Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Farleys Far Away” (An American teaching couple at Korea International School Seoul)

February 19, 2015


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 40th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Farleys Far Away”  Check out the blog entries of these international school educators who work at Korea International School (Seoul) in South Korea.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

How Did This Happen?

“A very, very long time ago, Jim decided to teach in Taipei, Taiwan. He lived there for 2 years and met me when he got back. That was 12 long awesome years ago. This entire time he’s told me how he would like to move back to East Asia. For 11 years I said, “No. Way. Jose.

Then, at the beginning of this school year, there were rumblings of change at my school. Our state assessment scores left something to be desired (something being, native English speakers from the middle or upper class) and there are a couple of ways the district “fixes” this problem. One of those ways is by letting all the teachers go. If you have tenure, like me, they’ll place you for one year, then after that year, you’re on your own. It’s pretty bleak and I was sad to leave a staff of extremely talented, caring teachers, but what can you do? I know what you can do-you can leave the country!

We signed up for the Overseas Recruitment Fair at the University of Northern Iowa. That was an intense weekend. On the flight to Cedar Rapids we were sitting next to the middle school principal at Korea International School. Korea hadn’t really been on the radar, but after a brief interview on Sunday, and then several Skype interviews, and a little bit of research into life in Korea we were on our way.

That’s how it happened. 11 years of convincing and one quick weekend of deciding…”

Many times you need to wait until the right moment in time to start your career in international school teaching. Some teachers wait one year while others wait 12!

Want to learn more about what it is like to go to an international school recruitment fair?  Check out our popular blog category called “9 Lessons Learned Regarding International School Hiring Fairs.” 

Really? But Jim’s Out of Town

“Let me start by saying, everyone is fine. But we’re experiencing the health care system here in Korea. On Sunday, about 15 minutes before Jim left for his trip to Singapore, I had him check out August’s *ahem* you know. Well, things weren’t looking so good down there (it turns out August has a hernia). I called the director of KIS‘ wife, who is a nurse. She was very reassuring over the phone, so I allowed Jim to go to Singapore.

My boss recommended I get him checked out at the Baylor Clinic in Jeongja, which is very close to us. We found the building with no problem and made it to the clinic-on the 2nd floor. There are 2 floors to the clinic. Both say “Baylor Clinic” in English, but the rest is in Korean. The 2nd floor clinic had people in the waiting room, but no receptionist. We sat and as I looked around, I saw at least 2 signs that said “Audiology” so we decided to go to the 3rd floor clinic.

When we got there, I called Raina, our bilingual school nurse, and had her talk to the receptionist. It turns out the Baylor Clinic is an ENT. Good for a sore throat but probably not so good below the waist. However, Raina found out that there is a pediatrician on the 6th floor of the same building. Awesome.

As we waited for the elevator in front of a bank, a teller ran out and handed August a handful of candy, so he was in good spirits about the trip. He seriously had like 8 pieces of candy in his hands.

Ah yes, this is more like it…”

It is hard to know what going to the hospital will be like when living in a foreign country. You sure have some great memorable moments and not so great moments.  

Want to learn more about what international school teachers think of the local hospitals in their host countries?  Luckily, we have a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this theme called “Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals.”  Here are a few examples of comments from this topic:

‘We have insurance with Metlife valid throughout the world. We also have a supplemental emergency medical evacuation insurance with AMREF. There is basic local care, but for serious or more difficult cases, evacuation to either South Africa or Nairobi is necessary.’ – International School of Tanganyika  (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 140 Comments

‘Health insurance is okay, not great, but not awful. Co-pays range from 10-20% at some more expensive hospitals and international medical centres. Dental coverage included but again 0-30% copay depending on the procedure (cavities are covered 100%, root canals are not, for example). Local hospitals are a mixed bag. Some great, some very “Chinese” in their approach to medicine. Would recommend that you ask coworkers for referrals and get prior approval from insurance company whenever possible. In Shanghai, you will be able to find a competent, western-educated specialist in any & every medical field, although you may have to search a bit.’ – Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China) – 50 Comments

