Video Highlight

Video Highlight: Australian International School – Sharjah (An international school in the United Arab Emirates)

September 17, 2017


There are a few international schools to work at in United Arab Emirates!  How do these schools stand out from each other?

Australian International School – Sharjah

How many international schools have done a sky-view overview of their school campus using a drone?  Australian International School – Sharjah has! 

Having an opportunity to see an aerial view of an international school really gives you a great idea of what life will be like in and around your future international school. Maybe all schools should consider doing this and then make sure to share that video when they are interviewing people to work with them.

The sunset scene of this video is truly beautiful, and look at all those beautiful trees on the campus!

Hopefully you are not actually leaving school at this time (assuming the sunset stays pretty similar throughout the year at around 18h or so), but if you were to, then it would indeed be a nice ride home.

This video is reminiscent of a blog series we have called, “The Journey to School.” In this blog series we get firsthand accounts of what it is like to travel both to and from various international schools from around the world.

Living in the Middle East does sound very enticing. For one, the sun will most likely be out almost every day of the year. The summer will be quite hot, but the winter won’t be too cool. It is important to note though that there appears to be some overcast can be see in the video, and it might be because of pollution and not clouds!

However, desert life can indeed be quite nice for many of us. The adventures of exploring the desert and its sand dunes are not too far away. Many of city’s buildings are constructed using traditional Arabic architecture with wind towers and finishes in colors reflective of the nearby desert and sea.

There are also lots of beaches, theme parks and movie theaters in nearby Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 76 international schools listed in United Arab Emirates.  Here are a just a few of them (the number of total comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right of the link):

• Al Mizhar American Academy (Dubai)54 Comments
• Abu Dhabi International Private School (Abu Dhabi)43 Comments
• American International School (Abu Dhabi) (Abu Dhabi) – 68 Comments
• American School of Dubai (Dubai)98 Comments
• Jumeira Baccalaureate School (Dubai)104 Comments
• Raffles International School (South) (Dubai)59 Comments
• RAK Academy (Ras Al Khaimah)56 Comments

If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in United Arab Emirates, log-on today and submit your own comments and information.  Become a Mayor of one of these schools and you will receive unlimited premium access to International School Community for free!

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Comment Topic Highlight

Surprise Purchases You Need to Buy/Pay For When You First Arrive at Your New School

January 12, 2016


When you first arrive at your new international school, you don’t necessarily want to be scrambling around your new city looking for many things to buy.  We all know that without the helpful guidance of a veteran international school teacher at your new school, it is very easy to end up making huge financial mistakes buying things left and right for prices a little too high than you should have paid (e.g. not knowing where to go to get the best price or get the “local price”).

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In an ideal scenario: you arrive at the airport, get picked up promptly by someone who works at your new school, and they quickly and politely drop you off at your new home. After you open the door to your new place, there is a fully-furnished house with a recently purchased bag of groceries waiting for you to help you get through the day with minimal hassle and without having to leave your apartment/house too much.

But we all know that it doesn’t always turn out that way. There are always things that you will need to buy, sooner than later. Some things more important than others, of course. If they are small things (like an iron, maybe), then it shouldn’t be such a big deal to take a short walk down the road (to the Carrefour, maybe) and pick up a few things. It is good/fun to take the first plunge into your new neighborhood.

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But if there are a number of small items (plus a few big ones) that you need to buy, then things could get a bit stressful; especially if you need to go somewhere more than just a short walk down the street.

Depending on your chosen living situation, you might end up needing to do some emergency purchases ASAP. A trip to a store like IKEA will definitely be in order for you on your first day. Some schools even will take you there in the school van, if you’re lucky!

And now, let’s not forget our new schools themselves. They might also have some things that you will need to bring or buy for the greater good of the school. If they gave you a head’s up on these items, you can make sure to pack them into your shipping container.  But if you weren’t set up with a great contact at the school beforehand, you might not get the head’s up in time. Then you are left with possibly buying things for your classroom in the local shops. Hopefully, your school will give you a budget for those things, but that is not always the case!

