels down to manageable levels.

Some international schools are already directly in nature. Maybe they are in a forest or right next to a water source, or maybe they are just in a city center that has a number of very green parks.

But not all international schools are in cities that have easy and quick access to nature.

Some cities do have a few trees lining the streets and also a few small parks scattered around, but often the number of buildings outnumber these two things. And if you look closely, there can even be a layer of dust/dirt on the leaves making the green look more like a brownish color!

Even if there is not a lot of nature in the city center itself, it is still important to note that it can be worth it if you can find some nature close by via public transport or car.

Having access to a number of day trip options that go into nature can really be a selling point to working in a certain city and country.

Nature is important to many of us international educators, so it is necessary to ask around and do your research before making a decision to relocate.

Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 235 comments that had the keyword “Nature” in them. Here are 11 of them:

Thailand

“The school is quite far from the center of Chiang Mai but it is possible to find nice places to eat and plenty of local shops and markets a short car or scooter ride away. The plus side is that you have total peace and are surrounded by lush green making it a wonderfully relaxed place to live and explore. Staff are given apartments on the school grounds with the option to live off-campus for those who wish it.” – Prem Tinsulanonda International School (55 total comments)

United Arab Emirates

“Single people enjoy their lives here. There are many other expats to date. There are a lot of things to do during the day and night here. There is a good coupon book that some people use. The book is huge so that means there is much to do. With regards to nature, there is actually a lot of living things in the desert. In our garden, there are many kinds of critters!” – American Community School of Abu Dhabi (30 total comments)

Malaysia

“There isn’t much to do in Putrajaya apart from nature walks and the lake activities. KL has lots to offer but lacks the excitement of other SE Asian destinations. It’s great for families though and has a charm of its own.” – Nexus International School – Malaysia (94 total comments)

Germany

“I would say there is a lot of nature here in Hamburg. There is water everywhere basically. There are many parks in the city as well. Just no mountains.” – International School of Hamburg (55 total comments)

Costa Rica

“Anywhere you around in the city, you will be able to see beautiful mountains. The sun is typically shining as well making all the views of the trees and flowers so lovely. And if the nature in the city isn’t enough, then you are not too far away from more nature in other cities around the country.” – American International School of Costa Rica (12 total comments)

France

“There is so much night life here, if that is your scene. There is also a lot of nature here too with so many parks around the city. On a sunny, warm day, Paris just looks sooooo beautiful! Last night I saw two gay men holding hands while walk down the sidewalk, and then around the Seine, I saw a group of gay bears meeting up for a mini party/gathering. Seems like Paris is really gay friendly.” – International School of Paris (24 total comments)

Norway

“However it’s the best place for nature and getting out of the city in no time.” – Norlights International School Oslo (122 total comments)

Ukraine

“It is possible to find any kind of activities you want here. There is a lot of nightlife, but also easy access to large parks and nature. Buying or renting a car will allow opportunities to get out into the country and really experience nature, if desired.” – Qsi – Kyiv International School (36 total comments)

Japan

“There are so many temples/shrines to see here. Many of them are going up the nearby mountainside. There is such beautiful nature there with amazing trees everywhere. In the spring, it is awesome and in the fall it can be very gorgeous.” – Kyoto International School (65 total comments)

Oman

“There isn’t that much nature in the city of Muscat itself, but you don’t have to do too far to see some green. There are palm trees that are dotted around the area, like near to the Grand Mosque. There are even areas of beautiful green grass and flowers like near to the Corniche Mutrah. But most of Muscat is desert-like. Just flat and sandy!” – American International School of Muscat (34 total comments)

Colombia

“School is built on a large hillside with beautiful views of the city. It is surrounded by a sort of nature preserve so it’s very green all around. The buildings are old and cannot be rebuilt due to building restrictions but they do their best to keep them repaired best they can.” – Colegio Nueva Granada (60 total comments)

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Information for Members

11 International Schools that have Relaxing Environments

May 31, 2020


Who doesn’t want to work in a relaxed environment at their work? Then after you leave work, you enter into a very relaxed local city environment and home. Sounds pretty nice, right?

However, the world of international schools and the cities they are situated in aren’t always so relaxing! On the other hand, it is important to note that there are indeed a number of schools that are!

