The journey to work is indeed an important one. The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers when they are looking for jobs at schools in cities/countries to which they have never been. So let’s share what we know!
One of our members, who works at the American Embassy School New Delhi (India), described her way to work there as follows:
I have been working at the American Embassy School (AES) in New Delhi for the past year. My journey to school starts every morning at 7:45am (March 2018) when I leave my apartment. I consider myself pretty lucky because the whole commute takes less than ten minutes and I can walk.
I am currently living at the Embassy of Bulgaria. apparently, Bulgaria had a huge delegation in India in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, but due to some financial issues, the delegation has shrunk considerably in recent years. Thus, many of the apartments at the Embassy that used to be occupied by Bulgarians are now occupied by teachers from my school. Out of twenty-one apartments in the complex, eleven are occupied by AES teachers and ten are occupied by Bulgarian diplomats.
The grounds of the apartment complex are quite beautiful. When I leave my apartment, I can hear birds chirping and see the sun shining (at least, I can in the spring and summertime – in the fall and winter there is quite a bit of pollution). But, this time of year, March, the sky is blue and there is bougainvillea blooming everywhere. The bright pink flowers bring a profusion of color to the landscape.
The gardener waves to me as I walk past. He’s busy feeding some of the many cats that live on the compound. There is a mama cat with four kittens who always say hi. They like to hang out in the backyard of the building. Every apartment comes with a terrace and garden, which is quite nice. There is also a pool that we can use, some barbecue grills, and a playground with a trampoline for kids.
The apartment complex is a walled compound and there is a guard at the entrance 24/7. On my way out of the complex, I say to the guard “Namaste, Aap kaysayhey?” and he replies “Mayen tikh hoon.” I step out of the quiet of the Bulgarian and on to the street. There is color everywhere and the bees are humming around. It’s warm and breezy, maybe 70 degrees fahrenheit, and the high for the day will be close to 90F.
I turn right and start walking. Along the way, I pass yellow and green auto-rickshaws (the traditional mode of transport in Delhi, very similar to the tuk-tuks of Bangkok), city taxis, motorbikes, and the ever ubiquitous white Suzukis that are used by Uber drives. Uber has recently become the preferred method of transport in Delhi and the white cars are everywhere. That’s one of the reasons why the traffic in the city is so bad. The proliferation of Uber. Thankfully, I don’t have to drive to get to school.
The walk is lovely. I pass the grounds of the Russian Trade Federation and the Ravi Shankar Foundation. There are bushes and yellow flowers and everything has been newly trimmed and smells like cut grass. I think most people who come to Delhi would be surprised by how green the city is. Although it’s home to twenty-five million people, there are quite a lot of trees.
A sweet yellow dog comes up to me and says hello. Delhi has lots of street dogs and they are, for the most part, super cute and very friendly. I give yellow dog a pat on the head and continue on my walk. I pass a giant banyan tree, it’s roots all twisted and gnarly. I like the way the sunlight looks when its coming through the leaves. Everything is golden and shimmering.
The traffic on the street in the morning is heavy because the British School is on this street. It’s across the street from my own school and parents and drivers are dropping their kids off for the day. I side step the traffic and continue along the street. Like I said, the whole walk only takes about 10 minutes. But sometimes I dawdle and daydream.
Across the street from the British School is Vivekanand Camp. The people living in this community have been there for generations. It’s a miracle that the camp hasn’t been torn down yet – it’s the only one still left in the Embassy area, Chanakyapuri. It’s estimated that as many as 2,000 people live in the camp. They don’t have running water. Sometimes, on my way home from school, I see the municipal water truck parked outside the camp entrance. The women come outside with buckets to fill up from the spigot on the side of the truck.
There are always kids from the camp hanging out on the street. In the morning, they are headed to school. They wear the white pants and red sweaters that signal the government school uniform. In the afternoon, the boys play cricket. They harbor dreams of being the next Virat Kohli. He’s the current captain of the Indian national team. The camp is a stark reminder of the wealth inequity that persists in India and other countries in the developing world to this day.
I cross the street after passing Vivekanand Camp and I am at the entrance to my school. The school is surrounded by high walls and security guards. Men stand patrol at the gates and there are armed soldiers present. The campus is secure and safe. It’s right next to the American Embassy. I go in gate number 4.
