Around the world, there are countries (like Kuwait) 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.
The big question always is…how do the comments about each school compare to each other?
This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same country.
Currently, we have 26 schools listed in Kuwait on International School Community.
17 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:
American International School Kuwait (74 Total Comments)
Cambridge English School Mangaf (41 Total Comments)
Ajial Bilingual School (27 Total Comments)
Al Bayan Bilingual School (30 Total Comments)
American Creativity Academy (31 Total Comments)
American School of Kuwait (51 Total Comments)
Dasman Bilingual School (24 Total Comments)
The Universal American School (22 Total Comments)
“Teachers can save 15% of their salary on average and you could definitely support a non-teaching spouse on this salary…” – The Universal American School
“Saving money here is doable if you are conservative. Many staff tutor which almost doubles their income. I know of many staff that tutor enough for their travel and cost of living so they bank near all of their salary. As a single provider with a family tutoring would be a must to save…” – American Creativity Academy
“I can save around 1000 to 1500 USD each month. Kuwait can be an expensive country, but because the dinar is strong (it’s the strongest currency in the world), it doesn’t fluctuate much at all when compared with the dollar…” – Al Bayan Bilingual School
“The school is in a new state-of-the art purpose-built building; with a multi-level cinema with a capacity of 80 seats, 2 floors theater of 400 seats, 2 swimming pools, 4 science labs, 4 computer labs, 2 basketball courts, 4 libraries & a 3 cafeterias…” – Ajial Bilingual School
“The school is now in a new building with new equipment and furniture, rooftop playground for seniors and two play areas for Early Years providing climbing equipment, bicycles and imaginative play area…” – Cambridge English School Mangaf
“The school relocated from Surra to its present location in Salmiya, Kuwait City in 1995. The campus, sheltered by a brick wall from the wind and weather, has middle and high school buildings that open onto an interior court in the Arabic style and three elementary buildings that surround an open play area. A 1200 seat auditorium, an indoor gymnasium and a sheltered outdoor gymnasium form another part of the complex. The roof of these structures holds a third story soccer field and running track…” – American International School Kuwait
“Staff housing has very basic furnishing. Nice places though. Need to pay the caretaker 5KWD a month for services. No utilities to pay…” – American International School Kuwait
“Shared accommodation for teachers or a housing allowance. Management have single accommodation. Utilities paid for except gas which is very cheap. There is internet but poor connection so most teachers provide their own…” – Cambridge English School Mangaf
“Foreign hires get single furnished apartments that are well-equipped and very nice…” – Ajial Bilingual School
“Shameful that an expatriate would have to pay 50% for their child to attend a school where they would be the only non Arab and only English speaker. That 50% means you would still pay about 6000 US…” – American Creativity Academy
“One dependent’s tuition is paid for each contracted teacher…” – American School of Kuwait
“Your first child gets free tuition and the 2nd gets 50% off…” – Dasman Bilingual School
“Teachers without IB experience may find their workload higher than usual until they adjust. Teachers are usually expected to participate in and/or lead extra curricular activities, one day per week…” – American International School Kuwait
“Most staff are there for the money and don’t have high expectations. They arrive as late as possible and leave on the dot…” – Cambridge English School Mangaf
“When I worked there, core subject secondary teachers taught an average of four 45-minute periods per day, with occasional subbing duties. All teachers were required to supervise one after-school extra curricular club or activity for six weeks per year…” –Ajial Bilingual School
(These are just 5 of the 66 different comments topics that are on each school profile page on our website.)
If you work at an international school in Kuwait, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited free premium membership!continue reading
Our 37th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Cliff Jumping: Risk-taking and New Beginnings” Check out the blog entries of this retired international school teacher that currently is back living in her home country (United States).
A few entries that we would like to highlight:
“I’ve slowly dealt with the red tape of health insurance, car purchase, phone decisions, computer, internet, cable, condo painting/remodel/furnishing, and getting my household shipment through the delays of NY homeland security exams, Mpls. customs, and condo association regulations. Each step has been fraught with exasperation. Why am I so thin-skinned, so impatient? How could I deal with daily power rationing, hideous traffic, and oppressive heat in India, and not be able to accept the processes I must go through here more easily? I feel as though I’ve been in a time warp for 40 years, and I don’t know how to do things in this new age. I’ve lost my confidence…”
Are you a veteran international school teacher thinking about retiring soon? We have a very popular article on our blog that discusses this issue. An International School Community member shares her experiences about working for 30+ years in international schools and what her plan is for her retirement. It is called ‘Where do international teachers go when they retire and what do they do?‘. Check it out here.
