Hiring Policies at Int’l Schools

Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #7: Int’l School of KL, Escola Internacional de Alphaville & Guangdong Country Garden School

December 10, 2012


Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community:

indexEvery week members are leaving information and comments about the hiring policies at international schools around the world.  Which ones go to the Search Associates Recruitment Fairs?  Which ones hold interviews over Skype?  Which ones have hiring restrictions imposed on them by the host country?  All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?

Sometimes it is hard to keep track of which international schools go to which recruitment fairs and which interview style and tactic each international school employs.  At International School Community, we want to make the search for information about hiring policies easier for international school teachers. In the school section of each international school profile page on our website, there is a section specific to the school’s hiring policies.  The topic is: “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?”

Here are 3 out of the numerous comments and information related to the hiring policies of international schools that have been posted on our website:

International School of Kuala Lumpur (65 Total Comments)

Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 11.07.05 PMComment about their hiring policies: “You cannot be hired into Malaysia over the age of 60, though once hired, you can continue to work. The school attends a range of fairs, but also conducts Skype interviews. They are thorough in recruitment practices.”

Escola Internacional de Alphaville (13 Total Comments)

Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 11.08.25 PMComment about their hiring policies: “Online Skype interviews are held with interested candidates. Selected candidates will start tenure with the school from January 15th. You need to be a native speaker of English with a teaching background with a minimum of one year’s experience to be eligible for a Brazilian work visa.”

Guangdong Country Garden School (17 Total Comments)

Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 11.10.19 PMComment about their hiring policies: “Candidates need to send a cover letter expressing why they are interested in the position they are applying for. You should apply to this email address: bgyheather@126.com. They look for native speakers of English and must at least have a BA degree in the related field. Interviews are by phone or in person.”

Check out the more than 515 comments and information that have been submitted about the hiring policies on numerous international school profiles at www.internationalschoolcommunity.com.

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Highlighted Articles

11 International Schools that are Close to Nature

October 25, 2021


Many of us international school educators would ideally like to teach abroad and also have close access to nature.

Escaping into a forest or a big green park can often reset our minds and bring our stress levels down to manageable levels.

Some international schools are already directly in nature. Maybe they are in a forest or right next to a water source, or maybe they are just in a city center that has a number of very green parks.

But not all international schools are in cities that have easy and quick access to nature.

Some cities do have a few trees lining the streets and also a few small parks scattered around, but often the number of buildings outnumber these two things. And if you look closely, there can even be a layer of dust/dirt on the leaves making the green look more like a brownish color!

Even if there is not a lot of nature in the city center itself, it is still important to note that it can be worth it if you can find some nature close by via public transport or car.

Having access to a number of day trip options that go into nature can really be a selling point to working in a certain city and country.

Nature is important to many of us international educators, so it is necessary to ask around and do your research before making a decision to relocate.

Luckily, ISC was designed to help international school teachers find the information they are looking for. Using the Comment Search feature (premium membership needed), we found 235 comments that had the keyword “Nature” in them. Here are 11 of them:

Thailand

“The school is quite far from the center of Chiang Mai but it is possible to find nice places to eat and plenty of local shops and markets a short car or scooter ride away. The plus side is that you have total peace and are surrounded by lush green making it a wonderfully relaxed place to live and explore. Staff are given apartments on the school grounds with the option to live off-campus for those who wish it.” – Prem Tinsulanonda International School (55 total comments)

United Arab Emirates

“Single people enjoy their lives here. There are many other expats to date. There are a lot of things to do during the day and night here. There is a good coupon book that some people use. The book is huge so that means there is much to do. With regards to nature, there is actually a lot of living things in the desert. In our garden, there are many kinds of critters!” – American Community School of Abu Dhabi (30 total comments)

Malaysia

“There isn’t much to do in Putrajaya apart from nature walks and the lake activities. KL has lots to offer but lacks the excitement of other SE Asian destinations. It’s great for families though and has a charm of its own.” – Nexus International School – Malaysia (94 total comments)

Germany

“I would say there is a lot of nature here in Hamburg. There is water everywhere basically. There are many parks in the city as well. Just no mountains.” – International School of Hamburg (55 total comments)

Costa Rica

“Anywhere you around in the city, you will be able to see beautiful mountains. The sun is typically shining as well making all the views of the trees and flowers so lovely. And if the nature in the city isn’t enough, then you are not too far away from more nature in other cities around the country.” – American International School of Costa Rica (12 total comments)

France

“There is so much night life here, if that is your scene. There is also a lot of nature here too with so many parks around the city. On a sunny, warm day, Paris just looks sooooo beautiful! Last night I saw two gay men holding hands while walk down the sidewalk, and then around the Seine, I saw a group of gay bears meeting up for a mini party/gathering. Seems like Paris is really gay friendly.” – International School of Paris (24 total comments)

Norway

“However it’s the best place for nature and getting out of the city in no time.” – Norlights International School Oslo (122 total comments)

Ukraine

“It is possible to find any kind of activities you want here. There is a lot of nightlife, but also easy access to large parks and nature. Buying or renting a car will allow opportunities to get out into the country and really experience nature, if desired.” – Qsi – Kyiv International School (36 total comments)

Japan

“There are so many temples/shrines to see here. Many of them are going up the nearby mountainside. There is such beautiful nature there with amazing trees everywhere. In the spring, it is awesome and in the fall it can be very gorgeous.” – Kyoto International School (65 total comments)

Oman

“There isn’t that much nature in the city of Muscat itself, but you don’t have to do too far to see some green. There are palm trees that are dotted around the area, like near to the Grand Mosque. There are even areas of beautiful green grass and flowers like near to the Corniche Mutrah. But most of Muscat is desert-like. Just flat and sandy!” – American International School of Muscat (34 total comments)

Colombia

“School is built on a large hillside with beautiful views of the city. It is surrounded by a sort of nature preserve so it’s very green all around. The buildings are old and cannot be rebuilt due to building restrictions but they do their best to keep them repaired best they can.” – Colegio Nueva Granada (60 total comments)

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #41: Jess Gosling (An international teacher working in Taiwan)

August 16, 2021


Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Jess Gosling:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Hi, my name is Jess Gosling and I’ve been living and working abroad for more than 10 years. I am from England, originally born in the South-East. I moved to the North of England when I started university and I consider the North-East my home. Travel has always interested me and my first overseas trip backpacking was when I was just 16, with a best friend. We took the ferry from Wales and toured Ireland staying with relatives. I didn’t think this was especially unusual at the time, but now I realise this was pretty adventurous! My next trip abroad was at 19. I saved for a year to pay for a five-month trip around South East Asia. I meticulously planned it, reading the Lonely Planet from cover to cover. Once in Thailand, I loved almost every moment. I was crushed when it came to the end of the trip. I have always been interested in other cultures, and feel most connected and alive when abroad.

However, I returned to the UK to study for a degree in History and Race and Ethnic Studies. During the degree, I spent one semester in California and travelled in Central and South America. After completing the degree, I worked again for a year to save to fund beginning my first overseas job in Japan. I knew I would need money for the first weeks and furnishing a new home. I was very keen to see what teaching would be like. I joined a programme that offered teachers with degrees the opportunity to become Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs). There was nothing ‘assisting’ in the role. In reality, I planned, created resources, and taught independently. I taught in fourteen local primary schools throughout Niigata, a city with almost no expats. This placement was fascinating, a city nestled between mountains and a beach. In the evening, after work, I’d go for a swim in the sea. At the weekends I’d drive through the surrounding mountains.

After a year in Niigata, I transferred to an area just outside Tokyo where I worked in ten primary schools. There was a fantastic expat community here and I made friends for life! The work was fun but exhausting. I knew I loved teaching, especially in the younger years. Living in Japan was eye-opening and a first taste of living outside of the UK. Working in local Primary schools was rewarding and interesting, but I felt that I didn’t know enough about my profession to do it justice. Hence, I decided to return to the UK to train to become a qualified teacher and move abroad again.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I decided to return home to qualify to teach, through the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) route. Before beginning the PGCE, I worked as a teaching assistant within Year 2 and Reception classes in a state-maintained school, which was a brilliant experience. I was able to observe teachers closely and I learnt a lot about classroom management. I completed the PGCE and worked two further years in the UK and gained QTS. After a total of three and a half years at home, I married and moved with my teacher husband to Egypt for our first experience teaching abroad in international schools. Whilst in Egypt, I experienced the H1N1 panic (akin to the pandemic we experience now) and resulting school closures, in addition to the Arab Revolution, it certainly was a baptism of fire!

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.

My first school was Cairo English School. It was a great place to work. I worked in Foundation Stage, which was the largest intake of the school, with 16 classes in Nursery and Reception! However, although it was a huge cohort, it felt like a community and the staff were close. The second school I worked at was in Vietnam, the ABC International School. This school was smaller, with approximately three classes per year group, on separate campuses for infants and juniors. One Headteacher I worked for there made it his mission to have ‘fun’ experience days for the children, which included a circus day and on Chinese New Year, dragons and performers came to the playground. He was such a lively spirit, I remember seeing him trying to outdo the children waiting for their bus by standing on one leg. It’s lovely to see management with a sense of fun and interacting with children on their level. In Taipei, I have loved working within Reception. We have developed our activities to be hands-on and experiential. We developed language through the five senses, which included bringing in animals.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

The Taiwanese take hiking very seriously. They are always fully kitted out with walking sticks, expensive sporting wear, and large hats. I usually meet them just wearing shorts and a tee-shirt, sunscreen too if I remember it. When our paths meet (literally) they are always exceptionally friendly and it’s nice to get a greeting, often with an excellent English accent! Out and about in Taipei city, this never happens.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

This is a great question and one I discuss in-depth in my book. A good management team is very important to me, representative of gender and diversity. This team should listen to their staff and take on suggestions and feedback. They should not be afraid to share their power and celebrate their staff’s strengths. Then, I would look at the school ethos and how they work in practice. I like schools that work on developing the whole child and have a family feel. Furthermore, I love when schools embrace becoming ‘eco’ schools with gardens and working within the local and wider community. Then, I would consider the environment in which I would live. At this age and stage of my life, I would like to live near other families, so my daughter can have a social life close by outside of school. These priorities are very different from when I first started teaching. Then, my focus was on location.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Exciting, interesting, mind-opening experience.

teacher

Thanks, Jess!

Jess Gosling is an international teacher who has recently authored, ‘Becoming a Successful International Teacher: A Step-by-Step Concise Guide to International Teaching’. She can be contacted via her website and regularly tweets at JessGosling2.

If you are a member of International School Community and would like to be our next member spotlight, contact us here.  After we highlight you, you will receive one year free of premium access to our website!

Interested in comparing the schools and comments in Egypt. Check out our blog post here.

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Albania

February 15, 2020


Around the world, there are countries (like Albania) that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.

The big question always is…how do the comments about each school compare to each other?

This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same country.

Albania

Currently, we have 6 schools listed in Albania on International School Community.

4 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are some that have the most submitted comments:

World Academy of Tirana (41 Total Comments)
Albanian International School (32 Total Comments)
Albanian College Tirana (12 Total Comments)
Albanian College Durres (103 Total Comments)

Amount of Money Left to be Saved

“You can save around 1000 to 1500 Euros each month depending on your lifestyle. Traveling around the region is quite tempting, so you will have to prioritize if you really want to save some money or explore the world…” – Albanian College Durres

“Extremely easy to save money. Restaurants and local hotels are not expensive…” – World Academy of Tirana

School Campus

“In south of city, owner just bought a field in front of school for student play…” – Albanian College Tirana

“The school has serious safety concerns. The railings could easily fit a small child through them. The ceilings on the main floor have collapsed. There is a pool in the basement without proper ventilation. The only outdoor space for the children to play is on the roof and it is woefully inadequate…” – Albanian College Durres

“The school moved to its current 4-storey building in 2015, with a purpose-built Science Laboratory, Design workshop, Permaculture Garden, multi-functional Sports Court, Gymnasium, Visual Arts studio, Dance Studio, Music Studio, two Libraries, Cafeteria and Bistro…” – World Academy of Tirana

Housing Information

“Housing is provided by the school. Value is 300E per month. Staff pays their own utilities, cable, internet, etc…” – World Academy of Tirana

“Housing allowance is 400 Euros per month for a single teacher…” – Albanian College Tirana

“Housing allowance ranges from 300-400 Euro’s per month depending on single status and number of dependents…” – Albanian College Durres

Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc.

“Prices much lower than surrounding countries…beer in local restaurants range from 1.2 E to 2.5 euros…” – World Academy of Tirana

“To take a taxi from within the center of the city, it will cost you around 350-450 LEK. Quite cheap! Going out for food will probably cost you around 1600-1700 LEK for two people, and that includes a few drinks and appetizers…” – Albanian International School

“Housekeepers prices vary. Some expats pay 10,000 Leke per month for a housekeeper visit 2 per week…” – Albanian College Tirana

(These are just 4 of the 66 different comments topics that are on each school profile page on our website.)

If you work at an international school in Albania, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited free premium membership!

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #40: Amber Acosta (A teacher at the American International School in Egypt)

August 28, 2019


Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Amber Acosta:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

Hi! My name is Amber Acosta. I grew up in Connecticut, but when I am back in the United States, I call Vermont home. I have a bachelors degree in business from Fordham University and a masters degree in teaching from Sacred Heart University. I have taught grade 2 for the past 5 years at the American International School in Egypt (West Campus) and am excited to start a new position this year teaching lower elementary technology, using my certification as an Educational Media Specialist. My professional interests outside of technology are STEM education, library, and makerspaces. I recently became certified in STEM and am looking forward to using my skills this year, as well as creating a makerspace at my school. I have a husband and an 11 year old son. My husband is a teacher, too. He teaches economics and business at the same school.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

I did not really plan to teach internationally – I fell into it and ended up loving it! I taught in Egypt for one year after college before starting my masters, but did not necessarily intend to come back. However, my husband and I decided to move to Egypt (where he is originally from) in 2011. I contacted a previous administrator and found they had an opening for me at their school. The rest is history! I knew I would continue to teach internationally after that, especially after my husband joined me in teaching as well.

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.

I have worked at Global Paradigm International School and American International School of Egypt (West Campus), both in Cairo. Global Paradigm was in its second year when I joined, so there was a lot of room for me to be a part of the accreditation process and really help build the foundations of the curriculum. I enjoyed the challenge! Also, we had small class sizes and I loved feeling like my students and I were a little family. At the American International School of Egypt, we have a large student body and staff. I have really benefited from meeting so many teachers from around the world and learning from them through discussion and observation. Another great thing about AIS is that we not only have professional development in our staff meetings, but also have the chance through our stipends to take classes or attend professional development anywhere we wish. I have had the chance to grow so much in my time at AIS, as well as have fun! Our Seuss-themed Literacy Week is a blast for both students and teachers. Also, it is fantastic to take my students every year to the pyramids- where else can you do that?

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

My son has grown up with both Egyptian and American cultures and we also travel internationally for many of our vacations. He has developed such a broad perspective of the world and a curiosity about different cultures. I think one of the best cultural encounters anywhere is always trying the food in a new country!

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

My husband and I would absolutely love to teach in and explore a new country in the near future, so we have been thinking about this recently. It is very important to me that the school is progressive, has opportunities for professional development, and values teacher-input into curriculum. I would also like for there to be emphasis on project-based and real-world learning. My husband and I started and currently run the school gardening program, in which students grow, pack, and sell produce, so we would love to work somewhere that we could still be involved in gardening or eco-initiatives. 

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Teaching around the world – awesome!

teacher

Thanks, Amber Acosta!

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 receive one year free of premium access to our website!

Interested in comparing the schools and comments in Egypt. Check out our blog post here.

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Information for Members

12 Submitted Comments About the “Awesome” Parts of Working at International Schools

March 17, 2019


International School Community is full of tens of thousands of useful, informative comments…31058 comments (17 March 2019) 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 the “awesome” parts of working at international schools from across the globe.

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

“The preschool is fantastic. Teachers and assistants were excellent and our child learned a huge amount! One memorable field trip was to the local international airport where students visited the traffic control tower and got to role play…pretty awesome.” – MC School (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) – 49 Comments

11. Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus.

“The new Middle School is up and running! It’s pretty awesome. Lots of open spaces, a rooftop terrace, an auditorium, big classrooms with whiteboard walls that you can write all over. Amphitheater is also very nice, great during the spring and fall for reading outside.” – American School of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) – 165 Comments

10. What does the school do to create a harmonious state of well-being and high morale amongst its staff?

“We just had three weeks of mindfulness, with lots of different classes offered, including free massage at school. It was awesome! School year begins with a Karaoke night, where everyone joins in, local expat, support staff, everyone, it is fun. There are staff spirit days, we just had an amazing Christmas party and THEN a Christmas lunch. There is a system for nominating who did a great job and the names are put into the hats for prizes. At the end of this term we all received a blue tooth travel speaker and a portable drink cup, everyone not just teachers, I like that. Plus everyone is just nice to each other at work, its is happy place” – KIS International School (Bangkok) (Bangkok, Thailand) – 296 Comments

9. Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.

“If you want to have some tasty dumplings, I suggest to go to Chao Chao Sanjo Kiyamachi. It is a small restaurant and full of tourists, but still the food is fast and good. There are so many temples/shrines to see here. Many of them are going up the nearby mountain side. There is such beautiful nature there with amazing trees everywhere. In the spring, it is awesome and in the fall it can be very gorgeous.” – Kyoto International School (Kyoto, Japan) – 55 Comments

8.Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.

