Information for Members

How many comments are there in each of the 66 Comment Topics on ISC?

September 22, 2019


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 33000 comments that have been submitted on over 1100 international schools from around the world. Basic and Premium Members can access all of these 33000 comments for free on our Browse All Comments page.

After almost 9 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 (23):

• Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus. (1467 Comments)

• What types of accreditation does this school have? When is the accreditation up for renewal? Any religious affiliations? (1105 Comments)

• Recent things that the school has taken on (i.e. new curriculum, specific professional development, etc.). (690 Comments)

• 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? (1456 Comments)

• 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? (1371 Comments)

• Are the expectations high of teaching staff? Are there extra curricular responsibilities? Describe workload details. (761 Comments)

• Average class size for primary and secondary. Describe any aide support. (780 Comments)

• Describe language abilities of students at this school and what is the “common language spoken in the hallways”? Is there one dominate culture group? (1156 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? (1196 Comments)

• What types of budgets do classroom teachers/departments get? (475 Comments)

• PARENTS ONLY – General comments from parents of students that go to this school. How was your child’s education and socialisation at the school? (164 Comments)

• What types of sports programs and activities does the school offer? (643 Comments)

• Name some special things about this school that makes it unique. (654 Comments)

• In general, describe the demeanor of the students. (565 Comments)

• Has the school met your expectations once you started working there? (314 Comments)

• What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff? (362 Comments)

• Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them. (437 Comments)

• Details about the current teacher appraisal process. (277 Comments)

• Is the student population declining, staying the same or increasing? Give details why. (414 Comments)

• How have certain things improved since you started working there? (222 Comments)

• How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country? (157 Comments)

• What controversies have been happening lately? Please be objective. (281 Comments)

• What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school? (416 Comments)

• How much curriculum development work are you expected to do? (Atlas Rubicon, etc.) (259 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? (1237 Comments)

• Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities? (1234 Comments)

• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. Describe the survivability for a family of four on one salary. (643 Comments)

• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? (1115 Comments)

• Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals. (947 Comments)

• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.). (410 Comments)

• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents. Describe the childcare in the area. (737 Comments)

• Professional development allowance details. (507 Comments)

• Pension plan details. (588 Comments)

• Describe your experience bringing pets. (240 Comments)

• Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?). (522 Comments)

• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city? (313 Comments)

• How is the school calendar? Is there ample vacation time? (492 Comments)

• 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? (262 Comments)

• Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school. (129 Comments)

• What is the process of getting reimbursed for things? (166 Comments)

• Details about new teacher orientation. (194 Comments)

• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school? (292 Comments)

• Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about? (199 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? (35 Comments)

City Information Comment Topics (17)

• Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city. (552 Comments)

• Locations in the city geared towards the expat lifestyle (grocery stores, bars, etc.). (490 Comments)

• Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc. (491 Comments)

• Detailed info about lifestyles: singles vs. couples, gay vs. straight, nightlife vs. quiet and big city vs nature. (392 Comments)

• Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there. (502 Comments)

• Sample activities that you can do around the city? Including ones that you can do with a family (children)? (357 Comments)

• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year. (549 Comments)

• Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals. (256 Comments)

• Describe a funny culture shock moment that you’ve had recently in this city. (115 Comments)

• Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations? (156 Comments)

• What is the best part of living in this city for you? (243 Comments)

• What advice can you give on how to set things up like internet, phone, experience dealing with landlord, etc.? (200 Comments)

• Tell your experience moving your items to this city. What company, insurance policy, etc. did you use? (81 Comments)

• Tell about your experience with the local banks and dealing with multiple currencies. (208 Comments)

• What are some locals customs (regarding eating, drinking and going out, family, socializing, etc.) that you find interesting for expats to know about? (146 Comments)

• Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites. (182 Comments)

• What is the most challenging/difficult part of living in the city? (237 Comments)

Travel Information Comment Topics (6):

• Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby. (355 Comments)

• Describe proximity of major airport hubs to the city center and give sample taxi, train, subway and/or bus fares to get there. (496 Comments)

• Popular travel websites to buy plane tickets or tours that are popular for expats living in the city and/or country. (240 Comments)

• Places to travel to outside the city by bus or train. (454 Comments)

• Are there many teachers that travel during the holidays? Where are they going? (290 Comments)

• What are the airports like in this city? (arriving, departing, shopping, customs, etc.) (332 Comments)
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Information for Members

Total comments in all the Travel Information sections: 2137!

August 18, 2019


As all International School Community members know, each of the 2098+ 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 automatically get one free month of premium membership added on to your account!  The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!

FOR UNLIMITED FREE MEMBERSHIP, BECOME A MAYOR OF A SCHOOL TODAY!

travel

So, what are the recent statistics about the Travel Information sections on all the school profile pages?  The current total number of submitted comments in the Travel Information sections is 2137 (out of a total of 32776+ comments); up almost 458 comments since July 2018.