Once inside, it’s a short walk for me to the middle school building. The AES grounds are approximately eleven acres, and it feels a lot like a college campus. There are separate buildings for the elementary, middle, and high schools, athletic fields, a theatre, a cafe, a gymnasium, a pool, and even a climbing wall.
The campus is known for being home to many different species of butterflies and birds. The biodiversity is incredible. Especially if you are used to living in a grey urban landscape. The number of gardeners who work on campus must number close to fifty. There are so many flowers to water and plants to take care of – they do an amazing job.
I consider stopping to sit on a bench and enjoy the sunshine, but it’s close to 8am already. Teachers have to be at work at 8:00, although classes don’t start until 8:30. I’ll go to my classroom to do some prep and get ready for my classes.
I’ve made it to the entrance to my building. I give thanks for the nature that surrounded me on my walk, blink once more in the sunshine, and go inside to greet my day.
This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author, Megan Vosk. Megan Vosk is a middle school MUN and Humanities teacher at the American Embassy School in New Delhi. She loves helping young people become more compassionate and engaged citizens. When she is not teaching, she likes to spend her time reading, watching movies, practicing yoga, and dining out with her husband.
What to know more what it is like to visit and live in Asia? Out of a total of 201 international schools we have listed in Asia, 59 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:
American International School Dhaka (53 comments)
American Embassy School New Delhi (39 Comments)
Good Shepherd International School (411 Comments)
Indus International School (Pune) (43 Comments)
Kodaikanal International School (53 Comments)
Oberoi International School (36 Comments)
SelaQui International School (36 Comments)
Woodstock School (58 Comments)
Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana (53 Comments)
Abraham Lincoln School (Nepal) (36 Comments)
Colombo International School (64 Comments)
The British School in Colombo (41 Comments)
So what is your journey to the international school you work at? Earn one year free of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’. Email us here if you are interested.continue reading
There are a few international schools to work at in Montevideo! How do these schools stand out from each other?
How many international schools can boast about being over 100 years old? According to the international schools listed on our website, there are 33 international schools with a founding year of before 1900.
So how great this school in Uruguay put together a tribute video to the history of their school.
Looking at all the old pictures really gives a good glimpse into their past students, the past school grounds, and the past staff that has worked there over the years.
It is hard to imagine what life as an international school teacher was like back then. How did that school find the teachers to work there? Were they hired locally or from abroad? Did they move their stuff and themselves by ship from the USA or England (or ???)?
In parts of the video, it seems like there was maybe a separation being the boys and girls at one point. It could be that they had different sections of the school for different genders. Also, it appears as if sports and competitions are/were an important part of this school’s programme.
Looking at all the people in the video, it reminds us that working at an international school is truly working as part of a family. And not just the current family, but the past family too. If you are lucky to get a job at an international school, you are a part of that school’s history forever. It is great how an international school starts something one year, and then it continues year after year becoming a tradition; which makes each international school a unique and interesting place to work.
Currently on www.internationalschoolcommunity.com we have 93 international schools listed in South America. Here are a just a few of them (the number of comments and information that have been submitted for each school is listed to the right of the link):
• Colegio Panamericano (Bucaramanga, Colombia) – 34 Comments
• Colegio Granadino Manizales (Manizales, Colombia) – 43 Comments
• Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito (Quito, Ecuador) – 31 Comments
• American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay) – 58 Comments
• Uruguayan American School (Montevideo, Uruguay) – 32 Comments
• Colegio International de Carabobo (Carabobo, Venezuela) – 21 Comments
• Escuela Las Morochas (Ciudad Ojeda, Venezuela) – 28 Comments
If you know about what it is like working at one of these international schools in South America, 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!continue reading
Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you. You get the possibility to search (using our unique search engine) for international schools based on the type of school that best fits your criteria. There are many different kinds of international schools: ones that are small in student numbers to ones that have more than 1200 students, ones that are for-profit to ones that are non-profit, ones that are in very large cities to ones that are in towns of only 1000 people, etc. Each international school teacher has their own type of school that best fits their needs as a teacher and as a professional. Your personal life is also very important when you are trying to find the right match. Most of us know what it is like to be working at an international school that doesn’t fit your needs, so it’s best to find one that does!
