12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

Selecting an International School Tip #2: Is the School Conveniently Located?

October 30, 2022


What reasons do parents think about when selecting a school for their children when they move abroad? Are they similar reasons why teachers choose to work at a school abroad as well?  Many international school teachers are in teaching couples that have children.  There are also international school teachers that are married to a local and have children too.  So, how do you choose the right international school for your children to attend?  This blog series will discuss the Tips for Selecting an International School.

Tip #2: Is the School Conveniently Located?

The American School of London (see above picture) and the United Nations International School in New York City are conveniently located, but not all international schools are in the same situation.  Some international schools are built way outside of the city center, far away, especially if you plan on living in the city center.  Sometimes your journey to work might be around one hour, one-way; an important thing to know before you decide on signing a contract to work at an international school.

If you don’t mind living in a 3rd ring suburb, maybe it wouldn’t be such a big of an issue that your school is so far away from the city center.  However, if you like to enjoy city life and prefer to live there as well, then it might not be the best fit to work at an international school that is not centrally located.

If you are a teacher with children that attend the school, living closer to school also might be a positive thing.  Maybe if you have children, you wouldn’t mind working at a school that is way out in the suburbs because that is always where you would prefer to live anyway.

Before signing a contract, an international school teacher definitely needs to evaluate their current situation and what their living-situation needs are.  Make sure to ask the right questions at the interview about how your current situation and needs match with the location of the school and where you would most likely be living in relation to that school.

If you had a choice, what would be the preferred way for you to and from work every day?  Would you rather ride your bike, take a bus, take the school bus, ride on a train, walk, drive your car, take a taxi, or a combination of 2-3 types of transportation?  What amount of time is an acceptable journey length: 10-15 minutes, 15-30 minutes, 45 minutes, or over one hour? The ISC blog has a series called The Journey to School which highlights a number of journeys to schools from around the world. Check it out to get a first-hand account of what the journeys are like.

One colleague friend of mine worked at a school that was more than a one-hour journey from their apartment.  Most of the teachers there were taken to and from the school on one of the school’s buses “for teachers.”  One positive thing this teacher took away from that experience was that many teachers were forced to not work so long at the school.  Because of the fact that the school bus for teachers left at a specific time, you had to get on that bus…otherwise you would be stuck at school with limited options to get home!  Sometimes teachers do need to stay long at school to get work completed, but often teachers don’t really need to stay for hours and hours.  If you are forced to end your workday at a certain time, you would be surprised how much of your work gets done during that time constraint.

Another colleague friend of mine lives in the city center and their school is very conveniently located in relation to the city center.  Many teachers at this school also live where this teacher lives, and the journey from home to school is around 12-15 minutes by train and 20-25 minutes by bike.  Many of the teachers at this school are quite pleased that they at least have the option of living in the city center and also have a relatively easy commute to work.  There are also many options to get to work based on the needs and situation of each teacher.  It is nice when there are many transportation options available to meet the needs of a diverse staff.

We have had 1710 comments and information (30 October 2022) submitted about this very topic on a number of international schools on International School Community’s website.  For example on the Kaohsiung American School‘s profile page there have been four comments submitted so far:

On the Misr American College school profile page, we have two rather informative comments about the school’s location:

On the American Embassy School New Delhi school profile page, we have useful details about the school’s location:

If you are an international school teacher currently working abroad, please share your comments about if your school is conveniently or NOT conveniently located.

Additionally, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com as you are able to check out our over 24000 members.  Many of our current members have listed they work at over 2000 international schools around the world. Feel free to send these members a message with your questions about where most teachers are living in relation to the school and the city center.

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Surveys

New Survey: What is the main way that you get to work at your current international school?

March 25, 2014


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  What is the main way that you get to work at your current international school?

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It is so important; your journey to work.  It shouldn’t be one that is dreadful, and it shouldn’t be one that is long and difficult.  You don’t want to be spending the majority of your day on a bus or waiting for a bus, for example.

Many times an international school teacher will have to forego the ‘luxury’ of having their own car to get to work (e.g. like many Americans).  You need a car in the USA because many cities don’t have the best public transport to use, or it is just not so normalized to use public transport to get to work.

So if you don’t have a car while living abroad, how do you get to work?  I would say that it can very from city to city and from country to country, and of course, it depends on where you are living in those cities.

In China, you might be living in the same building as a bunch of other teachers at your school.  Many times the schools will hire a school coach to come and pick you up each morning at that building and then take you home after school (good reason to not stay so late at school!  When the bus leaves, you leave!).  It is nice to have your transport all arranged for you.  If you are late (because of the bus), it is not your fault!   On the other hand, you might have some things to complete that morning, so a late bus definitely not the best way to start the day.  Another possible downside of using a school coach bus is that you will most likely have to travel with your coworkers every day; you might say that there are both pros and cons about that situation.

Maybe you live in Western Europe or Scandinavia and find yourself in a community of bikers.  If you don’t live too far away from the school, a ride to work on your bike could be just the thing to get your brain/body going in the morning!  Not so good though to ride your bike to work if you live in a place with cold/rainy weather or if you often carry a big bag to work.

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If you are in some less-developed countries, you just might have a car as your mode of transport to work.  Driving a car in those countries just might be the only way that you can get to work (as public transport is unreliable or non-existent).  If you are lucky (or not, depending on your perspective), you might even be able to hire a driver!  We all know that driving in other countries can be tricky and even dangerous in some places, so better have a local do the driving for you!

Sure there are pluses and minuses to the environment and to the community you are living in based on the way people (you) get to work.  You will have to make the best choice for yourself when considering teaching jobs at a variety of international schools that are in different locations in the world.  The question then boils down to what do you want as your preferred way to get to work every day.

Please take a moment and share your comments and experiences about the topic of getting work while working at an international school.

Also, go ahead and vote What is the main way that you get to work at your current international school?  Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

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