Information for Members

How many comments are there in each of the 68 Comment Topics on ISC?

August 28, 2022


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 44800 comments that have been submitted on almost 1200 international schools from around the world. Basic and Premium Members can access all of these 44800 comments for free on our Browse All Comments page.

After almost 11 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 (25):

• Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus.
(1939 Comments)

• What types of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations?
(1444 Comments)

• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.).
(1003 Comments)
Back to School Initiatives and New Demands: Welcoming or Stressful?

• 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?
(1780 Comments)

• Describe the 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?
(1707 Comments)

• Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extracurricular responsibilities? Describe workload details.
(1019 Comments)

• Average class size for primary and secondary. Describe any aide support.
(1067 Comments)

• Describe the language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominant culture group?
(1421 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?
(1482 Comments)

• What types of budgets do classroom teachers/departments get?
(649 Comments)
What type of classroom/department budget do you get at your international school?

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

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

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

• In general, describe the demeanor of the students.
(738 Comments)
How is the students’ behavior at your international school?

• Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?
(461 Comments)
Has Your International School Met Your Expectations Once You Started Working There?

• What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff?
(546 Comments)
Teacher well-being and high staff morale at int’l schools: How to get there.

• Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them.
(628 Comments)
Which technologies are available at your international school and how are the staff using/not using them?

• Details about the current teacher appraisal process.
(391 Comments)
Has Your International School Appraised Their Teachers This School Year?

• Is the student population declining, staying the same or increasing? Give details why.
(616 Comments)
Student Populations at International Schools: Are they Increasing or Declining?

• How have certain things improved since you started working there?
(315 Comments)
How much are international schools actually improving themselves?

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

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

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

• How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, etc.)
(369 Comments)
How Much Curriculum Development Work are You Expected to Do? (Atlas Rubicon, etc.)

• How did this school handle the COVID-19 situation?
(71 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?
(1572 Comments)

• Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?
(1570 Comments)

• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. Describe the survivability for a family of four on one salary.
(858 Comments)
How much can international teachers actually save?

• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)?
(1343 Comments)

• Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.
(1214 Comments)
Using Health Insurance While Teaching Abroad: Delightful or Nightmare?

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

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

• Professional development allowance details.
(704 Comments)
What is the dream Professional Development model at an international school?

• Pension plan details.
(747 Comments)

• Describe your experience bringing pets.
(363 Comments)
Allowed or no way: Bringing pets to another country

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

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

• How is the school calendar? Is there ample vacation time?
(686 Comments)
How is the school calendar at your international school? Is there ample vacation time?

• 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?
(379 Comments)
Surprise Purchases You Need to Buy/Pay For When You First Arrive at Your New School

• Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school.
(211 Comments)
Giving birth while teaching abroad: what are the maternity benefits like?

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

• Details about new teacher orientation.
(320 Comments)
What are some events your international school is planning during New Teacher Orientation?
How Is The New Teacher Orientation at Your School?

• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school?
(497 Comments)
Why Are People Staying at or Leaving Your International School?

• Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about?
(294 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?
(164 Comments)

City Information Comment Topics (17)

• Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.
(826 Comments)
Favorite Restaurants, Places to Go to and Things to Do in Your Host Country

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

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

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

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

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

• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.
(697 Comments)
Which type of climate do you ideally look for when living abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• How progressive is the city with regards to recycling?
(41 Comments)
How Progressive is your Host Country with Regards to Recycling?

• What is the process of getting a work permit for this country, to get permanent residence and also to get citizenship (is dual citizenship even allowed?)?
(10 Comments)

Travel Information Comment Topics (6):

• Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby.
(539 Comments)
How Much Do Flights Actually Cost from Various Cities Around the World?

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

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

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

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

• What are the airports like in this city? (arriving, departing, shopping, customs, etc.)
(459 Comments)
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Top 10 Lists

Top 12 Most Controversial Comments Submitted by Our Members (2nd edition)

May 30, 2022


International School Community is full of thousands of useful, informative comments…44256 comments (30 May 2022) to be exact.

Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website, and sometimes they need to share how it really is working at their international school.

We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most controversial.

12. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?