Utilizing the School Profile Search feature on International School Community, you can search our 1606 schools (updated from 1535 on 19 February 2014) for the perfect school using up to 8 different criteria. The 8 criteria are: Region of the world, Curriculum, School Nature, Number of Students, Country, Year Founded, Kinds of Students and Size of City. You can do a school profile search in three different locations on our website: the homepage, the Schools List page and on the side of every school profile page. Check out our past school profile search results here.
Search Result #14
Schools Found: 10
The 10 international schools that met the criteria were found in 7 countries. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on them.:
• American College of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria) – 7 Comments
• Academia Cotopaxi (American International School) (Quito, Ecuador) – 6 Comments
• American School of Milan (Milan, Italy) – 13 Comments
• American Overseas School of Rome (Rome, Italy) – 5 Comments
International School of Penang (Uplands) (Penang, Malaysia) – 9 Comments
• Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (Lisbon, Portugal) – 13 Comments
• Taejon Christian International School (Daejeon, South Korea) – 14 Comments
• Chadwick International School – Songdo (Incheon, South Korea) – 7 Comments
Why not start your own searches now and then start finding information about the schools that best fit your needs? Additionally, all premium members are able to access the 10304 comments and information (updated from 9600 on 20 February 2014) that have been submitted on the hundreds of international school profiles on our website.
Join International School Community today and you will automatically get the ability to make unlimited searches to find the international schools that fit your criteria (with a free 7-day trail of premium membership).continue reading
Tell us about your background. Where are you from?
I am an Australian who calls Brisbane her hometown but I currently resides in Quito, Ecuador where I am the Director of The British School Quito.
I am an educational leader, motivational speaker, international educator and businesswoman who has nearly twenty-five years experience in education in the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, Asia and South America. In 2006 I founded my own business, Teepee Consulting, through which I have had the opportunity to facilitate positive and effective change within learning communities around the world, through the delivery or leadership and professional development and coaching programs.
I obtained my undergraduate degree in education from the University of South Australia and I hold a graduate Diploma in Management. I have been an invited speaker at a range of international and national conferences speaking on such topics as, positive, effective and ethical leadership; positive staff development, appraisal and retention programs; higher order thinking skills; creating cultures of excellence; curriculum development for 21st century learners; and capability building in education teams.
How did you get started in the international teaching community?
I got started in international education in 2001 shortly after the birth of our third daughter. The then European Council of International Schools had a position advertised for ‘model teachers’ in an international school in Romania. Having had some experience in consulting at that point, and having a partner who was also an educator and consultant, I decided to take the leap and move our family overseas.
Which international schools have you worked at? Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.
Before moving to Ecuador I have lived in Peru, Russia, Romania, Australia and the UK but I have worked with many other schools in Asia, South America and Europe as a consultant. In Russia I was the Deputy Head of the British International School Moscow where we loved the culture, history and art of the city and the country. If you love architecture and history this is a great country to visit and live in.
In Peru I was the Director of Primary and Early Years at 1200+ student school called San Silvestre. This is an amazing all girls’ school in Miraflores, a lovely superb close to the Pacific coastline. If you are looking for a professional and personally nurturing school in which to work, then look no further than San Silvestre. My time there was some of my happiest both personally and professionally. The school has an inquiry based approach to teaching and learning and offers the IB Diploma. The staff are a wonderful team and the school ethos and ‘feel’ is more like a smaller, community school.
Whilst in Peru I led the “Re-Building Childrens’ Lives” concert project designed to contribute to aiding communities, in the south of Peru, after the devastating earthquake that occurred in 2007. I helped to organise, and participated in, a range of concerts and musical events to raise funds for this, and other, important community service projects.
Now I am here in Quito, Ecuador enjoying all that Ecuador and Quito have to offer. The British School Quito is a small but growing school with an excellent reputation and a high standard of academic excellence. We offer the British National Curriculum and the IB Diploma and we are proud to be accredited by both the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. We are currently the only school in Ecuador that offers all three sciences in English at Higher Level in the IB Diploma. The school has a truly warm and collegial atmosphere with very supportive parents and an engaged learning community. I am truly enjoying my experience at BSQ.
Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
Whilst South America has its challenges it also have wonderful rewards including its wonderful array of food, superb climate, majestic landscapes and scenery, and bounteous travel and sporting opportunities. However, when we live and work outside of our own countries and cultures there are always things that make us think, huh? or put a smile on our faces. Just recently here in Quito we had to close the school for three days so that the government could move the airport from its old location to its new location! Well that put a smile on a few people’s faces….it certainly wouldn’t happen at home!
What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
When I am looking for a new school I look at the culture (the feel of a school). How long do staff stay? What do staff say about the school? What retention programs are in place? What do the children say? Are the learners happy, engaged, active learners? If I think the culture is right for me then I ask myself…Why am I right for this community of learners? What can I contribute? If I have an answer that delivers positive outcomes for the learning community then I go for it!
In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
The international school teaching experience is – truly rewarding challenging and capability enhancing
If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here. If we choose to highlight you, you will get a coupon code to receive 6 months free of premium access to our website!
Want to work for an international school in Ecuador like Kerry? Currently, we have 8 international schools listed in the Ecuador on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:
• InterAmerican Academy Guayaquil (13 Comments)
• Academia Cotopaxi (American International School) (6 Comments)
• Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito (21 Comments)
• The British School Quito (24 Comments)
v2012.01 – 7 January, 2012:
The Wonderful World of International School Recruitment Fairs: Lesson #5 – “Check your ego at the door.”
“Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent.” Sigmund Freud.
The greatest sports legends, the inventors of things we rely on today, great actors and actresses, all of these people must seem to have a big ego. Maybe it comes with their achievements or our projections of them? Then there are the great dictators, the generals of war or just some average Joe that just won the biggest-ever on his lottery ticket. Ego comes in many shapes and forms, and albeit some are seemingly more attractive than others. It’s a hard task to know when to enhance or down play your own ego.
We’re constantly told to either just stand in line or be like others, that we don’t really deviate from the mass, that we’re just one in a million, that perhaps we’re not as special as we think. Then we’re told we need to stand out, make a difference, show our true colors, let the ego steer and victory will come our way. So, how are you to act at the international school recruitment fairs?
Ego is an ambivalent thing, you could say that it’s both our chance and our fall. It’s the chance to express ourselves, to enhance our personality to make it clearer how we stand out from the masses, what makes us special, what we’re capable of; how we’re the best of all of them. But there is a line, and if that line is crossed, our personality becomes too big and a bit desperate, we express ourselves in a way so superior to others that we make them feel small, we become way too special, maybe even too good for our own good; we are the best of all of them, no question there, there’s “me” and no one else.
It’s often in job interviews we’re left with the difficult task of being the best and out-shining the competition, but in such a manner that we don’t let our own ego get the better of us, and suddenly instead of standing out positively in the round-robin session or in the administrator’s hotel room during the interview, we stand out negatively instead. It’s practically a game of ego vs. humble. It’s pointing out the things you are good at and how you are the best for the position, but it’s just as much being humble, being likable, charming, sitting straight, smiling, having eye contact, being interested, letting your ego shine from time to time, but not letting it consume the space.
“There’s nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself.” James Lee Burke.
And every so often your ego takes a blow during your experience at a recruitment fair. When you venture in life, there’s always the risk of rejection. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t any international school out there that wants to hire you. It’s basically the same whether you open your heart for someone you love or you are at a job interview, getting that “no” is a sour sting to your ego. And that’s when the inventory begins: should I have? or could I have? Would it have? And so on and so on…
Every mountain we climb in this life should probably have two gates: “for exit hurry” or “in risk of rejection”. We can’t go through life (and through international school recruitment fairs) without getting a little hurt sometimes, without bruising our ego. It’s all part of living as they say; the smart and clever ones. So maybe you didn’t have enough experience, maybe the connection just wasn’t there, or maybe, just maybe someone was just better than you. You know, you shouldn’t take it personal. It just means you get a few more rounds through the “in risk of rejection” gate. And who knows, just one week after the fair, where you weren’t offered any contracts to sign, you might receive in your email inbox the offer from the international school you have been dreaming of working at! Believe us, it is happened many times in our International School Community.