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Living abroad is not like our home countries. International school teachers do need to be open minded and adaptable. It is definitely tempting to want everything to be as perfect as it can be once you arrive, but we must be ready for a few surprises (i.e. surprise purchases) that will come our way the first few months.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to figuring out which things you might need to buy once you arrive in your new host country, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “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?

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 111 comments in this comment topic (Jan. 2016).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“Beds are HARD in Thailand – if you rent a furnished place you might need a mattress topper or take the plunge and buy your own mattress/bed (or bring your comfy one with you – cost is irrelevant as it is important to be able to sleep comfortably at night). If you like a hard mattress you will be very happy here…” – Ruamrudee International School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)75 Comments

“You will need deposit and first/last months rent to get your condo. No one told me this and I was not prepared with enough cash. When you arrive you don’t have a bank account yet and ATM’s limit how much cash you can withdraw. If you arrive early before new staff orientation, no one may tell you that NIST will loan you the money until your first paycheck. You just need to ask HR for the loan and it won’t be a problem. Or come with lots of cash that you can change to baht.” – NIST International School (Bangkok, Thailand)109 Comments

“Your kitchen utensils, cleaning supplies, dishes, and small appliance needs in the school apartment will vary widely depending on what the last tenant left. You will not receive a TV, iron, ironing board, etc., just furniture and one set of light bedding.” –American International School (Abu Dhabi) (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)39 Comments

“Don’t worry if you forgot something here because the school has a relationship with the local embassy and teachers can use the commissary there. Teachers can order things even on amazon.com and have it shipped to Moscow through them, as you can use their “American address.” – Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia)61 Comments

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Comment Topic Highlight

What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at your school?

June 29, 2015


Oh, if we were to have all the insider information before signing the contract of an international school that has just offered you a job.  In theory, knowing the insider information about working at a specific school could definitely help you make a more informed decision.

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There are so many international schools in the world. Each international school is in a different situation. Even if you try and keep the most up-to-date with reading every review about the school that you can get your eyes on, it is difficult to know exactly what it is really like to work there.

But, the more you know, the better. Or is it the less you know, the better? Our guess though is that most teachers recruiting to work at international schools want to know as much information (good or bad) as possible; with a preference for firsthand information.

How then can you get this insider information?  One of the best ways is to have some communication with a veteran international school teacher. If you are already a veteran international school teacher yourself, it shouldn’t be so hard to find somebody who knows somebody who has worked at a certain international school.  The longer you stay in the international school community, the number of connections that you have increases.

Once you find a good connection, he/she is more than willing to share with you what they know and answer your burning questions.  The connection shares about what life is like living in the city, all the ins and outs of what it is like working at the school, how the money situation is along with all the other benefits (or lack of benefits), etc.  It would appear that there is actually an endless list of insider information topics.  This connection will most likely also tell you answers to questions that you never even had thought to ask.  The more information the connection shares with you, the more at ease (or nervous) you become. It definitely feels good to finally get some answers from real people who have recently worked there.

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But for the newbies, who don’t know many (if any) international school teachers yet, it would appear they have a much more difficult task of getting this insider information. Maybe they can try to get some insider information at the recruitment fair that they might have attended.  There are always other candidates that are walking around the hotel common areas.  These newbies might even try to starting chatting with some of the administration from the other schools.  You would be surprised how much administration enjoys talking about these insider information topics as well.

If there is one thing that is certain, people in the international school community love talking about the schools they currently work at or have worked at in the past. Insider information is what we want to know and what we are all craving to know.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to figuring out some of this insider information about working at certain international schools, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school?

