Schools w/ High Savings Potential

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It’s no secret that the cost of living is on the rise in every corner of the globe. What was once an inexpensive, fun & funky locale may today be far overpriced. Take Romania for example: when the Euro was ushered in to replace the long standing Lei, prices sky rocketed and spending power sank proportionately. When Mexico suffered the tumble of the Peso, international educators discovered their local bank accounts depleted by 50% and the value of the local-currency portion of their paychecks had been cut in half.

No one can predict the future, but you can certainly try to put yourself in a situation that is productive from a professional, as well as financial, perspective. If money is not a concern  for you, read no further.

For teachers who have spent time overseas, you already know savings potential is not directly dependent on salary. It’s the cost of living that makes or breaks your pay check. Parts of Africa pay fabulous salaries, but Cheerios cost $15US a box and a burger at the local restaurant tops $20 before fries & drink. A great salary on paper may not be so good after all.

The question is, where are the top places to teach and sock away some money? If you’re after the inside word on a particular school or area of the world, we encourage you to take advantage this ISR Savings Potential Blog. Here’s the place to ask questions and get answers. For those of us lucky enough to be teaching and living in what we consider to be a favorable economic situation, this ISR Savings Potential Blog is the place to share your good fortune with others in search of the same.

305 Responses to Schools w/ High Savings Potential

  1. Archie says:

    Hi all.
    How much do subsitutes make at AES DELHI OR MUMBAI , India.

    Like

  2. ISABEL RODRIGUEZ says:

    Hi. I have worked in the UK for 15 years but now find myself thinking about working in an international school in Malaysia or UAE.
    I would very much welcome some advice as to earning potential in these countries.
    ISABEL

    Like

    • Craig says:

      I work at GEMS World Academy in Dubai with my wife. We are currently finishing our second year and say it has been good for us. We save about 35,000 a year and have traveled to 11 different countries in that time. You can save or spend as much as you want here. We chose to save and travel.

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      • David says:

        Are both of you working at the GEMS Academy? Is your wife working elsewhere? Do you have any dependents? My wife and I have been looking at openings at the GEMS Schools this year. As our contract is up in June.

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  3. Kelly says:

    Most of the answers here seem to be a few years old, so I’d love to hear any updates!!!!

    I’m single and I have 9 years experience teaching abroad in Spain (no savings potential!) with a Master’s +30 hours. I’d like to go somewhere where I can feel safe as a single female, but saving money is more important to me than night life. Any suggestions on places/specific schools???
    Thanks!

    Like

    • Timothy J. Wedge says:

      Thank you for the post. I am looking to go to Tsinghua Elementary in Beijing and would like to know what I can expect to save there as well.

      Thank you very much,

      Like

  4. Daphne says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I am looking at Singapore to work as a Swim Coach in International Schools, I would like to know about the current salary min to max and travelling with a child and dependent. I have three years teaching experience in school and around 5 years of freelancing..looking at saving anything at all as ive heard its expensive to live in singapore.. please pour in opinions.

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  5. Andy says:

    The American International School in Dhaka Bangladesh has a very inviting compensation package. Aside from the salary you receive a yearly resettlement/retention bonus equal to 10% of your salary. In addition you receive an additional 10% for retirement contributions on top of what you contribute. The school sets teachers up for success with a comprehensive two week induction to the school and the city. You have Worldwide Insurance, mail privileges and the school arranges to pay for your cell phone and Internet for you. Al you have to do is drop off your internet an cell phone payment at the school office and they arrange to pay it. They assist with setting up a local bank account and offer weekly cashing of checks from your home country into local currency. This place is set up to make your life as easy as possible. Housing and utilities are provided. You are given the use of a car including all maintenance. If you share the car with another person this is free. If you have your own car is is less than $100 USD per month for its use. American Citizens who teach here have access to the US Commissary which is similar to a big 7-11 in the states. You have access to the AEEA – American Embassy Employee Association which is a recreation club with salon services, pool, tennis, fitness center, restaurant, bar, etc. Dhaka is a very crowded city with terrible traffic and pollution. On the flip side the local people are some of the kindest and most curious people. I have found it to be a lovely place to live. As a single I have saved $25,000 USD per year after extensive travel to India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. You are given yearly home travel and the professional development opportunities are impressive. The school puts the resources into sending you to trainings in nearby Asian countries such as Malaysia, China, Indonesia, India, etc. The school is in a multi year modernization process. There are challenges in the school, as with any, but if you want a high quality of life and are up for an adventure with a wildly busy city, Dhaka might be the place for you.
    The school also has a terrific Operations department. You simply pick the paint colors you want your apartment painted and the school send someone to paint it for you. Any and all repairs to your apartment are taken care of by the school.
    The school has a sandwich shop on campus, an ATM and a coffee shop with great baristas. There is a canteen with snacks all day long and relatively healthy meals. Staff are allowed to use the fitness center free of charge as well as the pool. There are many community ed. class opportunities for staff and parents to participate in each quarter for a nominal fee. Staff also earn stipends for teaching 6 week after school activities for students.

    You will have no problem saving cash here or paying off debt. You will be able to afford household help for a very reasonable price as well as hiring a driver. Average $150-$200 per month per full time household employee.

    This is a great place to expose yourself to Muslim culture and to soak up a wild ride. Rickshaws galore! The weather is hot and humid 10 months out of the year. Bring your patience and give it a try.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s all sounds good. Do you have to pay taxes in Bangledesh? What is life like there? Is it a difficult place to live…with very young children?

      Like

      • TheBigNerd says:

        The pollution there is twice as bad as where I am. I’m at the International School of Beijing. The pay is great and my wife and I can easily pay off student loan debt and still put away 40k a year (USD) for the first year. After the first year we believe we will be able to put away double that amount every year. Having said that, it’s hard to get over the restricted internet access, the bad pollution days (its been 400 aqi for a few days) and the rude impatient people here.

        Like

  6. Rajesh Yellayi says:

    Hello Everyone, this blog seems to be passive. How about Thailand? what are the pay packages for A Chemistry Teacher in Modern International School Thailand or in Thai Sikh International School.
    I have a Masters in Chemistry from IIT Madras (A Reputed Institute) and have teaching experience of over 5 years.
    I have worked as an Online Tutor teaching AP Chemistry, and am currently teaching IB and IGCSE Chemistry

    Like

    • Anon says:

      Sorry to say that the salaries at both of those schools are quite low, starting around 40K – 50K per month (Thai baht) at the most. They’re considered lower tier schools and unfortunately don’t even have a place in this discussion.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I teacher at an international school in Thailand and I earn 100,000 Thai baht each month. This includes rent allowance, tax reimbursement and also they give a free flight home and back each year.

        Like

  7. If you can put up with the climate and are prepared to work at having a social life, I managed to save over 40 thousand pounds in 3 years in Sudan, as a single, with wonderful holidays every holiday to places like Zanzibar, South Africa, Greece and Egypt. The lifestyle was great, you could live on your local stipend and you were given a car which was fully serviced for you free of charge. I now work in Malaysia which I also recommend due to the great advantage of the govt controlled EPF here, We pay 11% of salary to EPF and employer pays another 17% for me thats 1500 USD a month. I save easily another 1500 USD while having a really fun time here and lots of travel. If you want to save money, avoid the caribbean (myself and almost everyone I know, it cost us money!) and many schools in Africa (I didnt save a dime in Uganda but I had a great time there when I was younger, its all relative!)

    Like

  8. Catalina says:

    Newbie here! I will be attending the job fair in Cambridge. Im single with no dependents and 9 years experience. Im interested in Colombia and South East Asia. I understand the pay differences, as well as how different the cultures are. Im female, and highly active. I’m wondering whats better when looking at contracts: A stipend that will get you a decent place? Or provided housing? I hear there are some major traffic situations getting to work. I’m def not into that. I suppose a stipend can get you somewhere closer to the school. Any other tidbits on loooking at contracts….are the annual expected savings number really reliable?

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I worked in Colombia last year and I was unable to save much money. Housing is not included, and there are no perks, like cars. The peso dropped and many of us ended up losing thousands of dollars. I have a masters and five years of teaching and I only made $34,000.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m currently teaching in Surabaya, Indonesia. We have a great benefits package that includes on-campus housing, house help stipend, yearly flights home, and a good wage (especially considering the low cost of living). The city is not terribly exciting, but there are amazing travel opportunities all over the area (great trekking, diving, temples, etc…).

      Like

  9. anonymous says:

    Can anyone give me an idea of the package at American School or Warsaw?

    Like

  10. OPalm says:

    I was offered a position in Kuwait making 40k. I will be traveling with a dependent child. I am wondering what my savings potential will be. I would like to travel on some breaks. Also I have heard of tutoring on the side however my school does NOT allow this… Is there opportunities for tutoring outside of my school to make extra?

    Like

  11. Runcible Spoon says:

    Just want to recommend the British International School of Cairo and Cairo American College as two sound schools with excellent savings potential in– despite its frustrations, a captivating city. BUT don’t confuse these ‘first tier’ and top-paying schools with others that have similar names and initials, or most (though not all!) other schools in Egypt, which do not pay well and frequently behave in an arbitrary and exploitative manner.

    Like

  12. Sue says:

    Has anyone heard of the SABIS group of Schools, I was thinking of working with them in Dubai initially just to see if I like the system and then move within that group of schools around the world. Does anyone have any first hand experience of them?
    Thank you.
    -Sue.

    Like

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to commend ISS for opening this topic. For those of us who left the States and therefore do not have a pension, we do need to consider the saving factor, however, we still want to balance our quality of living in the culture with a reputable academic institution.

    Kathy

    Like

  14. Anonymous says:

    Anybody able to comment on New Zealand? I understand teachers salaries there are generally good – do the International school pay more? Do they even hire non- New Zealanders?

    Like

    • Anon says:

      New Zealand has few international school and they are mainly in Aukland which is expensive. Lived in NZ for 5 years and loved it but the money is very low, travel outside NZ nearly impossible and the registration is an expensive and long process – go oin holiday don’t bother working there! Work in Aus to make the money to travel and enjoy NZ to the full.

      Like

  15. Anonymous says:

    I am looking at the International Centre of Normal College of Shenzhen University for January 2013. Any thoughts? I live in London and it is IMPOSSIBLE to save any money. We are a teaching couple with one baby.

    Like

  16. Dean says:

    WBAIS Israel is paying COLA each month at 40-45% on top of your salary. Saving about 50K a year as a teaching couple.

    Like

  17. Tim says:

    Where is a good place to go with a non teaching partner , where I can save some money and enjoy travel…do you have to be married to teach in a Muslim country?

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      In Suadi Arabia you must be married.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Legally, you must be married in the UAE. However, I knew a number of couples who co-habited and were not married. They were very, very discreet – they needed to be, given the possible consequences.