“It is the beginning of June at the moment and the weather can’t be any better. It is sunny and warm basically every day. It is awesome. You can go out and enjoy the outdoor areas of the city. The high is in the upper 20s during the day with minimal breeze in the air. You can definitely walk around in sandals and shorts/t-shirt. Though once the sun finally goes down (like around 10pm), then it is good to have a light jacket to wear or a long sleeved shirt if you are walking around the city.” – International School of the Gothenburg Region (Gothenburg, Sweden) – 6 Comments

7. In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school?

“Staying because some people find an awesome niche in Berlin’s counterculture, or because they’ve had kids here and they’ve set up a nice suburban life near school. Leaving because some departments have disorganized, antiquated approaches, or because the school can ask for too much at times (learning to set limits is important as an employee here.)” – Berlin Brandenburg International School (Berlin, Germany) – 80 Comments

6. Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them.

“Each classroom in grades 4-5 has their own classroom set of ipads and own classroom set of Chromebooks. It is awesome!” – Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria) – 49 Comments

5. Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus.

“We have moved into our new building/campus. It is truly unbelievable. It is so huge! It can take like 20 minutes or more to walk from one tower to the other tower at the other end of the building. Being on the water is so beautiful. The sunrises and sunsets are just so awesome. With the big windows in every room, there is always a good view to look at. The kids are getting distracted by the huge ships docking and going past, so we’ll see how that continues or stops in the near future.” – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark) – 345 Comments

4. Describe school’s location in relation to the city center and to the teacher’s housing. How do staff get to school before and after school?

“The school has an awesome location in Seoul — 20 minutes from downtown, but there is tons to do in our own neighborhood too. Most teachers live in on-campus housing which is maintained by the school and quite nice. Walking to school from on campus housing takes about 5 minutes or less depending on which building you live in. One of the largest faculty housing units had to be demolished for the construction of the new high school (scheduled to be completed in 2018). Those faculty members have been displaced to the nearby Grand Hilton. The apartment units over there are quite nice and the school runs two shuttles from the hotel to school in the morning and in the afternoon (at different times). The hotel is about a 20-30 minute walk from school and a 5 -10 minute taxi ride. Many teachers also ride bikes or scooters from Hilton to school.” – Seoul Foreign School (Seoul, South Korea) – 147 Comments

3. Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city.

“I haven’t been to many restaurants, but I like Rolly’s stake house. The atmosphere is awesome, food is great (they also have salads if you are vegetarian, but meet is main meal there 🙂 Also there is a really nice restaurant on Uetliberg, with the great city view, that is one of my favorite spots in Zurich. Also ride on the lake is really beautiful.” – Inter-community School Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland) – 69 Comments

2. Describe the different aspects of the school building and the school grounds. Also, describe the surrounding area around the campus.

“The school building location is awesome. The surrounding area is amidst a row of other like buildings, some residential and some other businesses. The whole area is quite nicely manicured in terms of gardens and the upkeep on the other buildings. It doesn’t necessarily look like an entrance to a school (the door to ICS), and there is just a small sign on the door letting people know.” – International Community School London (London, England) – 49 Comments

1. How is this school different or the same when compared to schools in your home country?

“The teachers at the American School of Asuncion are great and work really hard. In general, it appears that the foreign staff work harder and put in longer hours than local teachers, but this is one perception. There are lots of extracurricular activities offered after school for students: chess, sports, photography, newspaper, student council, etc. In the elementary, the workload is awesome! Primary teachers only have about 4 hours of contact teaching time with the students each day. The rest of the time for students is spent in Specials and Spanish class. Middle and high school also have apple time to plan lessons and take a break between classes.” – American School of Asuncion (Asuncion, Paraguay) – 145 Comments

If you have an interesting and useful comment to add related to the awesome parts at your school that you would like to share, log in to International School Community and submit your comments. For every 10 submitted comments, you will get one month of free premium membership added to your account!

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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight #38: Tareq Hajjaj (A teacher at The American School of Belo Horizonte)

September 11, 2018


Every so often International School Community is looking to highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight blog category.  This month we interviewed Tareq Hajjaj:

member spotlight
Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I very much consider myself a third-culture kid despite living 25/31 years in Western Sydney. This area is the most culturally diverse area in the southern hemisphere and I grew up experiencing both Australian and Arab cultures.

Born in Kuwait, I spent the first four years of my life there before migrating to Australia. Throughout my life I frequently travelled to Jordan to visit my extended family. My family originates from Palestine before it was partitioned. And previous to that, we have routes in Egypt.

My schooling and tertiary education were completed in Sydney. When I was completing my high school studies, I was considering teaching as my profession. Although, I decided to study a Bachelor of Commerce first knowing that obtaining a Masters of Teaching would only take two years of full-time study on top of that.

Throughout my tertiary studies, I worked in a variety of education and community welfare jobs. At that time, I never thought I would be embarking on an international teaching journey. I was very much a typical guy in his 20s in Australia. I loved Rugby League, Touch Rugby and cycling and all my travels with friends via domestic trips. By the time I graduated, I was ready to experience a life-changing international journey.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

During my last semester of university, I attended a job fair organised for the post graduate students completing educational courses in my university. At the fair were some recruiters looking for teachers to work in the UK and I immediately was interested. The process was straight forward. The recruiter organised an interview with herself and then a principal within a school. They liked my enthusiasm and how I was looking forward to the adventure and willing to learn about the UK curriculum. From there I had to collect documentation such as police checks, and I was helped to apply for a Youth Mobility Visa. Before I knew it, I was offered a short term maternity leave contract for a Grade 5 class and a few weeks after graduating, I was ready for a September start in the UK.

Before going to the UK, I took a detour to visit a close friend of mine in Shanghai for one week. He was about to begin his 2nd international teaching post. It was a wonderful visit which opened my eyes to a new culture.  It wasn’t long before I was back there teaching kindergarten.

In my first year of teaching I was extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to have completed six weeks of casual teaching in Australia, a semester block as a Grade 5 homeroom teacher in an East London public school, and being the first teacher to open the one of two new kindergarten classes (a first for the school). My life was very different; I met so many new people, learned how to speak basic conversational mandarin, enjoyed a diverse lifestyle in two major world class cities and grew a lot as a teacher.

member spotlight

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.

I have worked in England (Brookside Junior School), Egypt (Cairo English School), China (Shanghai United International School, Fudan International School and Guangdong Country Garden School), and Brazil (The American School of Belo Horizonte.) In this time I have had the opportunity to teach Canadian British Columbian, UK National Curriculum, American Common Core Curriculum as well as the International Baccalaureate. All schools were fun places to work.

Cairo English School stands out as the school with a stunning campus. It had over 1500 students and chaotic hallways but the students were always cheerful and there were always many extravagant events going on around the school.

An even bigger school was Guangdong Country Garden School. They had over 4500 students! It was impossible to even meet all the students. I worked in the kindergarten. I remember the play times with over four hundred 3-5-year-old students running around in many directions. It was a boarding school, and it was common to see even kindergarten students still having lessons in the evening.

member spotlight

Both Fudan International School and The American School of Belo Horizonte are smaller schools with approximately 350 students from K-12. I was the Grade 5 homeroom teacher at both schools so I was given a lot of freedom in planning a lot of the curriculum according to the American Common Core and IB syllabi, and the school’s scope and sequence.

It is still hard to decide whether I prefer the larger schools or smaller schools. They both have their advantages. Every school was unique in its own way.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

I have been in Belo Horizonte for two months now. My impression is that Brazilians are very social and love to enjoy themselves. Every weekend there is loud music coming from different places in my neighbourhood and many social gatherings within my apartment complex. Just about everybody greets you in a friendly manner and people are usually excited to hear where I am from and speak of their desires to visit there.

Belo Horizonte is considered the Brazilian Belgium. It may not be known for having beautiful beaches like the other places in Brazil, but it is known for producing beers of good quality such as Krug Bier, FalkBier, Backer, Küd, Wäls and Artesamalte. To complement this you will find the popular night spot of Savassi heaving every weekend complemented by music festivals.

Whilst Belo Horizonte seems to be unknown from the outside world, it is the third largest city in Brazil. It boasts the most bars per capita with over 12,000 bars in the city. Most of these are informal sit down spots where you can enjoy an informal meal. Beagá (the city’s nickname which is its initials in Portuguese) also boast a fine arts culture with beautiful street art sprawled around the city. It is definitely a hidden gem (and ironically the mining capital of the country).

member spotlight

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

It is very important to be responsible and choose your employer well. That means finding out as much as you can about the position and the school, where you will live and information about the country you will be living in. After you have found out as much as possible, evaluate what is really important to you.

For me, as I have moved around a few times in my 7 years of teaching. Now I am more inclined to look for supportive school that will offer me 2-3 year contracts and ongoing professional development so I can take my teaching pedagogy to the next level.

member spotlight

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

An amazing and unforgettable experience.

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Thanks, Tareq Hajjaj!

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 one year free of premium access to our website!

Do you think you have what it takes to be a veteran international school teacher like Tareq Hajjaj?  What character traits does it take?  We have an article on our blog that discusses this very question. It is called the “Top 10 Character Traits of a Seasoned International School Teacher“. Read the whole article here.

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: American Embassy School New Delhi

March 15, 2018


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:

The road to American Embassy School New Delhi…

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.

Journey to School

(The gardens on the Bulgarian Embassy grounds.)

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.

Journey to School

(Bougainvillea along the walls of the Bulgarian Embassy Compound.)

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.

Journey to School

(The pool at the Bulgarian Embassy – it’s filled from April to September.)

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.

Journey to School

(The outside of the Bulgarian Embassy.)

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.

Journey to School

(The entrance to the Russian Trade Federation.)

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.

Journey to School

(Yellow dog outside the British School.)

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.

Journey to School

(The banyan tree in front of the British School.)

Journey to School

(The yellow and green auto rickshaw waits for someone who needs a ride. Be ready to barter.)

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.

Journey to School

(Boys hanging out outside Vivekanand Camp.)

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.

Journey to School

(A woman walks past Gate #4, one of the entrances to AES.)

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.

Journey to School

(A campus directory points the way to some of the different buildings that make up AES.)

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.

Journey to School

(Flowers on campus. They change with the seasons.)

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.

Journey to School

(Benches and a garden outside the entrance to one of the elementary school buildings.)

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.

Journey to School

(A bulletin board next to the entrance to the middle school. Go AES tigers!)

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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.

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Brazil

August 26, 2017


Around the world, there are cities that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.

Some cities, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, how do the comments about each school compare to each other?

This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same city.

brazil

Brazil

Currently, we have 22 schools listed in Brazil on International School Community.

13 of these schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few that have the most submitted comments:

International School of Curitiba (11 Total Comments)
Escola Beit Yaacov (14 Total Comments)
Escola Americana de Campinas (12 Total Comments)
American School of Brasilia (15 Total Comments)
American School of Belo Horizonte (46 Total Comments)
Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo (39 Total Comments)
Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador (23 Total Comments)
Pan American School of Porto Alegre (25 Total Comments)
School of the Nations (32 Total Comments)

Hiring Policies

“Single teachers and teaching couples with out dependents are preferred. Maximum age that they can hire is 60 years old.” – Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador

“You would have a hard time getting hired at this school if you have a non-working spouse.” – Pan American School of Porto Alegre

“They go to Atlanta, UNI, and they use Search Associates as well as TIE sometimes. You may also write the school directly and interview over Skype.” – School of the Nations

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School Campus

“The campus is beautiful, but the current buildings are struggling to meet the demands of the growing student population. A new main building is planned in the next 5 years. The area around the school campus is nice. In the past two years many bars and restaurants have been popping up all around the neighborhood.” – American School of Belo Horizonte

“School is located in a residential neighborhood, near all important amenities. School is close to a lake.” – American School of Brasilia

“Surrounding the school there are nicely taken care of garden areas. There are what seems to be full-time people going around and taking care of the greenery.” – Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo

Housing Information

“Staff are housed in nice apartments right next to the school. Everyone lives in 1 or 4 buildings in the same complex. You are responsible for your electric bill, which is usually not significant.” – American School of Belo Horizonte

“The dwellings come with basic furniture and appliances.” – Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador

“Furnished apartment provided with utilities included: electricity, water, condo fees.” – American School of Brasilia

“Total US dollar equivalent of annual benefits comes to approx: $15,800. The School provides modestly furnished housing for teachers on temporary visas who are single, providing a one or two-bedroom apartment depending upon single or shared accommodation; (b) for a married teaching couple with no children or with one child, and who are temporary visa holders the School provides a two-bedroom apartment or equivalent. All housing contains the following appliances and furnishings: stove, refrigerator, beds, sofa, dining room table and chairs, washing machine and basic kitchen utensils. The School will retain ownership of these items, which will be kept in good condition by the Teacher. The School will pay the rent, condominium fees, and property taxes related to the apartment/house. The employee is responsible for all other expenses, such as utility bills (water, electricity and telephone bills) but installation and maintenance charges for these utilities as well as Internet connections (not usage) shall be at the School’s expense.” – School of the Nations

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Health insurance and medical benefits

“Medical insurance, which includes dental and life/disability insurance.” – Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo

“International health insurance is subsidized 100% by the school, and the medical facilities in Porto Alegre are often superior to those found in North America. International coverage is through Clements.” – Pan American School of Porto Alegre

“Medical insurance is provided which includes dental coverage as well. Excellent local health care and also for international travel.” – Pan American School of Bahia in Salvador

“All recruited foreign hire, be they on temporary visa or permanent residency visa, are covered by both a local health plan administered by the world’s largest insurance company, the Allianz Group, as well as an international health plan when traveling abroad, administered by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. Medical and hospital treatment abroad is covered up to US$ 100,000 and no limit is stipulated for treatment inside of Brazil. Basic dental care is also provided.” – School of the Nations

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

brazil

If you work at an international school in Brazil, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Cambodia

February 5, 2017


Around the world, there are cities that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.

Some cities, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, how do the comments about each school compare to each other?

This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same city.

Cambodia

Cambodia

Currently, we have 14 schools listed in Cambodia on International School Community.

9 schools have had comments submitted on them. Here are a few that have the most submitted comments:

Footprints International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)38 Comments
Hope International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)6 Comments
Ican British International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)64 Comments
International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP) (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)10 Comments
Logos International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)6 Comments
Northbridge International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)33 Comments
The Liger Learning Center (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)14 Comments
Western International School (Phnom Penh) (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)2 Comments
Jay Pritzker Academy (Siem Reap, Cambodia)23 Comments

Housing

“When you first arrive you get up to 10 days local housing on arrival, then you get $700 a month for a housing allowance.” – Jay Pritzker Academy

“Housing allowance is provided which, depending on where you want to live and what standard of housing you require, can cover part or entire cost of housing. If you share or live in more local style options, you can even save some of the allowance.” – Northbridge International School

“Annual housing allowance is Single $7920, Couple/Family – $12100.” – International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)

Cambodia

School Campus

“The Middle Years area has just been renovated to accommodate more students and create an outdoor basketball space on the roof. Grounds are geared towards primary school as this is the majority of students, and are very nice, however it is nice to have more for the older students now.” – Ican British International School

“The campus grounds span 11 hectares in countryside surroundings. The campus blends modern and traditional architecture. It is surrounded by padi fields.” – Jay Pritzker Academy

“New hub building for library and administration, new Primary buildings and renovated Secondary building. The setting is lovely on 8 green hectares (20 acres) of campus with well maintained gardens. Nice new playgrounds and use of pool attached to adjacent Northbridge communities.” – Northbridge International School

Types of Budgets for Teachers

“No budget to speak of. Annual ordering from overseas has to be approved by relevant Principal.” – International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)

“Budgets for resources are never an issue – if you have a good reason for purchasing something and can demonstrate the learning that it will support then you are generally approved. Art, Maths and Science materials are often ordered in from overseas and are of high quality.” – Ican British International School

“About $80/term (3 terms)” – Footprints International School

“Budgets are tightly controlled and not transparent. The accounting and purchasing systems are very difficult to negotiate.” – Northbridge International School

Cambodia

Kinds of Teachers that Work There

“1/2 of the teachers are from USA or Canada, with only a few being from the UK. The rest are Cambodian.” – Jay Pritzker Academy

“All of the teachers need to be degree qualified and registered teachers in their home countries. With the exception of language teachers, they need to have native or near native speaking level of English as this is the language of instruction. Almost all admin and support staff are local. Staff turnover is fairly high.” – Northbridge International School

“There are a few core teachers who have been there for years, and a lot of teachers on two-year contracts. Some stay for three. All are internationally qualified, some are locally hired, more internationally.” – Ican British International School

“13 nationalities – Filipino, American, Canadian, Australian, British, Cambodian – quite the mix.” – Footprints International School

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

Cambodia

If you work at an international school in Cambodia, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Xian Hi-Tech International School in China

August 27, 2016


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 Xian Hi-Tech International School (Xian, China), described his way to work there as follows:

The road to XHIS…….

This is going to sound terribly stereotypical but one of the many reasons I love living in Shaanxi province is the potatoes! Now can you guess where I come from? I will tell you later. My journey to work each day is a very short one, but my journey to Xi’an has been a long one. I hope you enjoy reading about it.

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

My name is Brian Lalor and I am in my third year at Xi’an Hi-Tech International School, in Shaanxi province in China. We are a two programme IB world school and are working towards offering three of the four excellent IB programmes. Our school is small at present with only 270 students but we are at capacity and have an exciting move to a new purpose-built campus coming up in August 2017.

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

Each morning I get up and travel about four minutes to school! I know, the shortest ever commute, right? Our school is situated in residential area and all of our teachers’ apartments are located around the school. We are about 30 minutes from the city center in the southern suburbs. I ride my bicycle to school each day, that is why my journey is so short.

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

On my journey to school I pass through the morning market. Here local vendors sell fruit, vegetables, nuts and breads for very reasonable prices. One of the wonderful advantages to living in Xi’an is the potential to save money. It is much easier to live here when compared to other big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong. Our school pays for our apartment, flights, international health insurance and gives us a monthly allowance for living overseas. Before coming to Xi’an I worked in Ha Noi for nine years, and in Jakarta before that. Each city has its own advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantages living in Xi’an are the standard of healthcare and the bad pollution in Winter.

journey to Xian Hi-Tech International School

Some of the wonders Xi’an has to offer are as follows. We are literally just a short 25-minute car ride to the beautiful Qin Ling Mountains which provides us with a great way to escape the heat in summer and some lovely snowy landscapes in winter. Another highly attractive feature unique to this city, is its amazing millenary history, with archaeological sites found literally in every part of town, with the city wall being one of its main attractions. And who hasn’t heard of the world-famous “Terra Cota Warriors”. Xi’an was once the ancient capital of China so as you can imagine there are lots to see in and around the community.