Our veteran international school teacher have submitted a total of 71 comments in this comment topic (June 2015).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“The secondary is laid back and you will enjoy it if you have good classroom management. There won’t be much actual support from admin regarding discipline. The elementary is micro-managed, meeting-heavy and overloaded.” – American International School (Abu Dhabi) (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)19 Comments

“One important thing to note right now is that the primary and middle school principals are leaving at the end of this year, and the director and the high school principal are leaving at the end of the next school year. So, there will be a complete change over of admin staff in the next year or so. There is no specific reason why these admin are leaving, just a coincidence that they are all leaving at the same time. Most of them have been at the school between 4-6 years.” – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)244 Comments

“You are given a lot of autonomy to make it or break it in the classroom. The salary won’t make you rich, but you can live off it on a Mediterranean island for a couple years. There’s always something to complain about, and the facilities are sometimes more functional than glamorous, but all these reflect the island itself. You’re given everything you need to do a great job and the kids appreciate it.” – Verdala International School (Pembroke, Malta)22 Comments

“Working here requires a great commitment of time and energy to the school; though this may be said of many boarding schools, it may be that this one requires an even greater time commitment. Families with children struggle here as the local public schools have a different vacation schedule and the meeting schedule can be a little bit punishing; families with smaller children and two working parents are discouraged from applying. A very good school if you adore outdoor activities, it must be said, though there are already plenty of staff members to represent this side of life. The students are, in general, wonderful. As most are “pre-screened,” behavioral problems in the classroom are very, very rare, and many students are academic high-flyers. Teachers get a bit spoiled here based on the caliber of student and with the compressed timetable, you may find you leave behind many aspects of good teaching and resort to more lecturing, though the students seem to do well nevertheless. Housing here is varied; you may find yourself in merely adequate accomodations. Cliques among the staff make it difficult to find ones place socially within the school community. The school can be a very rewarding place to work, but the idea of the school as a miracle of education is not a reality, and there are many frustrations, especially in lack of commuication and the decision-making process at the top, that leave one asking how the school has maintained said reputation. In short one might gauge that of the new teachers in the past five years, many or most are not fully happy at AC, but only some to the extent of considering leaving. The turnover rate may well remain low. The upshot: Don’t be blinded by the reputation of the school in deciding whether to come here. Talk to staff members and students, for example, especially those who have left recently. This author remains glad to have had the chance to work here, but the challenges here have aged me.” – UWC Atlantic College (St Donat’s, United Kingdom)14 Comments

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (The life of an international school teacher is good!)

March 7, 2013


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Traveling Around: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Can you relate?

• Realizing that the expat life there can be very, very nice!
• Enjoying the Middle Eastern cuisine and wishing it was the cuisine where I live.
• Going to mall after mall after mall after mall.
• Feeling jealous about how big the grocery stores were there compared to my host country, so many products that I would buy if I lived there.
• Walking along the corniche.  Corniches in the Middle East are just cool places to walk around, especially during sunset.
• Stopping many times in a taxi as my taxi driver asks stranger after kind stranger if they know where to go to find my friend’s house.
• Checking out the new, modernized souk and conversing with a souvenir store manager about where I could find original artwork. (Fail)
• Pulling up to hotels and restaurants and there always being a valet person to park our car for us.
• Meeting expat after expat and asking them many questions about their lives living in Abu Dhabi.
• Thinking how interesting that all the restaurants have a mock-tail menu rather than a regular cocktail menu (alcohol is prohibited in this country).
• Getting accustomed to taking taxis around town or driving in my friend’s car around town.  Still a bit strange sometimes when many international school teachers live their lives abroad car-less.
• Hearing all about the different customs related to the clothing of the UAE man and woman.
• Being amazed at how diverse the city is. The majority of people here appear to be from India.
• Choosing almost not to go into the grand mosque because I wasn’t dressed appropriately. (I did end up going in and wearing the free robe on offer at the mosque entrance)
• Having a moment of surprise when finding out that the weekend here includes Friday and Saturday, not Saturday and Sunday.
• Taking a trip out to the desert and doing a dune bashing ride as our driver drove crazily around and on top of really high dune hills.
• Buying some excellent dates at the date market.  Felt happy about my purchase until somebody reminded me that I should have bargained down the price!