      Like

    • Overseas teacher says:

      I work in Kuwait, I am married but many in my school aren’t and live together. My school doesn’t seem to see this as a problem and are fine about it. However, discretion is the key and it’s not something that’s actively discussed outside of the work place or in front of the students.

      Like

  18. Anonymous says:

    So, it seems from what I cn make out that Dubai s not a great place to save? I’m currently in Germany and although the quality of lif is amazing so is the cost and I barely save anything. I was thinking of going to Dubai next to save money and live the famed expat lifestyle but it seems the two are mutually exclusive! On. More prosaic note what kind of salary cn I expect in Dubai ? I’m a British teacher with nearly a decade of experience. Would I be able to get the equivalent of 2500-3000 GBP per month with free accommodation? And is the accommodation in Dubai schools in compounds for teachers or can a person rent his own accommodation in the city and the school pays the rent or part of it? I’m a single teacher. To be honest I’d be happy to save only £12000 a year. Thanks for your help!

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, you could achieve that salary. I earned just over 15,000AED per month when there were about five dirhams to the pound a few years ago. I also had accommodation provided by my school (including utility bills covered), health insurance, return UK flights, shipping allowance… My husband was on a similar salary (at the same school ) and we sent his back to the UK each month to clear debt, and spent mine. My salary covered our domestic expenses (groceries, mobile phones, buying/running a Mitsubishi Pajero, going out and going on holidays around the Middle East and further afield – such as Kenya, SE Asia, NZ every time we got more than a weekend off), although we could probably have saved a third of mine if we’d curtailed the holidays and had fewer nice dinners.

      Taking the school’s accommodation did help us financially. We could have taken an allowance instead but would have had to top it up; I believe (from friends who are still in Dubai) that this is getting trickier as allowances are being reduced and rents increased. We were not in a compound; it was an apartment block with quite a few other members of staff living there too. Although it was not a particularly glamorous apartment in Dubai terms, we found it comfortable, spacious and located conveniently for school. (Some people preferred to spend more money and be situated in a more buzzing area but we weren’t really going out during the week, thanks to 7.25am starts, and preferred to make a slightly longer journey for our weekend entertainment than extend our commutes.)

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I should add that my salary was not to be found at all schools: I was at one of the Emirate’s few not-for-profit schools – one which I would view as one of the best in the city.

        Like

        • chuck says:

          I think if you get an offer of 15 000 Dirhams a month, that is a great salary when you are starting a school in Dubai. Most schools will start you in the 10000-12000 range, because they will only take 5 yrs experience for the grid max. At 10 000-11000/month, saving a lot will be difficult unless you are tutoring up a storm…..

          Like

    • Anonymous says:

      A friend worked in ASD (American School of Dubai) last year. She saved half her salary. She isn’t American either, you don’t need to be to get a job there.

      Like

      • chuck says:

        ASD has the best salary package so it is possible. Unfortunately with the other schools it would be difficult to save so much unless you are willing to tutor quite a bit. I think avg. savings in Dubai would be about 20% of your salary unless you stay in and cook all the time.

        Like

  19. Been there, still doing that... says:

    There is a good opportunity to teach in public schools in Abu Dhabi, where benefits are good (housing, flights) and you could likely save at least 20-30,000 US a year if you tried (each). I’ve worked here 4 years in a consulting role, and it’s a great place to live and work. You need patience, tolerance, and a good sense of humor. Flexibility needs to be your mantra, but I know teachers who are still here after 3 years in, and they’re having fun. Contact TeachAway.com or do some google research on teaching here. Travel to many parts of the world is so easy and affordable. You need to like very warm to very hot weather year-round. It’s an expat life that’s safe and fun. No taxes of any kind, either.

    Like

    • chuck says:

      I have a friend that worked with Teachaway in Abu Dhabi. You can save a lot of money, no tutoring available though (so he told me). However, the students are all locals, everyone gets a great mark or they change it. Also, students aren’t interested in working at all. A good sense of humor is a must

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I taught there for a few years…..the package/savings potential is great (as stated above). Generally speaking, you will have to deal with a lot uncertainty, unruly children and incompetent management. If you have excellent classroom management you can live a great life and not dread going to work every day….when i was there (2009-2011) we had a 150 day school year and off by 1:30.

        Like

  20. Anonymous says:

    I love all these comments like “I want to teach in Vietnam. Which school should I go to, etc”. Do these people have incredible experience, or amazing contacts because it’s not as simple as “I want a job in blah so I’ll get a job in blah”. If you’re just starting out, then can I advise you that you may not (probably won’t) get that ideal school first up (or maybe not even 2nd up or thirs up). T\\ake what you can get to start with and go from there.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I think we appreciate that, but there is no harm in knowing the “ideal’ or “recommended” ones to work towards and for future reference.

      Like

      • I’d also like to say that I work in a top tier school in Asia, one which last year got over 300 applicants for 12 jobs, yet last year we hired 3 teachers straight out of the states, and a teaching couple directly from New Zealand. Why? Because they are all amazing teachers, had great recommendations and showed their passionate commitment to education at interview. International experience is not the be all and end all. I’ve interviewed some pretty arrogant, blase and mediocre teachers from the so-called ‘circuit’. Good schools want good teachers, so reflect on your craft, know where you have to polish up, and go for it, if you want a good deal, be a good deal, irrespective of where you are coming from or how long you have worked for!

        Like

    • Paula G says:

      That’s very negative. I got a job in the best school in Spain, in the area I wanted, as an NQT. It was the first job I applied for. If you want something enough you will get it.

      Like

  21. SCONE AWAY says:

    What about India? I’ve been looking at jobs there and the schools seem to range from a few very well established international schools, through proprietory schools set up by large corporations to local schools with “international” tacked onto their names. I can’t find out about payment packages though. I’ve vistied India and loved it and the cost of living is still pretty low once you get away from the main tourist and high end restaurants and bars. Any ideas anyone?

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Not still pretty low, IS low compared to many countries despite inflation.

      Like

    • India says:

      Great packages at the three big international schools – AES in New Delhi, ASB in Mumbai, and AISC in Chennai. You’re right on about the cost of living if you eat local! Amazing travel opportunities too.

      Like

  22. Getthebestdeal says:

    ISKL in Malaysia might have the best combination of quality of life and savings potential in the international circuit. Sure, AISJ in Tokyo PAYS a bit more, but what you are left with after daily expenses is likely to be a whole lot more in Malaysia. And a couple of small oil company schools in remote parts of Irian Jaya may give you lots of bucks, but a low quality of life in many folks’ eyes. A new teacher at ISKL can enter the school with a package (combination of salary, tax allowance, housing allowance, and school EPF retirement contribution that is paid in full tax free when you leave Malaysia, at slightly over $100k a yr AFTER paying all Malaysian taxes. Rent in a modest apt is easy to do for 1,000 a month or less and local living expenses are low with travel opportunities everywhere. And the numbers above don’t count the little usual extras that most top schools pay—like tickets home, local transport allowance, etc. BTW, this isn’t nonsense or hearsay, I am looking at the salary package as I write this.

    Like

    • No its true! Also the school pays stipends for after school clubs, teachers who lead PD, anyone who steps up to be a team leader…… and they provide a lot of PD too! Oh and the malaysian tax laws allow you to put your education expenses, computer purchase and sporting equipment purchases as well as internet costs as tax deductible, which all adds to savings!

      Like

  23. Anonymous says:

    Kuwait is a great place to save money, but you need to be careful where you work. The cost of living would be midrange.
    China was wonderful! We worked at Shekou International School and loved it. The money is good and the cost of living is low. We could put away one whole paycheque and still travel. That is if you do not have bills back home to pay.
    Oman also pays well, but the cost of living is about midrange as well. We lived in Sohar, which is very slow paced and not much to do right in the city itself.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Really interested in Oman. What schools would you recommend for a Brit teaching primary in Oman?

      Like

    • Anon says:

      It would be nice to have more specifics on pay rather than “good”, for example, as mentioned, the salaries in Kuwait range from 700-1200kd or 2800$- 4500 approx. tax free. How much you save depends: do you walk everywhere or buy a car? Eat out or cook? Have a gym membership or not? Tutor or not? Travel or not? If you live well ie. western standards, you can save half your salary I would say, without killing yourself with tutoring.

      Like

      • Stephanie says:

        I worked in Kuwait at the American School of Kuwait. I was only able to save about $5000 US. I did travel to the neighbouring Arab countries, like Bahrain, UAE, Oman, Qatar and Tunis. I didn’t eat out much and found groceries expensive. I found Kuwait much more expensive than America. There isn’t much to do there, so one year in Kuwait is enough. I earned $3400US with a Masters Degree back in 2006. I don’t what the rate is now. The school was run down, back then, the facility, that is. The teaching staff were good. It is a good school, but not a place to save much.

        Like

  24. India says:

    As a teacher with 2 children and a dependant spouse, I am well aware that it’ll be hard to find placement in an international school. I have been advised that the middle east, Africa, and Latin America are great places to get my foot in the door and gain international teaching experience. I do understand that there are some countries within these regions that may not be q great place to raise children and to make enough to support a family/save.

    Can anyone inform me of some schools that are located in these areas with decent enough pay to live and save? Thank you.

    Like

    • Hi there, it is really really hard to find a school that will pay for three dependents, as most schools are operating to a tight budget. Its not about being decent, its about making budget. 4x health payments, 4 x airfares etc, add up, when you could just pay one! Many single teachers or those with ‘trailing’ spouse, struggle to find a school that will take them on with 2 dependents. As a rule it is one dependent per teacher, exceptions being if you teach a shortage area, are highly competent with sterling references, and a few schools which are well established and can afford to overlook budget constraints. So it is hard in your situation, rather than focussing on international experience I would focus on being a really fantastic teacher that top schools will want to hire. Otherwise I do know that a friend went to FDR in Lima with 2 dependents, and I think the package there is ok, not amazing.

      Like

  25. Linda says:

    Any input for teaching/living in Belgium?

    Like

    • Diane says:

      Hi Linda, In Belgium Americans get a tax free status for two years which is good. After that you won’t save because Belgium has some of the highest taxes in Europe. Stipends are taxed at 60% for coaching etc. The best bet for an American teaching in Belgium is to work for the Department of Defense schools because they pay for housing. Most expat teachers in Belgium are not happy with the situation, or they stay because they married someone. ISB is the highest paying school and the best school to work in unles you are British then the British School of Brussels would be the best bet.

      Like

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’m at a school in Switzerland and they do/have although it’s not that easy to live on one salary with 2 kids. Try Swiss schools – also talk to someone from Search Assoc.