We also have a few other articles on our blog related to this topic of going back to your home country and feeling a bit of reverse culture shock:
• Culture Shock and Misplaced Normal (An int’l school teacher’s experience in Tanzania)
• Going home for the holidays: No one cares about your international life
• The summer vacation dilemma: To go home or to not go home…that is the question!
“I have had the privilege of enjoying a 40-year career in the most exciting and satisfying field there could be: international education. It’s a vocation that young and old should consider, whether at the beginning of their working years, midway through as a ‘reset’, or after retirement. If you’re already a teacher and you’re bored, worried about getting ahead financially, tired of overcrowded classrooms, or wanting to see the world, this is for you. Take a leave of absence or sabbatical, or attend a recruiting fair, and take a job at an overseas school with an American or western curriculum. You’ll earn more money, experience more adventures, and probably never look back. If you’re young and unsure of your direction, love working with kids, feel curious about other cultures, and want to make a difference, this is also for you. And if you’ve already got a pension, going overseas could be icing on the cake. Or if you can’t find a job– get your teaching certification, and head on out…”
If you don’t already have a pension and want to know more about what pension plans are like at other international schools, take a moment to check out one of our 40 comment topics on the school profile pages in the Benefits Information section. It is called: Pension plan details. Right now there are 320 comments in this comment topic. Here are just a few:
“No pension plan, hopefully the school will address this issue in the future. (Although the school gives a bonus of one monthly pay for every year served at the school after 3 years and this may be considered retirement, but technically it isn’t.)” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 54 Comments
“The school provides no pension, but 9% is deducted from the monthly paycheck to pay into IPS, which is sort of like Social Security. If a teacher retires in Paraguay, he or she will receive money through IPS. So for the most part, saving for retirement is in the hands of the foreign hires; they must have the discipline to do it themselves.” – American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay) – 58 Comments
“There is a pension plan that is in accordance to the labor law. For every year you work you are to receive 12 days pay. After your 6th year you will get 24 days pay. (roughly 2 weeks pay for the first 5 years and a month for every year after 5). Now for clarification: Your pension (called indemnity) is to be paid at the end of service at your highest pay, according to the labor law. However, the school does not follow this and will pay it to you yearly when you return in September. This seems like a good plan until you realize after 5 years how much money you lose out on.” – American Creativity Academy (Hawalli, Kuwait) – 31 Comments
Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?
Our 35th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Living in Laymans’ Terms” Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who currently works at American International School of Kuwait (29 Total Comments on our website) in Hawalli.
A few entries that we would like to highlight:
“Last time I wrote about how nice the weather was. That was after it rained. I don’t think I did a good job of sharing how crazy the rain was. Now it’s cold (it’s been in the high 30s and low 40s a couple mornings when I’ve gone running!)…”
It is all about perspective when living in a different country. What one person thinks is cold, another person might think it is not THAT cold!
It is good to know that in the Middle East, the weather can get a bit chilly in the winter. Many people might just think it is hot all year round.
Luckily, we have a comment topic in the City Information section of all school profile pages that is about weather. It is called – “Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.” We currently have 140 separate comments (about a number of international schools) in that comment topic on our website.
“One of the deals we are giving our 5 siblings is a trip (once) to visit us. Abby is here for the semester subbing and Andrew came to visit for his Spring Break! Shannon was studying abroad in Barcelona so they met up in Kuwait. It was a memorable week for all! (see Shannon’s post for proof)
There was a little miscommunication ..Shannon arrived on Friday, March 22nd and Andrew arrived 24 hours later. Luckily we like Shannon so it worked out just fine…”
What a great idea!
I always say…if you got a friend or family member living abroad somewhere, it would be a SHAME not to go visit them and that country!
Not all family members are able though to have the free time to go on a trip to visit you. Many also are not able to afford it either. So, how nice to pay for their trip for them! (that is if they can get the time off of work to come visit you.)
• American Creativity Academy (Hawalli, Kuwait) – 31 Comments
• American International School of Kuwait (Hawalli, Kuwait) – 29 Comments
• Kuwait National English School (Hawalli, Kuwait) – 12 Comments
• Universal American School (Hawalli, Kuwait) – 22 Comments
It is sad to say goodbye. Even more so when you are an international school teacher. Goodbye new country, goodbye new teacher-friends, goodbye new local friends, goodbye the excellent local cuisine and your new favourite restaurants, etc. And let’s not forget….goodbye to some of your possessions.