Work-related stress can really take a toll on one’s wellbeing, so it is good to keep healthy and give yourself breaks and time to reflect. Talking about your worries and concerns also helps to keep you calm and focused. Meanwhile, it is nice when there are opportunities to do that at your school and you have supportive colleagues that are good listeners and in good spirits themselves.

If your host city is chaotic, that can take a toll on your wellbeing as well. Pollution and lack of nature around may give you less opportunities to recharge yourself and enjoy a well-deserved and relaxing break.

International schools can do a number of things to create a more laid-back environment for its staff. Some schools have a massage therapist come and do appointments on campus once every 2 weeks or so. Other schools allow more autonomy to their teachers in how they want to organize their workday and teach in their classes without being micromanaged. And the list of possible actions goes on…

Cities can and should also make choices that make their neighbourhoods more relaxed. Expanding the urban greenery, working on noise reduction, protecting the water and buildings, and inspiring public recreational facilities are only some of them.

So who are the international schools that have created a more relaxed working environment? And which local cities around the world have relaxing environment to live in?

Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 45 comments that had the keyword “Relaxed” in them. Here are 11 of them:

Thailand

“The school is quite far from the center of Chiang Mai but it is possible to find nice places to eat and plenty of local shops and markets a short car or scooter ride away. The plus side is that you have total peace and are surrounded by lush green making it a wonderfully relaxed place to live and explore. Staff are given apartments on the school grounds with the option to live off campus for those who wish it.” – Prem Tinsulanonda International School (41 total comments)

Guinea

“The school is developing and needs innovative and creative thinkers to solve the issues that developed due to the location and lack of resources in the region. Those looking for an adventure and willing to sacrifice the comforts of schools in more developed countries can enjoy relaxed work, a family like setting if the right personalities are in place.” – American International School of Conakry (47 total comments)

Malaysia

“Teaching staff are given leeway to be the professionals in the classroom. Therefore, there is a relaxed, yet committed staff. Administration promotes and values the balance between professional and personal needs.” – Mont’Kiara International School (84 total comments)

Germany

“It’s a true non-profit school. Board is not breathing down your neck. In some ways, it’s quite relaxed (no one is inspecting your lessons, usually.) In others ways, there’s unnecessary stress (poor communication, some teaching loads piled too high.)” – Berlin Brandenburg International School (81 total comments)

Girls in Japan

Costa Rica

“The culture of UWCCR is much more relaxed and informal then in most other schools. Everyone is addressed by their given name and there is no dress code for students or teachers. Since it is a community there is a more egalitarian atmosphere.” – United World College of Costa Rica (108 total comments)

France

“The school provides a lot of flexibility for students and teachers in terms of the day-to-day schedule. There is a relaxed atmosphere at many points in the year.” – American School of Paris (51 total comments)

Norway

“We are a small team, we get on really well and are very supportive of each other. If you came here thinking that this is a wealthy school with amazing resources, you would be disappointed. If you come here thinking that this is a friendly, relaxed place where teachers and students really grow, then you would be happy!” – Norlights International School Oslo (114 total comments)

Ukraine

“It is a pretty relaxed city and low costs make eating out very easy. As stated below, the architecture is amazing!” – Pechersk School International (162 total comments)

Indonesia

“There is a Christmas tea hosted for the staff on campus where all the expat and Indonesian staff from all grade levels get an opportunity to spend some relaxed moments together.” – Gandhi Memorial Intercontinental School (203 total comments)

Indonesia

“People stay because it is relaxed, easy, and relatively safe. People leave because of the extra 9% taxes that kick in the 2nd year that are not offset and that you are not told about in the interview. People also leave because of the culture of the parents, not being able to grow, and not having a lot to do when not working.” – American School of Asuncion (145 total comments)

Cambodia

“People are leaving to pursue international teaching careers. People are staying because they enjoy the relaxed lifestyle.” – Ican British International School (74 total comments)

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Comment Topic Highlight

How is the students’ behavior at your international school?

March 11, 2019


“Why don’t you want to leave this international school and try another one?”

“Well, the students here are the best.”

“But there are good/nice students everywhere, right?”

Maybe you have had this conversation before with a “seasoned international school teacher“, but then you decided to move on to a new international school to test out this hypothesis.