    Like

  27. Anon says:

    Any advice for places with good quality of life but also good savings potential in South/Central America? I saw Baranquilla above. Any other suggestions? I am an elementary school teacher looking for myself and hopefully some work for a dependent spouse.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Im curious to hear opinions/experience on this too. I currently teach in Colombia and from what i’ve heard, central/south america is not a place to go to save money. I also am experience this right now…

      Like

  28. Internationalteacher says:

    The American School of Doha (Qatar) is one of the highest paying and most wonderful places to work internationally. Teaching couples save at least one salary and singles can save about 1/2 their salary. The living conditions and working conditions are excellent and the resources for teachers are practically unlimited! I would recommend looking there although the competition to work there is strong.

    Like

  29. sesilia says:

    I am thinking of going to Dubai and I have only read one comment on this city. Some more advice on how much one can save would be much appreciated.

    Like

  30. eslkevin says:

    I had an offer to teach in a boarding school in Korea once–turned it down. A year or two later, I taught with boarding not included in Taiwan and wished I had had it.

    Like

  31. Chris says:

    I’ve just left Sudan (Khartoum) and am on my way to work in Dubai… Khartoum is a very safe place (at present, at least!) but offers little in the way of distraction/entertainment beyond the occasional invitation to the US or GB Embassies. Very expensive golf – great 9-hole facility but $000s for membership. The school also has a riding stable (next to the Nile) which can offer further entertainment/distraction if you like that kind of thing!
    I was at Khartoum International Community School which provides housing, satellite TV contribution, sim card for your phone, mobile internet dongle and a car (you just pay for the gas)
    Housing was an enormous apartment – families tend to get houses – and the car was a Mitsubishi Lancer saloon car. Internet had a limit of 12Gb per month and is VERY expensive if you exceed this.
    We were paid a local salary of about $600 – 700 (depending on the exchange rate – and an international salary (mine was just under £1800 per month, net). The local salary is plenty enough to get by and even save from provided you don’t spend too much on groceries. When I left, inflation was high and cost of living was rising steadily due to grocery prices but I still managed to exchange my local savings for US$4000+
    All in all, the POTENTIAL for saving is pretty good but there are definitely some negative aspects about working in such a place. It’s hard enough for couples/families but, as a single person I found it incredibly boring and stressful on the social side. I think I did well to persevere for 2 years and then get out! If you can resist the temptation to escape EVERY break of a few days or more, then you can save most, if not all of your overseas salary and even some of your local salary, but it’s hard on the psych!

    Like

    • Good luck in Dubai, Chris! You should find the life style different from what you’re coming from. I looked into that Khartoum school my first few months teaching in Kuwait – because I was definitely not liking it there. I understand what you mean about the isolation of being a single in a place with limited offerings!

      Like

      • I lived there for 3 years and was rarely bored. But you have to work at a social life. I went to parties, events, performances, art exhibitions, participated in sailing, desert camping, boat trips on the nile. I had friends over for bbq, cocktails, parties on my terrace. I socialised at the British Embassy, US Embassy and a bunch of other places. I went to salsa, zumba, played tennis, bridge, went swimming and taught scottish country dancing for fun. I went to Nuba Wrestling, Sufi dancers, local markets, visited and helped orphanages and a children’s hospital. I was more often tired than bored! Life is what you make it, there is plenty going on in Sudan if you are outgoing and make the most of your networking opportunities and the weather for 4 months of the year is very pleasant I also travelled widely in the region, had a great lifestyle and still walked away after three years with well over 40 thousand pounds in my bank account. I made some friends there (outside the school community as well) that I will count as friends for the rest of my life. Plus the school supports well in PD so I had PYP training and took an MA which improves my earning potential now!

        Like

  32. chuck says:

    Be careful of Dubai, savings potential is limited unless you are very frugal. The only way to save over $10000 is to avoid going out drinking/eating and do some tutoring which pays about $70/hour. If you tutor over 7 hours a week, possible at some schools there, then you could save $20000 a year as a single.

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  33. D says:

    For me the place to be is Indonesia. Great place to live, cheap beer, great nightlife, safe and friendly. Salaries are hundreds of times what your maid will be earning – $$ are all relative. There are many schools, all with unique packages, some pay well (in the Jakartan melee) but the better lifestyle schools (in my opinion) are the smaller ones like in Malang (mountains), Lombok (beach, surf and diving), Yogya (art, culture and history) whose salaries don’t sound so good but the lifestyle and standard of living certainly is high. Bandung is good payer, but the city is so crowded.
    The best measure of a school is how long teachers stay – money won’t necessarily make you happy.

    Like

    • Bulegila says:

      Malang appeals to me but there are only God squads international schools there, aren’t there? Or are there others outside of Wesley International school.

      I agree the lifestyle out of Jakarta is quite different. Though there are some positives such as being able to get most home comfort foods and a large choice of entertainment. Though I don’t like the fact it takes so long to get out to greenery at the weekends.

      I’m looking to escape Jakarta in the next couple of years. Bandung International school is high up on my list also Jogja or Medan International.

      Like

      • Gela says:

        “comfort foods”?… Indonesia is an enormous country. Sticking to Jakarta because you can buy marmite or French bread is so weak!. You can get most things in most regional cities or get them posted from Jakarta anyway. Indonesia is the best international experience you can get paid for, great kids, great culture, great food, just ask any expat who lives there – except those who live in Jakarta: most endure life there, many loathe the city. I agree with the above – go regional, try Medan, Bali, Lombok, East Java, Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya, maybe Balikpapan

        Like

  34. muggins says:

    A couple of points:

    Some nationalities get better tax breaks in foreign countries than others – know your tax situation! In Norway I was taxed the full local rate while US citizens had the first 2 years tax free. (Norway was expensive but many expats ended up staying for life because of the pretty amazing lifestyle).

    Australia IS a great place to teach and there are opportunities to teach in remote areas on high salaries if you are fit, independent and can take long periods of relative isolation. There are upsides to that life style too of course!

    Like

  35. Mary says:

    Wherever you go, it is important to eat local and walk a lot. Transportation and imported foods (from home) are what will really drag your finances down. Also, when you are looking for a place to rent, ask a reliable local staff member to help you negotiate. Housing prices for westerners can up to ten times what local prices are. (China) Double or more. (Thailand) Etc.

    Like

  36. Anonymous says:

    Funny no one has mentioned the ESF schools in Hong Kong. I taught for 23 years in 9 or 10 countries across 4 continents and BY FAR the most money I was able to save was in Hong Kong. As a matter of fact, I saved up for early retirement and quit teaching altogether (last year)!

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m interested in ESF for the next school year. What is the package like at ESF i.e. how much housing do you get, what are the salary brackets, what are the other benefits? Where you at the private independents, or the other ones? Is the package different, or the same across any ESF school?

      Like

  37. g says:

    Surprised that no one has said indonesia.

    Just moved here, and me and my wife together are saving around $4000 a month, after some big holidays, and trips back home, we have been told that even after eating our regularly and travelling overseas every vacation at top hotels that we will still save $40k a year

    Like

    • Bulegila says:

      Indonesia has been mentioned if you look further up. I agree it’s a great place to save as well as live🙂

      Like

    • anon says:

      Indonesia (we are in Jakarta) offers huge saving power even if you’re at a school that pays an average salary. Price of petrol has risen a lot over past 2 years but still manageable to run a car, and also to shop at the expat stores, eat out at very decent restaurants etc. You can also travel domestically (Bali, Lombok) and through Asia on a teacher’s salary and afford a decent place to live. We also have 2 maids, a driver, a gardener, pool guy and the kids get free education. We all get int medical and annual flights and 25% gratuity. Of course you have to be prepared to work extremely hard and overcome challenges daily. But we have saved 50K usd a year. Downsides are the horrendous traffic, poverty on your doorstep, and other issues associated with a 3rd world country. Worth a look!

      Like

      • Sherri says:

        Thanks ‘anon’ sounds like a gem! What are you thoughts on being a single female teacher with 9 years in S. America (and no problem there other than the obvious (sad) issues that come with third world countries)

        Like

        • anon says:

          Hi there. Jakarta is a safe place to live. We tend not to go to local places where you might get stared at, especially if you have teeny tiny shorts on, and rarely use public transport alone. To be honest, it depends on your outlook. Some of the single ladies have a relaxed attitude and take to Jakarta life really well. The expat bars and clubs are really good fun. If you like golf, diving etc this is available. But if you’re looking to find (I don’t know how to put this) a special someone to spend the rest of your life with (sorry) then that’s not too likely. That’s the biggest struggle that my girlfriends face out here.

          Like

    • Sherri says:

      Wow! That is incredible savings potential ‘g’. What are your thoughts on single female teachers living there?
      Thanks

      Like

  38. Anonymous says:

    I would suggest looking at the American International School in Dhaka, Bangladesh…a couple can save at least one salary while employing a cook/housekeeper, and driver…the school provides excellent furnished housing with a generous utilities allowance and a car for a very modest amount…besides that, the school is well-resourced with fantastic international students and a great faculty…

    Like

  39. Anonymous says:

    IF THIS IS ABOUT MONEY, I WOULD RECOMMEND SAUDI ARAMCO AND A LITTLE KNOWN $ MAKER THE AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF LAGOS.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      KCP – Barranquilla, Colombia (singles can save half their salary, maybe more, and couples can save a whole salary atleast.)

      Like

  40. Seeps says:

    Is $50,000 (before taxes), housing ($900 per month) and plane ticket enough to save in Shanghai? And how much could I save per year with lots of travel plans around Asia? I hope to save at least $20,000 per year.

    Like

  41. Dave says:

    Yes, you must be certified to teach in Australia and hold the appropriate work Visa. Australia does not require that you must be an Australian to work in the school system (only that you hold authority to work in Australia). To get certification in South Australia does not require that you hold Australian citizenship or even residency for that matter, only that you meet the requirements for certification. I am an Ontario certified teacher and my Australian certification was issued after much paperwork but it was not too difficult. Teaching in the Outback of Australia is a fantastic experience and the vacancies are out there.

    The greatest difficulty is getting Authority to work in Australia but after working in Canada, USA, China, Japan, Sudan and the UK – it is just another round of paperwork. Canadians and many other nationalities can work in Australia under the working holiday visa for 2 years if you work remote. Like the USA, UK and Canada – Permanent residency is a lot of paperwork. I have not heard of any Australian Government School system sponsoring overseas applicants for positions.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the info Dave. Where in the outback is the school, and just how remote is it? I love a good adventure- and teaching great kids is fun stuff indeed. How did you find the job opening? Thanks

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      My old government school in Victoria sponsored and Irish teacher and a UK teacher back when I was working there, so it is possible. Both had been relief/substitute teachers in the school prior to being hired though. I’m not sure if they would have hired them directly given the amount of paperwork had they not already been known to the school.