At this time of year you already know the teachers for whom it will be their last year working at your current international school. There is almost a stage of denial that you go through. You don’t want them to leave for many reasons, some personal and some work-related. On the other hand, you might be quite content with them leaving!
Whether you want them to go or not, international school teachers have to plan and think about a lot of things when they decide to leave an international school.
Selling your things: Some international schools have an end-of-the-year flea market where leaving parents and teachers can bring their stuff to sell. What a great way to get some money for the things you won’t be taking with you. If there isn’t an organized flea market, some international school teachers use Facebook and Craigslist-type websites to sell their things. You can also get in contact with the new hires that will be arriving in the fall to see if there are a few things that they would like to buy…as there will be probably many things that they will need.
Giving away your things: Sometimes it is not worth the ‘hassle’ of trying to find people to which to sell your things. In the international school teaching community where you’re at, you will always find others that will take your unneeded things! One time I received 2-3 boxes of things (that I didn’t ask for) from a parting teacher, and there were some really nice things! Also, it is fun to give away your things, and it leaves a little bit of you with them. One time I took out all the artwork in all the frames in my apartment. Then I had my good friends choose a favorite picture that I had taken during my time there. I blew up the chosen pictures and put them into my frames (can’t always take big frames with you when you move anyway!). It was a nice gift to give to them as it came closer to my last couple weeks before my official moving date.
Taking your things with you: If you are lucky, your next international school will have some shipping benefits. You can use that money to send most of your personal belongings to your next location. Some international schools don’t have that benefit though, so make sure to get all the details. If you are even luckier, your current school will also have some shipping benefits for leaving teachers as well (Double the money!). Sometimes international schools have a date that if you formally resign before that date, you will be eligible to receive another baggage/shipping allowance. In the international school teaching world, it appears it pays to plan ahead then. I have never used a formal, professional moving company, but many do. At first, it doesn’t seem like you have a lot of things to move (especially if you are living in a furnished apartment), but then as you start packing, the number of boxes always always seem to multiply!
We have a comment and information topic (in the Benefits tab section on all of our school profile pages) directly related to shipping/moving allowance. It is called “Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)?
Here are some other example comments and information that our members have submitted in this topic:
“You get up to 2000 Euros to use for a moving allowance. You also can get 2000 Euros (interest free loan) if you need some extra money for a “settling-in allowance”. No flight allowance, though the school does pay for your first flight there. (1000 USD for people in Europe and 1500 USD for overseas hires).” –
“Moving allowance is around 450 Euros. They will pay for your airfare to get there, but there is no annual flight allowance. The school gives you a lunch allowance as well, around 126 Euros a month.” –
“Moving allowance provided is 1200 USD for singles and 2300 USD for teaching couples.” –
“The school pays for your flight, visa costs and a shipping allowance of 500USD…but no shipping allowance when you leave. You also can pay for lunch at a nominal cost. Tuition is covered for two dependents but you still have to pay for transportation and food costs which is approximately 230,000 COP per month.” –
If you know about the shipping and baggage allowance details of the international school you currently work at or have worked at in the past, log-on today to share what you know! For every 10 submitted comments and information, you will automatically receive one free month of premium membership added to your account.continue reading
There are many international schools to work at in Kuwait! How do these schools stand out from each other?
American Creativity Academy (in Hawalli)
We put two videos in this video highlight, as the concept for these videos was part of a project that the students at this school were given…we imagine. (A third one can be found here.)
It is a great idea; a challenge project for IB/High School students to create a marketing video for the school. There is not really a more appropriate stakeholder at the school to make a project like this. The students’ perspective about the school they are attending is probably one to listen to with regards to thinking about school identity and school improvement.
The kids look a bit nervous in the videos!
The sports fields look on the newer side. You can see the shadow cast over that one place for soccer as it most likely gets very hot during the day when students would be playing there.
The lovely blue colour of the sides of the buildings seems to make it stand out, in good way.
How nice that they have a canteen in the auditorium/multi-purpose room. Not all international schools have that!
The ending of one of those videos is very funny with some students helping another student slide down the hall.
Did not see many of the other teachers and students of this school of 2650 students…they must have filmed after school hours.
Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 19 international schools listed in Kuwait with 5 of them being in the city of Hawalli. Here are a just a few of them (The number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right of the link to each school.):
If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in Kuwait, log-on today and submit your own comments and information. For every 10 comments you submit, you will receive 1 month of premium access to International School Community for free!continue reading