Discussion Topics

Traveling to get Vaccinated in your Home Country

April 18, 2021

Let’s be honest. Not all countries are equally successful with their COVID19 vaccination roll-out.

Many of us are in countries in which there seems to be no hope to get vaccinated before the summer (or even the foreseeable future). The international school community hasn’t been able to see their families in almost two years, so they are eagerly hoping to do so this summer.

Although vaccination is not a mandatory prerequisite for travel, being vaccinated would definitely give them some peace of mind while visiting their loved ones.

Different regions of the world are having different dynamics in rolling out their vaccination programs. Europe is currently lagging behind the countries such as UK, Israel, Chile, Serbia, the USA, etc. But most developing countries are lagging behind Europe.

Because of the time crunch, a number of international school teachers are choosing to go to their home countries anyway and looking at maybe also getting vaccinated there.

As plane tickets are being bought (hopefully with a flexible rescheduling policy), we are currently seeing new waves of infections in many countries around the world (and maybe even your home country). This puts all of us in a moral doubt of whether we should take a risk and travel to see our friends and family or should be more patient and wait until more certain times.

After looking at some flights from Europe to the USA, the prices look very attractive compared to previous years. So buying one of these flights is hard to resist.

However, it is hard to know what the world will look like come June. We don’t know yet which requirements you’ll have to meet to even fly to your home country. As of today, most countries just require proof of a negative PCR test for citizens of that country (and their spouse/family).

What are your plans for this coming summer? Will you take the chance and fly home?

continue reading

Information for Members

Which Popular ISC Blog Articles Are in the Top 10 Most Viewed List?

January 20, 2019

Our blog gets hundreds of views every day. One time we had over 2200 views in one day!

ISC writes and publishes many of the articles on our blog, but we also have a growing number of member-submitted articles. These articles are submitted by people new to international teaching, seasoned international school educators, and those people that have retired from international education. Member-submitted articles come from parents, authors, directors, teachers, students, companies, etc.

Since 2011, the ISC blog has been viewed over 250,000 times! But which blog articles were the ones that our readers wanted to check out and read the most? We’ll start with #10 and move down to the most popular article on our blog.

#10 The 40 Most Viewed Schools on International School Community

“So interesting, our top 40 school profiles with the most views page. It’s like, which school is the most popular amongst our 13K+ members? Before reading below or checking out the page, which schools do you think show up on this list? Are the ones at the top those “Tier one” international schools that we all hear about? You might be surprised which schools are really on this list then…”

#9 How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #3: Send money home every month (Mortgage, College Debt, etc.)

“Not all teachers decide to move abroad because they have a sense for adventure. It is because they need to save some money to pay off their debts; which we all know is something hard to accomplish as a teacher back in your home country…”

#8 Top 10 reasons why summer vacation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for an international school teacher

“One of the best things about being an international school teacher is that we have the ability to travel, sometimes much more than if we were teaching in our home country.  *Some items in this list are meant to be “tongue-in-cheek” and making fun of our “first world people problems” that we sometimes experience while traveling around the world. Of course we love this ability to travel and appreciate every minute of it…”


#7 Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Shanghai, China

“The full salary is paid in RMB. The school adds an extra 500 RMB towards utility bills. The yearly pay is divided into 12 months. For newcomers, their first pay is in September 20th, although school starts early August. This is clearly stated in the contract but those new teachers coming in need to be aware of this that they won’t see money until September…”

#6 Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Bangkok, Thailand

“In 2012 the school implemented the Literacy by Design program for K3 – Grade 4, and the IB Diploma Programme in 2013. It also began scheduling more consistent weekly professional development meetings in 2013, including WASC focus and home group sessions, and grade-level meetings. As of 2012, it joined EARCOS and now regularly sends its staff to the annual conferences…”

#5 Top 10 Things a Recruiting Int’l Teacher is 😟 Worrying About in November

“Yes, it is November and many international school teachers are already thinking about the next school year (18-19). Actually, many of these teachers started recruiting back in September or August! It is necessary to recruit this early because international schools seem to be hiring earlier and earlier every year. Additionally, the international school recruitment fairs are also requiring candidates to have already applied to attend their fairs by now; by November you are most likely too late to apply to attend one (especially the ones in Bangkok)…”


#4 Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Kuala Lumpur

“The school’s workload is average. We certainly hear of neighboring (similar caliber) schools who expect a lot more out of their teaching staff. In addition to a normal teaching day, teachers also are expected to lead 2 after school activities (running 10 weeks long each) per year. Coaching satisfies this requirement. This is standard for international schools in Malaysia, as the government requires schools to offer ASAs. Some teachers work…”