      In terms of remote jobs, I think WA and NT pay the most (this changes every 3-4 years when the unions create new agreements with the state governments), but you can also do it in QLD and maybe other states. The more remote the school, the more pay and benefits you get. I believe you also get extra holidays and personal days etc.

      http://www.det.wa.edu.au/teachingwa/detcms/navigation/working-in-a-public-school/remote-teaching-service/?page=6&tab=Main#toc6

      http://www.teaching.nt.gov.au/

      Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Dave, I appreciate all the info you’ve provided and have saved the weblink to look at later. I’m a Canadian certified elementary teacher though single so as much as I want to teach in Australia (have for years and years) I question whether it would be too remote for a mid 40’s female teacher? I’ve taught in South America for 9 years and managed fine then. Is it fairly safe for someone like myself (no black belt in Karate I’m afraid) ha ha Thanks for any advice you can provide.

      Like

      • D says:

        I taught remote NT for 20 years and loved every minute of it. Pay was good, conditions were excellent (including 6 months paid ‘study ‘ leave every 4 years if you’re really remote (I took 18 months on half pay in the end. Great savings potential.

        Like

    • Jennifer says:

      Dave,
      I am looking into Australia as my next post. What is the name of your school? How did you get the job? Any information you can give me would be awesome! Thanks!
      Jennifer

      Like

  42. Dave says:

    I taught overseas for 10 years with mixed saving results until I accepted a position teaching in outback South Australia. My package is fantastic. I get a three bedroom furnished house, 14 weeks vacation, salary is $105,000 plus $10,500 Super (pension). I am able to place 70% of my salary into my pension fund tax free. So effectively, on a $115,500 salary, I pay 3% tax. Teaching Aussie kids is the best experience yet! Love it.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow! Is Australian teaching certification required to teach in Australia?

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      What is the name of the school that you teach in? What city in Australia is it located?

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      how do you pay 70% of your salary tax free into super? I thought it was capped at 25K

      Like

      • Dave says:

        In South Australia, all teachers are enrolled in the Triple SSS superannuation plan. This is known as a constitutionally protected retirement plan which means that all contributions to this plan are not taxed on the way in but taxed at 15% on the way out with gains tax free while inside the plan. This also applies to judges and police officers, and other government employees in South Australia. Essentially, one can actually contribute 100% of their pay tax free into the plan (maximum cap is $1.2 million or something like that).

        Historically, this came about because when South Australia joined the Commonwealth of Australia, one of the conditions was that State assetts were not to be taxed and some bright judge ruled that his pension was a State Fund and therefore a State Asset. Hence – tax free income for some and not for others!

        Like

  43. Rhonda says:

    Would like to teach at a well paying and reputable school in
    Thailand. Any suggestions? And, this may seem to be a strange question, but how much ( if possible a suggested range) should one take with them to settle for that first month while working in a teaching position in Asia (ex. Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia)?

    Like

    • tom says:

      really keen on the repsonse here… it seems as if there are many varying replies to this.. and it is hard to find rental prices on the internet also. I know teachers in thailand earn a lot more than laos and cambodia, but i think the cost of living is much cheaper. where are you coming from?

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Would agree – NIST. Extremely competitive, but a great school with teachers that really care. Of all the schools in Bangkok this is the one where I would choose to work and to educate my child.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      You can find very good accommodation for $30 night or most people I know have wonderful apartments for about $500 month in Phnom Penh. Food is cheap, as is transport. Difficult to think about what $$ you would need, as have no idea of your lifestyle, but $1500 would cover it – You probably wouldn’t spend that….

      Like

      • Rhonda says:

        Does the International School of Phnom Penh provide teachers with accommodation? And, are there many female teachers over 50 teaching at international schools in Asia?

        Like

  44. A says:

    Does any have any experience of salaries and saving in Gothenburg, Sweden?

    Like

  45. Anonymous says:

    Anyone here with experience in the really high-paying posts in African countries such as Angola?

    What were the wallet-drainers and was it possible to avoid them?

    For example — I have read about high food costs (as mentioned in the introduction to this thread) but I imagine this refers to importmarts catering to expats. How about having your housekeeper shop for you at the local market?

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF LAGOS
      LAGOS, NIGERIA

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Luanda International School. Savings potential is great depending on your own life style but possible for a single to save more than half their salary and a couple to live on one salary. Possible for a family of four to live on one salary.
        The salary is very generous, school provides rent free accommodation and pays for utilities, except phone. Most people spend their salary on groceries and travel. Food is expensive even if your maid buys it for you. Most products imported, even fruit and vegetables so markets are not that cheap an alternative.It is difficult and expensive to travel in and around Angloa. Good luck getting into the school as teachers stay long term.

        Like

        • Anonymous says:

          I am interested in LIS, Angola, but I am a little scared of the possible health problems in there (as in many African countries as well). I mean malaria, yellow fever etc. I know I’m not on topic here, but I would love to have some info from people who have been there and lived there for a while. I heard you have to take a pill a week to prevent malaria, and even though you have to take a lot of vaccins before you get in the country,not all of them are very efficient. How do you stay healthy?
          Also, what is there to do during free time in there?

          Like

  46. Anonymous says:

    What about the top schools in Singapore? UWCSEA, SAS and Tanglin (are those still the top 3?) I know the salaries are good – but can you save anything?

    Like

    • chinateacher says:

      I am also interested in these schools in Singapore. Any feedback on these schools?

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I was at Tanglin for a training course this year. Comparing it to anywhere in Laos or Cambodia is not realistic. Tanglin is seriously rich, the staff are very well paid (and hard working). The resources are astounding. It is on par with a top fee paying school in Europe or the States. Not a lot of staff leave.

        Despite my fantastic hosts, I felt very much the poorer Vietnamese cousin. I’m sticking with Vietnam though

        Like

    • Megan says:

      I was in Singapore for nearly 6 years (but not at one of those schools) and I saved quite a bit. I did share a flat because our housing allowance didn’t cover a full rent unless you lucked out. It meant I could save more. Others I taught with who ate out more, went clubbing and took taxis everywhere instead of the excellent public transport had a harder time saving. I traveled lots but usually on the budget side of things with some bigger trips or more extravagant weekends thrown in.

      Like

      • ChemTeach1 says:

        Singapore is a good place to work and live.
        But, be cautious, i You are joining any of The Indian Schools there, GIIS, NPS or DPS

        Like

  47. Tim says:

    Who has advice on saving in se Asian countries, Laos or cambodia? Salaries seem low, and choice of schools limited but lifestyle seems great. Very keen but so hard to find true reviews etc…pls help!

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      There is only 1 legit school in Lao and just 2 in Cambodia. Never taught there but have spent significant time in both countries. Cost of living is very low. Lower than neighboring Thailand & Malaysia. It’s Southeast Asia, so yes the lifestyle is great.

      Like

      • tom says:

        what is a suffiecient salary? they vary so much? it seems as though the schools will also find work within the school for a non teaching partner

        Like

        • Anonymous says:

          The 3 IB schools in Laos and Cambodia are great, however I am not sure about the definitely find work for partners. There are some who do some supply teaching, but that is not guaranteed. I would disagree about these being the only ‘legit’ schools though, as the other schools that we work with seem wonderful. Agreed, the pay may not be as high, but one school has just got their IB diploma authorization, and many teach British Curriculum. They are friendly schools with wonderful kids and the cost of living is very low in these countries, so you need to consider that. I think that the 2 IB schools in Cambodia pay around $35000 a year I think. That’s without all the extras that are included…. Most teachers save half of their salary and do extensive travel.

          Like

  48. OPalm says:

    Ok let me be more clear I am a teacher with 2 years experience considering a position in Kuwait. The salary is 35K USD with all expenses paid, housing, transportation all except food. I will be traveling with a child tuition is only 50% covered. We would travel on most holidays not necessarily back home but to surrounding countries and would eat out fairly frequently to the tune of 3 times a week or so. The salary is considerably lower than what I am currently making and may not take the position because of this. Is this a “good” salary to be able to live the same lifestyle and be able to save? Thank you.

    Like

    • Ellis says:

      Make sure you have done your research on Kuwait! It is a borderline horrific place to live, and certainly not a good place to raise children accustomed to a western lifestyle. Yes, it is easy to travel from Kuwait and save money if you live very frugally. Eating out 3x a week is not frugal in Kuwait. The question is whether it’s worth the living in a polluted sandbox for 9 months. A lot of us who are on contract are counting the days before we can get out.

      Like

      • OPalm says:

        Wow.. I have lived in Kuwait before as a soldier and found Kuwait to be quite beautiful. Yes it is sandy however it IS the dessert. I would not consider living in a place where I found myself counting the days till I left… Why would you bother? I have just not lived in the middle east in this capacity it’s not the place I wonder about it is the salary and being able to enjoy afterwork life.

        Like

    • I wrote a long comment above about working in Kuwait. I worked with North Americans who had families there and had been there for a number of years. Some make it work for them and don’t seem miserable at all. It can be a difficult place for others. I think with a family, you have a support system built in. You might find the savings potential worthwhile to try it and see if it works out for longer.

      Like

    • nicola2010 says:

      Ive just completed a two year contract in Kuwait and earned 840kd per month and had to pay my own transport. I saved. I travelled every holiday but some months I had to be fruggal with eating out and I did not join a gym. It is easy to spend money in Kuwait especially if you want to go to the Avenues and the embassy social events. However saving is possible.
      It really depends on your tastes eating out at some of the Western restaurants can be exspensive while eating at some of the traditional restaurants can be really cheap and nicer.
      Ice skating cost 1.5kd and the cinema has a cheap night at 1.5kd
      I have friends that are staying just because they can save.

      Like

  49. Triniteacher says:

    Anybody who has been working or worked in Libya what are the savings potential? I’ve been offered a contract for 18,000 USD/ year, with housing and utilities paid for, no transport since apt is on school premises and bonuses on winter break. Salary is said to be tax free.

    Like

  50. Anonymous says:

    Kuwait is great for savings. The salaries are tax free and pretty good. Housing is provided by the school I work for. Electricity and water are paid for too. You can get many western food items at the Sultan Centers, Giant, or Carrefor. It has all the stylish clothing in the multiple malls you could want. If you buy a car then you are going to spend less on a liter of gas than you will on a liter of water. The big money you will spend here is on hotel health club memberships, shopping (clothes), eating out, etc. Travel to Europe and Asia is cheap but will become expensive because you will want to leave Kuwait every time a holiday comes up. Alcohol is illegal here so you’d have to go outside of the country to enjoy a your booze in relaxing setting where you won’t have to worry about being imprisoned for drinking. I’d estimate that if you are clearing $3000 a month here that you could easily save $20-24K a year unless all the money that you want to save is being used to pay for things back home (student loans, credit cards, loans, etc).

    Like

  51. dadorunrun says:

    One thing that’s important to look at and ask about are taxes. I taught in Uruguay at a wonderful school. The salary was decent. But the Uruguayan taxes were insane. There was even a tax on the square foot area of my apartment. The administration and board were well aware of the issue, but it wasn’t a big school, so there just wasn’t the money to pay expat staff more. Saving was hard there, and I lived a pretty simple life.