“Disorganised. Micromanagement from leaders who haven’t been teaching a range of schools before. Limited experience from Tier 1 schools which reflects the disorganization and reactive rather than proactive approach to problems. Leadership runs to stomp down teachers, bully them and drain their enthusiasm for teaching. AOBA has a huge staff turnover, which was a question that I asked when interviewed. I was told a very low turnover rate until I turned up and was met with a large new teaching cohort. Leadership sees good teachers, and lies to get them because they know that what they offer is not good enough for the truth-telling of how this school is actually run…” – Aoba Japan International School (Tokyo, Japan) – 49 Comments

11. Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about?

“The ONLY contract that matters is the teacher’s contract with the government of Azerbaijan, and that is for one year and one year only. The “2-year” that is issued by the school? It’s not worth the paper it is written on. The business office regularly ignores sections of that contract that it finds inconvenient! Coming from a country where contracts are considered sacrosanct, that was a shocking realization…”European Azerbaijan School (Baku, Azerbaijan) – 7 Comments

10. What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective.

“Leaders have been fired without any forewarning shocking leaders and staff. Replacements were hired who are not trusted or have a reputation for being unpleasant. Student leaders behaved in a manner this year that caused a great number of problems for staff, parents, and admin. This is not a new behavior but rather part of the school persona and spirit…” – Tarsus American College (Mersin, Turkey) – 278 Comments

9. What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school?

“This is a top-down working environment and your professional opinion is not expected or valued. Smile, agree and do your best to follow through with all directives. Lay low and never make ripples, much less waves. This is a great place for 1st ever international teachers, but an unacceptable post for professional international educators…” – American International School (Abu Dhabi) (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) – 97 Comments

8. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?

“No, Not at all. There is no PAY SCALE as promised. Teachers even don’t get paid what they should get paid when inflation rises. Salaries stay the same every year. no way you can discuss this further with your HOD or director. Different building with more facilities was said to change, during my interview. During Covid, online teaching they cut salaries. Can you believe that? We spent more time in organising online learning and then they cut salaries! Flexibility only comes from one side in this school. I would not recommend this school to any teacher nor student!!!!” – International School Ruhr (Essen, Germany) – 65 Comments

7. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?

“No, the interview process was great yet when I joined there were clashes of values and I was constantly asked to stop and ‘listen’ (listen in the sense of ‘do what I say’ rather than ‘listen’ from the heart to hear and incorporate perspectives). As a creative person with ambition and well-read and connected, I had to keep lowering expectations until I felt there was no way I could continue working here. I had a completely different ethic, based on quality international school standards. I was highly disappointed by the lack of innovative thinking and the authoritarian and competitive feel of the majority of the leaders. I think the school is too American and not enough “international”. the culture was not healthy…” – Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria) – 74 Comments

6. Pension plan details.

“It is not a pension. Due to Brazilian law, each teacher pays 8% of their salary each month into a guarantee fund. This is more or less an unemployment insurance. At the end of your contract, the school agrees to “fire” you, so you can access that fund. Based on the exchange rate at that time, it can vary in USD. At the beginning of my contract is was estimated around $12,000. But, now it will be much closer to $7,000. There is no way to know how much it will actually be in the end…” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) – 78 Comments

5. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?

“The school has changed severely since the new head of school started this school year. 6 people had been fired so far, the morale is really low, there is a fear of “who will be the next”. The environment is not healthy at all…” – Benjamin Franklin International School (Barcelona, Spain) – 116 Comments

4. Has the school met your expectations once you started working there?

“My first impression of the school was that it was warm, welcoming, and compassionate. I thought I would truly matter as an employee – I was eager to find a school with a family-like atmosphere that I could make home. The family-like atmosphere is a total illusion. Employees are expendable. HR put out a health survey to prepare for Covid-19. Anyone (local staff and teaching assistants) seen as expendable that marked that they were at a higher risk of Covid on that survey was fired at the end of the school year. The motto for the year was “We Are One.” The irony was not lost on the foreign staff with this. Generally, the moment you have a differing opinion, an issue, or a criticism, you are treated like garbage. This school is the epitome of the term “toxic positivity…” – School of the Nations (Brasilia) (Brasilia, Brazil) – 41 Comments

3. Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extracurricular responsibilities? Describe workload details.

