Highlighted Articles

Going home for the summer: No one cares about your international life!

June 27, 2022


I always hope that somebody will care every year I go home, but every year most of them don’t. (Ha ha!)

It is not because they really don’t care though, it is mostly because they just don’t fully understand or connect to the international/expat life you are living.  When visiting family and friends in my home country, very rarely do the conversations relate to my life living abroad.  Hardly do we even talk about the amazing trips that I have been on the past year! (Oh, the things I have seen!)  It is hard to talk about your trips without giving an impression of bragging though.

International school teachers indeed live a life that is a foreign world to our old friends, so different from where we were born and raised.  Additionally, so many people in this world still just stay living close to where they were raised.  When I look at my home-country friends and relatives, most are living in the same city they grew up in or in the city just next to that one. (Side note: Why do we feel the need to escape our hometowns?)

And of course, quite a large percentage of people in the United States are without a passport (is that true for the Americans YOU know??).  Being that these friends and family that you know maybe haven’t had so much experience living abroad or even traveling abroad, you would think that would make them even more interested in your international life…but that isn’t always the case.

I guess when you go home, you spend most of your time just reminiscing about the good times of the past, of when you used to live there maybe. Most of the conversations you have also are just normal ones, talking about day-to-day things (e.g. the weather, etc.).

Sometimes your friends and family dominate the conversation with updates from their life, which of course you are curious about as well.  You want to get the lowdown on their lives being that you are only there visiting with them for typically such a short time.  I mean they haven’t seen you in a while as well, and they are excited to see you and catch you up on their lives.

Though it is truly so nice to go back home and catch up with everyone, little do your friends and family realize or understand the reverse culture shock you may be experiencing when you go back home, even if it is the 8th time you have come home in 10 years (let’s say) that you’ve been abroad.

International school teachers live a dual life basically.  The fact is…that we live most of the year in our host country; eating our host country food, hanging out with our host country friends, being surrounded by a foreign language and culture, living in our host country apartment, using and thinking in a foreign currency, etc.  When you visit your home country, you really want to tell people in your host country about those things!  Some will listen though when it comes up naturally in the conversation, but it is usually a fleeting moment…not giving you enough time to share as much as you would like.

This article is not meant to make fun of or hate on our home country friends and family, but it is meant to express our feelings about how an expat teacher might feel and how they might think in their head as they go home for the summer. When you are living abroad for so long, it is so nice (and important) to see and catch up with your family and old friends.

How do you feel when you go home to your host country? Are you able to have conversations with your friends and family about your life living abroad?

This article was submitted anonymously by an ISC member.

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Comment Topic Highlight

Why Are People Staying at or Leaving Your International School?

May 23, 2022


If you work at an international school, you know that your decision to stay or leave has already been decided by now. Teachers most likely have already decided whether they will stay for another year or two at their current school or move on back home or to another international school.  

At some international schools, 1/4 or 1/3 of their current teachers decide to let their school know that they will be moving on at the end of the school year. Though it is not the case necessarily at other international schools that have a lot of local hires (not necessarily on foreign-hired contracts). Those with lots of local hires generally tend to have teachers that want to stay there for longer periods of time because they have more ties to the local country (e.g. they are married to a local, etc.).

Regardless of the personal situation of the teacher, another big factor that guides a teacher’s decision to stay or leave is the school itself. For example, the school might be losing student numbers as of late. Fewer students mean less demand for all the teachers on the current staff roster, meaning some need to go whether they like it or not. Maybe even the school has decided to alter or eliminate the staff children benefit (to have them attend the school for free). And the list goes on…

There are of course even other factors that come into play that affect this big decision that a number of teachers need to make each year. One of these factors is that the school has decided to move in a direction that doesn’t match your teaching philosophy anymore. Staying at a school that doesn’t match you and your teaching style can be a serious concern leading you to search for other positions in a school that better suit you.

The biggest factor to stay or leave might just boil down to money, plain and simple. If the school isn’t meeting your needs financially anymore, there are many more that probably will.

So the question for you is why are YOU going to stay or leave your current school? It might be one of these reasons listed above or a combination of these and even other reasons.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of staying or leaving, so you can stay the most informed as possible. There are a total of 477 comments (May 2022) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of 67 comment topics called – “In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school?”