    Like

  52. 1mommy says:

    If offered a teaching position in Kuwait to teach for 30k us with all expenses is that enough to travel eith and save? I would have one dependent child.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      See my post below but in short yes, you can save a lot of money on $30k a year here as long as you aren’t paying off a lot of stuff back home. You should easily be able to save $12-20K a year if you are making $30k.

      I make about $4500 a month here and could easily save $3500 a month of that if I didn’t have so much back in the USA to pay for. It is really about how you want to live. I’m content to go to work, workout at work, then come home. I order out a couple of times a week but mostly do my own cooking and shop at the Co-ops here because the prices are cheaper. If you are very social and like to be out and about or go shopping all the time then you might have issues saving money. It is very easy to drop big $$$ at the malls here.

      Like

    • See my post above on working in Kuwait.

      Like

    • Overseas teacher says:

      I think 30K is a little low especially if you have been teaching for over 8 years where you can expect to earn over $4500 per month. With regard to your child, you would pay 50% school fees and you do need to be careful which school you accept a position for because I wouldn’t want my children to be taught at some schools in Kuwait.

      Depending on the age of the child and the school, you can expect to pay an average of KD 1400 a year (including discount). The standard of education is ok and I, as a parent, am satisfied that it would be similar in my home country. If you have a child you may well have family accommodation, which is usually more sizable than single accommodation. Having children is definitely more costly as you have to pay for books, uniform and often clubs (after school to keep them occupied), these can be a financial drain, however even so, you will save.

      Oh I also forgot to point out, you will probably receive an annual flight, but your child won’t.

      Like

  53. Anonymous says:

    It also completely depends on your lifestyle and how much you are willing to sacrifice to save. We are comfortable, but my family do not eat out or shop or travel profligately (wiith 4 full-price airfares it is costly) but we have managed to save a full salary and a half. And this has been the case in our previous two postings. However, my colleagues who travel every holiday, eat out three times per week and shop, find themselves with little left over at the end of the month.

    Like

  54. Jo Jo says:

    I believe that the cost of living in Myanmar is one of the cheapest in Asia but don’t know about salaries.

    Like

  55. Simon says:

    What do people think of Cambodian, Laos, and Myanmar schools…. Hard to find out about living costs etc.

    Like

    • anon says:

      i spent 4 years at ISPP in cambodia- great school, can save a lot as a teaching couple (one salary) but it was tough to save on one salary plus dependent spouse and child. lifestyle was amazing, lots of fun.

      Like

      • Grobette says:

        Hello Anon,

        I just got an offer at ISPP in Cambodia. I am an experienced teacher and the salary is 49 000 USD tax free p.a. Do you think I can save half of my salary in 2016 ?

        Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I taught in Myanmar for a bit, cost of living is relatively low (but not as low as neighbouring countries such as Thailand where you’d have a better quality of life too). I imagine if you lived in the capital Yongon, it could be good but I lived elsewhere abd found it boring as hell! Salary was ok, package was good so I managed to save over half of what I earned, but it wasn’t for me.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Cambodia is a great place to live and work. Food/drinks very cheap with many local markets to buy fresh produce. However, certain imported products at the few supermarkets are quite expensive, plus there are many things that you cannot get, though this is changing so fast we cannot keep up! Most people I know would save half of their salary, and noone stays in the same place for holidays – so we all travel a lot. The 2 IB i schools are excellent, and all the other ones that we work with seem to be wonderful schools, however I am not sure what they are like in terms of pay.

      Like

  56. Pablo says:

    As a rule of thumb the middle east gives good saving potential with no tax and accommodation. In Uae and Qatar you can easily survive on 1000 $us a month and save the rest unless you are heavy drinker or nite clubber. China is 5000 rmb tax free and then 10 % tax on the remainder. So if ave monthly salary is 20,000 you pay 1500 in tax. A decent apt is around 5000 rmb with normal allowces being 3000 rmb per month well worth paying the extra.

    If you get a contract paying more than this than its good. I was in china for 3 years and could easily live well on 1000 rmb a week for food and drinks etc.

    International are the best payers and maybe the best places.

    China kids are great but all mgmt is crap!and will over work you for nothing and have no idea about differentiating between quality and quantity. However China is a great place to see and work and very safe. Ignore the pollution and crowds and you will enjoy its many treasures.

    Like

    • my view says:

      China is great if you work in a good school. In Beijing -WAB or ISB are good options and I think Dulwich if you are wanting to teach British NC

      Like

  57. China Teacher says:

    Why is everyone talking about countries as if all the schools in a given country paid the same? They don’t. Every country has a range of quality in its international schools, and generally the top quality schools have generous pay and benefits which allow one to save substantially, while teachers in the mediocre school across town are stressed and starving. Savings rates are simply a matter of getting hired at the best schools.

    Determining which schools are the best and becoming qualified to join them is a different subject, which has been covered many other times and places on this site.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      right. some in China make loads; a friend was Shanghaied in Shanghai when the school quit paying her and her landlord, thus forcing ehr eviction from her flat! research!

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I was wondering when someone was going to point that out. You can’t make a blanket statement like, “you can save loads of money in X!” because it depends on the package and they can vary greatly in the same city. I guess the bottom line is become an outstanding teacher and work your way up to the top schools. (Top generally meaning where the foreign embassies send their kids)

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Very true. People should really mention their net income when posting. If this is embarrassing, just go Anonymous.

      Like

  58. Anonymous says:

    We’re not in any rush to leave where we are now – Switzerland. Pretty good savings potential as long as you are at one of the better schools. Everything is crazy expensive but salaries are very high and tax is low. I think it takes a little adjustment, and probably will take some of your savings to settle in. Also clean and very safe – if a little boring and quiet at times. Teaching couples could look to save most of one salary if you don’t have kids, but a family can’t manage on one salary I don’t think.

    Don’t mean to change the focus of this forum at all – just wondering if anyone could give me an idea of a school/country where I could live well with my family (apart from Switzerland). Pure savings aren’t the biggest thing for myself and my wife. We are getting a bit sick of apartment living – would love to have a bit more space i.e. townhouse/small garden or biggish apartment. Housing is very expensive here. As I say no rush to more – just curious. Any advice?

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      If you want to be able to afford a house, find a job in Prague, CZ. Most of the teachers I work with own/rent houses out of the city…and full houses in the villages tend to be cheaper than flats in town.

      Like

    • JetSetTech says:

      We currently live in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We have a great house (about 1600 sq.feet) and yard. The rent is 15000 thai baht which is around $500 U.S. a month. Expats from all over the planet retire here, if that tells you anything. There are about 6 international schools in town the the pay and benefits vary substantially, but the quality of living is high for most everyone. Hope this is helpful

      Like

    • Damian Glynn says:

      Hello, could you recommend some good schools to work for in Switzerland?

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        IS Basel, ICS Zurich, Zurich IS, ISZL are all pretty good in terms of pay and conditions. I don’t know about any others. Every school has it’s issues but you can’t go to far wrong with these I think. I don’t have direct experience with all of them of course.

        Like

        • Paul says:

          Hi! Could I get some more details from you about the schools you mention in Switzerland? Would it be possible to private message? Or if you wouldn’t mind talking openly on here?

          Like

    • Jo says:

      Hi. I am also interested in Switzerland. Does anyone know which of the schools offer better packages? Thanks.

      Like

  59. anonymous says:

    Russia. You can save bundles.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi can you give more details? I would love to work in Russia either St Petersburg or Moscow. What is a good salary there for an international teacher? Is accommodation provided? Saving potential?

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I love the idea of Russia but reviews on ISR at least are not rosy re: lifestyle. Would love some more details too.

        Like

        • my view says:

          Only one school good to work at. The Anglo American School. Has sites in both Moscow and St Pete’s. Good salary and package. Accommodation excellent and you are well looked after (in Moscow anyway) Since I was there I know the cost of living has gone up a lot but if you don’t limit yourself to only imported goods then not so bad. I loved living there. You have to have a British, American or Canadian passport though

          Like

  60. Anonymous says:

    Viet Nam has been good to me.Rent or buy a bike(though iif it’s over 50cc get the easy to pick up licence)- it makes travel costs low. Avoid any school that pays salaries in local currency. Inflation may be high but the housing market is static so your accomodation allowance will get you something reasonable. Mine is $650 and I pay $700 for 120 sq m with 3 balconies. If you lay off cocktails at The Martini Bar you should save as a single 15-20$k with adecent quality of life. If you are saving less than $10k you are living the high life, or going back to Europe/States too much. It’s possible to eat very well using local markets. Fresh crabs for next to nothing! Wine is Asian prices. As always check your contract very carefully – there are a few sharp operators out here; and some hidden gems (often the same school.)

    Like

    • Don Cameron says:

      I will be teaching in Ho Chi Minh starting in two weeks. Will be looking for apartment. Nice to hear the price of apartments. If you are in HCM, what areas do you suggest?

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        District 2 is where the schools at. Qiet. Good for families. If you’re single live in D1 (the city) and buy a bike.

        Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m single and live in D2. It’s good to be close to school, but I do have a motorbike which makes getting around much easier and cheaper. I would love to live in D1 but I’m happy to not have to ride in traffic in the mornings and afternoons. I pay US$900 per month for a two bedroom apartment in a building with pool, gym, tennis court etc, though my school pays me enough of a housing allowance to cover this. You can get much cheaper places in the D2 area, but even paying this much I save in the region of $15-20k, though I spend a chunk of this on travel.

        Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Don, Welcome! You can get something pretty good in the peaceful suburban District 7 (Phu My Hung) for 600-750 USD. A lot of expats in the floodable Disrtict 2 (Anh Phu) where prices are a bit higher. If you want the Vietnamese life in a decent apartment (450) go for district 3. There is a housing glut. Take your time and look around. International schools mainly around Districts 2 and 7; but a fair amount in town to. You’ll move around in no time on a moto!

        Like

  61. straffles says:

    We signed for Saudi for a good initial contract, but the formal contract offer included a sizeable “incentive allowance” which is essentially half your salary paid on top of your salary every month. Rent is expensive (unusually for Saudi where housing is often free), but the house is great, and everything else in compound (water/power/internet/gym/public transport etc) is free. After a few years of scraping by in SE Asia, this is paradise!

    Like

    • Sounds fantastic which school do you work at?

      Like

    • anon says:

      sounds like you are at KAUST, so am i.🙂 This is my 4th country and i put away more in savings in a year at KAUST than I did in 10 years of teaching elsewhere.

      Like

    • coachssl says:

      you were required to pay rent? What is the difference between the initial contract and a formal contract?

