How many times have you applied to a school wishing that you knew somebody that worked there?
Knowing somebody and getting the ‘inside scoop’ on an international school could definitely help you in your quest to set up an interview there.
Currently, our top 40 international schools with the most members are (6 December 2020):
30 members – American International School in Egypt
24 members – Copenhagen International School
24 members – Western International School of Shanghai
22 members –International School of Kuala Lumpur
22 members – International School Manila
21 members – MEF International School Istanbul
19 members – International School of Tanganyika
19 members – Jakarta Intercultural School
19 members – Seoul Foreign School
19 members – Seoul International School
18 members – Fairview International School
18 members – Brent International School Manila
17 members – Graded School Sao Paulo
17 members – Shanghai United International School (Hongqiao)
16 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City
17 members – International School Bangkok
17 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
17 members – Shanghai Community International School
16 members – American School of Barcelona
16 members – Good Shepherd International School
16 members – Cairo American College
16 members – American International School of Johannesburg
16 members – United Nations International School (Vietnam)
16 members – International School Dhaka
16 members – Qatar Academy (Doha)
15 members – Istanbul International Community School
15 members – Singapore American School
15 members – NIST International School
15 members – American International School Dhaka
15 members – Suzhou Singapore International School
15 members – American School of Dubai
14 members – International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)
14 members – KIS International School (Bangkok)
14 members – Yokohama International School
14 members – Hong Kong International School
14 members – International School Panama
14 members – International School Beijing
14 members – Western Academy of Beijing
14 members – American International School (Vietnam)
14 members – Shanghai American School – Pudong
With 100-200 new members joining each month, this list will continue to grow and grow; with even more members showing up as potential people to network with.
It is simple to network on our website: just click on a member and then click on the ‘Contact this member’ button (premium member feature). Then write him/her a message. When your message is sent, the other member will get an email alert letting them know that they have a new message waiting for them on our website (so, hopefully he/she will get back to you in a timely manner!). Numerous International School Community members have already taken advantage of this unique feature on our website!
As far as we know, International School Community is the one of the only websites where you can quickly and easily network with real people at a specific international school. Meaning, if you want to get in touch with somebody from Suzhou Singapore International School in China and you are currently a premium member of International School Community, you now have 15 members that you can contact on our website that either work there now or have worked there in the past. Get the answers to your questions; now that is easy networking!continue reading
Finding comments and reviews on the schools we want to know about is a top priority for most ISC members. We have a number of features on our website that help our members do just that!
Using the School Search feature on the ISC website, members can specifically search only for the international schools that have had comments submitted on them. All members need to do is use the filter feature + tick the “schools with comments” box. Here are current results we got (from 24 July 2020) along with five random schools from that region:
Asia: 68 Schools
American International School Dhaka (110 total comments)
American Embassy School New Delhi (39 total comments)
Good Shepherd International School (409 total comments)
Kodaikanal International School (53 total comments)
Indus International School (Pune) (43 total comments)
Caribbean: 24 Schools
The Codrington School (Int’l School of Barbados) (70 total comments)
Somersfield Academy (44 total comments)
The Bermuda High School for Girls (41 total comments)
International School St. Lucia (West Indies) (21 total comments)
International School of Havana (20 total comments)
Central American: 32 Schools
International School Panama (49 total comments)
Lincoln School (San Jose) (61 total comments)
Marian Baker School (33 total comments)
The British School of Costa Rica (31 total comments)
The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (75 total comments)
Central/Eastern Europe: 67 Schools
International School of Belgrade (59 total comments)
Anglo-American School of Moscow (69 total comments)
Wroclaw International School (46 total comments)
American School of Warsaw (155 total comments)
International School of Latvia (33 total comments)
East Asia: 222 Schools
Canadian International School (Hong Kong) (155 total comments)
Concordia International School (Shanghai) (180 total comments)
Hong Kong International School (148 total comments)
Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan) (81 total comments)
Keystone Academy (119 total comments)
Middle East: 152 Schools
American International School of Kuwait (74 total comments)
International College Beirut (121 total comments)
Awsaj Academy (43 total comments)
Qatar Academy (Doha) (71 total comments)
Dhahran Ahliyya Schools (83 total comments)
North Africa: 41 Schools
Alexandria International Academy (79 total comments)
American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (62 total comments)
Cairo American College (174 total comments)
Misr American College (53 total comments)