Go ahead and send a private message regarding hiring and fairs to one of our members. International School Community’s current members work at or have worked at 92 international schools! Check out which schools here and start networking today!
· 06 Jan Canadian International School Beijing (5 new comments)
“There is an annual flight allowance, return trip to Canada or equivalent…”
· 06 Jan Berkeley International School (Bangkok) (8 new comments)
“As for the location, it’s very convenient opposite Bitec, close to BTS, Central City Bangna, and to other International Schools such as St Andrews, Patana, CIS and the Mega Bangna super mall…”
· Using the School Profile Search feature on International School Community: Search Result #2
“Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you. The possibility to search (using our unique search engine) for international schools based on the type of school that best fits your criteria…”
· Survey results are in – How many countries have you traveled to so far this year? (in 2011)
“The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community have been to 1-3 countries in 2011. We were thinking that people would have traveled to more countries as a typical international school teacher travels many times throughout the year…”
· Video highlight: St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok, Thailand)
“How great to start off each day with the flag ceremony and the Thai National Anthem! Being that the majority of their students are Thai, they have a strong focus on honoring and respecting Thai and Asian cultural values…”
· Highlighted article: India’s most admired international schools
“Within the hearts and minds of the uninformed, there is considerable prejudice against India’s small but growing number of new genre international schools. Left intellectuals and fellow travelers who dominate Indian academia and have considerable influence in the media, naively dismiss them as elitist and expensive…”
· Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #2 (Beijing, Seoul and Beirut)
“This school went to the Search Fair in Boston in 2011. The interview was 1 on 1 with the principal. It was quite informal, but he also asked some important interview questions. After the first interview, I receive an offer on contract in my mailbox, so they for sure want to hire at the fair. They were able to allow for a few a day to decide as well which I think is important…”
Teaching and living in “The World’s Happiest (And Saddest) Countries” – According to ForbesAccording to this Forbes article, the top 10 happiest countries are: “Joining Norway and Australia in the top 10 are their neighbors Denmark, Finland, Sweden and New Zealand. Equally small and civilized Switzerland and the Netherlands are also up there. Rounding out the top 10 is the United States at 10th and Canada (sixth).”There are many international schools in most of these countries, offering many opportunities for international school teachers to live very “happy” lives, or so it would appear…
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:
International Teaching Fair 2/2010“International Teaching Fairs are the traditional way to connect prospective schools with teachers. I believe technology will be changing this practice more each year as it is less costly to interview via Skype than to send a hiring team around the globe. Skype misses that element of personal connection which can be critical in creating a good fit between staff and school, although some principals with extensive international teacher hiring experience may not see that as a priority. Online portfolios allow the applicant to upload files, photos, even videos and the administrator can choose what they would like to review. If different documents are needed, a quick email to request and a few moments to transfer, is all that is required. In my case, my use of rubrics was of interest and I was able to share specific lessons, rubrics I created and student work samples in several content areas. The ability to upload immediately demonstrated my ability to respond to requests quickly as well as my organization and technology skills. The job offer that I accepted was the one where the process was all online, except for the one concluding phone call. At the time of the fair, though, I had only sent this school my CV and resume…”“I woke up later than I anticipated, but really was taking my time, I think, to feel in control. I didn’t want to be one of the first to arrive and the days schedule was long. By the time I walked across the parking lot to the conference rooms I was nervous again. There was so many people! Going into the candidates “lounge” where the rooms walls were covered in sheets of paper listing the school, country and positions available, I noticed that most people had an intensity that I wanted to resist. The tables were covered in laptops and I started to regret not bringing Brett’s, but I travel light. I did end up using the hotels business center at a cost of $5 for fifteen minutes and calling Kelina to go online for me quite a bit…”
*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.
A teacher who is inspired can inspire students and other teachers!
According to the blog: This project began as an idea back in September 2008,the idea being to unite schools all around the world, in some way, potentially as a celebration of the London Olympics, 2012. The people involved asked themselves to think of an idea of uniting schools all over the World. The idea suggested was for all schools to do a collage of Peace, where children created their picture of what Peace meant to them, and to have it displayed at the Olympics. That idea was then turned into another idea of creating a Peace Quilt. They got in touch with the not-for-profit organization PEACE ONE DAY and Jeremy Gilley. POD have gladly made their Global Education Resource available free to all schools. This was perfect for them, as Peace is something they were very committed to, knowing that it is a wish all children have. This was the beginnings of this exciting project.