      Like

      • straffles says:

        Yes we pay rent. The initial contract is a provisional offer which is the same as what you might see on Search Associates in terms of salary scale. Once you’ve gone through the whole human resources process (and it is a long and involved process), you will receive a formal offer, which contains all the extras and is substantially higher than what you thought you were initially signing for. A nice surprise!

        Like

        • Anonymous says:

          would you recommend Saudi for a 1 child family? Child of 6 years old so young enough to still do what he is told!!

          Like

        • Anonymous says:

          What exactly does HR do in the hiring process?

          Like

          • Anonymous wanderer says:

            HR at Kaust use a third party USA based company to run a full and exhaustive background check and you need to provide references and details covering the last 10 years. You must also disclose such details as criminal records, bankruptcy, mental illness/depression and medical history. It takes a long time and even after an initial offer you can have the offer withdrawn depending on what they find and later at the visa application stage (which would be down to the Saudi government deciding against giving you a work visa). Getting into Saudi and Kaust especially is far from easy.

            Like

    • Anonymous wanderer says:

      The Kaust package is good but the schools work you very hard, piling on extra duties and meetings every year. Life on the (admittedly huge) compound is a gilded jail – there isn’t much to do apart from sports and it becomes tiresome fast. The houses all look the same – it’s all a bit ‘Stepford’ after a while. Outside, Jeddah is an hour away but run down and grotty like most of Saudi Arabia and there you are subject to the everyday restrictions of this ultra-conservative dustbowl. Best advice is get in, get the money and get out after a couple of years with your sanity intact.

      Like

  62. Simon says:

    Hi
    I am keen on laos and cambodis, is 35k a decent wage, can I save? Any advice would be appreciated

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely! Cambodia is very cheap to live. Probably saved half my salary, ate out all the time, traveled every holiday.

      Like

      • Yoonglai says:

        I teach in Laos, and although I support two sons and a wife by myself with a starting salary of 32K, I should be able to save over 15K…eating like the locals of course…local markets, use bicycles. So, it’s possible.

        Like

  63. Anonymous says:

    We are a teaching couple who have saved one salary every year we’ve been overseas (decades) except the one contract that didn’t cover all housing expenses and all local taxes. Add a big drop in the dollar and we were hurting quite quickly.

    Since you are giving up your pension by going overseas and will be ‘self-funded’ for retirement, it is important to be able to save. It is not a luxury.

    Like

  64. pootles says:

    I work at an internationak school in BulgariaM The salary is very good, tax free and hoising and hakf the utily bills are paid. Cost of living is still relatively low, eating out and travelling.

    Like

  65. OPalm says:

    Is a wage of 35K USD in Kuwait doable to save and travel and eat out?

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      is your housing paid? taxes? any utilities? then could you possibly eat 35,000 in food in a year? have no idea your travel style.

      Like

      • OPalm says:

        Did you read the question??? I asked if it was doable to SAVE & Travel and eat out. I am asking if this is a decent salary to live comfortably!!!

        Like

    • Anonymous says:

      If your housing, electric, water, and insurance are paid part of your contract and you are being paid $35K salary alone then you can save big time. You could probably travel home at winter break and spring break and still save at least half of that salary. If you choose to eat out all the time, go shopping for clothes, and buy bootleg booze then that will cut in to your savings big time but you could still do all that and save 1/3 of what you make.

      Like

    • I recently finished working in Kuwait. My salary was $3-5K more than this and I saved $25-30K each year (a little more my final year with the indemnity). However, I lived very simply, relatively. I did not join a gym, did not buy much other than food, did not go to lots of the social events that go on in the expat community (there are “balls” at hotels with various themes which are a fun time for those who like dancing/drinking type events and often these were to raise money for a group, etc. – the event itself might cost as much as $80-90 and then many people would go buy an outfit and go to a salon to make it extra festive) and I did not do many trips at vacations. No taxes in Kuwait, apartment and utilities included, bus/walk to school and use buses/taxis to get around, school paid flight home in the summer, didn’t eat out routinely (once or twice a month), and just saw the time there as an opportunity to save and that’s the main good it offers. Some people made Kuwait life work for them by being involved in lots of activities, traveling whenever possible, trips to UAE for shopping or concerts, leasing a car for independence, joining a gym/club (expensive), eating out or food delivered often, and shopping for enjoyment. Some of those folks saved very little or (if they had running debts to pay) nothing. Others did a little to a lot of outside tutoring and could make a little spending money all the way to covering quite a bit of their cost of living and saved wonderfully well. Some saw time in Kuwait as a way to get out of debts they had accumulated or a way to save for retirement. It can definitely be good for those kind of goals if you don’t overly spend to entertain and distract yourself from the down sides of being there. The cost of living is similar to N. America/Europe, groceries are expensive. It is a safe place to live, but there’s not much beauty or outdoor life and cultural offerings are limited. Mostly there’s expat interest groups and shopping malls. For those who stay a long while in Kuwait, they mainly need to find a balance of spending and being involved in activities or be a recluse by nature. Couples have good built-in support. Many expat teachers stay for a year or two and a few stay for many years, some even return after teaching elsewhere. The money is hard to beat, the health care is a good standard, most people speak English, the pollution level isn’t terrible, housing is provided and life can be “easy” for those reasons. But there’s very few people who claim to really like or love Kuwait (including the natives) and most expat teachers countdown the time to when they can get away for vacations or for good.

      Like

  66. BB says:

    I live in Vietnam. The savings potential is ok here, but inflation and current world currency valuations are having an impact. Imports can be expensive here because of high taxes/fees on importing anything into the country.
    That said though it is relatively cheap to travel within Vietnam and even with the SE Asia region. I’m not particularly careful about saving money, I spend a little more on a nicer apartment, eat out a lot, travel at all holidays and even mid-term weekends, yet I still manage to save a little. I could have saved a lot more if I tried.
    Cost of living is going up here all the time though (despite the low inflation rate that the Vietnamese Government says the country has). For example coming back after the summer break I have noticed that restaurant prices and taxi have increased by US$2 or more per item/journey in some cases, which doesn’t seem like much but when it happens a few times per year it becomes noticeable. This is offset though by the fact that the housing market is now flooded with rentals and the rental prices are coming down, for the moment at least.
    You also need to be careful about which school you work at, though most that are towards the higher end have similar monetary packages, it’s usually the benefits package that differs. Schools are also shifting, or trying to shift, to paying salaries entirely in Dong because of a government decree about this. There are issues surrounding transferring this currency out of the country despite what the school or banks may tell you.

    Like

  67. Oshitakanawa says:

    I live in Jakarta and end up putting away two thirds of my salary into investment and long term savings. I also travel overseas every holiday and always eat out. I am still a relatively new teacher and I am saving far more than I was back home in Australia.

    Like

    • Bulegila says:

      I am also a relatively new teacher teaching in Jakarta. I manage to save a good chunk of my salary each month supporting both myself and my husband who is studying. I save on average between $1000 – $1600 a month and still have money to enjoy ourselves. I could save I was more frugal but I like my holidays too much.

      Like

    • Which school do you work at?

      Like

      • Bulegila says:

        Don’t want to give away my username too much. So schools with similar salary scales where you could save the above are as follows: Global Jaya International School, Sinamas World Academy, Binus International School Simprug. All of these are IB schools with a large Indonesian student body and Asian expats with a few western expats or mixed Indonesian children.

        You could save even more at places like JIS or BIS.

        Like

    • Phil says:

      You were doing something wrong if you could not save much as a teacher in Australia. I just got a job in Perth. I earn almost $90k, and I am still two steps away from the top of the salary scale. Tax is low, superannuation is paid in addition to the base salary and the standard of living is extremely high. I can save around $30k a year here with little difficulty.

      Like

      • Jeff Enge says:

        Are you teaching at the new international school in Perth? It is good to hear the salary is good. Does the school provide housing for families with two teachers?

        Like

      • Cynthia says:

        Hi Phil, Do you have to be Australian to work in Perth? Is that the public system you work in?
        I also know lots of Canadian teachers making good money. Teaching abroad is not so easy, and on a good salary, you can save a lot in the west I believe.

        Like

      • Frank says:

        I’ve never heard anyone describe Australian taxes as low. Around 30% for that type of salary. Rent is around $20000/year. That leaves around $43 000 to live in one of the most expensive places in the world. To save $30 000/year you’d have to be living at home with your parents.

        Like

  68. Sherri says:

    I lived in Bolivia for 8 years 6 years ago and managed to save a fair bit, travel, pay for my Masters degree, contribute to conservation projects through organizations as well as doing my own thing (vets are super cheap compared to here) and of course the enjoy the local food and coffee anytime which was spectacular not to mention clothing and textiles, pottery etc.

    Like

  69. Mandy says:

    I was offered a job in Qatar Getting 8.000 QR can you save with that amount there?

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      That is low. Even with all else included, health ins, housing, travel and transpo allowance, utilities. My wife and I take home about 17k each. Qatar is expensive, except for petrol.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree – thats low – I make double that and save over half my salary – but we are quite frugal and spend all our money on travel and paying off debt back home🙂

        Like

      • Overseas teacher says:

        I am interested in working in Qatar, we are currently in Kuwait and I really don’t enjoy the country, I do however like my job. What’s holding my husband back though, is that we would probably have to take a substantial drop in salary if we moved to Qatar. However 17K in Qatar is good, Which school are you at and what is family accommodation like?

        Like

  70. Mandy says:

    Korea is great but yes avoid Itaewon restaurants if you want to save, I was not easy for me to save there but I loved it .

    Like

  71. Minks says:

    Hi All,

    I am about to start a job in South Korea, what is the savings potential there? Has anybody been? Any advice how to save money and how to invest wisely?
    thanks.

    Like

    • Positive realist says:

      Re investing money read The Millionaire teacher by Andrew Hallam. This will be all you will ever need to know.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      To save money, avoid western food and Itaewon. Of course, that’s where the books, clothes, etc are…

      Shop at the markets, buy your food from the trucks, and you’ll save a bunch. Take advantage of craigslist and eslcafe for furniture- a lot of esl teachers come here for a year and sell their furniture for peanuts at the end of their contracts.

      Like

    • CM says:

      I have been in South Korea for two years. I have saved about $30,000, but have lived pretty high on the hog since i have been here. Travel in and out of Seoul is expensive, and I have traveled every holiday. Take that out of the equation and you can definitely save. I agree that buying and eating food locally is way less expensive than eating out in Itaewon, or shopping at Emart or Costco. I usually don’t shop for clothes/shoes too much because many of the popular chains (Zara, Mango, etc) are like triple the price I am used to. Public transportation is pretty cheap (even cabs). I am well compensated at my job, so I have been able to live the high life pretty often, and not touch too much of my savings.

      Like

      • Deirdre says:

        Which region and what school?

        Like

        • CM says:

          Seoul (well, Seongnam, slightly outside Seoul), at SIS-Seoul International School.

          Like

        • Minks says:

          Thank you for this. What does ‘living high on the hog’ mean?