Want to work for an international school in South Korea like this blogger?  Currently, we have 28 international schools listed in this country. Here are a few that have had comments submitted on them:

• Daegu International School (Daegu, South Korea) – 15 Comments
• International School of Koje (Geoje, South Korea) – 51 Comments
Dwight School Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 35 Comments
• Seoul Foreign School  (Seoul, South Korea) – 45 Comments
• Seoul International School  (Seoul, South Korea) – 82 Comments
• Colegio Granadino Manizales (Manizales, Colombia) – 43 Comments
Yongsan International School of Seoul (Seoul, South Korea) – 57 Comments

Additionally, there are 63 International School Community members who currently live in South Korea. Check out which ones and where they work here.  Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “The Present Perfect” (An international school teacher at the American International School of Budapest)

August 11, 2014


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 38th blog that we would like to highlight is called “The Present Perfect: Living for the present.  My life as a semi-nomadic teacher.”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who currently works at American International School of Budapest in Hungary.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

Job Fair Success

“On the interview sign-ups morning I was armed with an excel sheet of my targeted schools (that is to say, schools that had potential openings for me). Right away I found that a couple of schools that I had on my list no longer had postings for my teaching area and a couple of others didn’t grant me an interview. By the end of the two sign-up sessions, I had scheduled interviews with 13 schools (including second interviews with the two Skype schools). I arranged interviews with schools from China, to South America, to Africa, you name it. I went for jobs in ESL (elementary and middle school), ELA (middle school), and elementary classroom teacher. I didn’t rule anything out at the sign-up sessions…”

I like having a plan of attack as well; good to have the excel sheet of targeted schools…which will keep you extra focused during the fair craziness. 

It is tough finding out which schools don’t actually have a position you could apply for anymore, but that is definitely a reality of the first day of the fair.

Good then to not rule out any schools during the sign-up sessions. As they say, you never know what will happen at the fair!

Want to learn even more about which international schools like to do Skype interviews or the ones that prefer to interview at the recruitment fairs?  We have a comment topic called “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?”  Currently there are 799 individual comments in this comment topic talking about 100s of different international schools. Check them out by doing a search for the school you want to know about here.

What to do on a rainy Saturday in Beirut

“Head over to Mar Mikhael for a burger, fries and a shake at the teeny tiny, yet adorable, Frosty Palace.

Then cross the street to Papercup and browse the carefully curated selection of books and magazines while sipping a perfectly pulled espresso.

Purchase a book to take home if you’re so inclined.

Remind yourself that you’re still in Beirut and not Brooklyn…”

It is a good idea to get out of your home as much as you can in your host city, even if it is a rainy day.  There is always a cozy cafe to relax in, in most cities in the world.  Also, you never know who you will encounter when you are out and about.  Hard to interact with the locals in you are cooped up in your home.

Want to learn even more about what international school teachers do in the cities they live in?  We have a comment topic called Sample activities that you can do around the city? Including ones that you can do with a family (children)?  Currently there are 83 individual comments in this comment topic talking about many different international schools. Check them out by doing a search for the school you want to know about here.

Want to work for an international school in Budapest like this blogger?  Currently, we have 5 international schools listed in this city on International School Community.

There are seven International School Community members who currently live in Budapest. Check out which ones and where they work here.  Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs for international school teachers: “Cliff Jumping: Risk-taking and New Beginnings” (From a retired international educator)

June 3, 2014


Our 37th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Cliff Jumping: Risk-taking and New Beginnings”  Check out the blog entries of this retired international school teacher that currently is back living in her home country (United States).