Of course international schools around the world have already started to participate. There have been numerous international schools that have already got involved. Some of them are:
There are more international schools that participated (check out their pictures here):
and the list goes on….continue reading
v2011.02 – 7 June, 2011:
Well, the school year is winding down for most of us. Some int’l schools are already out and some still have a month to go! Either way summer is upon us and travel awaits. Most of us go back to our home countries, some of us skip going “home” and explore new countries and then there are the few that stay in their host country to relax or because they have visitors coming. Finally, there are the international educators that are moving on. Lots of packing to do and shipping of boxes to their new destination. Many will be taking a chance on a new school and new country; and a lucky few finally got a job to go work at their dream school in their dream country/city.
If you are moving on to live in a new destination, don’t forgot to update your member profile to show your new “current location” and your new “current school.” Also, now that many of us have some more freetime on our hands, now is the time to share what you know by writing some new comments on the school profile page of the school you currently work at.
The offical launch promotion continues: All new members that sign up will automatically receive a free 1-month subscription of premium membership. Make sure to forward this newsletter to your friends and colleagues so that they can also benefit from this promotion. Current members can still benefit from this promotion. Just sign-on and click on the My Account tab and then the renew your subscription link. Use the coupon code “MESGRATIS” on the payment page (coupon code expires on 30 June, 2011)
New incentive program: Now when you submit comments on the school profile pages, you can earn coupon codes to receive up to 1 year free of premium membership access! Putting-in 15-29 comments gets you 6 months free. Submitting over 30 or more comments will get you 1 YEAR FREE! Please remember that the comments you submit on the school profile pages are anonymous, but we can keep track of which members write how many comments in our system. Once we see you have submitted your comments, we will send you an email with a special coupon code to extend your current premium membership.
· Survey results are in – Which area of the world would you prefer to work in?
“it seems as if Western Europe is the top area of the world that internationals school educators want to live and work in….”
· Are students from one culture group “taking-over” certain international schools?
“Is it true that in most places in the world, where there are international schools, that there is many times a “dominant” culture group at each school…”
· Why do people leave international school teaching to go back to their own country?
“With regards to the single teachers, it seems that many of them move back to their home countries for reasons not necessarily related to money, but for love as well…”
· Highlighted article: Destinations and Dispositions (IKEA dependence)
“IKEA is indeed the best friend of international school teachers. What a great friend too because…”
· It’s all about luck and timing: Getting the international school job of your dreams
“If you really want to live and work in a specific city in the world and there are only 2-4 jobs available at the two international schools there…”
*If you’d like to be one of our next member spotlights send us a message here. If you are chosen to be highlighted, you will receive a coupon code to receive 6 months of premium access to our website for free!
How do you figure out the population of each city?
We use the latest numbers from Wikipedia. We also use the metro area population instead of just the city proper itself. We thought it would give a better indication of the actual number of people that live in and around the city.
International School Community is full of thousands of useful, informative comments…18083 comments (23 Sept. 2016) to be exact.
Members are recommended to keep their comments objective on our website and share what they know about what it is like working at a specific international school.
We scoured our database of comments, and we found 12 that stood out to us as being some of the most interesting and useful ones related to “Teaching Couples“.
12. Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?
“The first month in HK is arranged in a hotel/serviced apartment. The single “rental reimbursement” (housing allowance) is about 1,600USD. Teachers employed overseas with an approved dependent get 1.4 times that. Teaching couples receive twice the single allowance and married teaching couples with one dependent child receive 2.4 times the single rental reimbursement. With two dependent children it is 2.8 times the amount. If you don’t spend the whole allowance you still get the money, but will pay tax on it. Rents are high but vary hugely. Most people more or less manage to live within their allowance, unless they want something a bit more spacious/special. HK apartments are really small, but you’ll probably be less squashed if you live in/around Sai Kung” – Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China) – 37 Comments
11. Average amount of money that is left to be saved.
“It’s fairly easy to save a $1000 a month and still live a pretty decent lifestyle. For teaching couples it’s very easy to live on one teacher’s salary and save the entire other paycheck.” – Rowad Alkhaleej International School (Dammam) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) – 69 Comments
10. 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?