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Currently we have 14 international schools listed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profile pages:

Al Raha International School Abu Dhabi (5 Comments)
American Community School Abu Dhabi (12 Comments)
American International School (Abu Dhabi) (11 Comments)
Sheikh Zayed Private Academy (7 Comments)
Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi (10 Comments)
• Institute of Applied Technology (Abu Dhabi) (12 Comments)
GEMS American Academy (Abu Dhabi) (37 Comments)
Horizon Private School (10 Comments)

If you are on a trip right now, away from your host country, write to us at admin@internationalschoolcommunity.com with your “Can you relate?” traveling experiences.  Tell us where you are traveling in the world, what you are seeing and how you are coping with any culture shock.  Once your Traveling Around experience is posted on our blog, International School Community will give 6 free months of premium membership!

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community Newsletter v2012.05 – 05 May, 2012

May 5, 2012


v2012.05 – 5 May, 2012:

“Having left your own safe environment suddenly you no longer have control (which as teachers we typically enjoy in our classroom) over your world. As soon as you step out into the outside world in whatever country, you can be faced with:

  • street signs and scripts you cannot read (e.g. in Asia, Middle East etc.)
  • a language you do not understand
  • how to get the simplest things done (fix a tap leak, AC problem)
  • who to ask for help

It is similar to a new born chick who has just left the nest – since you lack confidence in your new surroundings you start out by going on small excursions, but then as you get more confident you go on further trips away from ‘the nest’.”

It is true I suppose that teachers prefer to have “control” in their classrooms.  How ironic then that international school teachers put themselves in a situation where they for sure don’t have control.  Living in another country is certainly you letting go of the control and safety of your home country and culture, or at least a familiar place to you.  But that is what makes this career choice really exciting; you never know what to expect and what you will experience next.  How frustrating though to not be able to read street and road signs, we can all relate to that.  Additionally, not being able to understand the local language really makes you use all your other senses more in how to interpret body language and to gather meaning from body positioning, gestures and context.  At this point native-English international school teachers are so used to being on a train or plane where everyone around them is speaking a different language than themselves that it is strange now (and quite over-stimulating) to be on a plane in the United States (for example) where they understand all the many conversations going on around their seat.  We get very used to “tuning” out what is going on around us while living abroad, mostly because we just don’t understand what is being said.

This past month International School Community we had over 100 new members sign up!  If this rate keeps up, we might have over 1000 members by the end of October!  More members means more people that you can network with when you are job hunting or that you can ask questions to about a specific international school in which you are interested in working.  Now, ISCommunity members currently work at or have worked at over 160 different international schools in over 53 countries!

From the staff at International School Community.


Recently updated schools with new comments and information:

· 04 May  Copenhagen International School (4 new comments)
Copenhagen, Denmark
“The surrounding area is a bit posh. Most people from Copenhagen view the Hellerup area as place for…”· 04 May  Southbank International School (5 new comments)
London, England

“There is a great food, green, meat market at Borough market, it is near London Bridge station. It is pretty cool there. They have…”· 02 May  American School of El Salvador (10 new comments)
San Salvador, El Salvador

“EA provides foreign hire teachers furnished housing in modern school-owned town homes and houses located on…”· 01 May  Tokyo International School  (11 new comments)
Tokyo, Japan

“I interviewed with them a few years ago at the CIS fair in London. There were two male administrators there. They were…”

· 30 Apr  Institute of Applied Technology (Abu Dhabi) (8 new comments)
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

“End of Service (Gratuity) equal to one month’s basic salary for each year of service…”

(Click here for the last 40 schools to be updated with new comments)


Recent blog entries:

· Traveling Around: Tbilisi, Georgia (The life of an international school teacher is good!)
“Can you relate: Putting an update on Facebook on where I am and everyone not knowing where Tbilisi is…”

· International schools that were founded in 1932 (Hong Kong, Henderson, Masero & Lisbon)
“Founded in 1932 by Madam Tsang Chor-hang, Yew Chung has been providing quality bilingual education to the learners of Hong Kong for almost 80 years…”