If you have not guessed it I am born and bread Irish. Oh those lovely potatoes! The food here is incredible and you could literally have a potato dish, every day of the week. Some noodles are even made out of potato here!

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author and International School Community member.

What to know more what it is like to visit and live in China?  Out of a total of 165 international schools there are 110 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Beijing BISS International School (Beijing, China)36 Comments

Beijing City International School (Beijing, China)31 Comments

Beijing International Bilingual Academy (Beijing, China)35 Comments

International School of Beijing (Beijing, China)25 Comments

Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China)95 Comments

Western Academy Beijing (Beijing, China)43 Comments

Changchun American International School (Changchun, China)50 Comments

QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China)64 Comments

Guangdong Country Garden School (Foshan, China)48 Comments

Guangzhou Huamei International School (Guangzhou, China)48 Comments

Harbin No. 9 High School International Division (Songbei Campus) (Harbin, China)45 Comments

American International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)24 Comments

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)69 Comments

Creative Secondary School (Hong Kong, China)39 Comments

Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China)34 Comments

Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China)104 Comments

Canadian International School Kunshan (Kunshan, China)28 Comments

Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan, China)41 Comments

Access International Academy (Ningbo) (Ningbo, China)48 Comments

British International School Shanghai – Puxi (Shanghai, China)35 Comments

Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)86 Comments

Shanghai American School – Puxi (Shanghai, China)39 Comments

Shanghai Community International School (Shanghai, China)33 Comments

Shanghai Rego International School (CLOSED) (Shanghai, China)74 Comments

Shanghai United International School (Shanghai, China)40 Comments

Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China)204 Comments

Yew Chung International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)27 Comments

Buena Vista Concordia International School (Shenzhen, China)39 Comments

International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (Shenzhen, China)26 Comments

QSI International School of Shekou (Shenzhen, China)20 Comments

Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)47 Comments

Wellington College International Tianjin (Tianjin, China)54 Comments

EtonHouse International Schools, Wuxi (Wuxi, China)49 Comments

Xian Hi-Tech International School (Xian, China)54 Comments

Zhuhai International School (Zhuhai, China)59 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.

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Blogs of International Teachers

International School Teacher Blogs: “The Roaming Filipina” (A counselor working at Shekou International School in Shenzhen, China)

April 11, 2016


Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad and working at an international school?

Our 44th blog that we would like to highlight is called “The Roaming Filipina”  Check out the blog entries of this international school educator who works at Shekou International School in Shenzhen, China.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

How Did I Get Here?

“I attended my first Search fair in Cambridge, MA and came away with interview experience, but no job. ISM even left me a “thanks, but no thanks” note.  Frustrated, but undeterred.  Through that experience I learned that it wasn’t really about moving to the Philippines anymore, but about fulfilling my desire to explore the world.

About 2 weeks after the Cambridge fair, one listing caught my eye.  A listing for a whole school counselor at a school in Uzbekistan. YES UZBEKISTAN.  I waited a day or two to think about whether or not I really wanted to apply to this school.  Afterall, it is in a country that I knew so little about.  My boyfriend gave me a weird look, but said that I should do it if it’s what I really want.  I also sent resumes to more schools in the East Asia/SE Asia region and even considered teaching English somewhere.  But after perusing the school’s site thoroughly and reading every article I could possibly find on Google, I started to imagine myself living in Central Asia. It didn’t seem so bad.

I interviewed with the two principals and Head of School on Skype.  After a few days, they asked if I wanted to meet face to face in California. I was offered the position and I immediately accepted.  I spent three GREAT years in Uzbekistan…”

Getting your first job overseas is always exciting and typically makes for a great story to tell your international school teacher friends. 

Want to read more about what “newbies” to international school teaching should know about?  Check out our blog series called “For the Newbies.

Surviving the International School Job Fairs

Day Two and Three – Saturday & Sunday

This is THE HEART of the fair. It is the day you sign-up for interviews and will likely do all your initial interviews during this time. Do:

• WEAR YOUR POWER SUIT – DRESS TO IMPRESS

• organize your resumes, laptop, etc. I preferred to keep my laptop/iPad with me so I can work on stuff outside of my room – saved a lot of time vs. going back to my room between interviews.

• agree to interviews with schools that you’re not sure you’re interested in. Good for practice and you never know – it might be a GREAT fit for you.

• find a quiet corner besides your room to chill between interviews – you just never know who is walking around. Visibility is important.

• breathmints – use them

• prioritize which school tables you want to hit first during sign-ups. Some schools are REALLY popular so you might want to go to the ones that have shorter lines first and get interviews lined up.

• if you get a “fast pass”  – direct invitation from the school to bypass the line to schedule an interview, HIT THOSE SCHOOLS FIRST

• try to get to the interview 10 minutes before – don’t schedule your interviews so close together that you’d be late. Also – keep in mind that hotel elevators will be really busy, especially if there are 200+ candidates rushing to interviews...

Great advice from an experience international school teacher. Going to the recruitments fairs with a plan of attack is always a good choice.  Knowing ahead of time what to expect can better help you manage your emotions throughout the fair experience.

For more advice check out our blog series called Nine Lessons Learned Regarding International School Hiring Fairs.”  As a sneak peek, lesson number one is “Bad interviews are good things.

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Want to work for an international school in China like this blogger?  Currently, we have 160 international schools listed in this country. 109 have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:

Wellington College International Tianjin (Tianjin, China)47 Comments
EtonHouse International Schools, Wuxi (Wuxi, China)49 Comments
Suzhou Singapore International School (Suzhou, China)47 Comments
Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China)202 Comments
British International School Shanghai – Puxi (Shanghai, China)35 Comments
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (Shanghai, China)77 Comments
Access International Academy (Ningbo) (Ningbo, China)48 Comments
Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China)92 Comments
Creative Secondary School (Hong Kong, China)39 Comments
Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)55 Comments
QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China)64 Comments
Guangdong Country Garden School (Foshan, China)48 Comments
Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China)93 Comments
Western Academy Beijing (Beijing, China)43 Comments

Additionally, there are 264 International School Community members who currently live in China. Check out which ones and where they work here.  Feel free to go ahead and contact them with any questions that you might have as well; nice to get first hand information about what it is like to live and work there!

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

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Surveys

When looking for reviews and comments about an international school, which topic is the most important for you?

November 20, 2015


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  When looking for reviews and comments about an international school, which topic is the most important for you?

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Right now our members are looking for as much information as they can. The more information the better.  Luckily, we just celebrated getting over 15000 comments! So International School Community is definitely the website to go to when looking to gather information about different international schools from around the world.

Even though we have over 65 separate comment topics on each school profile page, you might say that these six topics are some of the most important to know about.

Current statistics about these rather important comment topics on our website (taken from 20 November 2015):

Salary – 811 Total Comments
Retirement Plan Details – 367 Total Comments
Housing Benefits – 805 Total Comments
Teaching Contract Details – 36 Total Comments
Hiring Policy – 949 Total Comments
Savings Potential – 385 Total Comments

Of course all comments and reviews related to these comment topics are important. Recruiting international schools teachers need to know this information, detailed information, about these topics before they sign a contract.

But, which topic is the most important to you?  Please take a moment and submit your vote!

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We actually have two blog categories related this to survey question.

One blog category is called Hiring Policies at Int’l Schools.
Here are a few of the entries in this section:

• Comments about Hiring Policies #9: Int’l High School of San Fran, The American School of Kinshasa & British Early Years Centre – Read Here.

• Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #8: Benjamin Franklin Int’l School, American Cooperative School of Tunis & Green School Bali – Read Here.

• Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #7: Int’l School of KL, Escola Internacional de Alphaville & Guangdong Country Garden School – Read Here.

The other category is called “Salaries at Int’l Schools.”
Here are a few of the entries in this section:

• Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #7: Blue Valley School, Ivy Collegiate Academy & Wellspring Int’l School (Hanoi) – Read Here.

• Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #6: Khartoum Int’l Community School, Int’l School of KL & Vietnam American Int’l School – Read Here.

• Comments and information about salaries on ISCommunity #5: Hong Kong Int’l School, Shanghai Community Int’l School & Guamani Private School – Read Here.

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Kuala Lumpur

October 11, 2015


Around the world, there are cities that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.

Some cities, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, how do the comments about each school compare to each other?

This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same city.

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Kuala Lumpur

Currently, we have 17 schools listed in Kuala Lumpur on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:
Newlands International School (51 comments)
Garden International School (21 comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (99 comments)
Mont’Kiara International School (27 comments)
Sunway International School (15 comments)
Taylor’s College (16 comments)
Alice Smith School (8 comments)

High Expectations for Teachers?

“The school’s workload is average. We certainly hear of neighboring (similar caliber) schools who expect a lot more out of their teaching staff. In addition to a normal teaching day, teachers also are expected to lead 2 after school activities (running 10 weeks long each) per year. Coaching satisfies this requirement. This is standard for international schools in Malaysia, as the government requires schools to offer ASAs. Some teachers work until 3:30 (official end of day), and others are consistently there until 5 or later. However, this is a matter of choice and personal work ethic, most often not because of additional duties required by the school.” – Mont’Kiara International School

“I dont think the workload is particularly heavy although the school has high expectations. A 100% teaching load comes with two non contact hours per day, slightly less in lower grades. In ES some of these blocks are taken up by co-planning and team meetings. After school meetings are twice monthly, relatively low compared to other schools” – International School of Kuala Lumpur

“Teachers usually take on one extra-curricular.” – Taylor’s College

“Teachers are trusted but a great commitment is expected. One after school club/week/term.” – Newlands International School

Language Background of the Students

“The students are mainly from the expatriate community of Kuala Lumpur and come from over 50 different countries. Malaysian students are only allowed to attend international schools if they have obtained approval from the Malaysia’s Ministry of Education. The GIS roll currently comprises approximately 40% Malaysian students, the second largest nationality group is British.” – Garden International School

“The Principal reminds the pupils every day to speak in English but some lapse back into Chinese.” – Newlands International School

“Chinese dialects, Bahasa Malaysian, some international sts.” – Taylor’s College

“The school requires students entering after kinder have been previously educated in English. I would say about 75% of the students are fluent in English, and the rest are in the ELL program. Students almost all speak English, even if they have friends who speak their native languages. I am not sure of the exact number, but I would guess about half of the students are native English speakers.” – Mont’Kiara International School

Housing Allowance

“The school provides an accommodation allowance of RM2,500 per month for single teachers, RM2,700 per month for married teacher with no children whose spouse is not working, RM2,500 per month each for married teachers, both of whom are employed by the school and RM3,000 per month for married teachers with children whose spouse is not working in the school.” – Garden International School

“For married housing you get around 987 USD a month; For single housing you get around 846 USD a month; For each dependent child you get 109 USD extra a month. No utilities allowance is given.” – Mont’Kiara International School

“The housing allowance is paid with the salary and is taxable. After tax for a single it amounts to appx 750 USD, for a couple, or with dependents it is more, up to about 1300 USD. Depending on area and size, it is possible to find accommodation in this bracket, though many people treat it as salary and just rent the place they really want for a bit more.” – International School of Kuala Lumpur

Salary Information

“As of next year, teachers will be paid in Malaysian RM. This is actually a positive change and will raise salaries that have gone down with the weak dollar. Taxes are between 12 and 20%, and teachers also contribute about 10% to EPF (retirement plan).” – Mont’Kiara International School

“Pay is good, with a great retirement (EPF) program that can go up to 42% of salary (including both employer and employee amounts). Teachers are paid 10 times (August through June) but in June they also get their July salary.” – International School of Kuala Lumpur

“Salaries are automatically paid into each teacher’s bank account at the end of every month, (usually on the 28th day of the month).” – Garden International School

“Beaconhouse have a real problem getting work-permits so much so that none of the eight foreigners at Newlands have made year two of their contracts. Some have been told to get out on returning from a Visa run. None have been able to stay to year two which means they have to pay a large fine to BH for breaking contract.” – Newlands International School

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

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If you work at an international school in Kuala Lumpur, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Chatsworth International School (Singapore)

July 10, 2015


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 worked at the Chatsworth International School (Singapore), described her way to work there as follows:

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At 5 am the loud whoop-whoop-whoop call of the Asian Koel bird echoes through the condo grounds waking me for another day in Singapore. I enjoy drinking a cup of tea, looking out the floor to ceiling windows as the sun comes up over the park between a couple of tower-blocks. Eighty percent of people here live in apartments or ‘flats’ as they call them. I take the elevator eight floors down and as I step out of the air-conditioning, the heat and humidity immediately hit me. I always enjoy walking through the gardens, past the tennis courts where there is usually a gentleman doing tai-chi or a couple of ladies doing chi-gong. As I step out of the side-gate, the calming notes of a Chinese flute float on the air from the HDB (Housing Development Board) across the road and I always wonder who plays so beautifully?

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It’s a short walk along the sidewalk under the lush canopy of beautiful trees to the pedestrian bridge over the road, where I’m usually lazy and take the elevator up. As I cross the bridge I admire the beautiful pink flowers on the bridge. I always feel at home in Singapore as someone who grew up in the UK because there are many reminders of this city-state’s former status as a British colony – like the double-decker busses passing below me.

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Singapore is a very safe, orderly society and they queue up even better than the Brits. People line up one behind the other and wait for people to get off the bus or train. I swipe my pass at the gates of the Mass Rail Transit (MRT) station which is like the London underground, Paris Metro or New York Subway. I’m lucky I live on two lines – the yellow Circle line and the red North-South line. Down the escalators I go and line up on the red arrows indicating each door waiting for my train. The computer-controlled trains run like clockwork almost every minute, so there’s not long to wait till the glass safety doors open.  Then the train doors open and people exit between the green lines and then the red-coated attendants urge us politely to “move to the centre please.” The trains travel at an enormous speed and I always have to hold on, but the Singaporeans seem to balance effortlessly as they read their papers or check their phones. Singapore is an incredibly diverse society, and I enjoy the bright colours of the Indian ladies in kurtas and the Indonesian ladies with their headscarfs. As we pass through the stations if an elderly person or pregnant lady get on people immediately stand up for them to have a seat. There are also announcements in English, Mandarin, Malay and Indonesian “mind the platform gap”, “if you see any suspicious persons or packages please notify station personnel.”

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Twenty minutes later I get a kick out of getting out at ‘ Somerset ‘ MRT. Up the escalators into the shopping centre I join everyone else getting my morning coffee and breakfast to go: I enjoy Costa coffee from the UK where the guys know I like a “medium latte to go lah?” Everyone speaks English but It took me a while to get used to the ‘lah’ added on to many phrases here. That and the ‘can’ or ‘cannot’ for positive or negative answers. After picking up my favourite mushroom bun from the Swiss Marche bakery, I’m out onto busy Orchard Road, a world-famous shopping street with stand-alone luxury stores.

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Chatsworth International School’s Orchard campus is in a prime downtown location. The blue and white buildings are a historic property, originally a private home for the founder of Orchard Road and then the first Chinese Girls School. I don’t usually go in the front gates past the security guard. Instead I prefer walking up lovely Emerald Hill Road looking at the historic Peranakan shop–houses to the back-gate. I swipe my pass in the electronic lock and another day at CIS has begun.

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This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author and International School Community member: Sara Lynn Burrough. Check our her personal blog here.  It is called Travelling Teacher.

So what is your journey to the international school you work at?  Earn six free months of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’.  Email us here if you are interested.

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Information for Members

What Makes Your International School Unique?

June 9, 2015


Each international school is unique, that’s for sure.

Of course, many top international schools of the world have unique qualities that make them special. However, let’s not forget about all the other international schools (big and small).  Even for-profit international schools have cool things to offer that maybe non-profit schools are not able to have.

What then are these unique qualities?

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Some international schools have a unique make-up of students. They are from over 80 or more different countries, all coming together in a perfect, diverse blend. The students are also super kind and considerate which make classroom management a non-issue.

An international school can also be unique for the extra-curricular programme it offers.  Maybe it has a newly constructed olympic-sized pool with an effective and inspiring staff of swimming teachers.  The school might also be the only one that offers unique sports like fencing with a fully functioning fencing facility.

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Many international schools dream of having their own garden. Especially one that the students can tend to during break or class-lesson times.  This garden can also be unique because the school kitchen can incorporate the newly picked food into their menu.

Another unique quality about international schools could be related to the teachers themselves. Maybe they have the perfect set up for effective collaboration to happen (we all know that many international schools don’t have this luxury). Additionally, the teachers have ample planning time to create inspired lessons.  The director maybe even has carefully selected new teachers to join the teaching community that fit very well into the school’s mission and vision.

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A unique quality that many teachers seek out is a school that is well-resourced.  Having all the materials and equipment is definitely a dream come true, especially when working at an international school.  A school that has well-established connections with getting materials ordered and delivered in a timely manner is not an international school to overlook when recruiting.

And the list goes on and on of the unique qualities that international schools can have.

It is important to celebrate the good things about our schools. These good things can inspire the students and staff to do their best and bring the community closer together in the school’s vision and mission.

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Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to the unique qualities of international schools, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “Name some special things about this school that makes it unique.

