How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #2: Go out to eat all the time!

March 16, 2014

We all hear about the big possibility of saving money while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t save much of any money.  So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?

How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #2 – Go out to eat all the time!

IMAG0333 When you are on a trip, it is easy to spend lots of money going out to eat. I mean most likely you are staying at a hotel or in a room at some hostel and not able to cook a dinner for yourself there.  So you can justify going to a restaurant for both lunch and dinner when traveling.  It is a luxury, that’s for sure, because you wouldn’t normally being going out to eat for lunch and dinner where you are living.  Not unless you are an international school teacher though!

In some locations in the world, you can indeed justify going out to eat for most meals during the week.  I mean it could be that you are living somewhere where the food is really ‘cheap’.  Even if you are making a lot of money (and have your housing, etc. all paid for), it is always nice to get a bargain for your meal and you would be a fool to not take advantage of this supposedly cheap and good-tasting food while you are living in your host country.

You could also justify going out to eat a lot in your currently location because going out to eat is more convenient than going somewhere to buy groceries, and then going back to your home to cook them (for maybe 1-2 hours let’s say…maybe you are short on time as well).


Some international schools in Shanghai have deals with nearby restaurants which allows for easy ordering if you want to buy a lunch from them.  It is a nice perk if your school is waaaaay out in the suburbs somewhere.  And because it is cheap, why not go for it?

But even in these types of locations where many international school teachers eat out a lot, it can start to get a bit excessive.  All your pocket-money might start to dwindle away.  Additionally, in locations where there is cheap food and you are also making a nice salary, there are also going to be more expensive places to choose to eat at as well.  It is nice to live it up and take advantage of the expat life in most cities in the world, but there is a price to pay for that kind of lifestyle and you must be mindful of the amount of money you are actually spending!  At some of these ‘expat-priced’ restaurants you pay a premium to get the style of food that expats like.  Problem is that you most likely would NOT pay the same price for that same food in your home counties.  A ‘you deserve it’ attitude comes into play and your wallet pays the cost.

IMAG0117Now to the locations where it is ridiculously expensive to eat out, let’s say Norway.  What is an international school teacher to do then?  Going out to a restaurant in these expensive cities will really take a toll on our bank account.  Some people though still choose to do it.  I think it is related to the idea that they are still ‘traveling’ in their host country.  Like I said before, when you are traveling, you go out to eat all the time.  Not all teachers do it in these expensive cities, but some do and it can get out of control real quick.  Gotta be careful so that you are saving some money as well.


To save you some money, we do have a comment topic on our website related to this theme.  It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.

‘Spanish Stairs is the great place to hang out. It has many nice shops, restaurants and a beautiful view, especially in the sunset. For restaurants, I recommend Pastaritto-Pizzaritto in Via Quattro Novembre. Prices are decent and the food is delicious.’ – Marymount International School (Rome) (Rome, Italy) – 7 Comments

‘I like “Witwe Polte”. It’s a small restaurant in the 7th district. It’s called the Spittelberg area, where you can also find a beautiful Christmas market in winter.’ – AMADEUS International School Vienna (Vienna, Austria) – 13 Comments

‘There are some great places to eat near and in the main market, Mahane Yehuda. There are always people around there and it is very lively. Though it can be a bit touristy, there are also a lot of locals that are here as well.’ – Jerusalem American International School (Jerusalem, Israel) – 8 Comments

‘It is a bit touristy, but there are many restaurants around the Dam tram stop. Just a short 5-7 minute walk in many directions you can find some cozy restaurants to eat at. There are Christmas markets already set up right now, it is nice to walk around during the evening.’ – International School Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – 26 Comments

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Great Resource

Want to work at an international school in the Netherlands? – Tips for Expats in Holland

February 14, 2012

Life in Holland does indeed sound nice.  Riding your bike to work and watching the canals as you dart in and out of the streets of Amsterdam could be something very easy to get used to every morning.  The Insego website has highlighted some excellent tips that international teachers and their families could find very beneficial.  I wish there would be a resource like this on every country in the world!

We have highlighted some of the tips’ categories:

10 Tips for Unemployed Expats
“Whether you are an expat’s wife or you came here because you fell in love or you just moved to a foreign country looking for new opportunities, whatever the reason, you may find yourself without a job. Well, I’ve been there. Without a job I lost my professional identity and I didn’t like this feeling at all…”

Media for Expats in Holland
“One of the most popular discussions on Insego is finding out the cultural faux pas in The Netherlands. Faux pas is a French term which literally means “misstep”. But for most of us, it means defiance from accepted customs and traditions. Faux pas varies from different cultures. Some behavior might be acknowledged in one culture while it is a no-no for another.

Here are the collected comments from our members on what they think are the cultural faux pas in Netherlands…”

What are the most common issues faced by expatriates?
“Transferring to another country whether for work, personal expedition or reasons of the heart can be tough and challenging. Aside from difficulty in adjusting to the new environment and culture, we also struggle with homesickness, making new friends and for some, finding a job and raising kids. Being an expat is a tough call. See what your fellow expats struggle with and may their experiences act as your inspiration and encouragement that you are not alone. You share the same experiences with many other expats in the world, so don’t be totally dismayed…”

What are some cultural faux pas in The Netherlands?

  • Dutch News– Quality English-language news about the Netherlands.
  • Dutch Daily News – Covers, analyzes, comments on and defines the news, culture, entertainment, lifestyle, fashion and personalities that drive the Netherlands.
  • The biggest online English news and information provider for the international community in 11 European countries. It’s mission is to help Expats settle into their new country of residence. The content Expatica supplies covers various aspects of expat life, including relocation, culture, education, tax, immigration and local events.
  • IamExpat– Online media platform that covers the local needs of the expatriate population, plenty of practical information.
  • InterNations – Netherlands Expats Community, membership is invitation-only. Let us know if you want to join it, we will send the invitation.
  • RNW- Radio Netherlands Worldwide. daily news in English as well as daily Dutch press reviews, opinion articles and links to the radio programs
  • The Holland Times– News magazine covering Dutch current events and perspectives in the Netherlands.
  • The Hague Online News for expat communities in The Hague region, including reviews and regular listings of cultural and leisure events.
  • -Publisher of famous Holland Handbook and Xpat Journal.

Amsterdam, Holland

Currently there are 9 international schools listed in the Netherlands on International School Community. They are:

Rotterdam International Secondary School
American International School of Rotterdam
American School of the Hague
International School of the Hague
The British School of the Netherlands
British School of Amsterdam
International School Amsterdam
Amsterdam International Community School
International Secondary School Eindhoven

Check out their school profile pages on by clicking on the links above.  If you currently work at one of these schools or have worked at one in the past, share what you know by leaving some new comments and information on your school’s profile page today!  Out of our 281 members (since 14 Feb. 2012) we have one member that has listed that they work at or have worked at an international school in the Netherlands.

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