· Overview of an int’l school #5 – Rainbow international School in Seoul
“Rainbow school is an international school established by Mr. Eshraf Saglam, a Turkish educationist in Seoul promoting multiculturalism and international diversity. With 260 students from 29 countries and 42 teachers from 6 countries…”

· Schools around the world get chance to sing in global recording
“An exciting global singing project has been announced. The project is called Voices around the World and the aim is for young people all over the world to learn and participate in a global recording…”

·  International Teaching Predictions for 2012 #5: SE Asia
“We expect continued growth in Indonesia, Malaysia and even Vietnam as those emerging economies steadily prosper.  Salaries may seem very low in these countries but…”

· The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #8 – “Benefits, preps, class sizes, and student mix.”
“If all these benefits and other factors don’t seem to match up for you at this point in your international school career, then the answer you will most likely give…”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to have members leave comments on:


Last month we have had visits from 96 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 506 ( 101)
School profiles
: 1205 ( 38)
Blog entries
: 271 ( 19)
Posted comments & info
:
4578 ( 575)
Twitter followers: 336 ( 13)


One month free promotion ending soon:

International School Community will soon be ending its one month free of premium membership promotion for new members.  Make sure to let your colleagues and friends know about this promotion before it expires.  If you are not a member yet yourself, sign-up today!


New members:

· Jamel Khalil
(American International School of Kuwait)
· Emin Huseynov
(Rainbow International School)
· Claire Moore
(Newton International School)
· Firdaus Bhathena
(Canadian International School –
Hong Kong)
· Eric Lee
(American International School Vietnam)
· Lauren Spear
(International Montessori School of Beijing)


Current Survey Topic:

Vote here!


Member spotlight:

Sonya TerBorg
“A great leader is really important to me.  I try and find out about the school leadership so I know…”

Check out the rest of her interview on our blog here.  If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here.  Highlighted members will receive a coupon code for 6 free months of premium access!


Highlighted Article

Kazakhstan Attracts Teachers Looking for Career Development“Kazakhstan may not be the obvious destination for teachers wanting to work abroad. But the Nazarbayev Intellectual School Networkis offering experienced, English-speaking middle and secondary teachers a one-year contract that is proving very tempting for some.”“There are NIS schools in cities throughout Kazakhstan, all of which are leading a programme of educational reform in the country led by the President of the Republic. The aim is to develop a new way of educating the future elite of Kazakhstan and the NIS Network is enlisting the skills of experienced English-speaking teachers to spearhead the progress….”

Check out this blog entry to read more about what your life might look like as an international school teacher in Kazakhstan.
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:
This international school teacher’sblog is about teaching and living in Dubai, Almaty, etc.One of their blog entries (International Schools: The circuit)is describing how small the international school community is and how many of us “hop” around from school to school:“It is in fact a very small community and the chances are that you will know someone who has been to a specific school, once you have been in one or two schools overseas. Don’t be surprised after some years if you walk into a staffroom in a different school, and country, and you meet someone you worked with in another school…”Another one of their entries (What to expect at a job fair) is about what candidates might experience at the international school recruitment fairs:

During the afternoon, the school will have interviews in their hotel rooms – it is all a bit surreal, but the recruiters carry out the interviews in their rooms (this is normal procedure!) At the end of this day the schools will then look at the candidates they have interviewed (and if you are one of them) then they will either invite you for a second interview…”

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

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New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves: A settling-in allowance given to you in cash (local currency)!

December 30, 2012


In this blog series we will talk about the ins and outs of an excellent new teacher orientation programme at an international school.  A new teacher orientation programme can really play a very important part to your start at your new school, in your new host country.

Must-have #6: A settling-in allowance given to you in cash (local currency)!

You just get off the airplane.  You have what seem to be a million bags with you. You are quite tired from your long flight journey to your new host country.  You are frantically looking for the person that said that they were going to pick you up from the airport.  You find them and they bring you to your new place that will be your home for the next few years.   So many things on your mind, so many things to worry about, and SO many things to buy!