There are a total of 313 comments in this comment topic (June 2015).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“KICS is bringing a concept of 21st century inquiry-based education to a country very much in need of such access. It isn’t a school for every teacher though. Teachers who do well are motivated by this vision. They also need to be into educational technology for learning. If they arent then they can struggle.” – Khartoum International Community School (Khartoum, Sudan) – 65 Comments

“The physical facilities of the school are excellent. The technology infrastructure is really good. It is a one-to-one programme with new Macbook airs from grade 5 to 12. The size of the school enables a lot of varies extra curricular activities which would be hard to support in a smaller school.” – American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland) – 29 Comments

“There is a very welcoming environment at all levels. Anyone can walk around and sense the positive “vibe”. Often we get remarks that, though the school is not small, much of the social ‘feel’ is indicative of traditionally small schools (e.g. friendly, open, welcoming, etc.)” – International School of Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – 84 Comments

“Well because of the dream of Eugenia, the director of the school for 20 years, there is a strong sense of multi-lingualism in the school. This school is leading the way in terms of language policy.” – The Bilingual School of Monza (Milan, Italy) – 27 Comments

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The Journey to School

The Journey to School: Dulwich College Suzhou (Suzhou, China)

May 25, 2015


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 worked at the Dulwich College Suzhou (Suzhou, China), described her way to work there as follows:

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One of the first things most of us did when we got up in the morning and opened the curtains was to check out how bad the fog of air pollution was. If I couldn’t see the lake past the tower blocks of my compound it was pretty usual, if I couldn’t see the apartments opposite me I knew it was really bad and people would be wearing masks to catch the coach. When I checked the AQI index on my phone, and if it was above 250 pmi, then I knew we wouldn’t be letting the children outside at the breaks or lunch-time. Thankfully the school has installed air purifiers in all classrooms though.

I lived on the 18th floor of a 30-story tower block and sometimes it would take a while for one of the two elevators to reach me. It was a pretty walk through the gardens surrounding the towers, I enjoyed watching people walking backwards to exercise and beating their arms to increase their circulation. After a cheery ‘Ni Hao’ to the security guards, I would join my colleagues waiting for the bus. Dulwich spread its staff out amongst approximately ten compounds with no more than two to a tower and no-one on the same floor as you, for privacy. It was always good to chat and pass the time in the morning. Soon the big red maroon coach would pull up and once again there would be a chorus of ‘Good Mornings’ as we climbed on board. There were four coaches assigned to pick up staff from various areas of Suzhou.

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The temperature on the bus never seemed right, either it would be much too warm with the heating on and the windows steamed up with condensation or we’d be cold. Suzhou, inland from Shanghai is definitely in an area with four seasons. I would amuse myself admiring the canals beside the roads with weeping willows and flowering shrubs and sometimes the odd boat. Within twenty minutes or so we’d be pulling up at the Senior School, then it was in through the gates with more ‘Ni Haos’ and sometimes a salute from the guards (depending on who you were with) and I’d look up at the iconic Dulwich tower as I stepped into the foyer and went over to the Coffee Bar to get my morning café latte.

The coaches only had one pick-up time at the compounds and if you missed it (which I often did) you had to hail a taxi. The school provided us with taxi cards for most places in Suzhou, including the school, in Mandarin, so it was easy to direct the taxi-driver who often didn’t speak English, 25 RMB and twenty minutes later I’d be at school exiting the cab saying ‘Xie xie’.

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I soon tired of missing the bus and paying for taxis and bought myself an electric bike. This is when the journey to school became fun! I’d go down into the parking garage below my apartment building and unplug the charger. After putting my helmet on I’d steer it up the narrow slope to the compound roads. Then climb on and off I went. My bright blue ebike reached a top speed of about 42 mph and I felt safe on it because in SIP, where I lived, there were separate bike lanes. It was when I zipped along on the ebike that I really discovered Suzhou. I found I left earlier in the morning on the ebike and I enjoyed steering round the water trucks cleaning the roads, or the people sweeping up. Often as I passed a shopping mall there would be a large group of people doing Tai Chi in beautiful silk clothes, or a group of women doing a fan dance. One morning I stopped to watch a man leaping and spinning with a silver sword. The Chinese schools started earlier than we did and I would enjoy watching the whole student body line up in disciplined military rows as the Chinese flag was raised and the national anthem was played. I didn’t enjoy seeing the conditions the migrant workers lived in when I passed the large compounds of blue and white two-storey buildings where they lived, because then I would see garbage, dirty children and stray dogs which I always felt sorry for.

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Soon though I would pulling in to the industrial park where the school is situated, and after passing through the electric gate controlled by the security guard I’d be parking my ebike in the underground garage and charging it up ready for the journey home. Another day at Dulwich College Suzhou had begun.

This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author and International School Community member: Sara Lynn Burrough. Check our her personal blog here.  It is called Travelling Teacher.

So what is your journey to the international school you work at?  Earn six free months of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’.  Email us here if you are interested.

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Highlighted Articles

School partnerships valuable learning for growth: visit to International School KEF Nepal from a school in India

September 4, 2013


School Partnerships valuable learning for growth

Being in the education sector provides valuable oppurnities to learn from overseas school interactions. Our school Khaitan Public School, Sahibabad was very fortunate to have its first tie up with an International School from KEF Nepal.

On 2nd November 2012 two distinguished people honored us by visiting our school, Mr. Keshab Prasad Paranjuli (Math HOD/Academic Dean) and Mr.Purna Bhadur Rana (IT HOD) from Karunanidhi Education Foundation (KEF) Nepal.

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Mr. Paranjuli and Mr. Rana being welcomed

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Observing kinder garden students

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Visiting classes and interacting with students sharing information on Nepal

They viewed our student’s assignments, saw live classes while interacting with them. When the students sang our School Anthem they were very delighted and shared their school anthem with us in Nepalese. They were eager to know more about subjects taught, teaching methodology adopted by teachers, student response, extracurricular activities, special students needs, and corrective methods for indiscipline adopted by our school authorities and our school’s Entrepreneurship programme with the 11th grade students.

The Entrepreneurship programme was a new concept for learning the ropes early in life where the school provides a platform to enable students to start an enterprise thereby forming a real time company headed by a CEO and other employees as they would in a real company. The company decides its name, logo, procures items to be sold to the consumers, markets its products, issues receipts and maintains a log of all transactions executed by the organization. This activity is held on the school campus for a fixed time 1 month duration. As students get a real feel of what it is to be responsible to own something the learning is optimum.

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Inquiring about the Entrepreneurship Programme and School Staff

What I have personally learned from this rich interaction is to know about a country you need to meet the people. People who have a thirst for knowledge continuously keep learning with an open mind and heart. To truly grow as a human being you have to have an open mind with no prior perceptions about countries. Showing warmth towards someone from another country in your homeland in the heart of your educational institution matters a lot and acceptance is everything. Sharing best teaching practices employed in each other’s schools has tremendous learning. Eagerness from our partners to learn about us, our culture, methods was not only very encouraging but also very positive enabling us to have a long term fruitful partnership. I would be forever grateful and indebted to our Nepal school partners for this invaluable experience.

Charmaine Vida Tayal

International School Award Coordinator, Facilitator Projects, Khaitan Public School Sahibabad, India

Email: charmainetayal@gmail.com

Thanks Charmaine for sharing your visit with us!  Currently we have 75 international schools listed in India on our website, with many of them having comments and information that have been submitted on them.  Check them out here.

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For the Newbies

How Do I Get into International Education #1: “Is it for me?”

August 8, 2013


imagesIn the news recently, you may have seen the advertisement for a company looking for four couples to make a one-way trip to Mars. There were over 10,000 people who applied. It´s not clear what their motivations were, but perhaps some of those adventurous genes can be found in international teachers. You can rest comfortably, though, in the assurance that an international teaching assignment is not, necessarily, a one-way trip. Whether you are a new or veteran teacher or administrator, the exciting world of international education is both challenging and rewarding. This article is the first in a series that will help you decide if it is for you and how to prepare for success in the endeavor.

The first thing considerations are: Do I have what it takes, and what are my motivations? Part of our psychological makeup as creatures of habit, mean that change is very difficult. Don´t believe me? When was the last time you changed your hairstyle or wardrobe?  On the other hand, change, can bring invigoration and excitement which leads to greater motivation and focus. So let´s look at some of the characteristics of a successful international educator. Stamina is vital. Think of your first year of teaching. International education is definitely not a “kick back and relax at the beach,” kind of job. In short, cannot be viewed as “just a job.” It is an adventure requires a energy and and a state of mind that thrives on seeing the opportunities in the daily challenges. Our Mars-bound friends will no doubt discover that in their three year training and conditioning program, their success is as dependent on this mindset as is that of an international educator. Creativity and a proactive approach will let you get ahead of the next curve ball thrown your way.

DSC_3137Another characteristic of success is flexibility—not the yoga kind, although many find that helps too. As creatures of habit, change is difficult for everyone. As an international educator, you may find that you are on the receiving end, instead of the giving end of  “we’ve always done it that way.” You will almost certainly be asked to step out of your comfort zone, whether it is in the classroom, or with foods and customs. In preparation for the Mars trip, these lucky souls will be learning everything from gardening to medicine. It is unlikely that you will need those skills, but a broad tool chest of skills and interests will definitely make life more interesting and effective. Bear in mind that every educator and every school have different perspectives on how to do things, and no one has a monopoly on “the best.” No one enters or should enter international education on a crusade to change the world. As shocking as it may be, our way — or my way — or your way, is not always the best. A successful international educator will be open to alternative ideas. Ultimately, that is what makes us all better at what we do. Above all, flexibility and curiosity which will be discussed further in an article on dealing with culture shock, will provide a much richer experience.

Effective and happy international educators also possess stick-to-itiveness—that perseverance that allows one to shake off the frustrations and challenges and keep an eye on the goal. Jumping into international education successfully, is not something done on a whim. Rather, it is for the long haul. Challenges are everywhere, from home country to the farthest reaches of society. Those challenges are amplified by a multitude of other issues, which will be addressed in later articles, but the bottom line is that even when things seem overwhelming, a successful international educator will grab hold and keep pushing ahead. So, whether your motivation for entering international education is a career move, an adventure or a chance to discover the world, you are there to teach children. But just as importantly, if you are open to it, you will learn much more than you teach.

The life of an international educator is a wonderful one, full of adventure and boredom, excitement and frustration, challenge and reward. But without a doubt, it is a remarkable opportunity that will provide an amazing insight into the world in which we live. A friend of mine, and long time international educator, said it best, we “do an ordinary job in extraordinary places.” Life is not about the destinations, it´s about the journey.

In the next article, we will look at the nuts and bolts of getting started—specific steps to prepare you for opening the doors.

Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 4.34.33 PMThis article was submitted by guest author and International School Community member: John Brown.
(John has held both administrative and teaching positions for over 20  years, with the last five being in international education. He is a well respected presenter at regional, national and international education and technology conferences as well as a consultant, who has helped set standards in teacher training and assessment, use of technology in the classroom, curriculum development and effective management practices. A graduate of Tarleton State University in Texas, USA, with graduate studies at North Texas State University and Texas Wesleyan School of Law, he is currently teaching IB Psychology and Spanish at an international school in Portugal. His current projects include development of an online tutoring system for Spanish, consulting on development of a National Language Policy for the United States, and research into the effects of early language learning on brain development. You can contact John at jbb0906@gmail.com.)

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #25: Laura Swash (A veteran int’l school educator currently working at Pajoma Education)

June 24, 2013


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Laura Swash:

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 4.18.10 PMTell us about your background.  Where are you from?

I am originally from England, from Colchester in Essex.  Just under twenty years ago, I was teaching Sociology and History at The Sixth Form College in Colchester. I took my BA and did my doctorate at Essex University and my PGCE at the Institute of Education in London.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?

A friend of mine moved in 1994 to Oman, and invited me to visit her. While I was out there I met an international teacher. Before that, I thought you could only teach ESL overseas. I had no idea that international schools even existed. A tiny seed lodged in my brain, and two years later I set out to teach Humanities in Thailand.

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.

I started at TCIS (Thai-Chinese Int’l School Bangkok) in Bangkok, in 1996.  It had only been open for two years then, and was a very exciting place to work. The students were wonderful, and all of the teachers were thrilled to be in at the start of something big. Since then I have worked at several international schools, the most memorable of which were AIS (the American International School in Cairo) and the International School of Tanganyika, in Dar es Salaam. I now teach IB Diploma Psychology online for Pamoja Education, and write materials for MYP and DP.

What made these schools unique was the nature of the students: in these years I was teaching firstly a mixture of Thai and Taiwanese students – extremely polite and charming and in general very keen to learn, but often afraid to admit to not understanding; then the Egyptian students – much more challenging when it came to classroom management, but very warm and humorous with some great characters in the classes; finally, at IST in Dar es Salaam, there was quite an international mix of students and a huge opportunity to learn about many different cultures in a wonderful location.

In all of the international schools in which I have worked, the teachers have also been sometimes crazy, always interesting and always committed to education in its broadest sense.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.

I am a little puzzled by the term ‘reverse cultural encounter’ – they are all just cultural encounters, I think. There have been several memorable ones.  The earliest (rather than the latest) is one of the funniest. TCIS In Bangkok supplied a white minibus to take the teachers from the housing compound where most of us lived to the school. It used to pick us up outside the small launderette on the compound.  During our first week, several of us new teachers were waiting for the bus. It came, and the driver popped into the shop with his washing, while we got in. When he came out, he did not seem to know the way to the school, so we assumed he was a new driver, and showed him with a map, as our Thai was as non-existent as his English. On arrival at the school, the security guards would not let him in: it seems he was a driver just dropping off his washing, and nothing to do with the school. He had been startled by the five foreigners sitting in his bus and thought it was best to do what they asked! Poor man…and a real introduction to the warmth of the Thai people.

A more recent example happened at IST in Dar es Salaam. We had a severe water shortage and a message was sent around asking us all to conserve water at school.  The school gardener immediately turned on the hosepipe. When we asked him what he was doing, his reply was that he needed to water the garden before the water ran out.  An example of the different ways of thinking that are possible.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?

I am past that now, but important things that I used to look for were the educational philosophy and curriculum (preference given to IB); quality of the training given to teachers; the health care package; the location of the school; the teachers’ housing; the attitude of the local community to women; and nature of the social and sporting life outside the school; the profile of the students and teaching staff.

It sounds like a lot, and none of these was a real ‘deal breaker’ but together they make the experience.

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Eye-opening, educational, humbling, challenging, fulfilling.

Thanks Laura!

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!

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: “Life in Kunshan, China” (An international school PARENT at Kunshan International School)

April 30, 2013


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

Our 30th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Life in Kunshan, China”  It is not actually written by a teacher, but by a parent!  Check out the blog entries of this international school PARENT who currently sends their children to Kunshan American School in China.

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A few entries that we would like to highlight:

The Kunshan International School & Ikea Shanghai

“The school is quite large.  We were only able to see the kindergarten area today – a meeting with teaching staff and tour of the school will occur later in the month – but what we saw was impressive:  the kindergarten has a room with beds for naps, a separate and large room with great play equipment, a traditional teaching room and a separate reading room with about a dozen PCs for the kids to work on.

I was struck by the cost of the school:  only 12,500 RMB/semester for Logan and 10,000 for Jordan.  That works out to a little over $3,000/year for our two boys, a small fraction of what we’d have to pay to send the kids to school in Shanghai, and even less than we were paying in California for Jordan’s pre-school…”

It is interesting to get the international school parents’ perspective once and awhile.  I actually just witnessed a “tour” going on today at work with our school secretary showing around a new/prospective family.  I was out on break duty and was wondering what the parents were thinking as they watched all the students running around.  Were they impressed by the school’s playground and how the students were using it?  We should have the school secretary share more about what kind of feedback/statements she/he hears when giving a tour of our school.  It could prove to be quite intriguing to hear what prospective/new parents (and their children) are saying!

And then there is the cost of sending children to the international school in question.  Typically it can be very expensive for expat parents paying for themselves.  But we all know that many expat parents don’t typically pay for the tuition themselves, their company pays for them.  What a nice surpise then to find out the tuition at Kunshan International School is actually low when compared to other international schools in China.

On a side note, we also have an article on our blog about international school teachers’ dependence on IKEA when living abroad.  Check out the article here.

The Kunshan International School

“The teachers seem to take a deep interest in the kids.  About a week before the start of school, Jordan’s (who was going to start kindergarten) teacher came to our house to visit on a Saturday, speaking with Jordan and answering questions we had.  She was going to all the students’ homes, getting to know them and allow them to get comfortable with her (of course, this just doesn’t happen in the U.S.)…”

I have never heard of this happening!  How great that a teacher at this international school goes to each student’s house to answer questions that the student and family have!  Does any one know of any other international school that does this kind of orientation?

Want to work for an international school in China like this blogger sends their children to?  Currently, we have 142 international schools listed in China on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

Beijing City International School (31 Comments)
Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (30 Comments)
Changsha WES Academy (12 Comments)
Guangdong Country Garden School (17 Comments)
American International School of Guangzhou (12 Comments)
Hangzhou International School (19 Comments)
Hong Kong International School (33 Comments)
• Access International Academy (Ningbo) (20 Comments)

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

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #22: Laurence Myers (An int’l school teacher working at International School of Kuala Lumpur)

February 28, 2013


Every 1-2 months International School Community will highlight one of our members in our Member Spotlight feature.  This month we interviewed Laurence Myers:

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 8.44.30 PMTell us about your background.  Where are you from?
I am originally from Athens, Greece with a father from the US and a mother from Greece. I was born and raised in Athens, Greece and attended a small international school (TASIS Hellenic International School, now International School of Athens). I have been teaching for 19 years internationally and have loved every minute of it!  

How did you get started in the international teaching community?
For me teaching internationally was almost an extension of my life as a student. As I went to an international school as a child I found the cross-cultural connections at such schools to be right up my alley. Of course, as is often the case, my inspiration came from my teachers and professors, the most powerful of which was that of Kostas Gabriel who presently teaches in Chennai. He was an inspiration in believing in myself as a child and I found that, when deciding on a profession, this also provided me with an impetus to assist students in similar circumstances. I also had some good friends who showed me the way, most notably Ralph Barrett who presently teaches in Abu Dhabi. Following their footsteps, and my heart, I was able to fit right in when professional life came calling.  After a couple years of teaching internationally I was hooked. The job offers the perfect combination of discovery and self-reliance with the added dimension of dealing with simply wonderful kids!