          Like

          • Anonymous says:

            Not being very frugal: eating and drinking out, having a cleaning lady, traveling, etc.

            Like

            • Anonymous says:

              Do you mind me asking what your salary was? I’ve just moved to Seoul and on a fairly basic salary/package, I’m worried that I won’t save as much as hoped! Living near Itaewon sure won’t help that!

              Like

            • Anonymous says:

              Hi,
              I will be in Sangam-dong, Mapu-gu, at the Dwight School, as from September. I will earn quite a bit less then I do now here in Britain, 45 Mil. KWon (tax free for 2 years), but have a nice apartment and cost for utilities per months, plus 1 flight home per annum. Full medical insurance & a few little bits & bobs & good holidays. Most of all I will be teaching IB, which is what I wanted. We could meet up there, or keep in touch per e-mail if you like.

              Like

  72. simon says:

    I teach in Malaysia and it has the advantage of most things being available at relatively low cost. Whilst not tax free, the rate of tax is manageable and there is a good national provident fund which many international schools contribute into on behalf of their employees together with an employees’ contribution. So even if you don’t save anything on your monthly salary you take away a good tax free savings amount from the provident fund when you leave the country.

    Like

    • Which school are you working at in Malaysia, I am thinking about applying for a job there?

      Like

      • Its-a-wonderful-world-we-share says:

        I was not the writer of the previous post but also work in Malaysia. My school offers a poor salary compared to some international schools, and I have quite a senior position. However, I live very simply (but comfortably, eating in local places etc) on less than $US100 a week, therefore save most of it. The biggest cost for me is transport, and I could reduce it by catching buses or buying a motorbike.

        Like

      • simon says:

        It is the International school of Penang. There are more international schools in Kuala Lumpur, many with better packages but Penang is more relaxed with to my mind a better family location than KL. Do be aware that there are over 40 current applications to open private schools in Malaysia, most of which will be looking to employ some expats. Some are good but I suspect many will be poorly run with a limited package as most will essentially run as businesses. If you can get a good school, Malaysia is a low tax and inexpensive country with a savings potential.

        Like

  73. jh says:

    My wife and I set out to save money after she had taken a couple years off to do her masters. We went to work in Kuwait. We like to live fairly modestly and skipped most of the gym membership – starbuck’s – mall culture and also skipped the holidays to resorts in favour of self guided travels around less expensive countries.

    We took advantage of the tutoring culture at our school, each doing from 5-10 hours of tutroing each week through the year. Tutoring wages were very high.

    We managed to save 100% of our salaries (yes, both of them), plus a little more. We owned a car, lived and travelled over our holidays on our tutoring money (and even managed to add a little bit of it to our savings)

    Like

    • Sandi Stone says:

      I have been offered a position in Kuwait.. Salary 900 kwd
      Per month with the standard inclusions. Is this considered a decent salary. I also have been offer a position in QATAR at 11 000 QR a month, standard inclusions. Are these viable salaries?

      Like

      • jh says:

        That was more than I made when I was there (but I was there 10 years ago).

        Like

      • sam werlinich says:

        I would take the Qatar job, better place, less stress and certainly more money. Cost of living is pretty much the same in both of the gulf states. Just be careful where you work. Plenty of the schools have a deserved bad rep.

        Like

        • Jo Jo says:

          I would agree with these comments. Also, you might find life a bit more relaxed in Qatar although also less sophisticated. A country that doesn’t get much mention here is Saudi Arabia. If you can put up with the obvious disadvantages and are mainly fixed on saving money, a job at one of the better American or British schools could be an idea. Jeddah is easier to live in than Riyad and the Red sea coast for divers is a dream. Undeveloped and less commercialized than Egypt and Jordan

          Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Qatar is a lovely place to work, just watch the school and read reveiws on this site as well as looking at qatar living for parent opinions of schools. 11,000 ryalls is a fair salary for a graduate as long as it includes your housing. If it does not include housing don’t go there as accomodation is pricey ( a decent appartment will set you back at least half your monthly salary ). It’s a qietier country than Dubai but i loved it for that, there are plently of things to do and it’s an easy base to travel from and you can save cash and still have a a good social life. Clubs and bars are in 5* hotels so eating and drinking alcohol can be expensive but it’s still cheaper than UK 5* prices. You don’t have to drink excessively or eat in these places anyway. Admitance to the clubs is usually free, if you are female then often there are ladies nights where alcohol is free for the ladies. Once you are resident you can apply for an alcohol licence which allows you to buy alcohol from the designated shop, then you can drink at home and at friend’s homes.
        I can’t comment on Kuwait however as i’ve never worked there, i hope this helps Sani.

        Like

      • Anonymous says:

        One thing to look at is the indeminity payment at the end of your contract. In Kuwait you get 1/2 a months salary for each year you work there for years 1-5 then 1 months salary for each year you work there from year 6 on. In Qatar you get a months salary for every year you work there from the start. I haven’t worked in Qatar, only Kuwait, but the savings potential in both places is high and tax free. Both will give you international health insurance, a rent free apartment, free electricity and water. Those are standard. 900KD a month is good money for a new teacher in Kuwait. Depending on what you tutor you could make a killing doing that in Kuwait. English teachers get 15 to 20KD an hour (cash) with math and science teachers getting 20KD+ and hour. There isn’t much to do in Kuwait outside of joining the Palms/Corniche/SAS/Hilton and working out there every day and if you choose to do that it will set you back $2000 a year.

        If you are coming to Kuwait be sure the school you are coming to has a good reputation because only a handful of the private schools here have one.

        Like

      • Cynthia says:

        I am in Kuwait, and in many schools private students are hard to find. On 900kd, unless you don’t go anywhere, or do anything, you are not going to save that much considering you won’t stay there in the summer, and will need to pay for accommodations.

        If anyone has tips on getting private students, I would like to hear….Thanks.

        Like

      • nicola2010 says:

        Go to Qatar, Kuwait is so boring you will spend money leaving every holiday possible. Tutoring is illegal so be careful and you can’t depend on it. You could save on 900kd a month ive just completed 2 years there and ive saved and enjoyed some of it but id never return.

        Like

    • Anonymous says:

      How can you save 100 per cent of a salary, plus a little more? Doesn’t make sense.

      Like

  74. Anonymous says:

    I saved a bundle in Kuwait but was on a higher salary than many other Int. schools in the city and set out to live cheap.
    In Laos my salary was lowish but the cost of living was next to nothing. Both Kazakhstan and Brunei were/are somewhere in the middle. All with holiday travel and a decent standard of living for a single bloke/no kids.

    Like

    • Which school did you work at in Kuwait?

      Like

      • Minks says:

        Hi,
        good for you. I was looking for advice for South Korea though.

        Like

        • Anonymous says:

          I have worked in South Korea and Kuwait. While in South Korea I was able to save about $10K in a year while making $25K. In Kuwait I can easily put away $20K while making $36K. It is relative to how you live.

          Like

          • Anonymous says:

            Hi there. I will head to Kuwait in a few days and would love to find out more about teaching there. Is there any way I can contact you personally? I am nervous, yet excited. It is always great to speak to others who can share their experiences.

            Like

            • Anonymous says:

              Happy to answer any q re kuwait, have been in the country 20 years. Probably one of the best countries in the area to save money if you do some private tuitions Ken Fay

              Like

    • Positive realist says:

      I am really interested in Brunei as I have heard it is a great place for a family and can also save a bit. I would like to work at JIS in Brunei. Do you know anything about this school and likely salary/package?

      Thanks for any info.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I interviewed with them in early 2012 and this is the information they gave me:

        Salary scale $35k – $62k (net – no taxes) ; housing provided ; health insurance provided within Brunei only, dependents can be covered at extra cost ; annual home leave ; tuition for faculty kids $1200/year (!).

        Like

        • Positive realist says:

          Thanks for the useful info. I am not clear on the ‘tuition for faculty kids $1200/year’. What does this mean exactly? Thanks again.

          Like

          • Positive realist says:

            Sorry. One more question – I promise! Does the package include tuition for your own children. I have one school age child. Thank you, or is this what is meant by ‘tuition for faculty kids’

            Like

  75. amhut says:

    What might be a country in which to save a lot of my salary and which is safe? I am a woman in my 50s with a ton of experience, currently in a Central American country making pittance. Thanks!

    Like

    • Miss says:

      Definitely China. The great thing about living there is you can travel to lots of cool places and not have to leave the country. It’s also in a nice central position so 12 hours from England, 12 hours from Chicago, 13 hours from Sydney.
      You got to put up with pollution but worth the experience and savings potential if you get a good school.
      I always felt safe there.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        No, not definitely China. Depends on the school salary, benefits, and the city. Where I am rent is constantly rising, anything western is expensive (more than in the U.S.) and air travel in China is not cheap.

        Like

      • China! It is a great place to work and live. Do your research, but there are tons of great schools and lots of variety as far as the kind of schools and type of teaching. For the most part, you will be treated respectfully, and older people are admired. Many of the international schools pay wonderful salaries and most should provide a good/decent housing allowance too. Some Chinese run schools will over load you with classes though, so be choosy. If you have the degree/experience, you will do much better at an international/IB school as far as salary and benefits, than just teaching regular college classes. It is also over-all very safe and you can live very well, very inexpensively.

        Like

        • Hi I am looking to move to China which schools would you recommend for good savings potential/lifestyle? I have 1 child and am worried about the pollution

          Like

          • M says:

            Hi, I work in Tianjin, large city 30 mins (fast train) 2 hour drive from Beijing. The money is very good, high workload and poor weather (hot summers, dry cold winters). Tianjin is nice and relaxed and not too much pollution. Salary and package on website which I like. Cost of living low.

            Like

            • Jo Jo says:

              Opinions seems pretty much divided on China. I also work in Tianjin and find it the the dullest most polluted place I’ve ever lived. Winter weather is foul and air travel is expensive. So is long distance train if you want a reasonable level of comfort. and so slow! Salaries just OK (by international standards) but watch out for hidden extra expenses and find a school that provides decent accommodation not an allowance. Anything “western” is very (un-proportionately) expensive, more so than in the Middle East. A lot of your financial savings here will depend on how “native” you are prepared to live. ANY international school salary will seem like fabulous riches compared with local ones. The saving potential is there but so is the possibility of spending a lot of money depending on the lifestyle you choose.

              Like

          • We lived in Shanghai on the Pudong side and loved it. Our two children were small at the time and the school (Shanghai American School) provided a house on the school compound (located on a golf course). The kids got to ride bikes and play outside like we did when we were kids. Because the compound is on the South China Sea with lots of breezes the pollution is not bad at all compared to downtown. We were isolated though and getting to town took 30-40 minutes so we needed a car. The savings potential is great and the benefit package is excellent (unless they’ve changed things in the past 3 years since we left).