Sure, you can prepare ahead of time and get some of the local currency at a bank in your home country before you get on the plane.  Sure, you can make it a point to visit an ATM at the host country airport or try and find a local bank near your new house that has an ATM.  But even then, you will have to use the money that you have in your home bank account and for many people, they might not have the finances to support starting up a completely new life and home.

How nice then if the international school that you will be working at gives you a settling-in allowance on your arrival to your new host country?! Getting cash in the local currency straight away is definitely a perk and a very nice benefit to look out for when searching for a new international school at which to work.

International School Community members have a wealth of information to share! Here are a few comments about their experience getting a settling-in allowance at an international school they have worked at:

“As soon as I got off the plane and claimed my baggage, I met the school principal at the arrivals gate, he introduced himself, and handed me an envelope with 1,500,000 won (roughly $1,500). Seriously, it was that quick.”  – An international school teacher at Seoul International School (68 Comments).

“Upon arriving at our apartment, we were given an envelope with some cash in it. This was our settling-in allowance. It was enough to go to a Walmart-type store and get all the basics you don’t bring with you but need right away. Cleaning supplies/trash can/kitchen utensils (beyond the basics). The school already provided all the basic furniture, bedding, and kitchen stuff (pots/plates/cutlery) but all of the odds and ends were purchased with that settling in allowance. It was great to have local currency right away…but it sure didn’t last very long!” – An international school teacher at Graded School Sao Paulo (16 Comments).

“They gave the first month’s salary in cash upon arrival.” – An international school teacher at GEMS American Academy (Abu Dhabi) (23 Comments).

“The Canadian Academy has a decent size settling in allowance. Seems large at first, but was used up quite quickly, as Japan is VERY expensive. So perhaps not as good as it seems. (I think it was about equal to one paycheck….?)” – An international school teacher at Canadian Academy (Kobe) (10 Comments).

Getting at least some help monetarily during your first days in your new host country is very much welcomed by all international school teachers!  Though you typically go through your settling-in allowance very quickly, it is still nice have.  At many postings, you often don’t get your first paycheck until the end of the month that you start working.  There are way too many things to buy during those first few weeks, that it would be impossible to wait until you get your first paycheck!  Not to mention all the money you end up needlessly wasting when you buy certain items impulsively at one store (because it is near to your house), not knowing that the other store (down the block) sells that same item for half the price.  I’m sure that has happened to all of us at one time or another!

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In the Benefits Information section of the school profile page on our website, we have a topic related to the settling-in allowance: Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)?  There have been 100s of comments and information submitted in this topic on our website and many of them refer to the settling-in allowance you will get (or not get) working at that international school . Here are a few of those comments:

“You get one flight per two year contract. There is a 1500 USD appx. local settling allowance, and the school gives an interest free loan of one months salary to assist with settling costs. Shipping – be careful as if you are transitioning from another international post, you must use your home of record for quotations. Some people buy furniture, others rent furnished, some take out car loans, others buy 2nd hand cars. There are plenty of different options.” International School of Kuala Lumpur (55 Comments)

“At the end of your contract the school provides travel and transportation to home of record. Annual flight allowance (KIS pays up to Rs 12,000 / person once every term contract). Shipping allowance for staff on term contract upon joining and at the completion of service. Also there is a transportation allowance. Settling in allowance is given upon every term contract signed. Lunch / tea in our school cafeterias while the school is in session is provided to teachers.” Kodaikanal International School (25 Comments)

“VAIS paid for round trip airfare from the US to Hanoi and back to the US for school year 2011-2. For school year 2012-3, there’s a cap of $1,700. VAIS paid $500 settling in costs. For school year 2012-3, there’s no settling in allowances. There are no free lunches. Lunches cost $3.50.” Vietnam American International School (26 Comments)

Log-on today to check out the many comments and information submitted in this section topic!  Become the most informed you can be when it comes to finding out the benefits an international school offers to its new teachers.

So, does your international school offer a settling-in allowance?  Please share your experiences!

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