Eating out and finding a really tasty restaurant in your host city is the best. Such delicious local food (or ‘expat food’ cuisine) to be had! While not all local restaurants will be the best, there are sure to be some excellent ones. Typically you find these out from the veteran teachers at your school. They’ve been there awhile, so they are the best ones to let you know where to eat out at. And if the cost of living is low where you are, you might just find yourself eating out all the time (see How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #2: Go out to eat all the time!)
There are also just your favorite things to do in the city. Maybe it is taking a jog around the corniche if you live in a city in the Middle East. Maybe it is going to a posh bar downtown where a lot of expats frequent, like the Bund in Shanghai, China. Maybe it is just a quiet park that you like in Western Europe where people go to just relax and enjoy the clean air and surrounding nature (and people watch). The best part is you don’t know your favorite things to do in your host city until you arrive. You could say this aspect is one of the more exciting part of living abroad and teaching internationally.
Another cool thing to do in your host country and traveling around and exploring the different places it offers. If you like the mountains, hopefully you will live not too far away from one that you go to do on the weekend (let’s say if you live in Zurich). If you like the sea, maybe there will be a nice coast that you can take a local bus to (let’s say north of Barcelona). Enjoying your day at the beach can be a great getaway from your sometimes busy life at your international school. In China, they have these really beautiful water towns. Many international school teachers in Shanghai are bound to have a favorite water town that they frequent every so often.
So many favorite things, so little time. Especially if your plan is to only stay 2-3 years in your current host country, it is good to frequent your favorite places and often! Soon enough, you’ll be moving away to live in your next location and you’ll certainly miss all of your current favorite things! (see Going back to a place you once lived – I almost cried!)
Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of your favorite host country restaurants, places and things to do. There are a total of 394 comments (May 2018) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in one of 65 comment topics called – “Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.”
Here are a few of those submitted comments:
“Cheongna it is pretty easy to get to the famous Hongdae area of Seoul. The area has tons of restaurants, cafes, bars, street food vendors, and live performances. In Cheongna itself, there are new places opening all the time. Current favorites are Roy’s (a Mexican place), Wembley’s Bar, Chicken & Beer, Big Grill (a Korean BBQ place), Texas BBQ, and Hans Craft (craft beer pub). For activities, many teachers like to use the boats in Lake Park or go for a picnic. Many teachers enjoy mountain biking and hiking on the nearby trails. Screen golf and screen baseball are fun activities and of course noraebang (singing rooms).” – Cheongna Dalton School (Incheon, South Korea) – 42 Total Comments
“Oslo has an amazing fjord. Its cheap and plenty of little islands can be got to for the normal cost of your monthly T-Bane card. There are fantastic restaurants – but you will need a mortgage before going out for a good dinner here. Skiing and hiking are cheap or free and we spend our summers picking berries in the forests and winters skiing or skating. Its a paradise in truth.” – Northern Lights International School (Oslo, Norway) – 28 Comments
“Zurich is definitely a city worth walking through. Ambling through the narrow lanes of the old town is a treat. Pop into either the Fraumunster church to see the stunning Chagall windows or walk to up the tower of the Grossmunster church, or walk into the cript of the Water Church. On a nice day a short boat ride (Kleine rundfahrt) which starts at the main boat docks near Burkliplatz is worth the time.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 33 Total Comments
“Tianjin is a very beautiful city with lots of canals and urban parks and greenways. It is incredibly flat. There are two lakes next to school and expat teachers live in apartments around the lakes. It is a wonderful location for running and exercise in all seasons of the year.” – HIKSVS International School (Tianjin, China) – 30 Comments
“One of my personal favorites is a nice place in Paragon called Midtown. They have a large menu with a lot of traditional Thai dishes and a few international options. Some of their spicy dishes are fantastic (if you can handle Thai chili peppers).” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 242 Comments
“We just went to Bait Al Luban near to the Corniche Mutrah. The food there is delicious! It really seems like they use fresh ingredients and things made there are done to a really nice perfection. Another favorite restaurant that we’ve been to is in the Wave area. It is a Lebanese restaurant that’s called Zahr El Laymoun. We got some hot and cold mezza dishes and every single one was so tasty. Will definitely be going back to these places soon.” – American International School of Muscat (Muscat, Oman) – 34 Commentscontinue reading
We’re happy to announce the winners of our latest Photo Contest: How Does Your Host Country Recycle?
First Place: “At our school, we lead up to Earth Day with a week-long event called Sustainable Solutions. Innovators and activists from around the world, as well as Green School and local students, present different thoughts, ideas, and projects on making our planet more sustainable. One part of it is The Trash Walk. Staff and students spend part of each day with the school’s founder, John Hardy, walking through villages and rice fields collecting trash. Then it’s recycled through the school’s recycling center called Kembali.
Here in Bali recycling is still a work in progress. There are recycling bins on many street corners, but the education surrounding the need and importance of recycling are still not in place. Many of these bins are full of trash that is not separated or is not recyclable. Green School is trying to get the word out one village at a time through what we call “pilot villages.” Green School students and local students work together, one village at a time, to raise awareness and provide sustainable solutions to plastics use, trash dumping, and practical recycling.”