“Workload has increased, as teachers have been fired/let go… those remaining are regularly requested to cover (during their planning periods) for those who are out sick…” – Lahore American School (Lahore, Pakistan) – 193 Comments

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

“This is a great school with a fantastic community of teachers and staff. Such a shame that the owners will ignore the contract and refuse to pay health insurance above a yearly total of $180 per year, but then use the poor wording in the contract to cheat other people out of their final month’s salary. Beware if you want to work here…” – Sekolah Victory Plus (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 143 Comments

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

“No raise last year and I believe no raise this year as well…. Makes you wonder if the school is having some issues…” – Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 226 Comments

If you have an interesting story in your school that you would like to share, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Discussion Topics

Some Very Concerning Issues at 12 International Schools

February 20, 2022


International School Community is full of thousands of useful, informative comments,43153 comments (20 Feb. 2022) to be exact.

Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website, and sometimes they need to share how it really is working at their international school.

Back in 2015, we put out the top 12 most controversial comments in this article. However, we scoured our database of comments now in 2022, and we found 12 new comments that stood out to us as being some of the most concerning.

12. Housing Issues

“Document everything in your assigned apartment. Housing seems to be a major issue and both the director and the principals seem to think it’s adequate (which of course, as their housing is way higher quality than teacher housing). When things break or don’t work, it usually takes a long time to have them repaired. Patience is key here…” – International Community School of Abidjan82 Total Comments

11. Concerns About Getting Your Full Benefits

“Faculty are wondering if the ‘flights home’ portion of our contracts will be honoured, and that only USD 1,000 will be given as of this date. Financial issues have continued…”American International School Vietnam (AISVN)264 Total Comments

10. Child Protection Firings

“There have been 3 child protection firings in the last 5 years, yet no new trainings or reporting procedures for teachers (just new documents created). There was a massive firing done over COVID when teachers couldn’t get back to school. Most of us believe the compassionate thing to do would have been to keep people on as long as they were supporting students or curriculum. The majority of administrators are leaving this year. Not a controversy, but it’s unusual. The candidates recruited for the Head of School position included 2 white men and one BIPOC man who currently only had experience as a principal. It was a huge controversy that 1 of the white men had overseen a child-protection scandal at his last school and that he was being presented as a top 3 option to us by the board. Luckily, they selected the white male who had head of school experience and no child protection scandal, but it has been a lingering issue for the staff…” – Shanghai American School (Pudong)197 Total Comments

9. People Resigning Because of Covid Restrictions

“Covid related issues – teachers resigning as they wanted to be able to see families outside of China. Not too much the school could have done…” – Utahloy International School Guangzhou70 Total Comments

8. Not Getting Accredited

“The school hopes to become CIS accredited this academic year. The previous attempt at CIS accreditation was unsuccessful due to issues with the management structure of the school and the frequent changes in Head Master…” – The English School (Bogota)67 Total Comments

7. Problems with Changing the Contract After Signing

“The teaching contract is a bit of a touchy subject-be sure to KNOW and see which contract is passed from HR to Foreign expert bureau when you are taken to complete your visa-mention any anomalies that you may notice. Some people had issues with the terms that had changed on the contract itself AFTER signing-but really, it was nothing of consequence unless you are a ship jumper…” – Guangzhou Huamei International School65 Total Comments

6. No Raises on Teacher Salaries

“No raise last year and I believe no raise this year as well…. Makes you wonder if the school is having some issues…” – Seoul Foreign School220 Total Comments

5. School Climate Survey

“A recent school climate survey was administered to the staff. It was supposed to be useful and anonymous. One issue that arose immediately, was that in order to complete the survey, staff had to log into Microsoft Forms, which automatically attached name and email address to every response. Second, the majority of the questions, written by a staff member, were too broad to provide any useable data from which to develop a plan of action to address them. Even with the lack of confidentiality, a number of staff added specific and direct comments about the state of affairs, and one shocking statistic was that approximately 40% of the staff had considered leaving at some point in the year. In the final weeks of school, Board members met with staff who were leaving this year, in part, to determine their reasons for leaving. It would seem that this would be a pointless effort at that point because nothing had been done during the year to address staff morale issues…” – Oeiras International School214 Total Comments