Are there indeed good/nice international school students everywhere?

You might just find yourself missing the students at your previous international school.

So, how can students at an international school be so different?

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Many people are quick to say that students at international schools are snobby and stuck-up (because supposedly they are coming from wealthy families).  Though this might be true for many international schools, but it is often not always the case.

There are some international schools where the students are more like zombies; they will sit in your class and not make too much noise. These zombie students will answer the questions you ask them, but they won’t discuss the questions very much and give strong opinions.

There are also international schools where the kids appear to be in charge. These outgoing, borderline rude kids maybe have been influenced more so by the host-country culture of how their students behave in the local schools.

Of course, there are also international schools that have very well-behaved kids, overall.  The question is then how did they become these kind and considerate kids?

What then determines the demeanor or behavior of the students at international schools?  Is it something that is out of the control of the teachers and administration, and an already established culture of the school?  Or is it something that the teachers and administration carefully plan and articulate to the students over a series of years (maybe even from the founding of the school)?

Another theory is that it is possible that the students’ behavior is directly linked to the behavior of the teachers and how they interact with the other teachers/administration and the students themselves.

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Let’s not forget the parents as well!  It is clear that they play a role in this. But with so many parents from potentially numerous countries around the world, it is unclear how the parents, as a whole, could play a direct role in the demeanor of the students at school.

Some schools try different behavor programs to help the behavior of their students. After searching ‘Responsive Classroom‘ using our Comment Search feature (premium membership access needed), we found 6 comments on 4 different international schools. After searching ‘Learner Profile‘, we found another 6 comments on 5 different international schools.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of new things added at a school. Our members can share what current international schools are doing in this topic. There are a total of 528 comments (March. 2019) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of the 66 comment topics called – “In general, describe the demeanor of the students.”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“They are very sweet, respectful, and their families instill educational values. Some of the cultural differences do create problems, but this is something to get used to as in any international school…” –
Shanghai American School (Pudong) (Shanghai, China) – 64 Total Comments

“The students at school are nice kids. Very friendly. Very Chinese. There are some cultural hurdles that expats new to teaching Chinese kids encounter like the general passivity in class. It takes adjustments to figure out how to teach effectively. They are, outside the classroom, very chatty, noisy, and sometimes spoiled…” – Nanwai King’s College School Wuxi (Wuxi, China) – 38 Comments

“The student population is majority South Korean, which can cause problems. They tend to speak Korean and teachers and other students are left out of the conversations. The Korean students often times will only hang out with other Korean kids…” – Hanova International School (Xi’an) (Xi’an, China) – 73 Total Comments

“Students are generally polite and respectful. The main student academic issues tend to revolve around organization (or lack thereof). A bigger concern is usually student stress brought on by lack of sleep and being overly focused on grades…” – Washington International School (Tregaron Campus) (Washington D.C., USA) – 31 Comments

“Most students are at the school to get a good education in order to go to university programs in Europe or North America. They are willing to work to achieve this goal. Of course, as with everywhere, there is a percentage of students who what think they deserve good marks because of who they are…” – United World College of Costa Rica (San Jose, Costa Rica) – 108 Comments

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Costa Rica

April 30, 2018


Around the world, there are countries (like Costa Rica) 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 city.

costa rica

Costa Rica

Currently, we have 13 schools listed in Costa Rica on International School Community.

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

United World College of Costa Rica (28 Total Comments)
The British School of Costa Rica (31 Total Comments)
Marian Baker School (33 Total Comments)
Lincoln School (San Jose) (36 Total Comments)
Country Day School (26 Total Comments)
Costa Rica International Academy (40 Total Comments)
Blue Valley School (21 Total Comments)

Hiring Policies

“Apply through email, interview through skype. Typically hire American/ Canadians for English positions. Hire from other countries as well, especially for Spanish speaking positions.” – Costa Rica International Academy

“You can email with your resume attached and they will contact you if they are really interested. Otherwise at ISS fair in Atlanta.” – Country Day School