“The school does go to the London fairs, but like the previous common mentioned, they do look for teaching couples before hiring single teachers. There are also new visa restrictions underway limiting the number non-EU students and staff that can work at/attend the school.” – Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland) – 63 Comments
9. Average amount of money that is left to be saved.
“Some teachers just save most of their USD part of their salary and spend the local currency money. Some teaching couples do this and they are saving quite a lot every year.” – American International School in Egypt (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 62 Comments
8. Information about benefits for teachers with dependents.
“School is good and generous with this. Nicely, teachers AND staff/support staff, whether local or international, get tuition benefits for children. There are some teachers/teaching couples with more students at the school than parents teaching. The school sometimes requests a trailing spouse to do some “volunteer” work at the school to offset these costs. There are stories of this not always being 100% fair. If you’re in that kind of situation, it’s very much worth getting expectations ironed out early.” – American British Academy (Muscat, Oman) – 34 Comments
7. 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?
“The do hire at the fairs. My friends got hired there at the Search fair, in London, a year ago. There used to be a lot of teaching couples hired, that have children, but that is diminishing more and more because some people don’t necessary want to raise their children here in Tanzania.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 143 Comments
6. Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities?
“Single or non-teaching couple without children SG$3000/month. Teaching couples or teacher with a child dependent $3,500. Teaching couples with children SG$3,500. These are fair allowances given the current rental rates in Singapore. Couples with more than 2 children may decide to top up the allowance to get a larger apartment.” – Nexus International School (Singapore, Singapore) – 22 Comments
5. What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff?
“Generally only hire teachers with solid IB background, but will make exceptions for exemplary candidates, especially when in Teaching couples or harder to hire positions.” – Yokohama International School (Yokohama, Japan) – 17 Comments
4. 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?
“It is hard to survive here if you are a single teacher with dependents, so the school will only hire Teaching couples that have dependents. You need to have a passport from either U.S. or Canada with a Bachelors Degree.” – American School of Quito (Quito, Ecuador) – 10 Comments
3. Information about benefits for teachers with dependents.
“If you meet admissions requirements, then you get up to two children for free, Teaching couples get up to 3 dependents for free (to attend the school).” – International School of Beijing (Beijing, China) – 25 Comments
2. 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?
“The school encourages Teaching couples with or without children to apply for vacancies. The school does look for candidates that are familiar with the UK teaching practice.” – British International School of Jeddah (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) – 41 Comments
1. 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?
“Teachers are hired on a two-year contract, with the possibility of one-year extensions thereafter. They look to hire single teachers willing to share housing with one other single teacher, or married Teaching couples. They will considerTeaching couples with dependent children if they are of an age to attend NJIS (or younger).” – North Jakarta International School (Jakarta, Indonesia) – 29 Comments
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Expats in general often talk about getting outside of the bubble. Sometimes we even complain about the factors of a society that prevent us from doing so. I have mixed feelings on the concept of escaping the expat bubble. Authentic, non-expatriate experiences are out there. We just have to go on the other side of the wall to get there. Living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I could go eat local foods, such as ugali, beans and rice, stewed bananas, or greens cooked in coconut milk, any time I choose. The thing is, I don’t choose to do so. Far more often than not, I eat pizza, hamburgers, pasta with tomato sauce, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and barbecued pork. The foods, and all of the cultural experiences connected to food, are there. I just don’t go to them.
The local language, Swahili, is a learnable language, and there are several language schools out there competing for the business of expats. Over the course of history Swahili has been scribed into both Arabic and English written forms. Lessons are available in your home, if you want them, and they are not expensive. The language is all around me on billboards, menus, bumper stickers, and political advertisements. The language, and all of the cultural experiences connected to understanding it, is there. I haven’t tried in earnest to learn it. That’s why, two and a half years into my stay in Tanzania, I can still only say thank you, and hello and goodbye in a variety of ways. I just haven’t done it.
But here’s the catch.