Congratulations, Tom South! He currently works at Green School Bali
Prize awarded: Premium membership for TWO YEARS on our website!
Second Place: “Bangladesh recycles in the most beautiful way. Women take worn, ripped sarees that can no longer be worn and stack them together in layers to make a soft blanket. Hand-stitched together with rows and rows of colored thread and with patches of patterned fabric to cover holes or stains, they take something old and create a beautiful new product.”
Congratulations, Annie Tunheim! She currently works at American International School Dhaka.
Prize awarded: Premium membership for ONE YEAR on our website!
Third Place: “Although Thailand does not have a formal and official recycling or waste management program for all the households, some apartments and condos do have their recycling program that is administrated by the main office. All the recycling materials are divided by categories and it is weighted monthly. The income generated by the householders is used to improve the quality and conditions of common areas such as swimming pool, playground, and library.”
Congratulations, Mariano Zuk!
Prize awarded: Premium membership for SIX MONTHS on our website!
Thanks to everyone who participated! We have awarded everyone else ONE WEEK of premium membership for participating in this photo contest.
Stay tuned for our next photo contest. Check out our previous Photo Contests here.continue reading
Let’s hope that all of our host countries recycle in some way. If they do, then certainly the ways they do it will be different and interesting.
Figuring out how your host country recycles is another thing. If the directions or letters you receive are in a language you can’t read and understand, then it can definitely be a challenge. But asking around school and maybe even your neighbors can help.
Maybe you pay some sort of a deposit when you buy something at a store that comes in a plastic bottle, then you need to find the place where you can return these bottles and get your deposit back. In other countries, you don’t pay a deposit and thus all your garbage might just go into one big garbage bag. Not the best for Mother Earth. Luckily, in these countries, there might be locals going around to different dumpsters looking for those recyclables. They seem to know where to go and where to get some money for them.
Then again, there might be an easy way to recycle most of the things you are using, but you just haven’t figured it out yet. Years can pass with you not recycling the best way that you can in your host country. Once you find out the way, then you might feel a bit stupid that you haven’t been do it that way since you first moved there!
The ways your host country recycles might be a bit inconvenient for you (or really easy!), but once you get it part of your new routine of living there, then it is typically a snap to recycle all the time.
At ISC, we are really curious to see how your host countries do recycling. The next time you go for a walk outside of your home, take a picture of what it looks like and we will choose the top 3 photos that are the most interesting to win the photo contest prizes!
Photo contest topic:
How Does Your Host Country Recycle
How to submit your photo for the contest?
So, how does your country recycle? Submit your photo to us and enter our competition. All participants will receive free premium membership to our website!
Send your photo to editor @ internationalschoolcommunity.com. Please remember to:
• Write your name and email address
• Attach your picture and write a short description about it
• Enter these words in your subject: International School Community Photo Contest Entry: How Does Your Host Country Recycle
Or using your social media accounts:
Tweet the photo and mention our profile @ to make sure we will see it.
If you are on Instagram, tag us when you post the photo and/or use the official hashtag #iscommunityphoto
The PRIZES are:
1st prize: 2 YEARS FREE of premium membership
2nd prize: 1 YEAR FREE of premium membership
3rd prize: 6 MONTHS FREE of premium membership
(Those submissions that are not in the top three will receive 1 free week of premium membership just for participating.)
Deadline to submit your photo
Thursday, 3 May, 2018. Maximum one photo entry per contestant.
Check out our previous Photo Contests here.continue reading
It is a time of celebration for International School Community as we now have over 13000 members on our website!
To celebrate 13000+ members, all members can get 25% off of all premium membership subscriptions from 3 April – 11 April, 2018 (ending 23:59 PST on 11 April, 2018).
The 25% off coupon code is: RECR13KMEMB
Even if you are a member with Premium Membership already right now, you can still add more premium membership during this promotion. Just login to our website and go to the Manage Subscription page, choose the membership option that you’d like and then enter this coupon code (RECR13KMEMB). Next click on the Make a Payment button to pay either with your PayPal account or without logging in to PayPal and just paying with your credit card.
Once you have premium membership access, please take this time to submit some comments on the schools you know about on our website. For every 10 comments you submit, your account will automatically be updated with one free month of premium membership. There is no limit, too. So if you submit 40 comments, then you will get four months of premium membership added to your account for free!
International School Community’s website launched back in February 2011. When our first newsletter came out in May 2011, we only had 49 members! On average, we have been getting over 300-400 people signing up to become new members each month. We hope this trend continues! The more members we have, the more people you have to network with.
International School Community’s goal is to be the largest online community for international schools educators. Our website provides a useful, informative and celebratory environment for networking with other international school teachers and learning about different international schools around the world.
We created a website that would highlight the ins and outs of working at international schools (the benefits, the school itself, the city and travel information, etc.).