“All teaching positions require instructional fluency in English, minimum University Bachelor’s degree with a major or concentration in the field of specialty(24 university credits in the field), 12 University credits in Education, valid teacher’s license, two-year successful teaching experience. Preference is also given to candidates who will be positive role models to students within the context of a traditional Latin American school community.” – Lincoln School (San Jose)

costa rica

School Campus

“Small school setting with beautiful views of the central valley overlooking downtown San Jose and surrounding mountains (you can even see the national stadium!). Nice outdoor spaces with lovely flora and even nice bird species which fly around like the Oropendola and Motmot. School is not far from Parque del Este which has really nice rainforest hiking trails, and a few local restaurants nearby. San Jose itself is not a pretty area, but up on the mountain where Marian Baker is it is a sort of oasis.” – Marian Baker School

“It is mainly open plan with low level buildings surrounding a football pitch. There is a small theatre, gym and an on site soda selling food for the staff and students. The primary school has a couple of outside play areas with equipment. The surrounding area is residential with the domestic airport close by. You can see the mountains of the Central Valley in the east and the west, including Volcan Poas. It is situated on a broad but quiet road with little traffic.” – The British School of Costa Rica

“The campus is relatively small for a residential school, but the grounds are beautiful and quiet. It feels like a private community. The residential buildings are in a separate area from the academic buildings. Students live three to a room, 24 to a residence. The residence coordinators live in small houses next to each residence building. The Academic area is in the middle of the campus. There are eight one-story wings of three classrooms each, plus some offices for administration and teachers. There is plenty of light and space for class sizes between 8 and 20. Near the entrance to the campus is a large soccer field and a social center.” – United World College of Costa Rica

Housing Information

“None provided.” – Blue Valley School

“Furnished apartments available on campus – not luxurious but reflective of typical Costa Rican style housing. Can be comfortable, very secure. Off campus housing ranges in cost – no housing allowance provided. Off campus housing can range from $700 – 2000 a month not including utilities.” – Costa Rica International Academy

“An allowance is provided for teachers…” – Country Day School

“Housing allowance is $750 per month for singles or $1,000 a month for teaching couples…” – Marian Baker School

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Health insurance and medical benefits

“There is a national health plan that is high quality but slow (and generally in spanish) that all teachers and their families get. The school also helps pay for (pays 50%) of Private health care, which is faster but not necessarily better. They also pay for a MediSmart private health care discount card that can cover 30-80% of other health care (dentists, orthodontists, etc). Health care in general is pretty good in the country, but with private you have to do some research.” – The British School of Costa Rica

“The health insurance has worldwide coverage with emergency evacuation. No life or dental insurance.” – Marian Baker School

“All teachers get Costa Rican life insurance (Aprox $15000). The insurance provided has world-wide coverage. Teachers can get a visit with the school doctor when needed at no cost for teachers.” – Lincoln School (San Jose)

“Local is great, especially for specialities, if you have the time. Private is sometimes not as good.” – Country Day School

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

costa rica

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

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

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

December 14, 2012


Random year for international schools around the world: 1945

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

Utilizing the database of the 1328 (14 December, 2012) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 7 international schools that were founded in 1945.  Here are a few of those schools that also have had comments and information submitted on them on our website (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.06 – 2 June, 2012

June 2, 2012


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.


Recently updated schools with new comments and information:

· 02 Jun  The English International School of Padua (12 new comments)
Padova, Italy
“Members of staff are expected to be on the school premises no later than 08:30 a.m…”
· 01 Jun  The British School of Tashkent (6 new comments)
Tashkent, Uzbekistan

“The school provides accommodation and access to the local international clinic with direct billing for all treatment including GP visits but excluding dental cover…”

· 31 May   North Jakarta International School (13 new comments)
Jakarta, Indonesia
“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)
Jakarta, Indonesia

“There is a baggage allowance of US$500…”

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


Recent blog entries:

· 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…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to have members leave comments on:


Last month we have had visits from 101 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 629 ( 123)
School profiles
: 1222 ( 17)
Blog entries
: 271 ( 17)
Posted comments & info
:
4913 ( 335)
Twitter followers: 349 ( 13)


Ways to get free premium membership:

1. Write and submit 15-29 comments and information on the schools you know about  for 6 free months.
2. Write and submit 30+ comments and information for 1 year free.
3. Become our next member spotlight for 6 free months.
4. Submit a blog article (e.g. a Can you Relate? blog entry) for 1 free month.