#3 Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Singapore

“The 2 campuses are in the west side and east side of the city. The west side, Lakeside, is on the MRT line that will go into the city centre. The east coast campus, Tanjong Katong, you need to take a bus to the MRT which will then go into the city. The bus will also take you into downtown within about half an hour to 40 mins depending on where you live. Most…”


#2 Top Ten Tips For International School Teachers To Build A Solid Retirement

“Many international school teachers don’t think enough about retirement.  And that’s understandable.  The whole concept can seem confusing.  Andrew Hallam, however, says it isn’t.  He says that those who fail to plan are planning to fail. That could mean eating dog food instead of gourmet, during your golden years…”

#1 Top 10 Character Traits of a Seasoned International School Teacher

“A seasoned international school teacher (SIST) has worked at 3+ international schools in more than three parts of the world (or more).  They know the ins and outs of international schools.  They now have many old friends (from international schools that they’ve worked at) that have since moved on and now live in all parts of the world.  Many teachers say that they originally meant to be abroad for only 2-3 years, but once you get into the international school community, it is easy to get hooked…”

Keep checking out our blog every week. We typically post a new article every 3-6 days. If you are interested in submitting an article to our blog as a guest author, email us at editor @ internationalschoolcommunity.com . All guest authors receive between 6-12 months of free premium membership to our website!

continue reading

Top 10 Lists

Five Reasons to Stay in AND Leave Your Host Country for Summer Vacation

July 8, 2017

Summer is upon us teachers and we are all in the midst of our summer plans.


Now most of us are probably making our way back to our home countries for a visit with family and friends, but our summer plans are actually quite varied and don’t necessarily involve leaving our host country.

As many teachers do, we struggle to find the perfect summer plans. We want to connect with our new friends and old ones, but we also want to use our long vacation time to travel the world (which could also involve our friends).

Now if you have a partner that is from your host country, that can also affect how you schedule your summer events; meaning you might just be spending more time staying put and visiting your partner’s family.

There are actually a number of reasons to stay in your host country as well as to leave it.


STAY: If you are living in Scandinavia, summer time is the best time stay in your host country. Now is your chance to enjoy the most perfect weather of the year during the summer months. There are beaches to go to, forests to explore and great outdoor events happening all over the place. There is also ample daylight during this time of the year, so you can see a lot even in just one day!


LEAVE: It can be very hot in some of our host countries during the summer. We mean really hot! Who wants to stay inside all day during our summer vacations?! If you live where it is unbearable hot (like the Middle East or North Africa), that is likely your only choice! Teachers don’t stay in the UAE during a summer holiday, they go to their home countries or travel as tourists to Europe or Asia, mostly. Actually, nobody stays if they don’t need to, because it is so hot, between 40-50 C.” – RAK Academy (47 total comments)

Saving Money

STAY: Not traveling typically means saving some money. It is true that you are also spending money if you stay at home during the summer months, but often you spend more money per day when on holiday. There are always extra things to pay for when traveling (like going to a concert, a ticket for a museum or a boat ride, paying for an organized tour, etc.). You also probably go out to eat at a restaurant at least two times a day when traveling, which can definitely add up. If you stay at home during the summer, you can also opt for a tutoring job or teaching summer school to make some extra money. “Saving money here is doable if you are conservative. Many staff tutor which almost doubles their income. I know of many staff that tutor enough for their travel and cost of living so they bank near all of their salary. As a single provider with a family, tutoring would be a must to save.” – American Creativity Academy (31 total comments)

LEAVE: An increasing number of international school teachers are leaving for their summer vacations around the world and renting out their apartment to Airbnb. In most major cities in the world, this can mean making a lot of money in a short period of time. There are also a number of house sharing websites for international school teachers that people are now using. Staying at one of these home during your summer vacations can also save you quite a bit of money.

Friends vs. Family

STAY: Summertime is the perfect chance to see your former international school colleagues because your vacation time definitely matches up then. If your former colleague is still living where they worked with you, then it is always awesome to go back to a place you’ve once lived. If your he/she has moved on to a different international school and country, then you are crazy to not plan a trip to go visit them in their new surroundings. Hopefully you’ll get to explore a new country and save money on hotels at the same time because you know somebody there now.