Another major goal for this website is to provide experienced teachers the platform to share what they know so that prospective and seasoned international school teachers can make more informed decisions as they venture out to a new international school. Making connections and gathering information about international schools in our community has never been easier! Whether you are looking to make new friends, network with other international school teachers or learn more about the wonderful world of teaching at international schools, International School Community is the place to be.
We want members to provide real information that is specific; information that is related to all the different topics we need to know about before signing a contract. International School Community offers up-to-date information in a highly organized, easy-to-use manner.
You can search our vast collection of international school profile pages to find that specific international school you want to know about. You can also search our member profiles and be able to find a contact to send a private message to so that you can get firsthand information about a school that member has worked at.
We also offer a vast amount of information and links related to the world of teaching at international schools and education in general via our blog.
While the focus of the site is to serve the international school teaching community by providing real and useful information about international schools, we have specifically organized our website to promote our members to leave comments and information that are useful for everyone. Enjoy being an active member on our website!
We strive to have the largest collection of resources and services for the international teaching community. International School Community really wants to take writing reviews and comments about international schools to the next level.
Here are what some of our current members are saying about International School Community:
“It’s really useful…it’s a really good way to find out practical info about schools when you’re looking for jobs. If you are interested in particular schools, you can just contact any member from that school to find out insider info! It’s also good if you just want to find out what life is like for teachers in other cities! Really unique idea!” (An international teacher in China)
“International School Community is a great resource for international school teachers. Whether you are doing research for a new job, or just connecting with other teachers, this site is has a plethora of great information. I especially love that this site has a positive feel to it, rather than a place for teachers to vent. I really recommend registering to be a part of this great idea.” (An international teacher in South Korea)
“You have an amazingly wonderful website and seeing these comments is extremely helpful to me.” (A teacher looking to teach abroad at international schools)
“I am very impressed for a website to take the time to do this. You have a great resource that I certainly could have used when I first set off overseas teaching in 1998!! The site works well and it is nice to get a good background on almost every school I’d wish to work in. You are doing a fantastic job with your website, keep it up!” (A veteran international school teacher)
“I truly love being an international educator and researching and comparing schools, as well as discovering great schools that aren’t as well-known. I am grateful for ISC having a platform that makes it all so easy.” (Another veteran international school teacher)continue reading
It was more than ten years into my international teaching career when a colleague said to me, ’You never get all three – the school, the location and the package’.
That was nearly two years ago, but I have returned to that idea many times since. In fact, I wonder if doesn’t explain many an international school career, my own included: are some of us looking for something which, in the end, we can’t really have?
My first international school provided a first class professional experience. Coming from an unremarkable UK comprehensive school, suddenly I had not one, but two, well-appointed classrooms for my own individual use as we taught different Secondary sections on different floors. Suddenly, no class had more than twenty students. At first, I used to sometimes catch myself wondering where ‘the others’ were. Suddenly, every student had their own personal textbook (…this was the ‘90s!). No more sharing and photocopying. The students were polite, pleasant, keen to learn – everything, in fact, that I had sometimes wished for during that last period on a Friday back in the UK.
As if this wasn’t enough, my take-home pay doubled. Was this too good to be true? A fantasy? Would I wake up with a jolt and find it was all a dream? Well, if I did wake up with a jolt in my first few weeks it was because of the unfamiliar sound of the call to prayer echoing across a walled compound. Yes, I was in Saudi Arabia.
Like anywhere, the Kingdom has its fans and its detractors. While my classroom experience was excellent, and rekindled my enthusiasm for teaching, working in Saudi Arabia, for me, was not the problem. Rather, not working was, in that I found life outside work, while initially interesting, not for me. To go back to the idea of the ‘the school, the package and the location’, I had two out of three and, after completing my two-year contract, moved on.
Looking for something completely different, I resolved to forget about earning and saving for a few years and just to go somewhere ‘for the experience’, adjusting my priorities. Therefore I was staggered when, in Latin America, I found myself saving nearly as much money as in Saudi and experiencing an, at times, overwhelmingly different culture, one I’m not sure I made the most of in part perhaps because of the two years that had come before. After the Kingdom, all that reckless hedonism may well have been wasted on me. Three years on, I made another move. Yes, you guessed it: once again I felt I had two out of three and made another move, adjusting my priorities once again.
It would be neat and predictable if I got two out of three again but, unfortunately for me, the next time it was only one. One more move followed, and it was two out of three again. Perhaps subconsciously influenced by the idea of ‘The Impossible Trinity’, I am into my fifth year at my current school, the one where I have been happiest. Whether the school is that much different from those that came before or whether I am, I reckon I have a creditable 2.5 right now. Is that as good as it gets? Maybe. Is there anyone who has found their perfect fit, with their school, country and remuneration all ticking the box? You tell me, I’d love to know!
This article was submit by an ISC member. If you are interested in submitting an article as a guest author on our blog, contact us here. Once your article is submitted, you will receive one free year of premium membership to our website.continue reading