4. Tech Issues

“Sadly, technology is a bit of a joke. From one day to the next, and depending on where your classroom is located, you might have great wi-fi … or none at all. If you had been part of the last day of school this year, you’d know the issues we face. It was a joke; videos wouldn’t play or they were super laggy, people couldn’t hear on Zoom, etc. It felt like all of the crying, heartfelt “Goodbye!” moments were nothing but faces and voices on your Zoom screen, trying to get anything to work…” – Concordia International School Hanoi32 Total Comments

3. New Teacher Orientation Concerns

“The induction program for new teachers remains a challenge area for the school. The administration is aware of the issue, however, it seems to be cultural ingrained…” – Santiago College74 Total Comments

2. Unqualified Teachers & LGBT Teachers Getting Fired

“The majority of teachers at this school are Georgian and do not have a background in education (no formal schooling in education and no teacher qualifications). This school is absolutely not LGBT-friendly for staff or students. Teachers are explicitly told not to discuss LGBT issues in the classroom and staff are reminded regularly that the school will not support such discussions and that staff have been fired for being members of the LGBT community.” – European School Tbilisi54 Total Comments

1. Toxic Positivity

“My first impression of the school was that it was warm, welcoming, and compassionate. I thought I would truly matter as an employee – I was eager to find a school with a family-like atmosphere that I could make home. The family-like atmosphere is a total illusion. Employees are expendable. HR put out a health survey to prepare for Covid-19. Anyone (local staff and teaching assistants) seen as expendable that marked that they were at a higher risk of Covid on that survey was fired at the end of the school year. The motto for the year was “We Are One.” The irony was not lost on the foreign staff with this. Generally, the moment you have a differing opinion, an issue, or a criticism, you are treated like garbage. This school is the epitome of the term “toxic positivity…” – School of the Nations (Brasilia)41 Total Comments

If you have a concerning story at your international school that you would like to share, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Information for Members

19653 Total Comments in All the School Profile “School Information” Sections

December 12, 2021


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2225+ school profile pages on our website has four comments sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information.  Our members are encouraged to submit comments on one or all of these sections if they currently work at an international school or have worked at one in the past.

The school information page on Seoul Foreign School’s profile page. (216 total comments)

It is important that we all share what we know so that we can in turn help other 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 will automatically get one free month of premium membership added to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

So, what are the recent statistics about the School Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the School Information section is 19653 (out of a total of 42453+ comments).

There are 24 subtopics in the School Information section on each school profile page.  Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out the total number of comments in that specific sub-topic and an example comment that has been submitted there.

• Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus. (1838 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school is set in 3 separate building, one being a 5 minute walk and the other across the road. Crossing the road is quite a safety hazard with the kindergarten class due to taxis over taking them whilst they are on the crossing and the local police not doing anything to monitor this. There is no proper play area and students are taken to local parks for lunch breaks, which is difficult when having to share with babies. No proper gym areas make p.e quite difficult.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo) (Tokyo, Japan) – 93 Comments

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• What types of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations? (1381 Total Comments)

Example comment: “It is a non-religiously affiliated school owned by a Christian affiliated college and operated on that campus. It is WASC accredited, but is not accredited by the Korean authorities and seems to be a limbo in regards to its local status.” –Global Prodigy Academy (Jeonju, South Korea) – 68 Comments

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• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.). (943 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school is discussing becoming IB and has implemented Teacher’s College Readers and Writer’s Workshop as well as whole language learning in the primary schools. Secondary schools do MAPS-based action plans to show and monitor student improvement and compare them to US students.” – American School of Torreon (Torreon, Mexico) – 64 Comments

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• Describe their hiring policies. Which recruiting fairs do they go to? How do they typically hire (e.g. face-to-face interview, Skype, etc.)? Are there any hiring restrictions mandated by the country? (1716 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Last year they were NOT hiring people with non-EU passports. Some positions that they had last year were local hires, even if the candidates weren’t the strongest of the CVs that they received. Most of this though is out of the school’s control and more the new/changing laws regarding hiring foreigners into the country.” – Southbank International School (London, United Kingdom) – 15 Comments

