12 Tips for Selecting an Int'l School

Selecting an International School Tip #1: Local vs. International School Systems

September 25, 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 #1: Have you fully weighed the advantages and disadvantages of placing your child in an international school in (insert country name here)? It is difficult to go back and forth to the (insert local country) system and it will affect high- er education choices.

As it is a real option for most international school teachers, it is important to think about whether you are going to send your children to a local school versus the international school at which you work.

We all know international school teachers typically get free tuition for their children, but not all international schools offer this benefit.  Furthermore, some international schools might make the teacher actually pay for a certain percentage of the tuition cost, sometimes up to 50% or more.  With 2-3 children, that could all add up to make your benefits package not that attractive!  Other international schools offer free tuition, but don’t actually guarantee a spot for your child which might result in waiting 1-2 years.  The schools that do this are seeing more of the monetary benefit of getting more ‘paying’ students in the school versus ‘non-paying’ students.

In my opinion, it is to the international school’s benefit to have their teachers’ children attend the school.  Many international schools only have a small percentage of students in the class that are native-level speakers of English.  When the number of native speakers is low, then the level of English and proficiency of the students can be low as well.  In general, non-native speakers of English need native speaker role models in the class to help them achieve high proficiency in English. At least that was the case at one of my previous international schools in the Mediterranean where the student population was 45% from the host country.

Some international school teachers are married to a local from the host country.  When that is the case, many times the family will send their children to the local schools, so that the children can learn fully in the local language.  Knowing the local language like a native speaker will definitely be an important factor in that child’s future if the family’s plan is to stay in the host country forever (or a really long time). Sending your children to a local school is typically the cheaper option if you are in a situation where the international school you work at wants to have you pay a certain percentage.

Sometimes the choice to have their children attend a local school is a choice the family is making for themselves, or it is a choice that is made because of the difficulty with getting a spot for enrollment in the international school.  It is important to note that most international schools though do make sure to have a spot for teachers’ children if they are foreign hires. Otherwise, it would be most difficult to get any teaching couples (with dependents) to sign a contract! But for international school teachers with a local spouse, like in some areas of the world (e.g. Western Europe), getting a spot might prove to be more challenging as the international school will state that the children have a viable option to attend a local school.

If you are an international school teacher with children, please share your comments about ‘Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of local and international school systems.’ on your school’s profile page.

Additionally, make sure to join www.internationalschoolcommunity.com as you are able to check out our almost 25000 members.  Many of our current members have listed they are ‘married with dependents’ on their profile pages.  Feel free to send these members a message with your questions about what life is like as an international school teacher with children.

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Sicily (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

June 6, 2022


Traveling Around: Sicily

Can you relate?

  • entering a local deli shop by chance and being in awe of all the delicious food!
  • getting an Airbnb right in a small harbor where the locals are doing their daily fishing.
  • planning this trip with some international school teacher friends that you met at a conference many years ago.
  • learning about the history of the island when you run into some ancient ruins.
  • resisting the urge to buy things from the local market when you see that your partner is purchasing a number of things.
  • Imagining what life would be like living in Sicily as you walk down cute and quaint narrow streets.
  • running into huge packs of high school aged children all over the city and not understanding why they aren’t in school!
  • succumbing to the urge and getting at least one delicious gelato a day.
  • taking a detour two times during the trip and stopping at some remote, local beaches to just lay down and relax (some of us taking a dip as well).
  • walking around the beautiful nature and being curious about all of the local wildflowers.
  • going all the way up to Mount Etna and being amazed at the fact you are standing so close to an erupting volcano!
  • ringing a doorbell of a closed store that sells honey only for the bell to be answered by the owner who then lets you in (the honey was delicious!)!
  • loving the city life as you people-watch in downtown Catania.
  • stopping the car to get out and buy four peaches from a local produce seller selling produce out of their truck.
  • driving around and being scared because of the way the locals drive. It was like the driving rules there were merely suggestions.
  • visiting a touristy town but realizing how amazing it was, especially the views of the sea.
  • eating at a different restaurant every night and totally enjoying every meal and experience.
  • running into a local wedding that was just ending and watching firsthand all of the traditions of their culture.

Currently, we have 39 international schools listed in Italy on International School Community. 21 of them have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few of those schools:

The Bilingual School of Monza29 Comments
International School Florence34 Comments
American Overseas School of Rome40 Comments
Bilingual European School of Milan79 Comments
St. Stephens School Rome29 Comments
Westminster International School29 Comments

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us here with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing, and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give you 6 free months of premium membership!

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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!

Screenshot 2015-10-20 18.23.34

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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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Småland, Sweden (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

March 6, 2022


Traveling Around: Småland, Sweden

Can you relate?

  • getting a private tour of a crazy Swedish man’s small moose park. The moose were so big and cute!
  • staying at two different Swedish hotels (here’s one in Kalmar) that offered not only breakfast but also dinner as included in the price of the room.
  • taking the trains to get around from city to city, and splurging by buying the First Class ticket for some more comfort.
  • going to a local restaurant and being the only guests in it. It is hard to do, but you can be surprised by some tasty food!
  • finding a unique Italian restaurant run by actual Italians (in a Swedish city of around 50000 people) and being treated to such a wonderfully authentic Italian meal.
  • stepping into a small butcher’s shop and buying unique locally-made products like jams and crackers.
  • driving around to find a castle that is also a hotel and realizing we should’ve stayed there instead!
  • traveling to a water tower that also doubled as an echo chamber. I wouldn’t have believed it until we got there. It was super amazing!
  • driving by a huge outlet area and agreeing to stop and check it out. We bought some discounted clothes!
  • driving off the beaten path a number of times on very dirt, bumpy roads. Super exciting and fun!
  • taking in the view of the beautiful nature. Even though it was winter and very cold, the sunny days still made the views so wonderful.
  • getting a bit of a snowstorm one night and waking up to everything covered in snow.
  • stopping by the local mall for some shopping. We bought a pot of a Swedish knockoff of le Creuset.
  • having the easiest pick up of a rental car….EVER!
  • wondering why we went traveling for a week in small-town Sweden only to realize that it was super relaxed and cozy…just want needed.
  • taking the free pass from the hotel to the local “spa/pool” and then seeing that it was overrun by small children!
  • stopping by the IKEA museum and learning about the amazing history of this iconic store.

Currently, we have 14 international schools listed in Sweden on International School Community. 7 of them have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few of those schools:

Bladins International School of Malmo33 Comments
International School of Almhult141 Comments
International School of Helsingborg28 Comments
International School of the Gothenburg Region6 Comments
Stockholm International School11 Comments

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us here with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give you 6 free months of premium membership!

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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!

international schools

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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