George Washington Academy (91 total comments)
North America: 50 Schools
American School Foundation of Guadalajara (117 total comments)
American School Foundation of Mexico City (72 total comments)
American School Foundation of Monterrey (129 total comments)
International High School of San Francisco (37 total comments)
Atlanta International School (31 total comments)
Oceania: 8 Schools
Woodford International School (12 total comments)
Port Moresby International School (8 total comments)
Majuro Cooperative School (16 total comments)
Kwajalein Senior High School (24 total comments)
International School Nadi (9 total comments)
SE Asia: 182 Schools
Ican British International School (74 total comments)
Northbridge International School (59 total comments)
Green School Bali (148 total comments)
Sekolah Victory Plus (143 total comments)
International School of Kuala Lumpur (135 total comments)
South America: 64 Schools
The American Int’l School of Buenos Aires (Lincoln) (48 total comments)
Colegio Nueva Granada (60 total comments)
American School of Asuncion (145 total comments)
Colegio Internacional de Carabobo (95 total comments)
Uruguayan American School (32 total comments)
Sub-Saharan Africa: 71 Schools
The American School of Kinshasa (59 total comments)
International Community School Addis Ababa (80 total comments)
International School of Kenya (52 total comments)
Saint Andrews International High School (41 total comments)
American International School Abuja (58 total comments)
Western Europe: 167 Schools
American International School Vienna (81 total comments)
International School of Paphos (123 total comments)
Copenhagen International School (375 total comments)
International School of Stuttgart (78 total comments)
Berlin Brandenburg International School (87 total comments)
Well those are all the regions of the world on our website. In total, we now have over 1140 international schools that have had comments and reviews submitted on them! Our goal is to keep that number going up and up. Thanks to our hundreds of Mayors as well for keeping their schools consistently updated with new comments and information every one or two months.
* To access these school links you do need to have premium membership access. Become a paid member today! Or if you would like to become a Mayor and get free unlimited premium membership, send a request here.continue reading
How many times have you applied to a school wishing that you knew somebody that worked there?
Knowing somebody and getting the ‘inside scoop’ on an international school will definitely help you in your quest to set up an interview there.
Currently, our top 40 international schools with the most members are:
24 members – American International School in Egypt
23 members – Copenhagen International School
21 members – International School of Kuala Lumpur
21 members – International School Manila
17 members – Seoul International School
17 members – International School of Tanganyika
17 members – Jakarta International School
17 members – MEF International School Istanbul
17 members – Western International School of Shanghai
16 members – Fairview International School
16 members – American School Foundation of Mexico City
16 members – American School of Barcelona
15 members – Singapore American School
15 members – International School Bangkok
14 members – United Nations International School (Vietnam)
14 members – Shanghai Community International School
14 members – Shanghai United International School (Hongqiao)
14 members – Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana
14 members – Istanbul International Community School
14 members – NIST International School
14 members – Brent International School Manila
14 members – Seoul Foreign School
14 members – Qatar Academy (Doha)
13 members – KIS International School (Bangkok)
13 members – Graded – The American School of Sao Paulo
13 members – American School of Dubai
13 members – American International School of Johannesburg
13 members – American International School (Vietnam)
13 members – Cairo American College
13 members – Good Shepherd International School
12 members –Suzhou Singapore International School
12 members – Chadwick International School – Songdo
12 members – International School of Beijing
12 members – Western Academy of Beijing
12 members – American International School of Kuwait
12 members – Anglo-American School of Moscow
12 members – American School of Kuwait
12 members – Canadian International School (Singapore)
11 members – American Embassy School New Delhi
11 members – Bilkent Laboratory & International School
The members of these schools include members that currently work there now or have worked there in the past.
With 100-300 new members joining each month, this list will continue to grow and grow; with even more members showing up as potential people to network with.
It is simple to network on our website: just click on a member and then click on the ‘Contact this member’ button (Premium membership access required). Then write him/her a message. When your message is sent, the other member will get an email alert letting them know that they have a new message waiting for them on our website (you don’t need premium membership access to reply to a private message on our website). Numerous International School Community members have already taken advantage of this unique feature on our website!
As far as we know, International School Community is the only website where you can quickly and easily network with real people at a specific international school. Meaning, if you want to get in touch with somebody from the United Nations International School in New York and you are currently a premium member of International School Community, you now have 6 members that you can contact on our website that either work there now or have worked there in the past.
Get the answers to your questions; now that is easy networking!