New members:

· Benjamin Wagor
(Xiamen International School)
· Topic Dog
(QSI International School of Brindisi)
· Sobelle Belcaid
(El Alsson British and American International School)
· Jeffrey Goldberg
(Dhirubhai Ambani International School)
· Joseph Levno
(Brent School School)
· Tassos Anastasiades
(Day Waterman College)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Anne Llewellyn
“Then I said: “Now I am going to see the world”.  I am going to learn all that cultural/language/life I didn’t have time for when studying science…”

“The best part of teaching for me was instilling into my students a knowledge, respect and love of their own country.”

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!


Highlighted Article
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…”



Check out this blog entry to read more about for-profit international schools. Out of the 1222 international schools listed on ISCommunity 499 are for-profit and 723 are non-profit schools.  If you prefer to work at a non-profit international school, it looks like you are in luck as they are currently in the majority on our website.

 

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…”

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

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1970 (Salalah, Nairobi, Monterrey, San Jose and Brussels)

March 24, 2012


Random year for international schools around the world: 1970

There is much history in the international teaching community.  We have international schools with founding dates of 1838 and 1854 and we also have many, many international schools with founding dates in the 21st century.  The numbers are increasing for sure (currently at just over 6000).  The prediction is that there will be more than 10,000 international schools in the coming decade.

Utilizing the database of the 1151 (24 March, 2012) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found  international schools that were founded in 1947 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

St. Austin’s Academy (Nairobi, Kenya)

St Austins Academy was founded in 1970 by Academic Services Limited as part of a programme to establish centres of academic excellence in Kenya. Founded by the first African Director of Education following independence, the Academy was a deliberate attempt to break the segregated educational systems of the day and offer a truly integrated programme.  The original vision has been extended so as to provide a values-based programme for the complex, international world into which our students are entering.”

Colegio Ingles Monterrey  (Monterrey, Mexico)

“Founded in 1970 in response to the need for a top quality co-educational school in Monterrey, Mexico, Colegio Ingles offers international students from Preschool through grade 9 a challenging academic bilingual program. The curriculum is similar to that in U.S. private schools, instruction is mainly in English, and our faculty uses U.S. textbooks and supporting teaching material. Colegio Inglés is licensed by the Mexican Ministry of Education in Nuevo Leon and an active member of ASOMEX.”

American International School of Costa Rica  (San Jose, Costa Rica)

“The American International School of Costa Rica (formerly the Costa Rica Academy) is a private, coeducational day school which offers an educational program from preschool through grade 12 for students of all nationalities. Founded in 1970, the school year comprises 2 semesters extending approximately from August 16 to December 17 and from January 17 to June 10.”

The British School of Brussels  (Brussels, Belgium)

“A questionnaire sent by the Brussels British Community Association (BBCA) established a possible 68 families who were interested in sending their children to the school. A well-attended six months later meeting identified over a hundred potential students. The BBCA founded an investigative group chaired by Sir Dick Pantlin — it reported back on the 27th of January 1969, and the British School of Brussels was born.

The School opened its doors on the 15th September 1970 with 213 pupils aged 5-13 and 16 teaching staff including the Headmaster. Our Tervuren campus was officially opened on 9th December 1970 by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

Since then, the School has gone from strength to strength and now caters for 1200 students from the ages of one to eighteen, with an average of between sixty and seventy nationalities on roll at any given time.”

British School of Salalah  (Salalah, Oman)

“There has been a British School in Salalah, Oman since 1970. It was founded by John Edwards MBE who ran the school with his wife Terry, until he retired in 2000.

It was originally based in a small hut on the beach near Al Husn palace on a Taylor- Woodrow site. It moved to a villa in Salalah town in 1977 and then on to its present site in 1980.”

Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and learn about their histories as well!  We have over 1151 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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Information for Members

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

July 12, 2021


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

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

Asia: 69 Schools

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

Caribbean: 24 Schools

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

Central American: 32 Schools

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

Central/Eastern Europe: 73 Schools

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

East Asia: 225 Schools

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

Middle East: 155 Schools

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

North Africa: 41 Schools

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

North America: 51 Schools

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

Oceania: 9 Schools

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

SE Asia: 187 Schools

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

South America: 66 Schools

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

Sub-Saharan Africa: 72 Schools

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

Western Europe: 172 Schools

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

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

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

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Discussion Topics

Is Your Host Country Safe?

