Ten Commandments of Relocating Overseas

Ten Commandments of Relocating Overseas #1: Learn as much as possible about…

August 14, 2022


Learn as much as possible about the host country in order to have realistic expectations.

How much can you learn about a host country before you arrive? Yes, thank goodness for the internet and its endless (and sometimes tiresome) list of websites that try and shed light on the many facets of the host country’s culture and language.

A type of website that might be the most informative: personal blogs of expats that live in the host country.  Certainly, they are the best type of website to gather information about the host country.  The blogger typically is very explicit and candid about their day-to-day experiences living there.  Personal blogs of international teachers are even better.  I love reading from their entries even before they arrive in their new country to when they have been there three years later.  Some of the international teacher blogs that we have highlighted on International School Community so far:

• Education Rickshaw (China)

• Expat Heather (South Korea)

• Josefino Rivera (Bulgaria)

But I must say that I knew close to nothing about the country I am currently in, and the people from where I am from knew even less.  Sometimes you just got to go there yourself to see about the culture and language of the host country’s people.  When I go home now, I am inundated with questions about what life is like there…and some of the questions are really unbelievable (but I was once in their shoes I’m sure). 

I think it is hard to get away from the stereotypes that we have about each culture group in the world.  The issue is, as we all know, that the stereotype might actually be true for the majority of the people in the host country.  However, it is NOT true for EVERYONE in the country.  You cannot group everyone in one culture group together.  I just read recently that due to the Danish cultural norms Danes don’t try and make good friends with people that they work with.  I’m sure that there are a few Danes that hang out with their co-workers outside of work and call them their best friends.

Realistic expectations? This will take some good research I think.  Every time I go to a new location, one of the things I do is buy the latest Lonely Planet for that country/city.  For sure after reading a bit of that travel book I can have my expectations be a tiny be more realistic, if not even make them a bit more exciting.  I don’t know about you though, but I am quite sensitive to culture shock.  So, even if I have realistic expectations and am ready to expect the unexpected, I am still subjected to embarrassing mood swings about the things that in theory I had already expected.  One of the joys of living abroad I suppose.  By the way, I subscribe to the idea of cherishing all emotions: the good and the not-so-good.

Last thing that I know about how to find out the most I can about my future host country: talk to people that currently work at the school.  Not the administrator, the human resources department, etc…the real people that work there who will really tell you how it is.  I’ve always received a few contact email addresses of some teachers that I can contact during the summer.  I have even had a Skype call with one of them which really helped I think get my expectations to be a little more realistic.  It is key to talk to people and gather as much information as possible. 

This article was submitted by a guest author and ISC member.

Right now on International School Community you can get in contact with a number of our members who know about more than 1300+ international schools, and the list of schools our members know about is growing!

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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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Recently Updated School Profiles

Recently Updated School Profiles #19: Dhahran Ahliyya Schools, Al Ghanim Bilingual School and Mef Int’l School Istanbul

January 27, 2013


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

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21 Jan  Dhahran Ahliyya Schools (36 new comments)      Dammam, Saudi Arabia:

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One of the new comments in the school information section: “DAS does have high expectations of its teaching staff. The school is working hard to make the shift to a dual language program and it expects the teachers to participate fully in its efforts. Most of these efforts take place during school hours although, like in good schools everywhere, teachers do take work home to prepare lessons and grade papers. Most teachers have preparation time for approximately one-third to one-half of their time in school. Some of that time is taken up by meetings in the department and everyone has a few assignments of yard duty per week…”

20 Jan  Al Ghanim Bilingual School (15 new comments)      Salwa, Kuwait:

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One of the new comments in the benefits information section: “Although I recommend staying away from this school, if you are even considering working there, make sure that you get the following before making a final decision: 1. A copy of the contract. 2. A copy of the staff manual. If it’s the same staff manual that I received, you’ll find a list of things teachers should not do and the consequences including the number of days pay that will be lost. 3. Your assignment and schedule in writing. (There were teachers who were told that they would be doing one thing, and when they arrived they were told that they would be doing something else.) …”

14 Jan  Mef Int’l School Istanbul (27 new comments)      Istanbul, Turkey:

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One of the new comments in the benefits information section: “A flight every 2 years and at end of contract. 600 USD shipping at beginning and end of contract. Receipts at beginning but not needed when leaving. Free breakfast, lunch and snack…”

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 #18: Kodaikanal International School, Future-Harvard International Kindergarten, & American School of Ulaanbaatar

October 16, 2012


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



16 Oct  Kodaikanal International School (8 new comments)      Kodaikanal, India:

One of the new comments in the school information section: “As KIS is a residential school you could be assigned duties and responsibilities, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, in addition to the area of your primary focus. All Professional Staff (Teachers) are expected to chaperone/supervise; 3 evening student activities per semester, 1 camping weekend at Poondi campsite, a week-long field trip during field trip week…”

14 Oct  Future-Harvard International Kindergarten (9 new comments)      Dalian, China:

One of the new comments in the benefits information section: “Regular teachers get 8000 RMB a month (one year contract), team leaders get 18000 RMB a month (two year contracts)…”

13 Oct  American School of Ulaanbaatar  (8 new comments)      Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia:

One of the new comments in the school information section: “Age restriction is 50 years old basically, the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is reluctant to issue a work permit to teachers who are over the age of 55. Most short listed candidates will be contacted by telephone and email. The school prefers to interview candidates with teaching certification from Ontario. New teachers usually start around 20 August. 2 year contracts are offered…”

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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