Information for Members

How many comments are there in each of the 66 Comment Topics on ISC?

September 22, 2019


We have 66 comment topics on our website in 4 main categories: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information, and Travel Information.

ISC now has over 33000 comments that have been submitted on over 1100 international schools from around the world. Basic and Premium Members can access all of these 33000 comments for free on our Browse All Comments page.

After almost 9 years since our inception of ISC, which of the 66 comment topics are our members submitting into the most? Take a look below at all of our comment topics with the total comments submitted in them at the end of each one. Some of our most popular topics that have over 1000 comments are related to: School building, Accreditation, Hiring policies, School location, Language abilities of the students, Kinds of teachers/staff, Salary, Housing, and Allowances.

School Information Comment Topics (23):

• Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus. (1467 Comments)

• What types of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations? (1105 Comments)

• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.). (690 Comments)

• Describe their hiring policies and procedures. Share your interview experience. Any hiring restrictions? is there a particular curriculum experience required? How about single parents/number of dependents sponsored? (1456 Comments)

• Describe school’s location in relation to the city center and to the teacher’s housing. How do staff get to school before and after school? (1371 Comments)

• Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extra curricular responsibilities? Describe workload details. (761 Comments)

• Average class size for primary and secondary. Describe any aide support. (780 Comments)

• Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominate culture group? (1156 Comments)

• Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, qualifications [or lack there of], etc.) and staff turnover rate. Is there a native English speaker or nationality requirement? Is it LGBT friendly country/school? (1196 Comments)

• What types of budgets do classroom teachers/departments get? (475 Comments)

• PARENTS ONLY – General comments from parents of students that go to this school. How was your child’s education and socialisation at the school? (164 Comments)

• What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer? (643 Comments)

• Name some special things about this school that makes it unique. (654 Comments)

• In general, describe the demeanor of the students. (565 Comments)

• Has the school met your expectations once you started working there? (314 Comments)

• What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff? (362 Comments)

• Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them. (437 Comments)

• Details about the current teacher appraisal process. (277 Comments)

• Is the student population declining, staying the same or increasing? Give details why. (414 Comments)

• How have certain things improved since you started working there? (222 Comments)

• How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country? (157 Comments)

• What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective. (281 Comments)

• What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school? (416 Comments)

• How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, etc.) (259 Comments)

Benefits Information Comment Topics (20):

• Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year? (1237 Comments)

• Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities? (1234 Comments)

• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. Describe the survivability for a family of four on one salary. (643 Comments)

• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? (1115 Comments)

• Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals. (947 Comments)

• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.). (410 Comments)

• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents. Describe the childcare in the area. (737 Comments)

• Professional development allowance details. (507 Comments)

• Pension plan details. (588 Comments)

• Describe your experience bringing pets. (240 Comments)

• Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?). (522 Comments)

• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city? (313 Comments)

• How is the school calendar? Is there ample vacation time? (492 Comments)

• 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? (262 Comments)

• Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school. (129 Comments)

• What is the process of getting reimbursed for things? (166 Comments)

• Details about new teacher orientation. (194 Comments)

• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school? (292 Comments)

• Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about? (199 Comments)

• Information on trailing spouses. Can they work under spousal visa (also availability of work) or is it possible to live only on one salary? (35 Comments)

City Information Comment Topics (17)

• Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city. (552 Comments)

• Locations in the city geared towards the expat lifestyle (grocery stores, bars, etc.). (490 Comments)

• Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc. (491 Comments)

• Detailed info about lifestyles: singles vs. couples, gay vs. straight, nightlife vs. quiet and big city vs nature. (392 Comments)

• Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there. (502 Comments)

• Sample activities that you can do around the city? Including ones that you can do with a family (children)? (357 Comments)

• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year. (549 Comments)

• Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals. (256 Comments)

• Describe a funny culture shock moment that you’ve had recently in this city. (115 Comments)

• Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations? (156 Comments)

• What is the best part of living in this city for you? (243 Comments)

• What advice can you give on how to set things up like internet, phone, experience dealing with landlord, etc.? (200 Comments)

• Tell your experience moving your items to this city. What company, insurance policy, etc. did you use? (81 Comments)

• Tell about your experience with the local banks and dealing with multiple currencies. (208 Comments)

• What are some locals customs (regarding eating, drinking and going out, family, socializing, etc.) that you find interesting for expats to know about? (146 Comments)

• Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites. (182 Comments)

• What is the most challenging/difficult part of living in the city? (237 Comments)

Travel Information Comment Topics (6):

• Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby. (355 Comments)

• Describe proximity of major airport hubs to the city center and give sample taxi, train, subway and/or bus fares to get there. (496 Comments)

• Popular travel websites to buy plane tickets or tours that are popular for expats living in the city and/or country. (240 Comments)

• Places to travel to outside the city by bus or train. (454 Comments)

• Are there many teachers that travel during the holidays? Where are they going? (290 Comments)

• What are the airports like in this city? (arriving, departing, shopping, customs, etc.) (332 Comments)
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Information for Members

The Total Comments in All the City Information Sections: 4384!

December 20, 2018


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2059+ 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 automatically get one free month of premium membership added on to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

FOR UNLIMITED FREE MEMBERSHIP, BECOME A MAYOR OF A SCHOOL TODAY!

So, what are the recent statistics about the City Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the City Information sections is 4384 (out of a total of 29595+ comments); up 1855 comments since March 2017.