LEAVE: Many international school teachers only see their parents and relatives once a year. If it is not during the Christmas break, then probably your only other chance to see them is during your summer vacation. Especially if your home country is freezing during the winter time, visiting it during the summer is really your only sane option. Let’s face it, your family wants to see you and love spending some quality time with you. Seeing your family in person is a great way to make sure you keep those connections strong. Even if it is for just a short time, bonding with your relatives is important.

If the stars align well for you, the best solution is to stay in your host country and your parents and relatives come to you!  “Most teachers wait for the summer holidays to go on holiday. This is a mistake. Invite the family to visit you! It’s the best time of the year. You have a place to stay they can stay at and you can save the air fares that you would have used for traveling.” – International School of Paphos (105 total comments)


STAY: It is truly a regret when you decide to leave your host country and you haven’t seen all the places that you wanted to check out while living there. Summer vacation is a super time to get to those hard to reach places in your host country. Seeing all the cool places that your host country has to offer gives you a better insight into your host country’s culture as a whole. You can taste the cuisine there to see if it is different to where you live, you can see a different landscape to what you typically see around your home, and you can get a chance to practice speaking the host country language if most of the people where you live can speak English to you (because they live in a bigger, more metropolitan area).

LEAVE: Many teachers include some cool, far away adventure for their summer holidays. With 8+ weeks to play with and factoring in your budget for travel, you can get to just about anywhere. Why not explore a completely different part of this world? You might just live in one of those places in the near future! “Most teachers travel for the holidays during the school year. 99% of teachers travel for the summer holiday. Easy and cheap to get to other parts of the Middle East and South Asia. Europe isn’t too bad, but going to North or South America is usually reserved for summer holidays.” – Rowad Alkhaleej International School (Dammam) (114 total comments)


STAY: Just stay home and relax, that is what summer vacation is all about. It is good to finally just do nothing and enjoy your home and surroundings. The summer months are for recharging your body and your mind, so that you can be fresh for the next school year. It is hard for people to just do nothing, but it can very useful and welcoming. Go for a walk around your neighborhood and just take in the sights, smells and sounds. Ride your bike around a nearby river, lake or shore and take in all the beautiful nature that surrounds you in your host country. “There is a bit of nature within the city center. There are pretty big parks to walk around in. The most popular one yesterday was the City Garden. Lots of people there with all benches full. Great place to hang out and enjoy the nice spring weather right now.” – Anglo American School of Sofia (49 total comments)


LEAVE: If your home is not as cozy as you’d like it to be and your host country city is a bit dirty and hectic, you might find it hard to relax during the summer months. Going somewhere else to find relaxation is your best choice. Some international school teachers find a good yoga retreat to take part in on a tropic island (like Bali, Indonesia or Koh Samui, Thailand), others go camping in large national parks that many countries have to offer. Traveling somewhere where you can get away from all the loud noise and life’s annoying distractions can sometimes only be found in another country. If you stay where you live, then you are bound to get daily reminders of all the things that you still need to do, fix or clean up. When your abroad, you can find some really cozy and relaxing places where you can forget all your worries.

continue reading

Top 10 Lists

Top 10 reasons why summer vacation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for an international school teacher

July 27, 2014

One of the best things about being an international school teacher is that we have the ability to travel, sometimes much more than if we were teaching in our home country.  *Some items in this list are meant to be “tongue-in-cheek” and making fun of our “first world people problems” that we sometimes experience while traveling around the world. Of course we love this ability to travel and appreciate every minute of it!

1164604500_170359d4f7_z1. It makes you tired, if you travel a lot.

Traveling around everywhere does have its downside.  The downside is definitely all the waiting you do both on the plane and in airports.  One international school community member just recently commented that they had three layovers to get back to their host country!  Many layovers also means that you most likely are on long-haul flights as well. You can get used to 12-14 hour flights like some international school teachers have, but they still take a toll on your body.  It is unlikely that you are immune to the all-powerful jet-lag.

2. If you stay in one place, you get bored.

Some international school teachers come up with an elaborate and intensive travel itinerary for their summer vacation (let’s say…6 different countries in 6 six weeks!), but others like to just go to one place for the majority of their vacation time.  Maybe they go to their home country for the whole summer or to some popular beach-side city in a nearby country for a sizable chunk of their time off.  Many teaching couples have small children and that of course can affect your travel plans for the summer; sometimes making them less intensive. Even if it is your thing, getting time to really veg-out and relax (if you just stay in one place), it is bound to start getting a bit stale and routine for you.  It is possible these people are actually enjoying their time in one place (read: not boring), but these teachers are also the ones that say to the other teachers (who are traveling around much more) how jealous they are of their travel plans!

DSC_01513. If you are surrounded by tourists, especially ones from your home country, its annoying.