There are 6 subtopics in the Travel 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 subtopic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.

Sample travel airfares from host city airport to destinations nearby. (352 Total Comments)

Example comment: “You can fly mostly anywhere in Europe from Berlin. Unfortunately there has been a new airport in construction for many years now with no real outlook on when it will be complete. You have to connect elsewhere to fly internationally (i.e Copenhagen, Paris, London, Reykjavik etc.)” – Berlin Cosmopolitan School (Berlin, Germany) – 72 Comments

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Describe proximity of major airport hubs to the city center and give sample taxi, train, subway and/or bus fares to get there. (492 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Narita International Airport is the most convenient in terms of distance, parking, and bus connections. It is approximately 45-50 minutes by car on the highway (tolls are about $12 or $13 USD each way), 75 minutes by car by more local roads, and about an hour by bus ($25 USD). Haneda Airport in Tokyo is further away from Tsukuba and more conveniently reached by a combination of the Tsukuba Xpress and Tokyo subways (90 to 120 minutes and $18 to $25 USD, depending on the various options and combinations). There is also the more local Ibaraki Airport (which has free parking) about 45 minutes from town, but flights are very limited and only include a few destinations within Japan (such as Kobe, Fukuoka, Naha and Sapporo) and Shanghai and Seoul (and sometimes Taipei by charter flights) internationally.” – Tsukuba International School (Tsukuba, Japan) – 41 Comments

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Popular travel websites to buy plane tickets or tours that are popular for expats living in the city and/or country. (237 Total Comments)

Example comment: “My Switzerland is a very comprehensive and informative website for locals and expats. which provides a wide breadth of information.
https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/home.html” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 46 Comments

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Places to travel to outside the city by bus or train. (445 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Expatriate teachers are recommended to not use public transit. The school recommends hiring a school driver to drive us to our desired destination using the car the school provides us. School drivers for a very reasonable rate. If there is a place you want to go, ask the head of security and he will check to ensure it is safe to travel to your desired destination.” – Lahore American School (Lahore, Pakistan) – 116 Comments

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Are there many teachers that travel during the holidays? Where are they going? (284 Total Comments)

Example comment: “It truly depends on the teacher and their own personal situation. Many younger, single teachers will travel during breaks. Usual destinations are somewhere around east our southeast Asia. Teachers who are married with children will stay in Korea many times. During summer break, most teachers will go to their home country.” – Korea Kent Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 22 Comments

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What are the airports like in this city? (arriving, departing, shopping, customs, etc.) (327 Total Comments)

Example comment: “Queues at immigration can be very very very long. (between 15 min and 1.5 hours of waiting) Just make sure you have some battery left on that phone of yours! ;-)” – Dulwich College Beijing (Beijing, China) – 28 Comments

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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.

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Recently Updated School Profiles

Recently Updated School Profiles #22: British Int’l School Shanghai – Pudong, Greenfield Community School (Dubai) & Carlucci American Int’l School of Lisbon

April 24, 2014


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Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments on the following schools:

21 Apr    Greenfield Community School (Dubai) (15 new comments)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

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One of the new comments in the School Information section: “86 nationalities are enrolled at the school. It has been recognized for the support it gives students with EAL…”

19 Apr    British International School Shanghai – Pudong (12 new comments)
Shanghai, China:

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One of the new comments in the School Information section: “Teachers are housed near the school for the first year. They can choose to stay after this year or move with an accommodation allowance…”

16 Apr    Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (9 new comments)
Lisbon, Portugal:

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One of the new comments in the Travel Information section: “A lot of locals know English here, but there are definitely store workers and owners that don’t know hardly one word! It is good to know Portuguese here…”

Check out the rest of the last 40 international school profile pages that have been recently updated on International School Community here.

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Recently Updated School Profiles

Recently Updated School Profiles #21: Shekou International School, American School Madrid & ASF of Mexico City

January 14, 2014


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Members of International School Community have written some new and informative comments on the following schools:

14 Jan    Shekou International School (14 new comments) Shenzhen, China
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One of the new comments in the School Information section: “Folks that live in Shekou can smell home from miles away…distinctly smelly and fishy. There is a staff bus that now runs to designated areas…”

 

12 Jan    American School Madrid (7 new comments) Madrid, Spain:

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One of the new comments in the School Information section: “The school sets high expectations of all faculty and staff, and there is a high degree professionalism displayed by all members of the school community. The workload is fair – teachers are given a prep period for every course taught. Teachers who agree to teach a sixth section are compensated monetarily…”

 

11 Jan    American School Foundation of Mexico City (16 new comments) Mexico City, Mexico:

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One of the new comments in the Travel Information section: “If you are traveling with luggage, only use city taxis, which is more expensive but trustworthy…”

Check out the rest of the last 40 international school profile pages that have been recently updated on International School Community here.

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