Example City Information section on 
NIST International School (252 total comments and information)

There are 17 subtopics in the City Information section on each school profile page.  Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out out the total number of comments in that specific subtopic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.

• Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city. (468 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Going to check out and relax in the church that was made in rock (Temppeliaukio) is a great things to do on a rainy (or sunny) day. They play relaxing music as you just sit in one of the pews and looks up to see the copper designed ceiling. So beautiful!” – Helsinki International School (Helsinki, Finland) – 41 Comments

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• Locations in the city geared towards the expat lifestyle (grocery stores, bars, etc.). (428 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Taipa has a lot geared towards expat. The local Park’n’Shop grocery store is full of imported things.” – The School of the Nations (Macao, China) – 20 Comments

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• Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc. (434 Total Comments)

Example comment: “You could definitely get a good main dish at a nice restaurant for 6-8 EUR. The public transportation is free for the locals, but for tourists, it is .80 to 1.60 EUR a ride. Of course there are cheaper tickets, like days passes, etc.” – International School of Estonia (Tallinn, Estonia) – 22 Comments

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• Detailed info about lifestyles: singles vs. couples, gay vs. straight, nightlife vs. quiet and big city vs nature. (343 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you like riding your bike around everywhere, there aren’t always the best bike paths in the city. In turn, you need to be alert at all times! With regards to nature, there are super green parks spotted all around the city center. There is also the Wisla river has some “beach” areas where people hang out on a warm day. It is a bit smelly there, but still nice.” – American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland) – 101 Comments

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• Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there. (448 Total Comments)

Example comment: “On a scale from 1 to 5, English level is somewhere around 3+. Not everyone speaks English, so knowing German is a big advantage.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 43 Comments

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• Sample activities that you can do around the city? Including ones that you can do with a family (children)? (301 Total Comments)

Example comment: “During the summer don’t miss out on Treptower park with Badeschiff (not good for those with children). There is an artificial tropical island not far away from Berlin and many people take their kids there during winter, or to Wannsee during summer. Should you want to go and do the recreational swimming, Berlin Bade Betrieb is there for you on numerous locations.” – Berlin International School (Berlin, Germany) – 12 Comments

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• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year. (483 Total Comments)

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Example comment: “Nov. 15 – March 15 is when the government heat is on in the apartments. That’s pretty much when temperatures are below freezing all the time. Over the weekend the weather changed to 5 – 10 degrees above freezing. Spring is about six weeks long. Then summer is hot.” – Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 143 Comments

• Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals. (220 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Walmart and Kalea (like Ikea) has just about everything you’ll need to set up house. El Martially in zona 14 sells used furniture but bring a Guatemalan friend to negotiate for you. You can also by hand-made furniture off the street very cheaply.” – The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (Guatemala City, Guatemala) – 75 Comments

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• Describe a funny culture shock moment that you’ve had recently in this city. (39 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Babies and toddlers with open butt pants and shorts are always fun to see pee all over the place. Trying to cross the street without getting killed is fun as well.” – QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China) – 64 Comments

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• Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations? (126 Total Comments)

Example comment: “When you first arrive, the school sets up a week-long itinerary. . .shopping at many shops, eating at a variety of restaurants. It’s one of the highlights of coming here. Many of the places seen during orientation are too expensive for people to return to often.” – The American School of Kinshasa (Kinshasa, Congo (DRC)) – 59 Comments

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What is the best part of living in this city for you? (200 Total Comments)

Example comment: “I love the ease of getting what you want, when you want.” – Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 136 Comments

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What advice can you give on how to set things up like internet, phone, experience dealing with landlord, etc.? (160 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Internet’s been funky lately but that’s just the new reality in China at the moment. Nobody can do anything about it.” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 409 Comments

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• Tell your experience moving your items to this city. What company, insurance policy, etc. did you use? (62 Total Comments)

Example comment: “SOS International is a popular choice and you can use it at their clinics here. It’s pricey, though.” – Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – 76 Comments

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• Tell about your experience with the local banks and dealing with multiple currencies. (162 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Most local banks charge $10-$20 for an account. The government now also charges 10% of any fees charged by the bank. Most banks then charge you 1% to withdraw dollars, even if you have a dollar account. This is because their exchange rate is horrible, so people take out the money in dollars then walk to an exchange bureau and get a much better rate. IST has a few agreements in place so that the first $1000 a month does not get charged the fee. Other than that, the banks are okay. Nothing to write home about and you have to watch for random fees, but you can usually get it sorted. Some people just use overseas accounts and you can get money from the ATM, but people often find thousands of dollars missing from accounts when they do that.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments

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• What are some locals customs (regarding eating, drinking and going out, family, socializing, etc.) that you find interesting for expats to know about? (115 Total Comments)

Example comment: “When you receive something in person, from somebody else, it is best to take it using both hands, not just one. Do it with two hands to show respect and appreciation.” – Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China) – 67 Comments

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• Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites. (149 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you are from an Asian country I would suggest finding an H Mart. The Buford Highway farmers market has country specific named aisles with all of the countries. The Dekalb farmers market has a lot of unique fruits (think durian) and vegetables that you won’t find in a typical grocery store as well. All of these markets are worth a visit, especially the Dekalb Farmers Market (don’t go on a weekend!) and are huge.” – Atlanta International School (Atlanta, United States) – 31 Comments

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• What is the most challenging/difficult part of living in the city? (197 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The Spanish spoken here is very difficult to understand. There is a lot of slang and people speak very fast.” –Santiago College (Santiago, Chile) – 24 Comments

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