For one weekend, I exposed myself to a way of living that I did not even know existed. Some friends from work and I visited Maasai homes in the inner Tanzanian countryside. The homes are literally made of branches and mud. The surrounding villages all draw from one isolated well for their drinking water. The well is hand-dug, open to the elements, has sloped mud sides and requires climbing into and out of with buckets of muddy water on one’s head. There is no electricity out there. Paved roads are few and far between. Petrol is sold in used water bottles. The local market is just an open dusty field full of cattle trucks, people selling their goods off of blankets on the ground, and open fires cooking freshly slaughtered beef and serving it on banana leaves.
I was out of the bubble! Wasn’t I? Well, I was still trapped inside my English-speaking bubble, which limited my interactions greatly, so maybe I wasn’t outside of the bubble in any way beyond my geographic location. Did I really do anything more than drive far away from my neighborhood?
The biggest issue with the bubble is this. After just two nights in a place that was almost as far from my previous life experiences as I could get, my friends and I got into our 4×4 Toyotas imported from Japan, we left behind several large bottles of water, because we could just buy more at the shop around the corner once we got home, and we drove back to our concrete homes with 8 foot high security walls, internet, running hot water, gas stoves, ovens, beds, mattresses, mosquito nets, electricity, furniture, electrical appliances, air conditioning, a deeply stocked pantry and refrigerator, and a hundred other small comforts I don’t really think about until I look back at homes made of sticks and mud, a lifestyle centered around keeping cattle alive in a dry and dusty landscape, and having to climb down a steep, muddy wall to get thick, muddy water.
I can always just drive home. That is my bubble, a bubble of privilege based almost solely on being born where I was as who I am. I won’t ever be able to get away from that.
In response to the question of escaping the expat bubble
Shortly after posing the question, “Is the expat bubble inescapable?” on my own blog, Two Years and Counting . . ., my good friend, Lindsay Rowland, sent me a reply. While working in Barcelona, Lindsay met and became dear friends with a woman from Barcelona named Aurora. Some time after Lindsay moved away, Aurora had to be hospitalized due to sudden and severe medical issues. Lindsay took time off of work and went back to Barcelona to be there for her. It says a lot about the depth of their friendship. I think it says even more about the expat bubble. Here are her thoughts.
I think I would say that curiosity and empathy allow you to poke your head out of the bubble, but love will pop it. Human interaction is the key in both cases, but once you have made a true, real friend in the other culture, that is when the bubble begins to disintegrate. In Spain, I could speak the language reasonably well, ate the food, lived in a similar standard…but I did not really embrace the culture or begin to understand it or separate myself from my own until my friendship with Aurora, and mostly AFTER I left! Through her eyes and her experiences and perspectives and because I love her so much and strive to understand her, my eyes and heart began to be able to take in what it meant to be Spanish. And then through what has happened to her, me visiting the hospital and being embraced by the family (they have even invited me to spend Christmas with them) and all the hospital staff and being daily present in the midst of it—and all this happened because THEN I had a motivation outside of myself, outside of the “shoulds”—(I SHOULD be curious about other cultures, I SHOULD open myself to new experiences, I SHOULD learn the language) to finding the motivation from need because of love—I want to communicate with this person I love so dearly, to understand, to help, to contribute…learning becomes natural and a priority and acceptance is instantaneous because people know your efforts are genuine and you’re committed and invested.
This is not to say I change my identity but my comfort level is definitely compromised—I give up control over, not so much material things like I would in Africa, but rather my control of time if we’re talking about Spanish culture. I’m still the American in the room…but I’m the American who has shed the protective bubble of being with other Americans and eating American food and operating on American time and schedules and efficiency and methodology…and not always liking it, but doing it anyway and not complaining about it or demand that those around me conform to ME…I think that is what it means. But again, I think it’s an easier transition in this example. I don’t see how anyone would logically give up privilege comforts to drink dirty water and live in a mud hut…unless I had become true friends with someone and that person embraced me and there were some reasonable context that I would be visiting and needed…then I think I would be willing to do all: learn the language, live in the hut, etc, for as long as it took…other than drinking the water…amoebic dysentery sounds pretty horrible. But you don’t know what you’ll do until you’re in a situation, right?
Well, there you have it. As I told Lindsay, well said, and well felt. What do you think?
This article was submitted by a veteran international school teacher and International School Community member, Jonathan Park.