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.
I began my teaching at the same school I attended as a child, TASIS Hellenic International School. It was, and still is, a small school with much character and a small but very dynamic student population. It was here, as I took my professional baby steps, that I learned that students are often waiting for an opportunity to see the world in different ways. I taught both social studies and physical education at TASIS.

Following TASIS, and a short stint back in the US to receive my M.A., I taught for five years at Colegio Nueva Granada in Bogota, Colombia. For me this was an eye-opening experience. Like the Greek community, Colombians are open and really want to know about you as a teacher. I found this connection fascinating and discussions with my students in economics and government endlessly rewarding. The country of Colombia too, which had a shady reputation at the time, was a simply beautiful place to be!  Despite the media and the difficult political situation the travel opportunities there were tremendous and I still find that, in so many ways, Colombia is home for me as well. I am also happy to be connected to Colombia through my wife, who has been by my side since those days at CNG. 🙂

My next stop, where I presently work, was the International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was here that my professional self was able to succeed in ways that I never imagined possible. ISKL’s professional development opportunities and the support that they offer their teaching staff allows for many teachers to become great leaders in their own right. Though the expectations are high, so too is the sense of professional community. Collaborative, supportive and engaging ISKL has given me the opportunity to broaden my understanding of teaching and learning. It is in Malaysia that my two daughters were born and so our connection to Kuala Lumpur will be life-long.

Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
In Malaysia it is customary to point with the thumb and not the index finger. As our daughters are quite young trying to get them to remember to point this way is sometimes difficult. Traditionally we point, as most do in the west, with our index fingers. At one point when we went to a restaurant our daughter was pointing at something and we were overly concerned about what that might say about our cultural empathy. We tried very hard to get her to change her finger and were embarrassed to fail miserably. When we went over to the table and sat down to talk about it our daughter told us to look at the next customer, a Malaysian woman, who had just walked in. Sure enough, she was indicating things to the staff using her index finger. My daughter was vindicated and I quieted down recognizing that customs often change as cultures diffuse. Where we are often overcompensating in order to fit into the local culture, the members of that same local culture might be happy to use western gestures and norms.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
As I have matured in my teaching, and as my family situation has changed (ie. single to married to having children) so too has my outlook on what is important in a job. When I was younger, of course, my impression of travel opportunities and cultural experiences was primary, as well as the reputation of the school. Now that I am older with a family I suspect that my next teaching post will be a bit closer to home and one where our children can also have a positive learning experience. It should be a school that allows me personal and professional challenge but also provides children with a well-rounded educational experience.

Specific thoughts on a new position (when that happens):
Is it in a safe location?
Does the school promote whole-child philosophy?
Does the school’s administration support teaching initiatives?
What is the “personality” of the school and does it fit in with our own?
Does the school support an environment of caring for people and for the environment?

In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
Discovery. Rewarding. Engaging. Relationships. Awesome.

Thanks Laurence!

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 Malaysia like Laurence?  Currently, we have 23 international schools listed in the Malaysia on International School Community. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on their profiles:

Garden International School (19 Comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (55 Comments)
Nexus International School (18 Comments)
International School of Penang (Uplands) (9 Comments)
Dalat International School (6 Comments)
Mont Kiara International School Kuala Lumpur (8 Comments)

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New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves at International Schools: A dinner outing with the director and administration

February 16, 2013


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.  What are all the must-haves then?  Check out our blog series here to read about the ones we have discussed so far.

Must-have #7: A dinner outing with the director and administration

IMG_0063-1In some cultures it is very much of a bonding moment between people when they share a meal together.  It is a time when you can really relax and have some nice conversations with each other.  Getting to know your director and other new teachers in this kind of setting will help you with future encounters with the director and also with your potential new good friends. Having a meal with your bosses can really start your relationship with them on the right track.

How nice is it when the administration treats you to a nice dinner out somewhere in your new town?  It really just sets the stage right to have a great start to your first year.  Sure it is not that important and of course it does not have anything to do with your job specifically, but it is nice to get some bonding time with the other new teachers as well as your new bosses. Also, there is the fact that you probably don’t have so much money when you first arrive to be going out to eat at a nice restaurant. Plus, you probably do not even know where the good restaurants are just yet anyway.

If there is not a dinner planned though for all the new teachers, it definitely feels like something is missing.  If there is a dinner planned, then there are a few scenarios that might happen.  Most often the admin plans a dinner out in the center of the city at a nice restaurant.  You can really take in your new “expat lifestyle” in this scenario!  If you have a director that is a little bit more personable, he/she might invite you over to have dinner at their house.  In this scenario, the director is really making an effort to show the new teachers that they are now “one of the family” on the staff at the school.

A less desirable scenario is when the dinner is just held at the school itself. Maybe the admin staff will get the cooking staff to make something special for everyone. Having the “dinner out” at the school is probably not making a very good impression on the new teachers, but depending on cooks, it could actually be quite nice.  Another way to not make the best impression is to have the dinner at some cheap restaurant (just across the street from the compound where all the teachers are living) with little planning involved on making the outing special in any way.

In either scenario, the conversations and experience had at the “dinner out” with the new staff will surely be ones that you remember.  A fun time is usually in store with a lot of laughter.  Take it all in because this dinner-out evening is just the beginning of your new and exciting expat life in your new host city.

Some members on our Facebook page have shared about eating out with their administration during the new teacher orientation week they experienced at their international school:

International School Geneva – Campus des Nations – “At IS Geneva there was barely an orientation week (just 2 half days) let alone any sort of dinner.”

International School Singapore (10 Comments) – “The head of school throws a BBQ dinner for the new teachers and one later for all staff to mingle with the new staff.”

Discovery College (Hong Kong) (5 Comments) – “We had a dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Also a drinks/appetizers with the larger ESF organization.”

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Not that you would ask about this topic at your interview or anything, but it might be important to ask the administrator who’s interviewing you the details of the new teachers orientation week.  You do want to know how they support new teachers to make a smooth transition.

On International School Community we have a number of principals and directors of international schools that are members. Currently, we have 20 Directors/Heads of School that have joined.  Some of the international schools they work at are:

The Bilingual School of Monza
• International Community School Addis Ababa
Olive Green International School
International School of Dusseldorf
ABC International School (Tokyo)
International School Groningen
Garden International School

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 include a dinner out with the director and administration as part of their new teacher orientation?  Please share your experiences!

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1951 (Mexico City, Brussels, Jakarta & more)

February 11, 2013


Random year for international schools around the world: 1951

There is much history in the international teaching community.  We have international schools with founding dates of 1838 and 1854 and we also have many, many international schools with founding dates in the 21st century.  The numbers are increasing for sure.

Utilizing the database of the 1351 (11 February, 2013) international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 11 international schools that were founded in 1951.  Here are a few of those schools that also have had comments and information submitted on them on our website (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites)

Greengates School (British International School) (5 Comments) (Mexico City, Mexico)

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“Greengates School is a privately owned, co-educational day school set in the northern part of Mexico City, in an area of over 20,000 sq. meters. For over 60 years the school has been preparing students for university study worldwide and developing caring global citizens.”

International School of Brussels (7 Comments) (Brussels, Belgium)

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“The International School of Brussels first opened its doors in October 1951, with four teachers on hand to welcome twenty-seven students between the ages of 5 and 11.

In the spring of 1953, with a population of more than one hundred students, the school moved to its current home at the Château des Fougères, in the Brussels commune of Watermael-Boitsfort, and became known as the International School of Brussels.

In its early years, the entire school was housed in the Château: a far cry from the 40 acre campus with four school divisions and a lifelong learning centre that make up the ISB of today!”

Lycee International de Saint Germain-en-Laye (9 Comments)  (Saint Germain-en-Laye, France)

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“The American Section program starts in Pre-Kindergarten and goes through 12th grade. There are approximately 700 students enrolled, evenly divided between boys and girls and ranging in age from 4 to19. Approximately 60 percent of our students are U.S. citizens, and many hold both French and American citizenship. Most of the remaining 40 percent are French citizens who have spent a considerable amount of time in the United States or have had American schooling.”

Jakarta International School (9 Comments)  (Jakarta, Indonesia)

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“With five original students, Jakarta International School was founded by UN workers in 1951. These pioneers introduced relevant schooling in English for children of expats in the newfound Republic of Indonesia. From early days the school’s international identity was clear. It was originally named the Joint Embassy School (J.E.S.) after its British, American, Australian and (then) Yugoslavian embassy partners. Just over a decade later, in 1978, J.E.S. became J.I.S.”

Garden International School (19 Comments) (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

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“Garden School was established by Mrs Sally Watkins, the wife of the then Fire Brigade Chief. Lt. Col. F.F.C. Watkins, in the Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur in 1951.”

International School Bangkok (16 Comments) (Bangkok, Thailand)

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“Widely recognized as one of the premier international schools in the world, International School Bangkok (ISB) has been providing quality education since 1951 to expatriates representing more than 60 countries.”

Check out the rest of the international schools listed on International School Community and check out their histories as well!  We have over 1351 international schools that have profile pages on our website.

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New Teacher Orientation Must-Haves

International school orientation must-have for new teachers #4: Help finding a place to live!

September 20, 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 of your start at your new school, in your new host country.

orientation

Must-have #4: Help finding a place to live!

Finding a place to live in any country can be a headache!  When you involve different languages, different cultural traditions and norms, etc. finding an apartment can be even more of a headache.  In turn, it is much appreciated if the administration/business staff at your new school can help you out.

Some international schools just place you in a compound that the school owns and you must live there for the whole length of your time working at that school.  Other international schools don’t own or have a relationship with buildings or complexes through the city and you are meant to search and get your own place completely on your own.  But there are more than just two kinds of experiences when it comes to where you will end up living after moving to your new international school.  There are some that state you must live in a certain apartment for the entire first year you work at a school. After your first year, then you are allowed to find and move to a completely different apartment of your choice.  Other international schools ask their current staff who are leaving if they can help to set up a new teacher to take over their apartment or they might even send out an email to the current staff asking around if any current teachers are looking for a roommate.  If there are some options, then these schools will usually help to make the right connections so that you can immediately move into your new place with your new roommate.

orientation

If there aren’t any options for you and the school just places you in a specific place, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about as you know you will immediately have a place to live when you arrive without much of a headache.  If there are options for you, you need to be prepared for potential headaches, unknowns and possible disappointments when you arrive.  Additionally, you might need to be prepared to move two or three times during your first year.  Your first place might be completely opposite to what you were thinking it would be!

If you can work it out and are lucky enough to visit the location that you will be moving to, then of course you can get some of the apartment searching done in person. How ideal would that be?  I have a colleague that made a point to make a visit to their future city during the beginning part of the summer (before they officially moved there later that summer).  They got the opportunity to view some apartments that the school had recommended to them in person.  Not all of us can be so lucky though as to make a pre-move trip to check out possible living situations, but if you are able to, then for sure that would be beneficial.

A good international school will make sure to answer all your questions that you have about your future living situation.  They should send pictures if applicable of your future apartment.  They should request answers to a housing survey that they send to you, so that they can better gauge what type of place best suits your needs and wants (that is if the school does indeed help to find you a place).  They should have language support available to you if you need some interpreting or translating of the rental documents. Good schools would even help you out to pay the sometimes high cost of a rental deposit (e.g apartments in Western Europe).

orientation

There are many international school teachers experiencing a wide range of experiences related to how they found a place to live.

Here are some firsthand accounts of how these international schools teachers found a place to live in the city they just moved to (and whether or not their new school helped them out or not):

“The Canadian Academy has a first year rule: all new teacher must live in school accommodations for the first year. This includes a variety of apartments and houses both on and off campus, and options depending on the number of dependents. All in all, they took care of everything, and it made it the best transition we’ve ever had. Besides getting a futon with pillows, sheets, and blankets, we had a stocked fridge, a basket of cleaning supplies and toiletries, snacks, a phone, a fax machine, furniture, and many more items. While I wouldn’t describe it as moving into a furnished place, it did have all the essentials. Also, after the first year, we’re free to move to our own choice of accommodations or select a new school housing option. Very user-friendly.  A teacher from Canadian Academy (Kobe).

“My current school offered to help find an apartment, however I was more interested in finding share accommodation as I find that’s a nice quick way to make new friends and to always have someone on hand who know’s the area you live in. They put me onto a website for share housing and also asked around the school to see if anyone was interested in having a new teacher share with them. Someone did and now I share a house with two other people in a beautiful, artfully decorated place 3 minutes walk from school and town and for half the rent I would pay to live in a place on my own. I also didn’t need to pay any deposit. They’re happy for it to be short-term in case I decide to move into my own place later, but I’m thinking that staying here is a good thing. I would personally recommend seeking share housing to anyone (not in a couple) who is open to the idea. I’ve also experienced living in my own apartment straight out, but became bored with that after a year and moved into a new place with 2 other friends. It can also be a pain setting up a new apartment in terms of buying furniture, crockery and connecting the internet.” A teacher from The Bermuda High School for Girls.

orientation

“The school helps you find your first apartment before you arrive.  Actually, all new teachers move into a gated community called Shanghai Gardens when I worked there.  Basically all new teachers need to live there their first year.  After that first year, then you can use the allotted housing if you decide to move and find your own place.  When I moved into the apartment at Shanghai Gardens, it had all the furniture you would need.  The school also left a ‘survival’ package of things to get you started (e.g. pots and pans, sheets, etc.).  I was appreciative of the school helping to place new teachers in this building complex and the apartment; many of the staff in the business office could also speak English which was a perk.  On the other hand, many teachers had a negative experience living at Shanghai Gardens.  There were problems with the apartments sometimes (as some of them were owned by different owners).  There were also problems with your bills at time, some of them being way too high from the price they should’ve been.  I was quite happy to find a different apartment my second year there.”  A teacher from Shanghai Rego International School.

“ACS Hillingdon was great to us in helping us find a place to live. They have a staff member, Maxine, who is there all year, including during the summer, and she worked with a local estate agent to help us find a flat that fit our needs, location, and price range. I know she drove several of even the pickiest people around to multiple places, and she knows the areas where the school’s bus routes go for those of us who don’t have a car.

The school even helped a newly hired couple whose flat was damaged by fire in the London riots of 2011 by giving them extra time off, arranging a place to stay while they looked for a new permanent residence, and even donating money from an emergency fund while insurance agencies worked through their claims.

A+ all the way around.” A teacher from Acs International School – Hillingdon Campus.

In the Benefits Information section of the school profile page on our website, we have a topic related to housing – Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance.

Log-on today to check out the hundreds of comments and information submitted in this section topic!  Become the most informed you can be when it comes to finding a place in your new city.

So, does your school provide help for new teachers to find a place to live? Please share your experiences!

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Recently Updated School Profiles

Recently Updated School Profiles #17: Total Learning Academy, Medan Int’l School and Bayan Gardens School

August 13, 2012


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


13 Aug  Total Learning Academy (6 new comments)      Yangon, Myanmar
:

One of the new comments in the benefits information section: “Teachers are living in either a shared house or in some cases apartment style living closest to the branch you will be working at…”

12 Aug  Medan International School Sumatra (5 new comments)      Medan, Indonesia :

One of the new comments in the school information section: “All the support staff, including the office manager, secretary, accounts clerk, teacher aides, drivers, cleaning and maintenance staff, are Indonesians. So much of the personal school business is handled by Indonesians, who might speak English very well or not at all…”

11 Aug  Bayan Gardens School, Al Khobar (10 new comments)      Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia :

One of the new comments in the city information section: “There is a large western expatriate community living here, so there are store to meet their needs here, usually in the various malls around town which have European and North American shops…”

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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Overview of an Int’l School

Overview of an int’l school #3 – Ak Lu’ Um International School

November 27, 2011


How great that each international school is unique!

In this overview of an international school, by Michele Kinnon, we would like to highlight Ak Lu’ Um International School in .

Currently there are 18 international schools listed in Mexico on International School Community.

Making a choice about a child’s education is perhaps the most important decision a parent is faced with. All children have different needs and interests and investigating all of the educational options available is crucial to finding the school that is right for each child. Over the past decade, the educational options for families living on the Riviera Maya have increased exponentially. While just a few years ago, parents seeking a quality private learning institution for their children were limited to two or three options, there are now nearly a dozen schools to select from with even more opening their doors every year. All of the schools vary in their methodologies, student demographics and facilities. Several of the newer campuses offer tremendous sports facilities and opportunities for students to participate in a variety of competitive sports. Parents looking for a more holistic learning environment may now look to one of the region’s Montessori or Waldorf inspired schools, the most innovative being the Ak Lu’um International School located in Playa del Carmen.

Fundacion Ak Lu’um A.C., the Riviera Maya’s only not for profit privatized school was created in 2006 by educators Siobhan Bowers and Gabriela Nunez. This Waldorf initiative employs a Heart, Head and Hands approach to education and Learning through the Arts methodology is used to teach curricular subjects such as Math, Science and Social Studies. In addition to the nationally standardized curriculum required by the Mexican Government (SEP), children are taught art, music and environmental studies complimented the facilities of the self sustaining jungle campus established in 2008. Students maintain a garden and raise chickens, harvesting the organic eggs for use in the school’s kitchen, and participate in a myriad of activities designed to stimulate not just their minds and bodies but their hearts as well. Ak Lu’um School is completely bilingual welcoming students from all over Mexico and across the globe.

Parents with special needs students will also now find a viable option for their school age children. The Waldorf trained teachers successfully integrate physically and developmentally challenged children into mainstream classroom settings, providing a safe and inclusive learning environment where each child is encouraged to reach his or her potential. Currently, 36 percent of the student population is on full scholarship support, ensuring that qualified families are not excluded simply because of their financial position. Parents whose children are receiving tuition assistance are asked to participate in the daily operations of the school, making a valuable contribution with their time and skills.