Here are a few of those submitted comments:

“People are staying because they are mostly not getting a better job anywhere else and people are leaving because of the rude behavior, less salary, false promises, promotion of wrong candidate, lack of resources and overloaded routine.” – Indus International School (Pune) (Pune, India) – 43 Total Comments

“Staying because the campus is nice, supply and PD budgets are generous, students are overall courteous and engaged, and because Berlin rocks. Leaving because salaries are too low, and some departments are more disorganized than others.” – Berlin Brandenburg International School (Berlin, Germany) – 87 Comments

“Staying: Turnover is low. In my opinion, people are staying because the school climate is generally very positive – it is a happy place to work. The school has generally got its act together (curriculum, policies, etc) very well so there are structures in place to make teaching positive. It is a vibrant, stimulating place to work. Japan is a lovely place to live. Leaving: The cliche is single females find it harder to date in Tokyo and that could be a reason to leave. The school’s pay is OK and the school’s reputation is good and growing but the pay is not as great as some other big-name schools. People leave as they get the experience and then are drawn to the lure of $$. This is especially the case of teachers in their late 40’s looking for a pension.” – Tokyo International School (Tokyo, Japan) – 140 Total Comments

“People stay a long time because the pay and benefits are great, the city is very livable, the cost of living is low and the classes are not too large.” – Anglo-American School of St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg, Russia) – 38 Comments

“The overall package is hard to beat and the staff is not overworked. Combined with minimal classroom management requirements due to small class sizes, DISK really is a great place to work.” – Doshisha International School Kyoto (Kyoto, Japan) – 140 Comments

“If you survive your first year most teachers stay on. The first year is a challenge, especially if you are late arriving (a common issue because of how long it takes to get a visa).” – Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 193 Comments

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Information for Members

Become an ISC Mayor and Get Unlimited Free Premium Membership

April 17, 2022


Our mission for the International School Community website is to have the most updated information about what it is like to work at the numerous international schools around the world. One way to help us achieve that mission is to have Mayors.

Being a Mayor is super easy, and the best part is that you get unlimited free premium membership to our website!

And ANYONE can be the Mayor of their school. Most of our active Mayors are just regular teachers at their schools, but we also have heads of schools, HR representatives, principals, etc. as Mayors as well.

Mayors are commenting on the school and the benefits information, but they also comment on the city and travel information of the country as well. Mayors also don’t need to represent all aspects and perspectives of the school. They are recommended to just share their experience and perspective on living and working at that international school and in that city/country.

Mayor Responsibilities:

• Submit at least 3-6 new comments on your school every 1-2 months (on the 68 different comment topics). It takes like 5-8 minutes of your time to do this. It will take a Mayor 2 years to submit one comment in all 68 comment topics.

• Make sure to check on your school’s Wall and occasionally post updates about their school (any big changes to the school that are happening, good tips to know about, recent events at the schools, etc.)

• Make sure that your school has the most updated and correct information (e.g. basic info, links, Facebook page, Youtube video, etc.) on the Overview and Social Media tabs.

• Submit job vacancies that are currently available at your school.

Here are just a few of the almost 700+ schools that have or have had a Mayor on our website:

Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 547 Comments

NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 304 Comments

Tarsus American College (Mersin, Turkey) – 278 Comments

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China) – 168 Comments

American School Foundation of Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico) – 129 Comments

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 180 Comments

Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 145 Comments

Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 414 Comments

Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 223 Comments

American International School Dhaka (Dhaka, Bangladesh) – 130 Comments

International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 135 Comments

Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 193 Comments

Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 157 Comments

The more Mayors that we have on our website means the more our members will be informed; as there will be more up-to-date information on the schools they want to know about!

Become the Mayor of an international school that you work at today!

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Please note that being the Mayor of a school is anonymous and that all comments and job vacancies submitted on our website are also done so anonymously. Posting on the school profile page wall though is not anonymous.

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Information for Members

Top 40 International Schools with the Most ISC Members (UPDATE)

February 27, 2022


How many times have you applied to a school wishing that you knew somebody that worked there?

Knowing somebody and getting the ‘inside scoop’ on an international school could definitely help you in your quest to set up an interview there.

At International School Community, we made that search for ‘informed people’ even easier with our Top 40 Schools with the Most Members page.

Currently, our top 40 international schools with the most members are (6 December 2020):

30 members – American International School in Egypt

28 members International School of Kuala Lumpur
27 members – Copenhagen International School
25 members – International School Manila
24 members – MEF International School Istanbul
23 members – Western International School of Shanghai
21 members – Fairview International School
21 members – Brent International School Manila

21 members – Seoul Foreign School
21 membersAmerican International School (Vietnam)
21 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City
20 membersInternational School Dhaka
20 members – International School of Tanganyika
19 members – Jakarta Intercultural School
19 members – Seoul International School
19 members – Graded School Sao Paulo
18 members – Shanghai United International School (Hongqiao)

18 members – Shanghai Community International School
18 members – American School of Barcelona
18 membersAga Khan Academy Mombasa
17 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
17 members – Qatar Academy (Doha)
17 members – International School Panama
17 membersPathways World School
17 membersInternational School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)
17 members – American International School of Johannesburg
17 members – International School Bangkok
17 membersGood Shepherd International School
17 members – Singapore American School

17 membersAmerican International School Dhaka
16 members – United Nations International School (Vietnam)
16 members – Cairo American College
16 membersSuzhou Singapore International School
16 membersWestern Academy of Beijing
16 members NIST International School
16 membersAnglo-American School of Moscow

15 membersCanadian International School (Singapore)
15 membersAmerican School of Kuwait
15 membersChadwick International School – Songdo
15 members – American School of Bombay

With 100-200 new members joining each month, this list will continue to grow and grow; with even more members showing up as potential people to network with.