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 working as an international school teacher #6 – Spend tons of money during your trip back home
Of course you go back to your home country to spend time with your friends and family. It is important to go back at least once a year to see them in person and hang out like before you moved abroad. Even if you are able to Skype a lot with these people throughout the year, you can’t beat getting a hug from them in person!
We all know though that there is something else on our minds when we go back home…and that is shopping! We all have those go-to-stores that we must visit. If you are from the United States, then it might be Target. If you are from England, then it might be Boots. Finding time to do a bit of shopping in these stores is a must!
Maybe clothes are cheaper in your home country. Buy them!
Are some toiletries cheaper and are there brands that you can’t get in your host country? Buy them!
Did you bring an extra suitcase in your other suitcase just for putting the stuff you bought from your trip back home? Buy even more!
Now to food.
Food is extremely important when living abroad. One of the best parts of living abroad is trying the local products and food delicacies, but having a bit of the food from your home country around can be quite comforting.
Everyone has their own food that they want to buy and bring back to their host country. What one teacher might bring back, another teacher might say why. To each their own really. We all have those things that we want and that is how life goes as an expat.
But, the key is not to let your home country purchases get outta hand! “Oh, I’ll just buy one of these and two of those” one day. The next day you find yourself saying, “Oh, I better buy one more of each!” Purchase after purchase, the amount you spend goes up and up.
It is easy to get caught up in the mainframe of “well, I am only here one time a year, so I better stock up.” Though that is true, saying it over and over in your head can increase your purchases even more than you were expecting (not allowing your save your money as it were!).
How can you then keep your purchases under control? One key rule to keep in mind: only buy things that you for sure can’t already buy in your host country.
Is it true that the longer you live abroad, the less things that you buy when you go back home? Or maybe it is that you get smarter about the things you let yourself purchase. Some might say both of those statements are not true at all and that we are all subject to the temptation of buying products from our homeland when we go back for a visit and putting our savings plan on hold for a bit.
Happy shopping back home and bringing those items back to your home abroad!
We do have a comment topic on our website related to the theme of what food items you might want/need to bring to your new host country (don’t go overboard though!). It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites.
“There are almost no British/Australian/NZ/Canadian/American food items that can’t be found in Bangkok nowadays. Items from home tend to be expensive though, so you you may wish to pack a couple of jars of Marmite/Vegemite and your favourite tea bags.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 11 Comments
“Sometimes, items are in abundance, and other times they are scarce, such as peanut butter.” – Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – 68 Comments
“We can get nearly everything. Rooibos tea is hard to find, but everything basic is easy to get.” – Qatar Academy (Doha) (Doha, Qatar) – 56 Comments
“There is a very large supermarket 5 minutes walk from the school. It has a wide variety of products. (Greater variety than Danish supermarkets)” – International School of Helsinki (Helsinki, Finland) – 30 Commentscontinue reading
As all International School Community members know, each of the 2180+ school profile pages on our website has four comments and information sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information. Our members are encouraged to submit comments and information on one or all of these sections if they currently work at an international school or have worked at one in the past. It is important that we all share what we know so that we can in turn help other new teachers make a more informed decision before they sign any contract! *Additionally, for every 10 comments you submit (which are anonymous by the way), you will automatically get one free month of premium membership added to your account! The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!
So, what are the recent statistics about the Benefits Information sections on all the school profile pages? The current total number of submitted comments in the Benefits Information section is 12207 (out of a total of 39249+ comments); that is up 1503 comments from around 13 months ago (Nov. 2019).
There are 20 subtopics in the Benefits Information section on each school profile page. Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out the total number of comments in that specific sub-topic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.
• Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year? (1415 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Salary is paid regularly each month directly into your bank account which the school will help you set up. It is paid in $US…” – Northbridge International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – 59 Comments
• Details about the staff housing or the housing allowance. If there is no housing allowance, how much are rent costs and utilities? (1414 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Rent prices went up all over Shanghai in the past 1-2 years and even places near the school cost more now, as landlords start seeing that there’s many expats in the area willing to pay more…” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 481 Comments
• Average amount of money that is left to be saved. (761 Total Comments)
Example comment: “A teaching couple could easily live and travel on one salary and save 100% of the other. Savings opportunity is obviously significantly less on one salary, but still possible…” – Singapore American School (Singapore) – 309 Comments
• Detailed info about flight, shipping and settling-in allowances. Any other benefits (e.g. free lunches, etc.)? (1236 Total Comments)
Example comment: “$4000 per teaching couple moving allowance (once you arrive in cash), optional $10,000 loan from school interest free (to buy car), annual flights home…” – American International School of Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria) – 21 Comments
• Health insurance and medical benefits. Describe your experiences using these benefits and going to the local hospitals. (1085 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Teachers must pay for their own health insurance here as Switzerland doesn’t have a social health care program model. Some of the staff’s partners are actually the local doctors in Leysin, so expect to get seen or have your children get seen by them..” – Leysin American School (Leysin, Switzerland) – 113 Comments
• Ways to make extra money (tutoring, after-school activities, etc.). (523 Total Comments)
Example comment: “As the April 6, 2016 comment below states, there are many opportunities for increasing your monthly pay. Other than that, it is illegal to work for anyone but your visa provider (the school) in China. Lots of teachers tutor or work otherwise on the side anyway, but it is illegal.” – Kang Chiao International School (Kunshan, China) – 82 Comments
• Information about benefits for teachers with dependents. (825 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Teachers with dependents need to pay some fees. These vary and are at the discretion of the school so they could conceivably become higher each year. They do not like to hire people with dependents.” – MEF International School Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey) – 162 Comments
• Professional development allowance details. (617 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The PD allowance allows you to travel and pay for one IB workshop (or any conference) per year. Or you can do two IB online workshops…” – The International School of Dakar (Dakar, Senegal) – 181 Comments
• Pension plan details. (676 Total Comments)
Example comment: “It is not a pension. Due to Brazilian law, each teacher pays 8% of their salary each month into a guarantee fund. This is more or less an unemployment insurance. At the end of your contract, the school agrees to “fire” you, so you can access that fund. Based on the exchange rate at that time, it can vary in USD. At the beginning of my contract is was estimated around $12,000. But, now it will be much closer to $7,000. There is no way to know how much it will actually be in the end.” – American School of Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) – 78 Comments
• Describe your experience bringing pets. (310 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Some teachers bring their pets from the USA (and other countries like UAE and Qatar). Some do it via the airlines or a pet relocation service. You need to make sure you pet has their up-to-date shots and whatnot to avoid certain delays and hassles along the way. The shorter your flight to Egypt the easier it might be to get your pet to Egypt.” – American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 62 Comments
• Explain how salaries are decided (e.g. is there a pay schedule? extra step for masters degree? Annual pay raises? Bonuses?). (617 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Each teacher is paid differently. No pay scale. Some teachers with lots of experience paid less than teachers with little experience. Men get paid more than women…” – American School of Durango (Durango, Mexico) – 54 Comments
• How do the school’s benefits compare to other international schools in the area/city? (393 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The pay is lower than other international schools in the area but the school fees are also lower. It is the mid range between the “posh” international schools and the ones that don’t hire internationally trained teachers.” – Ican British International School (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) – 74 Comments
• How is the school calendar? Is there ample vacation time? (592 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Point of contention. Clearly we are in a Muslim country so we have to abide by the holidays, but as Ramadan keeps pushing up 2 weeks every year, so does Eid (which usually falls in the first term. But we are in one of those awkward times where Eid is falling the first week of school so that means no break from the start of school until December. There is only one week at xmas this year, because we have to make sure to finish school around the start of Ramadan, it will be too hot to come to school while the kids (majority) will be fasting or they just won’t attend school. We will still have a week in Feb and a week in April. No long weekends here. 3 months off for summer.” – Qatar Academy (Sidra) (Doha, Qatar) – 97 Comments
• What are some things that you need to buy/pay for when you first arrive at the school that you didn’t know about beforehand? (330 Total Comments)
Example comment: “If you have a pet you have to pay an extra deposit to the landlord, not covered by school…” – Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine) – 162 Comments
• Details about the maternity benefits of the host country and school. (169 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Women get 12 weeks at 80% pay. She can take more time off, but without pay and at the business’ discretion. I think men don’t get any time off to be with their newborn.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 59 Comments