April 2, 2019


Nobody wants to live in a place where they feel unsafe. It doesn’t matter if you are a man, a woman, a gay or lesbian person, a person of color, a physically challenged person, a senior citizen, etc., you definitely want to live somewhere you can you feel safe in your environment and surroundings.

It is unfortunate, but not every city in the world is considered a safe place for everyone. But I think people would be surprised to find out which cities are making the lists of top 50 safest cities in the world.

If you haven’t been to a certain city in the world before to check it out yourself, then there can be a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about that place. People tend to revert to using stereotypes to describe the places that they haven’t been to before. Surely your mom has said this to you before you move to or even travel to a specific country: ‘oh, I’ve heard some bad things about that place. Make sure you are safe there!’, but most likely your mom is just getting her information from her local newspaper, for example. Maybe your mom is just referring to a story she heard about that city 10, 20 even 30 years ago! And of course, some of that information might not actually be true and cities can and do change over time.

After having visited many cities in many countries in the world, people will realize that every place has nice people that live there. Even if there is a small lack of safety at the moment, the fruit seller is still selling her/his fruit. Meaning that life goes on as normal, in most cities in the world, regardless of most recent events.

Besides war, we unforutnately consistently see episodes of terrorist attacks on a number of cities around the world. And they are happening everywhere, any place and any time. It would appear impossible to avoid living in a place where there is a 0% chance of a terrorist attack.

“The political unrest has subsided and feel very safe. However, It seems that many people get frustrated with politics between the National school and the International school. The National school has control of everything and it has a negative impact on day-to-day working conditions at the International school. If the International school was independent of the National school, I feel, it would be a tremendous place to work. Many people, however, simply get tired of trying to work with such limiting parameters imposed by the National school.” – MEF International School Istanbul

In some cities, often found in developing countries, you might find yourself living in a compound or a building with some level of security. Living in a building with a guard can be a new experience for many international school teachers. You might also find yourself living in a city where you will see high walls with barbed wire surrounding each building as you drive to and from your home to work. Not everyone wants to look at that every day. Even though it gives you a feeling a being safer, it doesn’t give the best feeling that you are constantly reminded of the fact that you seem to be living in an unsafe city.

“Many of the buildings, stores and houses will have fences around them with barbed wire. There are also police couples walking around the downtown area of the city all the time. Though these things keep you safe and feeling security, it doesn’t have the most cosiest feeling as you go around the city.” – American International School of Costa Rica

When you live abroad in a new city, you want the freedom to explore and walk around your new city. As you spend more time there, you will find out the ‘right places’ that you can walk around in your new city. Most people would prefer to walk around freely without any worries, but it is always good to aware of your surroundings as you do your exploring.

“Compared to many Latin American cities I have visited or lived in, Santo Domingo is safe. You don’t have to look over your shoulder all of the time if you stay in the right parts of the city. You can exercise in a park without worrying about getting mugged. Of course you shouldn’t flash money and expensive jewelry around but with common sense it’s not hard to stay out of trouble.” – MC School

Many of us are used to having our own car in our home countries. However, a smaller percentage of us own cars while living abroad. It might be that we view cars as an unnecessary expense in our expat lives, but it also might be that it would be unsafe for you to drive there in your host country. Maybe you would be the unsafe person on the road as it might also be that you are unfamiliar with the local way of driving and that the roads are not very well maintained.

“The best way to make the best out of your stay in KL during your contract it to buy a car and drive around. Driving is really safe, roads are well signaled and the quality is very good. Considering that Malaysia is a relatively small country in terms of territory, it is possible to visit all states and major cities during weekends and have fantastic road trips with gorgeous views.” – Fairview International School

In the end, international school teachers want to move abroad and have a goal to start a new life exploring a new country and getting immersed in a new culture. Thinking of all the factors that come into play with regards to feeling safe while living abroad, achieving this goal can prove to be a difficult talk. But with great cities improving and becoming safer all the time, there are more and more good options for us international school teachers for our next move!

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