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• 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? (1644 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school is located near one of the hub stations in Tokyo, with easy access by several trains and subways. The school also has two school bus routes. The school will help the teachers find housing if necessary, but it does not itself provide housing. A transportation allowance is provided to cover the transportation cost from home to school and back.” – New International School of Japan (Tokyo, Japan) – 30 Comments

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• Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extra curricular responsibilities? Describe workload details. (970 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Expectations are high but the atmosphere is supportive. Staff are expected to undertake duties on a rota bais before and after school, at break times and lunch times. Staff are expected to run one extra curricular activity for one term per year. There is a decent amount of non-contact time at around 20% of timetable.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 75 Comments

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• Average class size for primary and secondary. Describe any aide support. (1010 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Class sizes are very small. In the primary, they are normally a combination of two grade levels (i.e. Grades 1 and 2 together) and about 16 kids with a teaching assistant. In secondary class size is smaller and can range from four to twelve per grade level.” – Hiroshima International School (Hiroshima, Japan) – 64 Comments

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• Describe the language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominant cultural group? (1364 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The Thao Dien (Primary) campus in the expat area has students from about 20 countries. The TT Campus, Primary, Middle School and Secondary is mainly Vietnamese. Korean is the next largest student group. Very few students from Western Countries. Has a large EAL population.” – Australian International School HCMC (Vietnam) (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – 19 Comments

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• Describe what kinds of teachers work here (local vs. expat, nationality, qualifications [or lack thereof], etc.) and staff turnover rate. (1417 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Primarily expat teachers, without any one nationality dominating things. When I left in 2011 there were teachers from Australia, Canada, US, UK, South Africa, Belgium, and Tanzania just within my department. Some teachers stay 7 to 10 years or more, while others just 2 to 4 years, as in most international schools.” – International School of Tanganyika  (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments

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• What types of budgets do classroom teachers/departments get? (614 Total Comments)

Example comment: “budgets have been steadily dropping. Ownership slyly changed the school from a not for profit school to a for profit school, without notifying parents of the change.” – Makuhari International School (Tokyo, Japan) – 22 Comments

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• PARENTS ONLY – General comments from parents of students that go to this school (312 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The mastery system is open to the interpretation of each teacher, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.” – QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China) – 64 Comments

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• What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer? (803 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school offers a wide variety of after school activities which are run by teachers. There is no extra pay for this. Teachers can choose which activity they would like to lead.” – International School of Koje (Geoje, South Korea) – 47 Comments

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• Name some special things about this school that makes it unique. (802 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school has an excellent music program that frequently presents music and drama to the local community and other schools. Students in the diploma program seek out ways to serve the community needs.” – Oeiras International School (Lisbon, Portugal) – 214 Comments

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• In general, describe the demeanor of the students. (707 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The students are generally great, however there are no entrance exams or behavior requirements. The owners Tehmine and Stephan want to make as much money as possible. There definitely are no requirements to enter this school.” – Surabaya European School (Surabaya, Indonesia) – 20 Comments

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• Has the school met your expectations once you started working there? (430 Total Comments)

Example comment: “I’ve really enjoyed working at the school. I have always been able to approach admin if I needed to.” – The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (St. John, Barbados) – 83 Comments

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• What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff? (502 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school has a health and wellness program where a lot of teachers connect and exercise together. Also, the PTO regularly hosts cocktail events after school. Plus there are scheduled tours and cultural events.” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia) – 69 Comments

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• Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them. (584 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Each teacher has a PC (windows only. The printer server won’t talk to macs) and a smart board. However, the smart boards are not all hooked up or working so it’s a very expensive video screen. Slow internet. Nothing Google, youtube, or Facebook works in China.” – Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 182 Comments

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• Details about the current teacher appraisal process. (368 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Get on your principal’s good side and you are fine. If they do not like you you will immediately get put on a corrective plan and ushered out. Just flatter the admin and you will be fine.” – Abu Dhabi International Private School (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) – 43 Comments