It is simple to network on our website: just click on a member and then click on the ‘Contact this member’ button (premium member feature).  Then write him/her a message.  When your message is sent, the other member will get an email alert letting them know that they have a new message waiting for them on our website (so, hopefully he/she/they will get back to you in a timely manner!). Numerous International School Community members have already taken advantage of this unique feature on our website!

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As far as we know, International School Community is one of the only websites where you can quickly and easily network with real people at a specific international school.  Meaning, if you want to get in touch with somebody from Suzhou Singapore International School in China and you are currently a premium member of International School Community, you now have 16 members that you can contact on our website that either work there now or have worked there in the past.  Get the answers to your questions; now that is easy networking!

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Information for Members

Member Search Feature Update: Which Job Titles Do Our 23342+ Members Have?

February 13, 2022


We are getting more and more members every month. Currently, we have over 23342 (up 3796 members since October 2020). We are definitely the place to go for networking with other international school educators!

Out of these thousands of members, we have teachers who hold many types of positions.  Check out our Members’ Job Titles page to see how many we have in each of these positions.

Using the data from this page, here are the current Members’ Job Titles statistics: (13 February 2022)

43 Activities Coordinators – (up 4)
17 Admission Coordinators – (up 4)
13 Admissions Director – (up 2)
124 Art Teachers – (up 17)
79 Assistant Principals – (up 13)
113 Biology Teachers – (up 25)

30 Business Office Workers – (up 2)
98 Chemistry Teachers – (up 11)
989 Classroom Teachers – (up 111)
22 Communications Workers – (up 3)
131 Counselors – (up 25)
155 Curriculum Coordinators – (up 23)

232 Department Heads – (up 45)
9 Design Teachers – (new)
21 Development Coordinator – (up 2)
41 Drama Teachers – (up 6)
71 Economics Teachers – (up 12)
361 English Teachers – (up 54)
285 EAL Teachers – (up 25)

209 Foreign Language Teachers – (up 33)
26 Geography Teachers – (up 6)
134 Heads of School/Directors – (up 17)
88 History Teachers – (up 10)
122 ICT Teachers – (up 17)
8 Interns – (up 1)

84 Librarians – (up 9)
42 Marketing Workers – (up 9)
256 Math Teachers – (up 43)
105 Music Teachers – (up 15)
6 Nurses – (same)
339 Other – (up 36)

152 P.E. Teachers (up 31)
76 Physics Teachers – (up 15)
161 Principals – (up 27)
21 Psychology Teachers – (up 3)
121 Science Teachers – (up 26)
10 Secretaries – (up 1)

87 Social Studies Teachers – (up 12)
118 Special Needs Teachers – (up 20)
10 Speech Pathologists – (up 1)
50 Teaching Assistants – (up 6)

Biggest increases: Dept. Heads, Classroom Teachers, English Teachers, EAL Teachers, Math, Foreign Language Teachers and Principals.

Want to get a job at an international school in one of these positions? Log on to International School Community and start contacting our members to get answers to your questions.  Many of our members definitely know about the life of an international school teacher at the schools they currently work at and the schools they have worked at in the past.

So where in the world do our current members live?  The members, who have stated so on their profile, currently live in the following regions of the world:

568 that are currently located in Asia – (up 149)
61 that are currently located in Caribbean – (up 8)
71 that are currently located in Central America – (up 10)
967 that are currently located in East Asia – (up 116)
241 that are currently located in Eastern/Central Europe – (up 39)
634 that are currently located in Middle East – (up 85)
130 that are currently located in North Africa – (up 14)
1095 that are currently located in North America – (up 88)
184 that are currently located in Oceania – (up 18)
868 that are currently located in South East Asia – (up 110)
218 that are currently located in South America – (up 46)
296 that are currently located in Sub-Saharan Africa – (up 48)
898 that are currently located in Western Europe – (up 91)

Looks like North America is still in the lead!  We recommend that all our members keep their profiles as up-to-date as possible so that their networking possibilities can be at their highest. Update yours today.

Check out all of our 23342+ members here.  If you are not a member yet, sign up here for free!

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