Ak Lu’um’s non-profit status allows for financial support from corporate and individual donors. Contributions go to expand and improve the physical campus, increase the curricular and extracurricular activities and allow more local children to be admitted on scholarships. This year Ak Lu’um has been chosen as the recipient of funds raised by Taste of Playa International Food Festival. Funds raised by Taste of Playa, scheduled for September 5, 2009, will provide clean and safe drinking water for the students, teachers and volunteers at Ak Lu’um International School for the 2009/2010 school year.

Each of the area’s private schools employs multilingual administrative staff members who welcome questions and visits from parents and can guide new families smoothly through the admission process. With all of the educational options available to families on the Riviera Maya, there is certain to be a school that is a match for your child, one that will support his or her individual interests while providing a well balanced curriculum. Look for a school where your child will be challenged and stimulated and you will help them pave their own road to success.

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1991 (Hong Kong, Osaka and Lesotho)

November 22, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1991

Utilizing the database of the 963 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found 17 international schools that were founded in 1991 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)

“In 1991, the Canadian International School of Hong Kong first opened its doors to students in small rented facilities in Causeway Bay. Founded upon the recommendation of the Hong Kong Government, who wished to expand the number of international schools offering a North American curriculum, the school was established as a non-profit, charitable organisation and was initially home to only 81 students.”

Osaka International School  (Osaka, Japan)

“The uniqueness of our Two School model sets us apart from every other school in Japan and indeed the world. The faculty and staff who jointly founded OIS and SIS understood this and established an ethos to match it. This continues today with professional educators, administrators and staff who understand why we are here and what it is that give our schools a particularly important role in the world of international education.”

American International School of Lesotho (Maseru, Lesotho)

“The American International School of Lesotho (AISL) is a nonprofit, independent coeducational day school which offers an American educational program to students from preschool (age 3) through grade 9. The School, founded in 1991, serves the needs of the American community and other students seeking an English-language, American-style education. The school year is divided into 3 trimesters extending from late August to November, December to March and March to mid-June.”

Clavis International School (Mapou, Mauritius)

Wesgreen International Private School (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

“Wesgreen International School was founded in 1991, and in the years since it has grown to become one of the most successful schools in the area. Now we offer a first class education, based on the British Curriculum, for all ages from Nursery to Grade 13.”

Emirates International School (Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)

“EIS-Jumeirah was established in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates in 1991 as a community service of the Al Habtoor Group (www.habtoor.com) and was the first school in Dubai authorised to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.”

International Community School Bangkok (Bangkok, Thailand)

“In 1981, expatriate families began a cooperative to educate their children from a biblical worldview. The cooperative continued for 12 years, providing first grade to sixth grade education. In 1990 many of these expatriate families and The Network of International Christian Schools met to discuss the feasibility of establishing a Christian school to provide kindergarten through twelfth grade education to the English speaking international community in Bangkok. In 1993 a suitable site was leased and the name International Community School (ICS) was chosen. The school was located on Soi Prong Jai in the Sathon area of Bangkok and welcomed 120 students when it opened in August 1993. The school’s ownership was given to, and remains with the International Community School Educational Foundation, a not-for profit foundation registered in Thailand.”

St. John’s International School (Thailand) (Bangkok, Thailand)

“For over 20 years we have been providing high quality International Education to both Thai and non-Thai students in Bangkok. The focus of this education has always been about learning and growth, academically and socially and as individuals. We are able to achieve this through providing a safe, secure and nurturing environment, alongside qualified, experienced and dedicated teachers and support staff.”

American International School of Kuwait (Hawalii, Kuwait)

“The school opened in 1991 after Kuwait was liberated from occupying Iraqi forces. Dr. Kamil Al Rayes, the founder,sought to create a school of high caliber with a disciplined, yet relaxed atmosphere that would provide opportunities for local and ex-patriot children to gain access to the world’s best universities. During the first year twenty-five teachers and 300 students dealt with shortages of textbooks and classroom supplies, an inadequate library and a skeleton curriculum. The school developed rapidly. In October of 1994 it became fully accredited and in the ensuing years dedicated professionals worked hard to develop what has become an excellent university preparatory school with 1600 students.”

American School Foundation of Chiapas (Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico)

King Faisal School (Riyadh) (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

“The King Faisal School emerged after all procedures for launching the Boys’ Elementary Section were completed in 1991. It is a non-profit institution and one of the most important academic projects sponsored and developed by the King Faisal Foundation.  The School lies on a beautiful, aesthetically – designed campus in the Diplomatic Quarter. On its fascinating gardens, fourteen building have been erected, and a variety of athletic playfields. All these facilities and buildings have been put together in full harmony that is consistent with the prestige of the Diplomatic Quarter.”

Skagerak International School (Sandefjord, Norway)

“Skagerak Gymnas was founded in 1991 by a group of enthusiastic individuals and companies from Sandefjord led by Elisabeth Norr. They believed there was a need to offer a non-selective alternative to the Norwegian state education system. The school established itself quickly in the revamped shipbuilding premises on Framnesveien 7 at Framnes. The founders were committed to making the school a centre of educational excellence. When the school introduced the IB Diploma Programme (DP) it phased out the second and third years of the Norwegian national curriculum and changed its name to Skagerak International School. By October 1992 it was an authorised IB World School offering the DP.”

Providence English Private School (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Greater Grace International School (Hungary, Budapest)

“Greater Grace International School is a private English-language preperatory – 12th grade school located in Budapest´s beautiful 12th district. Since 1991 GGIS has provided expatriate and Hungarian families with a college preparatory education; equipping the student academically, spiritually and physically; teaching and demonstrating in the context of a Christian biblical world view.”

Overseas Family School Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)

Singapore International School (Hong Kong) (Hong Kong, China)

“Singapore International School was first established in September 1991 in Kennedy Town with an enrolment of 200 pupils. In 1995, SIS moved to its current premises in Aberdeen. The new purpose-built school was built on land granted by the Hong Kong government, and the cost of the building was borne by the Singapore Government. Presently, the school has an enrolment of approximately 1200 pupils of more than 20 nationalities with Singaporeans and Hong Kong citizens forming the majority.”

Tirana International School (Tirana, Albania)

“In May of 1991 Mr. Gilson traveled to Albania to have a look at a country just emerging from over 45 years of dictatorial rule. During his time there, he met some key people in the Tirana community and made a decision to begin Tirana Int’l School. This expansion has resulted today in an organization offering excellence in education in 25 different countries.”

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Recently Updated School Profiles

School profile highlights #10: Int’l School of Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai Rego Int’l School and Colegio Nueva Granada

November 17, 2011


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

International School of Kuala Lumpur (2 new comments) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

New information or comment in the School section: “English is the primary language in the hallways. There are a number of EAL students, but are not the majority. The largest single cultural group is Korean (24%) but there is a cap of 25% per class year of any one particular cultural group, ensuring an international make up to the school community.”
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Colegio Nueva Granada (2 new comments) in Bogota, Colombia

New information or comment in the City section: “If you either speak or at least try to speak Spanish they will love you. It is a great city to learn the language and the people are very happy to speak to foreigners about their own countries, etc.”

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Shanghai Rego International School (6 new comments) in Shanghai, China

New information or comment in the Benefits section: “This year the school has given another option for housing. It’s a place called Royal Garden and everyone seems quite impressed with it! I’m still happy though with my own choice in the city but its good to have another option.”

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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 2002 (China, Mauritius, Egypt, etc.)

September 25, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 2002

Utilizing the database of the 889 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found schools that were founded in 2002 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

The International School of Macao (Macao, China)

“TIS was established in 2002 to provide a Canadian curriculum and accreditation to local and expatriate students. English is the primary language of instruction.
TIS opened with an initial total enrolment of 58 students on the campus of Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) in 2002. By 2006, the School had grown to over 500 students and had become accredited with the Alberta provincial (Canada) government. Students graduate from TIS with an Alberta High School diploma that is accepted in universities around the world.”

Northfield International High School  (Port Louis, Mauritius)

“Northfields International High School (NIHS) is a privately owned secondary school situated in Mapou, district of Pampelmous in the north. From its small beginnings in 2001 NIHS has now over 280 students.”

Canadian International School of Egypt (Cairo, Egypt)

“The Canadian International School of Egypt (CISE) opened its doors on September 15, 2002.  It is the first Canadian school certified by the Ministry of Education of Ontario in Egypt and the Middle East.  The Egyptian initiators of this project chose the Province of Ontario, Canada’s most populated province, to provide the curriculum and most of the teaching staff for the school.”

Al Jazeera Academy (Doha, Qatar)

“Al Jazeera Academy opened its doors to students in September 2002. It is a modern international educational institution which comprises three separate schools within a single campus to cater for all students from Preschool to Year 13.”

Vale Verde International School (Burgau, Portugal)

“After the acquisition of a property suitable for the conversion of a school in 1997, the De Beer family developed the idea to fruition.  In 2002, Vale Verde International School was founded following years of investment required to bring the buildings in line with Ministry of Education requirements.”

International Montessori School of Prague (Prague, Czech Republic)

“The International Montessori School of Prague (IMSP) was established as a private school in 2002. It was originally located in the Blatenska campus of Prague 4. IMSP started with 16 children in two classes : Toddler (1.5 – 3 years), and Primary (3 – 6 years).  In September 2003 the school was moved to a much larger facility in the Hrudickova campus of Prague 4. That school year we started with three classrooms: one Toddler, one Primary, and one Elementary.  In 2005 a second Primary class was added, so now IMSP had 4 classrooms: Toddler, Primary 1 and Primary 2, and Elementary. In 2006 the Primary program extended its afternoon component with Yoga, Music and Movement, Arts and Crafts, and Czech languge and culture.”

Logos International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

“Logos opened its doors in September 2002 with an enrollment of 58 students ranging from pre-kindergarten to grade seven.  At that time,Logos consisted of a single renovated house and an adjacent empty lot where a basketball court and small swimming pool were soon built.  Since that time,Logos added an additional grade level each year.  In the spring of 2008,Logos held its first graduation ceremony for 13 seniors.  Logos’ brand new campus consists of a basketball/volleyball/hockey court,athletic field,playground,library,cafeteria,2 computer labs,2 science labs,multi-purpose assembly room,and a swimming pool.  All of the classrooms are air-conditioned and equipped with essential teaching tools.  Our new facility is twice the size of our former location. We are very excited about this new provision.”

New Zealand International School (Jakarta, Indonesia)

“On 14 April 2003 Mr. Chris Elder, Ambassador of New Zealand to Indonesia, officially opened the School and the enrolment reached 35 students. The school grew quickly, and in August 2004 space was secured at LPPI, The Banking Institute, on Kemang Raya, to house the Senior Secondary Students. Since that time our enrolment has steadily increased in all aspects. The growth had the effect of moving expansion plans ahead of schedule; the search for additional premises has been an exciting time.”

Bromsgrove International School (Bangkok, Thailand)

“From the vision of the school founders Riza Sripetchvandee and Ian Davison, a new school was opened in 2002 under the name of Windsor International School and ownership of Windsor Education Co. Ltd. The School was constructed at Soi 164 Ramkhamheang Road, Minburi, in Eastern Bangkok. Over the course of the next two years pupil numbers grew steadily.  A new building was opened in September 2004 to meet the demand from Early Years students. In April 2004, the School became affiliated to the prestigious and world famous Bromsgrove School UK and changed its name to Bromsgrove International School Thailand (BIST). Bromsgrove School UK was founded over 450 years ago and is a leading co-educational independent day and boarding school for some 1,500 pupils and is situated in the English Midlands and provides a first-class education with excellent facilities and resources, as well as enjoying considerable distinction in Sport, Music and the Arts.”

International School of Wuxi (Wuxi, China)

“International School of Wuxi (ISW) is part of the International Schools of China (ISC) – an organization that, for the last 20 years, has offered academically excellent programs to meet the intellectual, physical and emotional needs of students.”

International Community School (Atlanta) (Atlanta, United States)

Kongsberg International School (Kongsberg, Norway)

“Kongsberg International School is a non-profit foundation established in 2002 by Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS, Kongsberg Automotive ASA and Kongsberg Nærings- og Handelskammer (Chamber of Commerce and Industry). The school opened its doors in August 2003. The purpose of the school is to serve Kongsberg and its surrounding communities by providing a high quality international education for students, based on the International Baccalaureate Programme (www.ibo.org), using English as the principal medium of instruction. Although many of our students are Norwegian, a growing international community in Kongsberg and Buskerud has provided enrolment of students from over 22 nations.”

Access International Academy (Ningbo) (Ningbo, China)

“The AIAN student body is comprised of students from over 20 different nationalities.  Faculty members are predominantly from the United States.   The teacher-pupil ratio is approximately 1:4, which promotes individualized instructional practices.”

Singapore International School (Indonesia) (Jakarta, Indonesia)

“With the help of international consultants, SIS was able to redesign, construct and eventually turn an “abandoned” clubhouse into a school that is the talk of the town, in a housing complex of Bona Vista, South Jakarta. Located in a quiet neighborhood bordering the elite Pondok Indah real estate, the School is only two minutes from the Outer Ring Road making it accessible from many parts of Jakarta. The SIS complex boasts of an open, airy concept amidst lush, contoured gardens. In Bona Vista, SIS is able to enjoy all the amenities in this complex and this includes a competition-sized pool, soccer field, basketball courts and tennis courts. After a busy construction schedule, SIS finally opened its doors in its new complex in January 2002 with bigger classrooms and better facilities. The enrollment today includes a student population coming from at least 25 different nationalities.”

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Member Spotlights

International School Community Member Spotlight #6: Taylor Smith

September 14, 2011


Each month International School Community will highlight one of our members.  This month we interviewed Taylor Smith:

Tell us about your background.  Where are you from?
I am from Edinburgh, Scotland and am extremely proud of my roots.  A formal international swimmer, I travelled to many countries throughout the world as part of various swim teams.  However when I retired from swimming in 2006, I realised that I had been to lots of countries but in fact had never seen much more than the airport, hotel and swimming pool.  So I embarked on a career in Physical Education teaching with the dream of teaching abroad.

How did you get started in the international teaching community?
I was recommended a job by an old swimming friend who was already working in an international school.  The job was in Shanghai, China so without hesitation I packed my bags and made the biggest decision of my life (or so I thought at that point).  I was only in China a couple of months and I had thrown myself into work and made lots of new friends within the international teaching community.  People were all extremely helpful and made me feel as comfortable as possible in a very different environment.  In these weeks, I was also lucky enough to meet the love of my life, who two years on is now my beautiful wife.  Wow that was almost poetic!


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.

I worked at Shanghai Rego International School and have recently started at Garden International School in Kuala Lumpur.  Both schools are very different, mainly due to the size.  Rego was a small school and had an intimate feel, whereas Garden has a huge number of students, which creates an incredible atmosphere.  The bulk of my teaching thus far however, has been in China, and Rego school really did feel like (excuse the awful cliché) “a  family”.  Teachers had an enormous amount of freedom to explore new and creative ideas and they were well supported by parents and students.  There was definitely never a feeling of having to navigate the red tape like non-international schools.  In many ways it was a development curve that I honestly believe, I would not have experienced anywhere else.

Describe your latest cultural encounter in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
Moving to Kuala Lumpur from China brings many advantages.  Things are just a little bit more like home here I guess.  So the biggest smile on my face came when I was told I could take a loan to buy a car and it could be all done by the bank.  I was not forced to pay thousands of pounds in cash.  That is always a nice feeling.

What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
I look for standard of living on the home front.  I think this is the most important thing to consider when living abroad. Also travel opportunity is very important, as being away from friends and family can be a strain.  Therefore it is always nice to know that it is easy to go home when you need to, and family are easily able to visit.

I also look for stability and reputation of the school.  There are many, many schools and it is important to know that you will be happy to work there for at least 2 years.


In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?

Eye opening, cultural, well paid, opportunity, life changing.  (5 statements so not exactly 5 words sorry! I am a PE teacher after all).

Thanks Taylor!  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!

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ISCommunity Newsletters

International School Community News v2011.05 – 10 September, 2011

September 10, 2011



v2011.05 – 10 September, 2011:

School is back now in session. Many teachers have been at work and teaching students for a few weeks already.  A teacher just wrote to us talk to share what life was like starting year #2 at their “relatively new” international school.  Things on the teacher’s mind during the first few weeks so far were related to the following topics:
Getting to know the new director starting this year, knowing the school’s curriculum better now, knowing where things are located in their city and not being new to everything like in year #1, feeling more at home now that their apartment is already decorated, getting used to all of the school’s new equipment and materials, working with new teams of teachers at school and also getting to know the new teachers, making a bit more money now that they are moving up the pay schedule a bit, planning new holidays and vacations to explore more of their region of the world, going to the new shops and stores that have opened up in their city which is making shopping for certain things a lot easier and lastly, getting to inherit the old things of departing teachers from the previous school year!