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• Is the student population declining, staying the same or increasing? Give details why. (562 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The number of students has increased. There is a waitlist for Year 6 now.” – UCSI International School Subang Jaya (Subang Jaya, Malaysia) – 11 Comments

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• How have certain things improved since you started working there? (294 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The one more important thing that changed for the positive, in around 2011-12, was the school initiated an 8000 RMB per year, per teacher, PD allowance. Before that there wasn’t an allowance. There was though PD for the DP teachers before that.” – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 53 Comments

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• How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country? (226 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Well one thing that my school had in the United States was a coordinator for reading in the Primary school. I feel that CIS would benefit from having one of those. We need somebody to coordinate how the primary school teaches reading and someone to coordinate resources. Also, someone to help us have a clearer stop and sequence across the grade levels.” – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 407 Comments

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• What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective. (372 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The school hires foreign teachers but sometimes it is difficult for the teachers to integrate into the school. It is really a combination of moving to Chile and assimilating as a foreigner as well as the schools lack of support to receive foreign teachers. The administration has recognized this problem and is working to help future hires.” – Santiago College (Santiago, Chile) – 74 Comments

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• What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school? (535 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Remember state school teachers are paid twice as much for half the work. All the locals are on waiting lists for Govt. schools but they are years (centuries) long.” – International School of Paphos (Paphos, Cyprus) – 123 Comments

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• How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, Toddle, etc.) (343 Total Comments)

Example comment: “A curriculum coordinator offers huge levels of support for this. During the current year, this load is heavy because of where we are in the accreditation cycle. High School has used Rubicon for a while. Lower School is just starting to use Rubicon.” – American School of Marrakesh  (Marrakesh, Morocco) – 29 Comments

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How did this school handle the COVID-19 situation? (14 Total Comments)

Example comment: “I was very impressed with ISHRs response to covid. No reductions in salary or positions cut, although some departing members of staff were not replaced. The school gave teachers the autonomy to work from home, although other schools in Germany asked staff to be on site. They checked in regularly to see how we were doing outside of school. I would go as far as saying it was probably one of the best responses in the international school world. We all got to keep our jobs, work from home when we felt like we needed to, and were treated with compassion…” – International School Hannover Region (Hannover, Germany) – 42 Comments

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Information for Members

The total comments in all the Benefits Information sections: 12207!

January 14, 2021


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2180+ 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 will automatically get one free month of premium membership added to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

So, what are the recent statistics about the Benefits Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the Benefits Information section is 12207 (out of a total of 39249+ comments); that is up 1503 comments from around 13 months ago (Nov. 2019).

There are 20 subtopics in the Benefits Information section on each school profile page.  Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out the total number of comments in that specific sub-topic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.

• Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year? (1415 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Salary is paid regularly each month directly into your bank account which the school will help you set up. It is paid in $US…” – Northbridge International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – 59 Comments

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• Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities? (1414 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Rent prices went up all over Shanghai in the past 1-2 years and even places near the school cost more now, as landlords start seeing that there’s many expats in the area willing to pay more…” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 481 Comments

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• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. (761 Total Comments)

Example comment: “A teaching couple could easily live and travel on one salary and save 100% of the other.  Savings opportunity is obviously significantly less on one salary, but still possible…” – Singapore American School (Singapore) – 309 Comments

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• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? (1236 Total Comments)

Example comment: “$4000 per teaching couple moving allowance (once you arrive in cash), optional $10,000 loan from school interest free (to buy car), annual flights home…” – American International School of Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria) – 21 Comments

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• Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals. (1085 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Teachers must pay for their own health insurance here as Switzerland doesn’t have a social health care program model. Some of the staff’s partners are actually the local doctors in Leysin, so expect to get seen or have your children get seen by them..” – Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland) – 113 Comments

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• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.). (523 Total Comments)

Example comment: “As the April 6, 2016 comment below states, there are many opportunities for increasing your monthly pay. Other than that, it is illegal to work for anyone but your visa provider (the school) in China. Lots of teachers tutor or work otherwise on the side anyway, but it is illegal.” – Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan, China) – 82 Comments

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• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents. (825 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Teachers with dependents need to pay some fees. These vary and are at the discretion of the school so they could conceivably become higher each year. They do not like to hire people with dependents.” – MEF International School Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey) – 162 Comments

