Comment Topic Highlight

Giving birth while teaching abroad: what are the maternity benefits like?

February 21, 2021

It’s true. International educators are having babies while working at international schools around the world.

But is it better to have your children back in your home country or while living abroad?

It depends maybe on what the maternity benefits are, and let’s not forget also about the paternity benefits.

Many international schools are obliged to follow the laws of their host country. Other international schools decide on their own benefits.

You are lucky (really lucky!) if your host country gives you even better benefits than your host country. It is nice to know that you are living in a country that truly values paid parental leave.

But then again, having a child in your host country often means you are having children away from your close family like your parents and your brothers and sisters. You want them to be a big part of your child’s life, and so do they. It is nice too when they are around to help out and help raise the child.

The fact is many international school teachers have babies while living abroad and have experiences that are both positive and negative. If you are planning to have children while working abroad, then it will be beneficial to do a bit of research ahead of you moving there.


Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of maternity benefits. In this comment topic, our members can share what their experience has been working at various international schools around the world. There are a total of 170 comments (February 2021) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers on this specific comment topic (one out of the 66 in total) called – “Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school.”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“BFS follows Korean law which allows female employees up to 90 consecutive days of maternity leave, 45 of which must be taken after childbirth. Male teachers may take up to 15 days of paid paternity leave and an additional 15 days of unpaid leave following the birth of their child…” – Busan Foreign School (Busan, South Korea) – 9 Total Comments

“From July 2020 onward there will be the possibility for partners to take six weeks of almost-fully-paid leave. If you are employed when you get pregnant you are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave (zwangerschapsverlof). This is true even if you’re self-employed! You are also allowed to decide when you start your leave. However, make sure you tell your employer a minimum of 2 weeks before you intend to take your maternity leave in the Netherlands! Taking your maternity leave in the Netherlands can be done at any moment from 6 weeks before the due date (34 weeks of pregnancy). However, in all cases, it is mandatory to take leave by week 36 (4 weeks before birth). Also, leaving at least 12 weeks of maternity leave after the baby is born. In special cases (eg. premature birth) the leave starts counting from the moment of birth…” – The British School in the Netherlands (The Hague, Netherlands) – 66 Comments

“Women’s maternity leave is still 12 weeks at 80% pay. As of this year, there is a 5-day paternity leave for male teachers, which can be distributed throughout the leave with permission from the division head….” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 62 Total Comments

“After your first year, the school provides 3 months of paid maternity leave. Leave starts from the day of birth, or earlier if you choose. Paternity leave is 3 days, and follows the same guidelines…” – Bandung Independent School (Kota Bandung, Indonesia) – 120 Comments

“Right now, it is 10 weeks maternity leave for the female and the male getting 3 weeks paid leave. The 10-week leave can sometimes be extended without pay dependent on the discussion with HR…” – Shanghai American School (Pudong) (Shanghai, China) – 106 Comments

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12 Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bilingual Children

Common Myths and Misconceptions about Bilingual Children #1: Bilingual children start to speak later than monolinguals.

March 20, 2012

As teachers working in international schools, we are most likely teaching and working with bilingual children (or even more likely multilingual children).  Many international school educators also find themselves starting a family with potentially bilingual children.  We all know colleagues that have ended up finding a partner from the host country while living there, getting married to them, and then starting a family.  None of us are truly prepared to raise a multilingual family and for sure there are many questions and concerns that we have.

What is the best way then to teach and/or raise bilingual children?  What does the research say are the truths about growing up bilingual and how bilinguals acquire both languages?

On the Multilingual Living website, they have highlighted the 12 myths and misconceptions about bilingual children.

Myth #1: Bilingual children start to speak later than monolinguals.

Reality: There is no scientific evidence supporting this. Bilinguals and monolinguals share the same wide window for normal development.

It is true that EAL students go through a silent stage when starting to learn English as an additional language.  How long they go through that silent stage is dependent on many factors.  The student’s personality might come into play, the student’s cultural background might come into play, the role of the teacher and the role of the parent all indeed play a part in the development of when a child inevitably starts to speak.

It turns out though that when raising a bilingual child, it is mostly likely that they will have the same window for starting to speak as their monolingual counterparts. There is no silent period as such for when children are starting to speak their first words at home.

If you are a parent of a bilingual child, share what you know about raising your child in terms of their language development and when they started to speak.  Who speaks what language to the child at home?  Is there a dominant language at home?  What language did the child first start to speak?

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Discussion Topics

Featured article: Moving Overseas with Children by Teachers International Consultancy (part 1)

September 8, 2011

Moving Overseas with Children

Moving abroad with children requires a lot of planning in advance to make the transition as easy as possible for everyone. There’s no doubt that you’ll be faced with hitches along the way, but everything that you can do to prepare in advance for your children’s new school needs will help you move your whole family overseas successfully.

Teachers International Consultancy (TIC) has helped hundreds of teachers and their families move to new jobs abroad. Here is some of the advice TIC offers to anyone moving overseas with school-age children, whatever the reason for your move:

  • Find out what schools are available in the area that you are moving to. Your company may well offer one, or a limited number of schools that you as a family can send your children to. This may include full payment or a contribution towards school fees. Make sure you know exactly what your company is paying for and the additional costs that you will incur. Tuition fees can just be the start of the expenses with costs for such things as uniform, resources and school trips ending up being very extensive.
  • Investigate the curriculum your children will be learning in their potential new schools. It may well be a school delivering the English National Curriculum or a curriculum that your children have learned in their home country, but the approach to learning and the standards may be very different. Your child may well have done some of the work before or may have missed out on parts of the curriculum.
  • Be prepared for your children to be learning alongside many children where English is their second language. Some parents see this as a very positive experience, others feel that their children are being disadvantaged. Your child may be one of just a few children in the school speaking English. This may be an issue when it comes to making friends. Children can feel very isolated in situations like this or may end up in a very tight group of ‘friends’ they may otherwise not have chosen, just because of language similarities. Help your child to prepare for this, suggesting ways to make friends through non-verbal actions.
  • Check out the pastoral care provided within the school. Some schools have an onsite counselor or assign a pastoral head of year, some schools have a buddy system for new children. Some schools are much better than others at helping new children settle.

For more advice about moving overseas go to

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