An international school can be anywhere!
An international school is located wherever there is a demand for an education with an international focus. They often employ a combination of local and foreign staff. You can teach in international schools all over the world!
While there are over 90 international schools in the UK and over 40 in the US, the majority of international schools are located in Asia, then the Middle East, Europe, Latin America/Caribbean, Africa, then North America, and Oceania/Pacific. So, there are plenty of options to explore!
“I want to go to ‘X’ country”
If you have a specific country in mind, that’s great, but it’s important to keep an open mind when searching for a teaching position. Perhaps you’ve learned the language, love the food and the weather, etc. You might be lucky enough to secure a job in your desired location, but this doesn’t always happen.
International schools hire staff for a variety of reasons. Obviously having great recommendations helps! There also needs to be a position that suits your experience and qualifications that fits the balance of staffing requirements for the school.
The chances of securing a specific job in a specific school or specific country can be very low, but it is not impossible. It will depend on your previous experiences, your qualifications, and your confidential references; then whether the positions that you want are available; and ultimately whether you are the best candidate that applies. The best approach when recruiting for an international school position is to come with an open mind. Many experienced international teachers will end up in a location they never expected. They often have the most amazing experiences and are so glad they took that position.
The first rule of teaching overseas is to go where the jobs are.
It’s great to have a Plan A but we advise that you also have a Plan B, C, and D if you want to increase your chances of securing a position internationally. Of course, you may have reasons why Plan A is the only one you want – e.g., your spouse may have a new job in France, your aging parents might live in Thailand, etc. There can be many reasons why you want a certain location. In these cases, applying to schools directly through their website and mentioning your circumstances is the best plan. You may not receive the expatriate benefits or the support that an agency application would imply, but you will be located where you want/need to be.
“I want to work in Europe”
Europe is very competitive, and schools often only employ single teachers or teaching couples with prior international school experience. Living costs and taxes can be relatively high in some European destinations and your savings potential may be low. It is also expensive and often hard to make do on a salary due to the high taxes. This often applies to many European schools located in attractive tourist destinations. So it helps to do a simple cost-and-benefit analysis of your priorities when accepting a position.
Teachers often work in Asia and the Middle East to build up their nest eggs before heading to Europe.
What’s important to you?
It’s a good idea to list the key factors that will be important to you as you embark on this journey. Everyone will have different criteria but often the seemingly most difficult location will provide you with unique opportunities.
- Travel time and access to flights– to home, to holiday destinations
- Your adaptability to culture shock (but every country will provide some culture shock even if you are an experienced traveller)
- Leisure opportunities
- Access to medical care
- Pollution levels
- School programs
- Savings potential
- Tuition for your own children. It may be free or subsidized
- Type of housing offered, if any (often, in Europe: you pay)
- Transport – how essential is a car; other transport options, such as public transport
Find out more
Every location will provide challenges and incredible experiences. The best way to gather knowledge is to talk to as many people as possible, such as your Search Associate, other educators who have taken this journey, or anyone who has some insight into another country or culture.
You may receive an offer from a school in a location you know nothing about such as Kazakhstan or Oman and be googling like crazy trying to gain some knowledge. This is the fun of the process. Don’t be put off by the unexpected, just embrace it.
My new school contacted me through the Search Associates website. It was a role I had not previously considered or listed on my search. However, I researched the role and I think it will be a fabulous challenge moving forward in my career. Thank you for your assistance. Amanda
How Search Associates can help
- Search Associates currently has over 700 active member schools in 121 different countries for you to research and connect with.
- Registered candidates can click on the map of the world to see the list of schools in each country and what they have to offer.
- FLEXIBILITY is very important. Search Associates will usually accept only those candidates willing to consider several countries or regions of the world. It’s very difficult to place a candidate that only wants to work in one country. The key is to be open to all opportunities. You have the final say in accepting a position of course, but there are incredible opportunities out there, and once you take that initial step to work internationally your life is never the same.
- Job fairs are exciting, exhausting, nerve-wracking, thrilling, and rewarding all at the same time. If you attend any job fair, you will be able to see presentations from schools from all over the world. There are some amazing schools and packages in places that you might not have considered. You need to go to these presentations to gain insights into the schools, what they offer, and their ethos. Your Search Associates are there to help. They are your best resource and have your interests at heart.
Are you ready to take your teaching career to the next level and explore the world? International schools can be located anywhere in the world and offer amazing opportunities to experience different cultures, languages, and teaching styles. Whether you have a specific country in mind or are open to any location, it’s time to start your journey.