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• Professional development allowance details. (617 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The PD allowance allows you to travel and pay for one IB workshop (or any conference) per year. Or you can do two IB online workshops…” – The International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal) – 181 Comments

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• Pension plan details. (676 Total Comments)

Example comment: “It is not a pension. Due to Brazilian law, each teacher pays 8% of their salary each month into a guarantee fund. This is more or less an unemployment insurance. At the end of your contract, the school agrees to “fire” you, so you can access that fund. Based on the exchange rate at that time, it can vary in USD. At the beginning of my contract is was estimated around $12,000. But, now it will be much closer to $7,000. There is no way to know how much it will actually be in the end.” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) – 78 Comments

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• Describe your experience bringing pets. (310 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Some teachers bring their pets from the USA (and other countries like UAE and Qatar). Some do it via the airlines or a pet relocation service. You need to make sure you pet has their up-to-date shots and whatnot to avoid certain delays and hassles along the way. The shorter your flight to Egypt the easier it might be to get your pet to Egypt.” – American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 62 Comments

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• Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?). (617 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Each teacher is paid differently. No pay scale. Some teachers with lots of experience paid less than teachers with little experience. Men get paid more than women…” – American School of Durango (Durango, Mexico) – 54 Comments

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• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city? (393 Total Comments)

Example comment: “The pay is lower than other international schools in the area but the school fees are also lower. It is the mid range between the “posh” international schools and the ones that don’t hire internationally trained teachers.” – Ican British International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – 74 Comments

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• How is the school calendar? Is there ample vacation time? (592 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Point of contention. Clearly we are in a Muslim country so we have to abide by the holidays, but as Ramadan keeps pushing up 2 weeks every year, so does Eid (which usually falls in the first term. But we are in one of those awkward times where Eid is falling the first week of school so that means no break from the start of school until December. There is only one week at xmas this year, because we have to make sure to finish school around the start of Ramadan, it will be too hot to come to school while the kids (majority) will be fasting or they just won’t attend school. We will still have a week in Feb and a week in April. No long weekends here. 3 months off for summer.” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (Doha, Qatar) – 97 Comments

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• 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? (330 Total Comments)

Example comment: “If you have a pet you have to pay an extra deposit to the landlord, not covered by school…” – Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine) – 162 Comments

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• Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school. (169 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Women get 12 weeks at 80% pay. She can take more time off, but without pay and at the business’ discretion. I think men don’t get any time off to be with their newborn.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 59 Comments

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• What is the process of getting reimbursed for things? (226 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Fill out a simple form, submit the receipt, and the money is deposited into your account after the purchase has been approved. If you are concerned as to whether or not you will be reimbursed, seek out approval first. I have never been turned down.” – Daegu International School (Daegu, South Korea) – 25 Comments

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• Details about new teacher orientation. (270 Total Comments)

Example comment: “We were picked up at the airport by a school driver who drove the Superintendent there to meet us. We were taken directly to our house, and someone had purchased some staple foods for the refrigerator. There were new towels, sheets and pillows. Other teachers/admin in the neighborhood came to greet us that evening and brought over hot food for dinner. It was an excellent welcome. We immediately felt very much at home…” –Lahore American School (Lahore, Pakistan) – 193 Comments

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• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school? (403 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Everyone leaves because the salary scrap and administration is crap. If you had any moral integrity you would also leave after a week.” – Colombo International School (Colombo, Sri Lanka) – 64 Comments

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• Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about? (250 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Read carefully. 3 page contract is very vague and WILL be used in favor of the administration against you. Expect them to try and keep as much of your money as they can. Hence the 2 month salary withholding which you are assured you will get at back end of contract. This does not usually come to fruition.” – Pan Asia International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 70 Comments

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• Information on trailing spouses. Can they work under spousal visa (also availability of work) or is it possible to live only on one salary? (95 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Trailing spouses can only be sponsored if you are earning a certain amount. It is not very easy to get a job in some professionals; however, this might change soon with the sponsorship system changing often as we near the World Cup 2022.” – The English Modern School (Doha) (Doha, Qatar) – 91 Comments

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