Survey results are in: What is the air quality like where you are currently living?

November 20, 2013

The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community who voted are working in a location that has Normal/Very Clean air.


Thank goodness that most of the voters do actually live in a place where the air in clear and clean.  Having a clean air environment where you are living can really play a huge factor in your well-being and for your health.  It can also put you at ease knowing that you can spend time outside (for example go and enjoy the city’s parks with your family) without or having  little care or concern about if you are breathing in polluted air.

Not all of us are so lucky as we know.  If you are living in the more ‘hardship’ placements (let’s say in Beijing), we all know that clean air is NOT something to take for granted. It has been in the news a lot lately about how the amount of toxins in the air in Beijing are reaching super high levels, making it a serious health concern for people.   I wonder if the three people that voted Extremely Bad are living there.

But back to clean air places.  We need more of them I am sure, and they are NOT to be taken for granted.  When job hunting, it would definitely be a no-brainer to sign a contract to work at a place in a city with very clean air (if all the other benefits also make it a good fit for you as well of course).  But you might not be so quick to sign a contract for a school in a location known for it pollution air.  Question is…are you will to take the risk and potentially sacrifice your health for 2-6 years to take a really good teaching opportunity at a top international school in one of the polluted areas of the world?

Luckily on International School Community, we have a City Information section in the comments and information part of each school’s profile page that is related to air quality which discusses the weather for the location at each school.  It can be quite important to know more about the weather if you are planning on moving across the world to live and work there for the next two or more years.  Is your potential new international school in a location with nice weather and clean air or in a place with not the best weather and poor quality air?

The comment topic in the City Information section tab is called:

• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.

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Taken from the International School of Kuala Lumpur‘s school profile page.

There have been many comments and information submitted in this topic on numerous school profiles on our website; 675 to be exact.  Here are just a few:

One International School Community member said about working at Britannica I.S. (Belgrade): “Belgrade has all 4 seasons, with extremely hot summers (air condition in an apartment and on the work is a must!) and cold winters with a lot of snow.”

Another member said about working at Prem Tinsulanonda International School: “I love Chiang Mai because the weather is cooler than most other parts of Thailand. Not as humid either.”

Another member submitted a comment about working at Beijing International Bilingual Academy: “The air is was nearly always full of smog (even out in the burbs by the school). Cold in the winter and hot in the summer.”

If you are currently a premium member of International School Community, please take a moment to share what you know about the weather in the cities in which you have lived. You can start by logging on here.

Stay tuned for our next survey topic which is to come out in a few days time.

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Serbia (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

April 17, 2013

Traveling Around: Serbia

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Can you relate?

• Finding out that the local phrase for a cold, snowy March is called a grandma March.
• Eating a local dish again that you had 6 years ago, but in a different country, and being VERY pleased!
• Being accosted at all the local green markets with the vendors talking to you in their local language and you just smiling as you walk by…not knowing exactly how to look or respond to them.
• Searching and successfully finding some original, reasonably-priced artwork to purchase.
• Trying out many items from a relatively new brand of food products to the country.
• Learning many new words in the local language and finding a favorite one (Kikiriki = Peanuts).
• Wandering around the city and finding many couples making out in public everywhere (not such a common sight in other countries!).
• Reading about a cultural norm of the country beforehand and then, after talking to many locals, finding out that it is not necessarily their “norm”.
• Seeing huge buildings and structures and being in awe of the time, energy and money it must have taken to create them.
• Hearing from a person before meeting with them that it is culturally acceptable to be up to 15 minutes late!
• Listening to different perspectives about the history of this region of the world; most Serbians would like to go back to being one big country again (Yugoslavia).
• Choosing a person at a market to finally buy some produce with, but still thinking the person was upset with you while you were at their table, and then ending up getting a free loaf of bread as a thank you gift because you purchased a lot of items from them.
• Walking with a local and learning that another country (Azerbaijan) purchased the whole exercise/walking path that was along the river for the city of Novi Sad.
• Noticing the charm of smaller cities/towns in a country and possibly enjoying them even more than the bigger cities. (Note to self: get out of the big cities more when traveling!).
• Checking out the local graffiti artists’ work on the many walls and buildings in the city.
• Fumbling at the many check-out counters, not being able to figure out using the local currency fast enough before the cashier takes over and just grabs the correct amount from your hands.
• Arriving at the local airport at a very early hour in the morning and feeling very glad that you had pre-arranged for a driver to pick you up and bring you straight to your hotel.

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Currently we have 4 international schools listed in Serbia on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profile pages:

Britannica I.S. (Belgrade) (11 Comments)
British International School (Serbia) (10 Comments)
Chartwell International School (3 Comments)
International School of Belgrade (26 Comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give 6 free months of premium membership!

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