Recently updated schools:

· 10 Sept  American Bilingual School (14 new comments)
(Kuwait City, Kuwait)
“ABS accommodations are single-occupancy only. Staff members are not allowed to invite a roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, driver, maid, etc. to live with them in ABS housing. You must pay…”
· 09 Sept  Dalian Maple Leaf International School (9 new comments)
(Dalian, China)
“There are several modern department stores and shopping malls in Dalian. In addition to Chinese chain stores there are Walmarts from the USA, Carrifours from France, and MyKals from Japan. There is a…”
· 05 Sept  Naseem International School (Bahrain) (20 new comments)
(Riffa, Bahrain)
“Be sure to bring enough cash to get you through to your first pay check at the end of September. There will be a settling in allowance of …”
· 05 Sept  Dhirubhai Ambani International School (5 new comments)
(Mumbai, India)
“The campus is situated at Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai, which is a fast emerging business district. Just off Bandra-Kurla Complex Road, it is accessible to students and teachers living in different…”
· 04 Sept  American School of Barcelona (3 new comments)
(Barcelona, Spain)
“I miss the students at ASB. They were so full of energy and character. I have worked at two other international schools now and the students at ASB are definitely the…” 

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


Recent blog entries:

· Featured article: Moving Overseas with Children by Teachers International Consultancy (part 1)
“Moving abroad with children requires a lot of planning in advance to make the transition as easy as possible for everyone. There’s no doubt that you’ll be faced with hitches along the way, but everything…”

· The Wonderful World of Int’l School Hiring Fairs: Lesson #1 – Bad interviews are good things
“No matter the reputation of the school, the people sitting across from you in the hotel room asking you questions in that school’s name are a stronger indicator of how it would feel to work at that school …”

· Member Search Feature: What positions do International School Community members have?
“After using the member profile search feature on the main homepage of International School Community, we found the following results…”

· Great link: Want to work at an international school in Thailand?
“We are often asked for ‘foreign schools’ in Bangkok and Thailand. None of the international schools in Bangkok and Thailand is really a ‘foreign school’ since they are all accredited by the Ministry of Education in Thailand…”

· How to Break into International School Teaching
“Some of the applications for recruitment fairs like Search and ISS can take months to complete.  Especially the confidential references that you need to get your references to submit….”


Recently added schools:


Requested schools to be reviewed:


This last month we have had visits from 61 countries around the world!

Site Stats:
Current members: 135
School profiles: 877
Surveys: 5
Blog entries: 92
Posted comments and information: 939


Posting comments and information:

We encourage you to take some time to fill out some comments and information about this schools you know about.  Remember, posting in done anonymously. The more information we share, the more other members will know and be able to make more informed decisions if they are considering employment at an international school.  Also, the more members we have, the more people there are to leave information and to network with.  Please refer your international school teacher friends to join our community and to share what they know!

Officially, we also have 85 likes on Facebook and on Twitter we have 135 followers!


New members:

·Taylor Smith (Garden International School)
·Todd Bowler (Canadian International School – Singapore)
·Krista Wolfe (International School of Elite Education)
·Annette Harvey (Almaty Haileybury)
·YooKyung Shim (Seoul International School)
·ana De Anda (Monterrey Colegio Ingles Monterrey)


Current Survey Topic:
Vote here!


Member spotlight:

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 Link
TIC website. Highlights from this page: TIC provides a personalised, reliable and responsive recruitment and training service tailored specifically to international schools and teachers worldwide. TIC are experts in international schools having over 25 years experience in international education. They have a huge network of contacts in great international schools all over the world; this enables them to help you find your perfect overseas teaching job. They offer a tailored recruitment service whether you are a teacher looking for a job overseas or a school looking to recruit.
Facebook page:
A great facebook group page for international school teachers.  Check it out here.  It is a community of educators working in international schools across the globe.  TIST is a site dedicated to a number of interests:
– Sharing instructional strategies
– Integrating instructional technology
– Insights on international teaching
– Questions and concerns about IB
– Cross-curricular and cross-continental collaborative projects
– Job fairs and the recruitment process
– Advice about future teaching destinations and cultural adjustment
– Keeping up with old colleagues and making new contacts
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Highlighted Year for Int’l Schools

International schools that were founded in 1978 (Mauritania, Egypt, Kuwait, etc.)

July 31, 2011


Random year for international schools around the world: 1978

Utilizing the database of the 840 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found  schools that were founded in 1978 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):

The American International School of Nouakchott (Nouakchott, Mauritania)

“The founding of the school in 1978 was very much an effort of the American and international community, and its strengths corresponded with the talents and the generous volunteer spirit of the community. The school was initially in one wing of the Grayzel house. There were two classrooms and an atrium with a garden. Initially instruction was from the Calvert Correspondence course.”

Lycee International School of Los Angeles (Los Angeles, United States of America)

“The school opened in a small house in Van Nuys with only seven students. Some 30 years later, the school has grown to five campuses with more than 900 students and has earned an enviable reputation with its placement of graduates in French universities, grandes écoles and within the American university system.

Of the original 1978 founders, two are still on the Board of Trustees. Others have joined the Board which now renews itself regularly. By combining those who have been Trustees for years with new Trustees bringing a fresh perspective, the Board is prepared to meet the 21st century with both maturity and vigor.”

New Cairo British International School (Cairo, Egypt)

British School of Kuwait (Safat, Kuwait)

“The British School of Kuwait (BSK) traces its origins to 1978 when Vera and Sadiq Al-Mutawa established a small kindergarten which became known as The Sunshine School. Steady growth took place through the 1980s and, having recovered from the ravages of the invasion of 1990, by 1992 the School accommodated 550 kindergarten and primary students. The decision having been made to serve the community at both Primary and Secondary levels, a move to the present site in Salwa took place and in September 1992, newly-named, The British School of Kuwait opened to 900 students.”

Vienna International School (Vienna, Austria)

“The Vienna International School was founded in September 1978 to serve the children of the United Nations and diplomatic community in Vienna. It is also open to children of the international business community and of Austrian families. Over 100 nationalities are represented among its 1,400 children.”

Acs International School – Hillingdon Campus (Hillingdon, England)

The main house: The handsome and substantially built mansion was originally constructed in white brick and stone in the classical style, between 1854 and 1858, by P.C. Hardwick for Sir Charles Mills, an international banker from one of the most affluent City families of the 19th century.”

International School São Lourenço (Almacil, Portugal)

Sotogrande International School (Cadiz, Spain)

“The school was opened in Cortijo Paniagua with just 11 pupils and very soon developed into a successful and popular primary school. The school was governed by a Board of Governors who retained close links to Sotogrande SA, the company that owns the prestigious Sotogrande estate and provided premises for the original school. By 1990 the school had a roll of 250 pupils and included a high quality secondary school offering UK O-level and A-level courses. For twenty years the school grew steadily and established itself as a leading British-style school in Spain.”

Fairview International School (Kuala, Lumpur)

American School of Douala (Douala, Cameroon)

” Founded in 1978, the American School of Douala (ASD) is an independent coeducational, non-sectarian school, which provides an English language educational program from pre-school through tenth grade.”

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Historical and Cultural Xi’an, China

April 18, 2020


If you are seeking places to visit in China, I highly recommend visiting Xi’an, particularly if you enjoy history. Currently the Upper Primary Art Teacher for Xi’an Liangjiatan International School, I have had the opportunity to visit many of this ancient city’s sights. While it is not one of the top cities in terms of population, it ranks near the top in terms of historical importance. For over 1,000 years it served as the capital of China under thirteen dynasties and 73 emperors. Some of its notable dynasties included the Qin, Tang, Han, and Zhang. Even today, construction efforts of this rapidly expanding city continue to be interrupted by archaeological discoveries.

Terracotta Warriors and Emperor Qin ShiHuang Mausoleum 

 Most people come to Xi’an to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Terracotta Warriors, located about 20 km east of modern Xi’an. Despite the large crowds (over 1 million visitors annually), this site is a must. Don’t forget to visit the Exhibition Hall and the Qin ShiHuang Mausoleum, both of which are included in the entrance fee. Just as with any popular destination in China, avoid going during any Chinese national holiday. In winter, crowds are less, as is the entrance fee. Getting your own transportation there (such as a taxi or Didi – China’s version of Uber) will be more expensive, but it will enable you to arrive early and before the tour groups. After being one of the first people in line for tickets, I immediately headed to Pit 1 and had it to myself for over five minutes. Pit 1 and the Exhibition Hall were the most impressive ones for me. Cheap, local buses will take you back into Xi’an. Tour guides are available, but I opted to conduct my own research prior to visiting. You will find many people selling souvenirs; you can find similar ones in Xi’an at a much better price.

Xi’an City Wall

One of Xi’an’s most recognizable landmarks is its city wall. This massive well-preserved structure (much of which dates back to the 14th century) is surrounded by a moat. Rent a bike or walk on top of the wall, for all or part of the 14 km (8.7 miles) length. Around the time of Chinese New Year, a lantern festival is held here. To experience fewer crowds during this time, I recommend going while it is daylight and observe the changes to the lanterns and watchtowers as nightfall descends. For photography of the wall and surrounding city, you have a greater chance of clear skies outside of late fall/winter. Air quality in winter can be quite bad.

Drum and Bell Tower

Centrally located within the confines of the ancient City Wall are the Drum and Bell Towers. Built in 1384, Xi’an’s Bell Tower is the largest and the best-preserved in all of China. Nearby is the Drum Tower (1380), also one of the largest in China. Both structures are beautifully illuminated at night. For a small fee, you can ascend the structures and also see some artifacts. From the Drum Tower, you can also see the immensely popular Muslim Quarters.

Muslim Quarter

If you follow the crowds near the Drum Tower, you will find yourself in what is known as the Muslim Quarter. Foodies (particularly meat-eaters) will rejoice, with the plethora of tasty offerings in this crowded area. Snack your way along or rest your feet in one of its many restaurants that serve up signature dishes such as hand-pulled noodles (one of my favorites), steamed dumplings, or Yangrou Pao Mo (pita bread pieces soaked in lamb soup). The Xi’an hamburger also makes a tasty snack. The Muslim Quarter is also a fun place for photography–if you don’t mind the crowds. While in the Muslim Quarter, you can take in a short shadow puppet show in Gao’s Grand Courtyard. 

While in the Muslim Quarter, don’t miss the Grand Mosque. The largest and one of the most important mosques in China, the Grand Mosque dates back over a thousand years. Enjoy its beautiful traditional architecture while you get a respite from the bustle of the crowded food streets. Its minaret and the Phoenix Pavilion are particularly noteworthy.

Shuyuanmen Ancient Cultural Street

Located just to the east of the South Gate of the City Wall is the Shuyuanmen Ancient Cultural Street. Many of its well-restored buildings date back to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. It is pleasant to wander the street and peek into the small shops selling calligraphy supplies, papercuts, shadow puppets, jade, paintings, and other souvenirs. During the Chinese New Year, the street is even more lively. At the end of the street is the famous Stele Forest.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Also known as Dayanta, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the most famous pagodas in China. Originally built in 652AD, the present 7-story brick structure was built without any cement. It was constructed to house Buddhist relics brought from India via the Silk Road. Visitors can pay a small fee to climb up the UNESCO World Heritage site to see some statues, paintings, poems, and great city views. While there, visit some of the structures within the Da Ci’en Buddhist Temple (648 AD). At the spacious North Square is the largest fountain square in Asia. At night, the fountain shows (set to music) are illuminated, as is the pagoda. The fountain show is particularly enjoyable on a warm late spring/late summer evening.

Small Wild Goose Pagoda

Located five kilometers away from its bigger brother, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda was erected in 709AD. Like Dayanta, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda is architecturally significant and well-preserved. On the same park-like grounds is the Xi’an Museum (free admission with passport). It houses over 130,000 relics and historical artifacts. Elsewhere in the park is a visitor center. I enjoyed learning more about how shadow puppets are made.

Shaanxi History Museum

This world-class museum houses over 370,000 exhibits, of which many of the items were excavated within the province. Exhibits within the three main halls are dual-sign-posted in Mandarin and English. Some of the museum’s signature pieces include several TerraCotta Warriors, Tang Dynasty tri-colored pottery (my favorite), and Tang Dynasty mural paintings. Admission (with passport) is free, but the Tang Murals Hall requires a separate, paid ticket. Any lover of history/art should visit this museum.

Han Yang Ling Mausoleum of the Han Dynasty

Otherwise known as the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi, the joint tomb of Liu Qi and his empress Wang covers an area of 20 square kilometers. Built in 153AD, the emperor’s tomb is at the center. The Outside Pits Exhibition Hall is the first underground museum in China. Transparent walkways enable visitors to see excavations of his tomb in progress–a very cool effect.  It contains over 50,000 terracotta doll-size figures and life-like animals arranged as if it were an army formation. 

Tang Paradise

Located just north of the original Tang Dynasty Lotus Garden site, this theme park is built in the style of the Tang royal garden. While it is pleasant to wander the beautiful grounds and admire the beautiful Tang-style architecture, it is especially beautiful during the Chinese New Year. During this period, huge lanterns and illuminated sculptures are a sight to behold in the lake and throughout the park. Indoor and outdoor cultural performances entertain visitors, along with the world’s largest movie on water-screen. I enjoyed the dragon dance outside the Zihyun building and some mini-concerts inside. Tang Paradise is also a beautiful place for photography in the spring.

Qinglong Temple

If you happen to be in Xi’an during the cherry blossom season, be sure to visit Qinglong Temple (originally dating back to 582 AD). Opening hours are extended, so try to be there very early in order to avoid the hordes of people. Bring your passport and camera. The area around the main Buddhist temple buildings is full of cherry blossoms. The area around the bridge is also very picturesque.

Getting Around

Many of Xi’an’s other popular sites are located fairly close to each other. The subway, signposted in English, is continually expanding, making it easier to get around to some of these sights. Taxis are available, but be sure to have the address written in Mandarin, because few drivers understand English. For expats living in China, DiDi is convenient. iPhone users will be able to use Apple Maps VPN-free to navigate, including subway and public buses.

This article was submitted by guest author and ISC member, Melissa Enderle.

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Highlighted Articles

How to Learn French, Swedish, Spanish

July 20, 2019


“How about Italy?” she said.

I was lying on my friend’s couch. It was 2010. Los Angeles. I was 20, visiting from University in Boston. 

That year I had stopped playing competitive tennis. I had a spinal injury. I was depressed. 

“You love food,” she said.

2007. High school. End-of-the-year  evaluations. My Spanish teacher sat me at a desk in the back of the room, away from the other students. She opened a manila folder with my final course grade, and then closed it. 

“You have great tenacity,” she said. 

“But you’ll never learn a foreign language.” 

“It’s just a small application,” she said. “You’ll finish it by the afternoon!”

On the plane to Italy I sat next to a girl my age, knees shaking, scratching her wrist. She was crying.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. 

“My father died on September 11th,” she said.

We held hands. And we took Italian together. 

That summer we practiced Florence. 

Fast forward to 2012. I studied more Italian at the Middlebury Language School. A couple teachers there helped me with my application to be a high school teacher abroad. I moved to Crema, Italy. The town is now known for the Oscar-winning movie “Call Me By Your Name.” Some days I’m jealous. If only the director had spotted me years ago! Seeking male 18-24 American, speaks French and Italian.

I speak French because I moved to Bordeaux. 

Because why not? 

My roommate was a grandmother. I still remember her first email to me:

“Malgré my advanced age it’ll be a pleasure to pick you up from the airport.” What does malgré mean?!

Despite. She was 74. 

She stewed the best fig jam. Little dotlets of confitture and hot yellow butter, glistening against a crisp o’clock baguette. 

My new grandmother got sick. She had to stay in the hospital for several weeks. She couldn’t swallow properly. I should’ve noticed. All the little yogurt spoons in the dishwasher.

I had to leave France when she was still in the hospital. She held my hand. 

“Go, go, adventure!” she said. 

I left for Los Angeles, a Master’s program. When I finished, I thought I was moving to Sweden, a fellowship I was applying for, a project between Portugal, Sweden and the United States. 

I had to learn Portuguese and Swedish, enough so that I could pass the speaking portion of the B1 proficiency exams in both languages. 

I touched every word I could find, working with online teachers, making sure I made that girl on the plane, and my French grandmother proud. Go, go, adventure! 

I passed. 

If I listed to you the languages I now speak, it would sound arrogant. But to recount the sequence of events that make me feel like any language is possible, I turn to the territory of the heart. 

It’s quite random, who opens us. It would be easy to say that my high school teacher’s ignorance was what fueled me to learn many languages. Perhaps a little fuel. It’s a more profound idea to say that the ultimate compassion of friends, teachers, and strangers transform us. It’s not one individual who lets us learn. It’s the fragile edges of connection, from a sofa to a girl on a plane to a malgré grandmother, all who expressed self-love and towards-love simultaneously. Not romantic love, but a spiritual love, surfaced through the language of kindness. 

Kindness is not about the expectation of others. I was a New England kid who expected to stay in Boston my entire life. I was expected to never learn a language. Ignore the preconditions. Start listening to the language of kindness – “how about…?”, a child’s cry, the goodbye wave – as open acts to start a conversation. Language then becomes living – the courage to sit with others, which is a bodily language, a language of our senses, which I’d argue is the easiest way for us to learn a language, to be an expat. 

Resistance to foreign culture isn’t necessary when we’re close to the senses of others. Spoons in a dishwasher aren’t just spoons. It’s a physical memory I can recall. A relationship tied to a breakfast table. Jam is sweeter, adventure more of a quest than an itinerary. More words absorbed than “do you speak French?”

I speak what needs to be held, with hands, with my eyes, with my stomach. That’s real multilingualism. In fountains, gardens, kitchens, courts, alleyways, with the falling leaves, and flowers blooming. That’s real learning.

Go, go, adventure. 

Joshua Kent Bookman is a writer and artist. Like the characters of his book, “close to elsewhere,” he calls several places home, and has worked in France as an agricultural laborer, as a high school teacher in Italy, and tennis instructor in the United States. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1990. 

“close to elsewhere” was released this summer by the Swedish publisher LYS. This is Bookman’s first novel. 

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Traveling Around

Top 10 Things to Do in Japan in 7 days

November 11, 2018


Japan is, due to its remoteness and quirkiness, a dream destination for many Westerners. Common opinion is that, to fully experience wonders of the land of the rising Sun, one should plan for at least a ten-day long vacation. However, I still think that a week-long trip to Japan is a great idea for a spring or autumn break.

I traveled to Japan in the fall of 2018 when the weather was just perfect with almost no rain and the temperatures between 20 and 25°C. Itinerary wise, I chose to do the best of (and ideal for the first trip to) Japan: Osaka – Kyoto – Tokyo tour, flying to Osaka and leaving from Tokyo, and I would like to present you the 10 highlights from my trip.