• What is the process of getting reimbursed for things? (226 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Fill out a simple form, submit the receipt, and the money is deposited into your account after the purchase has been approved. If you are concerned as to whether or not you will be reimbursed, seek out approval first. I have never been turned down.” – Daegu International School (Daegu, South Korea) – 25 Comments
• Details about new teacher orientation. (270 Total Comments)
Example comment: “We were picked up at the airport by a school driver who drove the Superintendent there to meet us. We were taken directly to our house, and someone had purchased some staple foods for the refrigerator. There were new towels, sheets and pillows. Other teachers/admin in the neighborhood came to greet us that evening and brought over hot food for dinner. It was an excellent welcome. We immediately felt very much at home…” –Lahore American School (Lahore, Pakistan) – 193 Comments
• In general, why are people staying at or leaving this school? (403 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Everyone leaves because the salary scrap and administration is crap. If you had any moral integrity you would also leave after a week.” – Colombo International School (Colombo, Sri Lanka) – 64 Comments
• Details about the teaching contract. What important things should prospective teachers know about? (250 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Read carefully. 3 page contract is very vague and WILL be used in favor of the administration against you. Expect them to try and keep as much of your money as they can. Hence the 2 month salary withholding which you are assured you will get at back end of contract. This does not usually come to fruition.” – Pan Asia International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 70 Comments
• Information on trailing spouses. Can they work under spousal visa (also availability of work) or is it possible to live only on one salary? (95 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Trailing spouses can only be sponsored if you are earning a certain amount. It is not very easy to get a job in some professionals; however, this might change soon with the sponsorship system changing often as we near the World Cup 2022.” – The English Modern School (Doha) (Doha, Qatar) – 91 Commentscontinue reading
Many people would love to be living next to the Mediterranean Sea. It truly has one of the most perfect climates. Not too cold in the winter, and nice, very warm in the summers (not to mention a lot of sun!). However, not all of us are so lucky to work at an international school there. Plus, typically the salary and benefits are lower there, so that is not ideal.
Do you think to rather take a job in Moscow, Russia? You can probably make a lot of money, but you will need to be prepared for a cold, dark and snowy winter for many months.
How about a stint on a tropical island like Curaçao or the Bahamas? Many teachers are curious about the island life, but some who take jobs there don’t last for more than 1-2 years; too isolating and hard/expensive to even get off the island.
As we’ve stated before, when you search for jobs at international schools, you will need to consider a number of factors like: money, career, location, love life, weather, etc. These are all pretty important when deciding to live abroad, but which ones are more important than the others for you?
We can only be so lucky to find a place that meets our wishes in all the factors, but that rarely happens.
So, if you had a few offers to work in different cities and countries around the world, would you prioritize the city that had the most ideal weather and climate for you? Maybe after working for 10-15 years in a cold climate, you will finally choose the school that is on the Mediterranean Sea!
Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to this topic of the host city’s weather year round. In this comment topic, our members can share what their experience has been working at various international schools around the world. There are a total of 604 comments (July 2020) that have been submitted by our veteran international school teachers in this specific comment topic (one out of the 66 in total) called – “Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year.”
Here are a few of those submitted comments:
“In general the temperature is very temperate. The monsoon is long and will last from July- October. Winter is also cold with January being the coldest month. The school is generally closed for a good part of December and all of Jan so that you miss the worst of the cold…” – Woodstock School (Mussoorie, India) – 142 Total Comments
“Generally speaking, the weather is very pleasant in Shenzhen. August (when new teachers have just landed) tends to be sticky and hot so be mentally prepared for that but it gets better in Sept/Oct. January tends to be the coldest, and can go down to as low as 7 at night. In other words, you need a variety of clothes…” –
International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (Shenzhen, China) – 88 Comments
“Doha is hot and dry. The weather is intensely hot in May, June July and August. Sept tends to be humid and October and November tend to have a few wet or cloudy days. The temperature then eases for the winter period. December is often 20-25 daily and around 15-20 at night which can feel quite chilly. January and February stay quite cold but the heat begins to return in March and April…” – The English Modern School (Doha) (Doha, Qatar) – 75 Total Comments
“Spring is short, maybe 2 months, same for autumn. The weather in these seasons is lovely. Summer is from May to September and it is HOT. Humidity will be 90%+. You will want to leave in the summer and you have to use AC throughout these months. Winter is 3 months and can be cold. Air quality usually declines during the winter and the wind direction changes and blows the pollution down from Beijing. I have an electric blanket on my bed as most apartments only have AC for heating and it is expensive and ineffecient….” – Lycee Francais de Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 38 Comments
“The weather is pretty great year-round. Rainy season lasts from May-ish until November time, but largely this only affects the evening with large thunderstorms etc. Outside these months, you can rely on weeks of no rain, lots of sunshine etc. Even in rainy season, the days are usually sunny and hot…” – Edron Academy A.C (El Colegio Britanico) (Edron Academy A.C (El Colegio Britanico) – 14 Commentscontinue reading