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

Cracked

“I’ve slowly dealt with the red tape of health insurance, car purchase, phone decisions, computer, internet, cable, condo painting/remodel/furnishing, and getting my household shipment through the delays of NY homeland security exams, Mpls. customs, and condo association regulations. Each step has been fraught with exasperation.  Why am I so thin-skinned, so impatient? How could I deal with daily power rationing, hideous traffic, and oppressive heat in India, and not be able to accept the processes I must go through here more easily? I feel as though I’ve been in a time warp for 40 years, and I don’t know how to do things in this new age. I’ve lost my confidence…”

Are you a veteran international school teacher thinking about retiring soon?  We have a very popular article on our blog that discusses this issue.  An International School Community member shares her experiences about working for 30+ years in international schools and what her plan is for her retirement.   It is called ‘Where do international teachers go when they retire and what do they do?‘. Check it out here.

We also have a few other articles on our blog related to this topic of going back to your home country and feeling a bit of reverse culture shock:
Culture Shock and Misplaced Normal (An int’l school teacher’s experience in Tanzania)
Going home for the holidays: No one cares about your international life
The summer vacation dilemma: To go home or to not go home…that is the question!

Elegy to my Beloved…Profession

“I have had the privilege of enjoying a 40-year career in the most exciting and satisfying field there could be: international education. It’s a vocation that young and old should consider, whether at the beginning of their working years, midway through as a ‘reset’, or after retirement. If you’re already a teacher and you’re bored, worried about getting ahead financially, tired of overcrowded classrooms, or wanting to see the world, this is for you. Take a leave of absence or sabbatical, or attend a recruiting fair, and take a job at an overseas school with an American or western curriculum. You’ll earn more money, experience more adventures, and probably never look back. If you’re young and unsure of your direction, love working with kids, feel curious about other cultures, and want to make a difference, this is also for you. And if you’ve already got a pension, going overseas could be icing on the cake. Or if you can’t find a job– get your teaching certification, and head on out…”

If you don’t already have a pension and want to know more about what pension plans are like at other international schools, take a moment to check out one of our 40 comment topics on the school profile pages in the Benefits Information section.  It is called: Pension plan details.  Right now there are 320 comments in this comment topic. Here are just a few:

“No pension plan, hopefully the school will address this issue in the future. (Although the school gives a bonus of one monthly pay for every year served at the school after 3 years and this may be considered retirement, but technically it isn’t.)” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 54 Comments

“The school provides no pension, but 9% is deducted from the monthly paycheck to pay into IPS, which is sort of like Social Security. If a teacher retires in Paraguay, he or she will receive money through IPS. So for the most part, saving for retirement is in the hands of the foreign hires; they must have the discipline to do it themselves.” – American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay) – 58 Comments

“There is a pension plan that is in accordance to the labor law. For every year you work you are to receive 12 days pay. After your 6th year you will get 24 days pay. (roughly 2 weeks pay for the first 5 years and a month for every year after 5). Now for clarification: Your pension (called indemnity) is to be paid at the end of service at your highest pay, according to the labor law. However, the school does not follow this and will pay it to you yearly when you return in September. This seems like a good plan until you realize after 5 years how much money you lose out on.” – American Creativity Academy (Hawalli, Kuwait) – 31 Comments

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If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs for international school teachers: “Banyan Global Learning” (Provider of educational services to K-12 schools in Asia)

April 12, 2014


Our 36th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Banyan Global Learning”  Check out the blog entries of this organization that currently works with a variety of schools in Asia (e.g. Taiwan).

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

5 Tips for Teachers Abroad

“I would have parents who helped their children with their homework and who were eager to communicate with me – but in a good way! To boot, Taiwan is a country where education and, by extension, teachers are well-respected and highly valued!  I expected this whole thing to be a cakewalk.

I also expected that compared to East Harlem the kids would be angels, whereas what I got, instead, were kids.  And instead of a cakewalk I got an experience that was challenging and rewarding in ways I never expected…”

I think this is a common misconception about working with ‘privileged’ international school students versus working with the kids of generational poverty families that you may have worked with in your home country (many of us I’m sure have had a similar experience teaching in urban settings).