Japan

  1. Visit the Osaka Castle

Depending on where you are located, it is good to go visit the Osaka Castle first, and during the day, as it is situated a bit separately from other tourists’ sights. This is a pre-Edo era fortress and a castle with a large moat, fortified with wonderfully executed stone wall. The castle itself is an architectural eye candy rising in the middle, that you can climb and get a view of Osaka skyline for as cheap as 600 JPY (5 USD).

  1. Osaka City Center in the night: Dotombori, Takoyaki

In the evening, I suggest you hit up the Dotombori area for a postcard worthy picture of the Moving Crab or the Swimmer neon poster. Take a stroll down the main shopping street that is so lit up with LEDs and neon lights in the night that you will lose every impression of the night sky above. This is a great place to try Takoyaki, the Japanese seafood balls that originate from this area. The big (moving) models of crabs, octopuses and squids are to indicate the kind of food that the restaurant is serving, so use them as a guide.

  1. Walk the Shinsekai in Osaka, The Tsutenkaku Tower, Kushikatsu

Shinsekai is an old, colorful, part of Osaka ironically called the New World. Well, once it was new, in 1920s that is, when it first emerged. The area was modelled by New York and Paris of that time, with the Tsutenkaku Tower dominating the neighborhood in the middle. It allows for another great view of Osaka skyline, but also to the Shinsekai from above. This area is famous for Kushikatsu –panko covered, deep-fried skewers made of vegetables, meat, eggs, cheese and the mixture of it. It is suitable for vegans as you can select only vegetables on your menu.

  1. Go to the Osaka Aquarium

The central tank of this aquarium features a couple of whale sharks and that alone is a big reason to visit the Osaka Aquarium located in the eastern part of the city and easily reachable by the subway. Apart from the sharks, which is the aquarium’s main attraction, this place showcases not only a huge variety of marine life from the world’s seven seas, but rivers, creeks and lakes as well such as otters, birds and even penguins!

  1. The Imperial Palace of Kyoto

Kyoto is Japan’s old capital and hosts the second active palace of the Emperor – The Imperial Palace of Kyoto. Enjoy the free tour of walking the vast courtyard with traditional Japanese architecture and gardens with lakes and bridges, posing for some fantastic photo opportunities. Located centrally, it is easily reachable from every part of the city.

Japan

  1. Kyoto downtown: Nishiki Market, Gion district and The Yasaka Shrine

If you are in for some shopping, check out the center of Kyoto – The Nishiki shopping area with both high-end boutiques and Asian covered bazaar markets. On a walking distance from there stands Gion, the old, geisha district of Kyoto. Stroll down the romantic streets on of Gion heading east and you will reach the Yasaka Shrine, a popular tourist spot. Before you enter the Shrine, I advise you to try Pablo’s cheesecake tarts which stand just a couple hundreds of meters on the left side of the entrance.

  1. Kyoto – Kodaiji Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine, and climb the mountain for the views

For a more spiritual experience, walk south from the Yasaka shrine and experience the Kodaiji Temple, the ceremonial Japanese garden where traditional weddings happen and walk the mini bamboo forest that they have in the small hill behind the temple. The entrance fee is 600 JPY. Then you can take a train south from there to Fushimi Inari Shrine, (the main shrine of the god Inari) which is represented on most postcards from Kyoto: an array of orange arches called Torii leads towards the top of a hill where you may feel as a pilgrim, but the top promises you some great picture worthy openings.

  1. Tokyo – The Centers: Shinju-Ku and Shibuya

Take a bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo for a great traveling experience. Taking about 3 hours to reach it from Kyoto, Tokyo is a gigantic city, so one should not even dream of seeing it all in 3 days, but it is definitely enough to scratch the surface. After the traditional Kyoto, you may be hungry for some futuristic views. Head to Shinju-Ku in the evening and Shibuya in the night and experience the lights of Tokyo at their prime.

  1. Tokyo – Akihabara and the Kitchenware district

Akihabara is the electronic and gamer’s town of Tokyo – “Otaku district”. For all the geeks and anime lovers, this is the right area to browse vintage video game stores, comic and toy collector stores, maid cafes and other quirky stuff. Not far away from there is the Kitchenware district in a street of Kapabashi. Here you can find any kind of kitchenware, but most of the people come to purchase a Japanese knives, known for their quality, precision and durability.

Japan

  1. Tokyo – The Imperial Gardens, Roppongi and Akasaka

Scratch the surface of the cultural experience of Tokyo by walking the Imperial Palace garden. Only East garden is open for public admission, while you can preregister for an organized tour of the palace itself. You can have an afternoon tea in a bar of the Imperial Palace Hotel which is an attraction of Modernism architecture in itself, offering numerous restaurants and luxury shopping experience. Hit Roppongi and Akasaka for some excellent eats in the evening. Both of these neighborhoods are located close by and are in a walking distance from each other. They offer great bars, restaurants and cafes for you to enjoy and relax after this amazing and trip.

Bonus tip: Try to book a hotel with a Japanese spa in Tokyo. It will help you unwind at the end of every day full of experience, and the sauna and hot water of the spa will do miracles for your tired feet!

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Top 10 Lists

Five Reasons to Stay in AND Leave Your Host Country for Summer Vacation

July 8, 2017


Summer is upon us teachers and we are all in the midst of our summer plans.

summer

Now most of us are probably making our way back to our home countries for a visit with family and friends, but our summer plans are actually quite varied and don’t necessarily involve leaving our host country.

As many teachers do, we struggle to find the perfect summer plans. We want to connect with our new friends and old ones, but we also want to use our long vacation time to travel the world (which could also involve our friends).

Now if you have a partner that is from your host country, that can also affect how you schedule your summer events; meaning you might just be spending more time staying put and visiting your partner’s family.

There are actually a number of reasons to stay in your host country as well as to leave it.

Weather

STAY: If you are living in Scandinavia, summer time is the best time stay in your host country. Now is your chance to enjoy the most perfect weather of the year during the summer months. There are beaches to go to, forests to explore and great outdoor events happening all over the place. There is also ample daylight during this time of the year, so you can see a lot even in just one day!

summer

LEAVE: It can be very hot in some of our host countries during the summer. We mean really hot! Who wants to stay inside all day during our summer vacations?! If you live where it is unbearable hot (like the Middle East or North Africa), that is likely your only choice! Teachers don’t stay in the UAE during a summer holiday, they go to their home countries or travel as tourists to Europe or Asia, mostly. Actually, nobody stays if they don’t need to, because it is so hot, between 40-50 C.” – RAK Academy (47 total comments)

Saving Money

STAY: Not traveling typically means saving some money. It is true that you are also spending money if you stay at home during the summer months, but often you spend more money per day when on holiday. There are always extra things to pay for when traveling (like going to a concert, a ticket for a museum or a boat ride, paying for an organized tour, etc.). You also probably go out to eat at a restaurant at least two times a day when traveling, which can definitely add up. If you stay at home during the summer, you can also opt for a tutoring job or teaching summer school to make some extra money. “Saving money here is doable if you are conservative. Many staff tutor which almost doubles their income. I know of many staff that tutor enough for their travel and cost of living so they bank near all of their salary. As a single provider with a family, tutoring would be a must to save.” – American Creativity Academy (31 total comments)

LEAVE: An increasing number of international school teachers are leaving for their summer vacations around the world and renting out their apartment to Airbnb. In most major cities in the world, this can mean making a lot of money in a short period of time. There are also a number of house sharing websites for international school teachers that people are now using. Staying at one of these home during your summer vacations can also save you quite a bit of money.

Friends vs. Family

STAY: Summertime is the perfect chance to see your former international school colleagues because your vacation time definitely matches up then. If your former colleague is still living where they worked with you, then it is always awesome to go back to a place you’ve once lived. If your he/she has moved on to a different international school and country, then you are crazy to not plan a trip to go visit them in their new surroundings. Hopefully you’ll get to explore a new country and save money on hotels at the same time because you know somebody there now.

summer

LEAVE: Many international school teachers only see their parents and relatives once a year. If it is not during the Christmas break, then probably your only other chance to see them is during your summer vacation. Especially if your home country is freezing during the winter time, visiting it during the summer is really your only sane option. Let’s face it, your family wants to see you and love spending some quality time with you. Seeing your family in person is a great way to make sure you keep those connections strong. Even if it is for just a short time, bonding with your relatives is important.

If the stars align well for you, the best solution is to stay in your host country and your parents and relatives come to you!  “Most teachers wait for the summer holidays to go on holiday. This is a mistake. Invite the family to visit you! It’s the best time of the year. You have a place to stay they can stay at and you can save the air fares that you would have used for traveling.” – International School of Paphos (105 total comments)

Travel

STAY: It is truly a regret when you decide to leave your host country and you haven’t seen all the places that you wanted to check out while living there. Summer vacation is a super time to get to those hard to reach places in your host country. Seeing all the cool places that your host country has to offer gives you a better insight into your host country’s culture as a whole. You can taste the cuisine there to see if it is different to where you live, you can see a different landscape to what you typically see around your home, and you can get a chance to practice speaking the host country language if most of the people where you live can speak English to you (because they live in a bigger, more metropolitan area).

LEAVE: Many teachers include some cool, far away adventure for their summer holidays. With 8+ weeks to play with and factoring in your budget for travel, you can get to just about anywhere. Why not explore a completely different part of this world? You might just live in one of those places in the near future! “Most teachers travel for the holidays during the school year. 99% of teachers travel for the summer holiday. Easy and cheap to get to other parts of the Middle East and South Asia. Europe isn’t too bad, but going to North or South America is usually reserved for summer holidays.” – Rowad Alkhaleej International School (Dammam) (114 total comments)

Relaxation

STAY: Just stay home and relax, that is what summer vacation is all about. It is good to finally just do nothing and enjoy your home and surroundings. The summer months are for recharging your body and your mind, so that you can be fresh for the next school year. It is hard for people to just do nothing, but it can very useful and welcoming. Go for a walk around your neighborhood and just take in the sights, smells and sounds. Ride your bike around a nearby river, lake or shore and take in all the beautiful nature that surrounds you in your host country. “There is a bit of nature within the city center. There are pretty big parks to walk around in. The most popular one yesterday was the City Garden. Lots of people there with all benches full. Great place to hang out and enjoy the nice spring weather right now.” – Anglo American School of Sofia (49 total comments)

summer

LEAVE: If your home is not as cozy as you’d like it to be and your host country city is a bit dirty and hectic, you might find it hard to relax during the summer months. Going somewhere else to find relaxation is your best choice. Some international school teachers find a good yoga retreat to take part in on a tropic island (like Bali, Indonesia or Koh Samui, Thailand), others go camping in large national parks that many countries have to offer. Traveling somewhere where you can get away from all the loud noise and life’s annoying distractions can sometimes only be found in another country. If you stay where you live, then you are bound to get daily reminders of all the things that you still need to do, fix or clean up. When your abroad, you can find some really cozy and relaxing places where you can forget all your worries.

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How NOT to Save Money

How NOT to save money when teaching abroad #8: Paying (sometimes at high prices) for a housekeeper, cook, etc. while living the expat lifestyle

March 31, 2016


We all hear about the big possibility of saving money while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t save much of any money.  So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?

How NOT to save money when teaching abroad #8: Paying (sometimes at high prices) for a housekeeper, cook, etc. while living the expat lifestyle

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Is it affordable to hire a housekeeper in your host country?

Many of us have never had a housekeeper while living in our home countries. We never even had the idea that we would need one or even be able to afford one. But while living abroad as an expat, international school teachers potentially can live a very different life and lifestyle in comparison to their former home country lives. Many times they will find themselves in situations where they can now financially afford certain help around the house. And who doesn’t want to hire somebody to clean their house and iron their work clothes every week?

Of course the cost of this help can be quite varied in different parts of the world. Hiring a house cleaner in Spain might be cheaper than hiring one in Norway, but then could be more expensive than one you would pay for in Japan.

There are international school teachers that refuse to get help like a housekeeper. They are quite content to continue their lifestyle as they were living in their home country. But in many 3rd world counties, there are locals that could very much benefit from employment from an international school teacher. Some might say hiring a local and having them come on a regular basis (and also paying them an accept rate for the area) to help you out around the house is a good thing for the local economy.

So, before you just have anybody come to your place and do some work for you, it is advisable, of course, to check with your colleagues at your school about their experience hiring housekeepers, for example. Often there is another teacher that is currently using one that is also looking for more work. Sharing a good housekeeper amongst work colleagues is a great way to assure you are getting a trustworthy person.

Even if you get a trustworthy person it is not always smooth sailing once they start working at your place. In some situations, the housekeeper might not speak English. And if you not fluent in the local language yet, there can be some issues with communication and getting things done in the ways that you like and prefer. One solution is to get one of your local friends to come over and help interpret for you; for some bigger issues that may arise.

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Some international school teachers hire a local to cook some meals for them during the week.

If you are lucky, you will find a great person that fits your needs. Maybe you’ve set up a schedule where the housekeeper cleans your place while you are at work. Then when you get home, you have a fresh and tidy house in which you can immediately relax. It is always nice to see the little things that your housekeeper might do in certain parts around the house; like a special way of folding the towels or making up your bed.

It all sounds good, doesn’t it?  But it does come at a cost. So to make sure that you are still saving money while living abroad, be certain that you can find a balance between how much you have your housekeeper do things for you around the house.  On the other hand, hiring a housekeeper does save you time!

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We have a comment topic on our website related to the theme of how much it costs to pay for these types of extra help in your international school life living abroad.  It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc. Here are a few examples of comments related to housekeeper costs:

“Housekeepers, but law, must be full-time, though some are hired part-time, unofficially. Minimum wage for housekeeper is ~4500HKD per month.” – Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (55) Total comments

“Individuals make their own contracts with housekeepers, nannies and gardeners, though the school assists with obtaining visas for nannies and housekeepers. (This process can be frustrating at times based on the Omani bureaucracy, but gets done.). A nanny/housekeeper will make anywhere between 170 and 300 OMR/month and the number of hours in that frame go from a regular 40 hr week with weekends and holidays off with overtime provided (along with yearly airfare and insurance — can be obtained for under 200 OMR/year), to 24-hour on-call, no benefits or overtime.” – American British Academy
(33) Total comments

“You can get a housekeeper here that comes for 1/2 a day, every day of the week, for 250,000 Shillings a month! It is wonderful! The person will do all the cleaning and all your laundry (and you need someone do do your ironing here as some washing needs to be done by hand, etc.).” – International School of Tanganyika (141) Total comments

“One thing great about teaching in Malaysia is the opportunity to have a different lifestyle than would be affordable in the Western world. Most teachers with kids have a full time (some live in) nanny and maid. A full-time nanny is paid $500 -$600 a month. Part time help is affordable, costing between $6 and $10 an hour. For $300 a month, you can have a part-time housekeeper come 3 times a week.” – Mont’Kiara International School (27) Total comments

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Surveys

New Survey: What is the air quality like where you are currently living?

September 17, 2013


A new survey has arrived!

Topic:  What is the air quality like where you are currently living?

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Getting bronchitis for the first time in your life because you are now living in a very polluted city with very bad air quality….not fun stuff.

Not being able to let your children play outside in the garden area of your apartment complex because of the warning on the news about the air quality that day being too high and too dangerous to breathe for long periods of time….very unfortunate.

Not seeing a blue sky for many weeks….depressing.

The air quality of the place you move to is very important to know about and fully understand.  It can truly affect many of the normal things that you do in your daily life.

Is it a factor important enough to consider when thinking about moving to a county with extremely bad air quality?  Some might say YES!

It might not be worth it to subject your body and risk the negative (and maybe long lasting) side effects for a standard stay for an international school teacher (which is typically a 2-year contract).

Let’s not forget though the many cities that have very clean air quality.  That alone could be one excellent reason to stay another year.  It might even be better than the city you lived in back in your home country!

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So, go ahead and vote to describe the air quality in the city you work in.  Go to the homepage of International School Community and submit your vote today!  You can check out the latest voting results here.

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Traveling Around

Traveling Around: Prague, Czech Republic

October 30, 2011


Traveling Around: Prague, Czech Republic

Can you relate?

• Not realizing that the 2nd language on the local product packages was Slovak until the last day of the trip.
• Being swarmed and surrounded by hundreds of tourists.  Thank goodness their numbers decreased after the weekend was over.
• Going to high-end restaurants for almost every meal, pretending that is how we normally go out to eat in our host country.
• Being actually quite impressed with the country’s churches, both outside and inside.
• Going to Bohemia Bagel every morning for breakfast.  Those bagels are pretty close to how they taste in NYC!
• Taking a short trip to Kutna Hora to see the “Bone Church.” Then deciding to walk to the center of the town (about 2-3 kms) not realizing the local bus could have taken us there much faster!
• Exploring local grocery stores to check out their products, hoping they have some things that cost much cheaper than what is available in our host country.
• Having a sunny, beautiful day every day of the trip, but then finally getting a cloudy, rainy day on the last morning during the taxi ride back to the airport.
• Getting a Thai massage after a day of walking around because the price of an hour massage is about 1/2 the price in our host country.
• Bring impressed by the buildings in Prague and how much of the design features being influenced by the Art Nouveau period.
• Seeing so many walking tour group everywhere.  The tour guide holding their attention-getting flag and talking through their head microphone/speaker.
• Feeling like we were truly in the Renaissance period seeing costumed trumpeters in a castle playing a tune at the top of every hour it seemed.
• Tried to go to the National Museum and the National Theatre to find they were both closed to the public.
• Finding a lady behind a little table selling opera tickets, taking a risk and buying tickets from her and then actually having a great time at the opera show.
• Bring very underwhelmed at the city’s botanical garden.  Maybe it was because we went there during the off-season.
• Seeing many marionettes and puppets around the city, including a Michael Jackson one resembling Pinocchio.

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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