It is possibly the worst thing, to find yourself surrounded by tourists from your home country, when you are on vacation.  We all roll our eyes and let out a silent gasp at them as they are usually “so loud” and “obnoxious” as they are walking around annoying you and the locals. Yes, yes, those tourists are probably thinking the same about you, but we all know we are better than them. (wink!)

4. You get on a crazy time schedule of staying up late and waking up late, not good for going back to school

It happens every summer vacation: you stay up until sometime past midnight and then wake up well after the “normal” time to eat some breakfast…almost every day! Having a crazy timetable for your summer days also takes a toll on your internal body clock.  Changes to your body clock can affect your digestion, well-being, health, etc. It can also create some sleep problems for you, and “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

5. Crappy free wifi in your hotels and restaurants

After a long day of traveling in a country where you don’t have data access on your mobile (making you anxious because of the tariffs that your roaming provider would charge you), you just want quick access to the internet almost immediately after you get into your hotel room.  However, your goal for this almost always fails as hotel and hostel wifi access is often very unreliable.  If you have you a smart IT professional also traveling with you, sure they can do some magic (unbeknownst to the hotel owners) to make it work better for you, but most of us don’t have the knowledge to do anything…which can leave you feeling frustrated and helpless.  No wifi = angry traveler.

6. You lose track of what day it is

You get so lost in your day-to-day adventures during the summer, and you always start forgetting what day of the week it is. It is both good and bad not knowing what day it actually is.  Good because you aren’t stressed about going to work on Monday through Friday and you can just be free to do whatever you want any day of the week.  Not knowing the day of the week may be bad though too because you most likely still have a schedule of things you need to do or cities/countries to travel to next, and if you don’t have the right date and time straight in your head…then bad luck might start occurring for you (meaning an unwanted change in your plans, an extra fee/charge to pay for, miss meeting a special friend that you haven’t seen in a year, etc.)

7. You are with your family too much, after 1 day (hour for some people) with your mom can bring you too high anxiety levels.

Yes we all love our moms, but we don’t all love it when they are overseeing our every move again. Moms get over-obsessed with our presence when we return for a visit and sometimes revert back to how she acted when you were a teenager. It is nice when they do your laundry and cook you food while you are back, and you try your best to show a high appreciation for that. You go out to dinner with her and take her out shopping, good times. It is important to spend time with your mom and other family members, but you still need some alone time when you are visiting back home because you are also “on your vacation” and need time to yourself to veg and relax.

2014-06-27 13.42.248. You miss the food there in your home country too much

One of the favorite things to do as an international school teacher is to go back to your home country and buy and eat all the food that is your favorite and also not available in your host country.  Is this yearning for home country goods enough to make you move back? Unlikely.  So to solve this “dilemma”, international teachers crazily buy things (sometimes too many things) to bring back to our host country.  The worry of an overweight checked bag is always on our minds during summer vacation back home. It usually works our just fine in the end (just at or under 50 lbs), because no one wants to pay an overweight baggage fee (usually crazily over-priced) on their flight back to their host country for things that they “don’t really need”.

9. You end up spending too much money because you are going out to eat a lot and not all meals you get are worth it

When traveling, the biggest dilemma you have is where you are going to eat next in a city you don’t know at all. Even if you use websites like Foursquare and Tripadvisor for recommendations, you always end up eating at a “dud” restaurant. Paying more money for a meal too, doesn’t equal better eating experience and better taste.  Wasting your traveling-money away on bad restaurant is not the best scenario that your were hoping for in your summer holiday to a city that you were excited to go visit.  You don’t want to be worrying about wasting money either during a time when you should be relaxed and enjoying your break from work and exploring the world.

10. You have to go through all your photos and edit them before posting them to social media.

There are a few people who just post their traveling photos straight from their smart phone, that’s easy. Some of us though have an SLR camera and take a lot of photos while traveling around the world. We have blogs to write on, various social media websites to post on, family members to write emails to with attached pictures, etc.  That is a lot to worry about and think about when you are on summer vacation.  Good advice: it is better to edit and post your photos in small batches so you don’t get so overwhelmed with your 100s of photos to go through and edit.

This article was submitted by a guest author and member of International School Community.

Please comment and share your reason why summer vacation isn’t all it is cracked up to be!

We have a Travel Information section on our school profile pages. Our 4600+ members have submitted over 400 comments in this section; sharing their knowledge about traveling around while working at the schools they either work at now or have worked at in the past.  Check out some of our latest comments here.

continue reading