Sure the poor kids you taught in your home country had many needs.  They also might have had many behavior problems because of the poverty they were living in.  Teaching at international schools with mostly rich kids can also be a challenge.  They also have many needs, but just different ones.  And because of the sometimes challenging home lives of these children, there can also be many behavior problems at school. 

Luckily, we have a comment topic in the School Information section of all school profile pages that is about student behavior.  It is called – “In general, describe the demeanor of the students.”  We currently have 128 separate comments (about a number of international schools) in that comment topic on our website.

12 Reasons to Teach Abroad in China and Taiwan

2 – Save money while you travel. Japan, check. Korea, check. Bali, why not? From your base in Asia you can travel to places that would otherwise be economically challenging to reach. And, with the lower cost of living in China and Taiwan, a BGL salary will allow you to bank some cash while you see the world…”

It does play a big factor on your travel plans; the location where you are currently living.  Though it is important to note that it doesn’t mean that all flights will be cheap!  Living in Shanghai, China you are for sure in Asia.  However, you are still a 5 hour flight to Bangkok, 3 hour flight to Japan, etc.  These flights aren’t the cheapest either.  But if you compare the prices and flight times to living in the United States, then for sure the flights will most likely be cheaper with quicker flight times.  Going to Bali for Christmas vacation can be just what the doctor ordered!

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Want to work for an international school in Taiwan?  Currently, we have 12 international schools listed in this city/country on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• Ivy Collegiate Academy (19 Comments)
• Morrison Christian Academy (3 campuses) (13 Comments)
• NanKe International Experimental H.S. (14 Comments)
• Pacific American School (30 Comments)
• Taipei American School (11 Comments)
• Taipei European School (11 Comments)

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Living in Laymans’ Terms” (An international school teacher at American International School of Kuwait)

February 9, 2014


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 35th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Living in Laymans’ Terms”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who currently works at American International School of Kuwait (29 Total Comments on our website) in Hawalli.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

It’s Cold Weather Again

“Last time I wrote about how nice the weather was. That was after it rained. I don’t think I did a good job of sharing how crazy the rain was. Now it’s cold (it’s been in the high 30s and low 40s a couple mornings when I’ve gone running!)…”

It is all about perspective when living in a different country. What one person thinks is cold, another person might think it is not THAT cold!

It is good to know that in the Middle East, the weather can get a bit chilly in the winter. Many people might just think it is hot all year round.

Luckily, we have a comment topic in the City Information section of all school profile pages that is about weather.  It is called – “Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.”  We currently have 140 separate comments (about a number of international schools) in that comment topic on our website.

Siblings in Kuwait – Spring Break 2013

“One of the deals we are giving our 5 siblings is a trip (once) to visit us. Abby is here for the semester subbing and Andrew came to visit for his Spring Break! Shannon was studying abroad in Barcelona so they met up in Kuwait. It was a memorable week for all! (see Shannon’s post for proof)

There was a little miscommunication ..Shannon arrived on Friday, March 22nd and Andrew arrived 24 hours later. Luckily we like Shannon so it worked out just fine…”

What a great idea!

I always say…if you got a friend or family member living abroad somewhere, it would be a SHAME not to go visit them and that country!

Not all family members are able though to have the free time to go on a trip to visit you.  Many also are not able to afford it either.  So, how nice to pay for their trip for them! (that is if they can get the time off of work to come visit you.)

Want to work for an international school in Hawalli like this blogger?  Currently, we have 5 international schools listed in this city on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

• American Creativity Academy (Hawalli, Kuwait) – 31 Comments
• American International School of Kuwait (Hawalli, Kuwait) – 29 Comments
• Kuwait National English School (Hawalli, Kuwait) – 12 Comments
• Universal American School (Hawalli, Kuwait) – 22 Comments

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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