            Like

            • Elaine says:

              I work at Shanghai American School, Pudong. The package continues to be very good with a good salary and housing and utilities paid by the school. We live about 40 minutes from school in an expat ‘bubble’ which has many western style restaurants and amenities. It’s cheap and easy to use the subway system or taxis to get around the city at the weekends. The pollution was worse in the 2011-12 year than I have seen in previous years, but since the summer the air quality has been quite good. The savings potential is very good while still enjoying meals out and travel during breaks.

              Like

          • Anonymous says:

            I live in Beijing and it is a great place to be for the price of childcare. You need to make sure that your school includes accommodation as the prices here are skyrocketing and if you do get an allowance you might have to pay to top it up. The massive downside, and I do mean massive, is the pollution. There are days here when you can’t see the building opposite and you can taste the pollution. A ‘good’ day is when the pollution index is around 100 (on a scale of 1-500). I would recommend it.

            Like

            • Anonymous says:

              How about TAIWAN!!! Awesome country, beautiful mountains, stunning east coast, amazing people, easy high speed train, great food, super safe, and easy to save!!! Loved my time there.

              Like

    • snorks says:

      south america doesn’t pay, a lot of us international school teachers would love to work there, but the pay is stinky

      Like

      • Diane says:

        There are a few schools in Brazil that pay well, one in Rio and one in Sau Paulo. Brazil is becoming a super power, so don’t count it out.

        Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I am about to attend the AASSA job fair. Do you know which of the schools attending, pay best and/or have the best chances for saving depending on cost of living? I would really like to land a job in South America to improve my Spanish.

        Like

  76. Anonymous says:

    I have just finished a contract in Romania and the standard of living is higher than you would imagine in a Eastern European country. You can find most western brands in the supermarkets and an average meal out at a decent restaurant with drinks will set you back £10 – £15. A pint of beer or glass of wine is around £1- £2. In the winter you can catch a train to the mountains for a days skiing for £6 with ski hire costing £10 and a lift pass £15. If you know where to go life is cheap and very easy to save. A great social life and great place to live. Just be careful of the school you choose.

    Like

    • Second Time Around says:

      I posted above about Romania before the Euro became the currency of exchange. I believe I was there in 1996 – 1998. At that time a lift ticket was the equivalent of $2 US. A top restaurant with private room and private servers came to about $40 for four with drinks and desert. Back then the average meal out was between $4 and $6. Sounds like it’s still very reasonable. I loved it there. I saw Michael Jackson for $12 and sat close to the stage. There was great music every night from rock to jazz to a symphony for $1.50. I left after 3 because my daughter had real problems with an admin that didn’t do well with criticism from students….she let them have it and they suggested this wasn’t the school for here. They were both right!!!

      Like

      • Meg says:

        It says here, as in the blurb at the top, that Romania has switched to the Euro. Maybe that will be so in the future, but for now they are still on the Lei/RON (new Romanian lei), where the exchange rate is about 3 lei to a dollar or 4 lei to a euro. So, while not the absolute cheapest place to live, it is still VERY good, even with the high gas prices. As a single I am currently able to travel every vacation, eat out frequently, not worry at all about what I’m purchasing at the mall, and still have no trouble paying bills like (high) student loans, as well as save some money as well. It’s great!

        Like

        • I second that. I lived in Moldova for 10 months and frequently transited through Romania. I don’t know where people get the idea that they use the Euro there. Great country. Especially in the mountains. I hope that someday I can return to actually live and teach in Romania or Hungary!

          Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Romania is great, but it isn’t quite that cheap. A beer is 5-6 lei in an average restaurant and my average meal out is closer to 30 lei. A shorma (wrap loaded with everything) is about 13 lei for the medium or 15 for the large on the street (combo with a drink is 17-18 lei). But the really killer here is the gas. It cost around 200 lei to fill up a small car. You can do great with gifts at the local markets, but if you shop at any of the big malls be prepared to pay US price or more. Most overseas teachers pay 800 euros a month for their apartment (furnished w/o utilities) or 1,100 with everything. The only things I would say are really cheap are taxis (1,39 Lei per Km), market goods (mostly junk), and most accommodations outside of Bucharest.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Romania and most of Eastern Europe can be great places to save money if you work at a top school there. The region is also very safe and travel in Europe is easy. For a combination of savings and quality of life, working at the best schools in the region can be an excellent choice if you’re interested in being in Europe.

        Like

        • Positive realist says:

          Is housing included in the package in most Romanian schools, as this can really eat into savings? Which other eastern European countries would you recommend?

          Like

          • Anonymous says:

            The top schools will offer housing or a housing allowance. You should also look in Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland for the best packages. The smaller schools and second tier schools in other countries don’t offer as much.

            Like

  77. Anonymous says:

    Saved a fair bit in Beijing with a great standard of living. If your lungs can take the pollution, a single can save over $20K a year. A couple can save one whole salary. That’s working at one of the top 2 schools (WAB, ISB), traveling every holiday, and eating out quite a bit. Oh, and don’t forget the weekly mani-pedis and massages!

    Like

    • Yes, I lived in China for years, and even with inflation, it is hard to beat as far as the cost of living goes. However, if for some reason your school does not cover your housing or at least provide a decent housing allowance that could really eat into your savings. China is a great place to work for so many reasons, and offers a lot of perks!

      Like

      • dadorunrun says:

        I taught at an okay school in Beijing, but the housing allowance was not good. At all. What I had to pay out of pocket to cover the difference pretty much destroyed any savings potential. You never know these things until you arrive and start apartment hunting. Which is why now if a school does not provide housing outright I’m hesitant to work for them.

        Like

    • Danny says:

      Agreed. Made a great living in Shanghai while traveling a ton and living pretty well.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      We teach in China and have for several years. It is extremely convenient with little to want for [other than more blue sky days]. However, prices are rising in China, so much that US manufacturers are now planning their moves back to the US. We still save $35,000 a year [two teachers, two kids and various stipends in our salary, plus housing allowance, air etc.]. If not at the major American schools in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, savings will likely be far, far less.

      Like

  78. Second Time Around says:

    I spent a number of years on Pakistan. The salary was outstanding and the cost of living very, very low. My wife and I save in the neighborhood of $50K each year and that was with two kids and lot of travel. Contrary to what the news may portray, Pakistan is a great place with warm, friendly people.

    I also lived in Romania when the Lei was the currency of trade. It was cheap and loads of fun. We save about the same as we did in Pakistan. I understand that today it is no bargain.

    I would avoid some of the African countries. Kinshasa is particularly boring and at least three times as expensive as California. After a while you begin to ask yourself why you’re staying there.

    Like

    • India says:

      Oh wow! I am looking into moving to the middle east, particularly Beruit. Are you familiar with the cost of living there?

      I was also considering teaching in Africa, but wow, I had NO idea it was that expensive. Do you know of any places in Africa that you would reccommend?

      Like

      • dadorunrun says:

        I never lived in Beirut, but visited many times. It isn’t cheap. Not USA/Europe expensive, but not cheap. Tough place to find work too as there aren’t many international schools. As far as that region goes, Egypt (not the Middle Eat, but close) is your best bet. Very low cost of living. When I taught there I was not being paid big money, but still saved a lot, and had a very decent lifestyle. The problem is that most Cairo international schools are not fun places to work. It was a fair tradeoff for me, but was a tough couple of teaching years.

        Like

        • Happy Expat says:

          I loved my Egyptian experience, despite the fact that we were there during the revolution. I saved money, traveled and my husband was with me as a trailing spouse. We saved enough to do several projects on a house that we were building in his home country of Trinidad. I LOVED Egypt and worked in a 100% Egyptian school. It was a lovely assignment and wonder why I did not stay longer in retrospect.

          Like

          • dadorunrun says:

            My school was very badly run. The kids, all Egyptian, were a “challenge,” and teaching them wasn’t always fun. I learned to love them though. And yes, I loved Egypt and Cairo too. Had planned to stay for another two years, teaching at a different and slightly better school. Unfortunately I got too near a suicide bomber while vacationing in Dahab. Got a flight home on an SOS medical jet and four months in a hospital instead.

            Like

            • anonymous says:

              I remember that time. you and your family were heroic and it’s a topic not seldom discussed. What you guys survived is an inspiration and should be shared with others in the overseas community. It is a testimony about the challenges as well as the rewards of an international life.

              Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Beirut should be one of the last places on your list if you are concerned about savings potential. Great place otherwise though.

        Like

        • lesliethompsondesign says:

          Yes, I have to agree with anonymous above. I taught there in 2002-2005, and had to leave to meet my financial goals elsewhere. Beirut is a wonderful place, the Lebanese are lovely, and ACS and International College are great places, too. We then spent 7 years with ISG in Saudi Arabia. A different scene, definitely, but great school with great kids, and lots of savings potential there.

          Like

          • none says:

            I agree with the two posts above. I really enjoyed my time at ACS and in Beirut in 2001 – 2004, but we didn’t save anything basically… and that was me either pregnant with with a baby for most of the time (ie – not a huge amount of dining out or travel).

            Like

      • We are currently living in Cairo and teaching at Cairo American College. We have been able to save one salary, however since the revolution the cost of living has gone up. As in most places some things are affordable and others are over-the-top expensive, but if you want you can live cheaply. The above comment about tough teaching in Cairo schools doesn\’t apply to CAC in my opinion, although it\’s been a rough couple of years with the revolution, we\’ve been pretty happy with the school. This is our 5th country and 21st year teaching overseas so we do have something to compare it to.

        Like

    • Loves Teaching says:

      I personally do not feel that “boring” is a category befitting any country. Every culture is interestingly different and every country’s history is a facinating precursor to the present day culture and the region’s people. I think if you are looking for “fun” then teaching will probably just get in your way. Choose a new profession!

      That being said, I’ve worked in Kuwait for over 6 years now. It would be described by “Second Time Around” as boring, I’m sure. There is no alcohol sold so no bars. There is no public dancing allowed so no clubs. But it has a RICH culture and very interesting history; it has nearly every important American and British store or restaurant; westerners are revered; and It is a cash cow for expats!

      Teaching in Kuwait will get you a starting salary from 800 to 1200 Kuwaiti Dinar (KD) per month (depends on the size of the school and the years of experience you have) – payment is for 12 months per year for only 180 days of work. The money is what goes in your pocket – no taxes or fees subtracted and is equal to about $3.60 per KD. But remember – nothing to spend it on! A contract will include a furnished apartment and transportation to/from school (if not in walking distance). You’ll get insurance (type varies by school), indemnity (upon separation), Electricity and water are usually included. Phone service is up to you. City transportation is cheap by bus or taxi, but some people lease cars (which come for around 100-120KD/mo. with included insurance, road service, maintenance, and everything except fuel – which only costs 6/100 of a KD (60 fils) per liter. Cost of living is low compared to USA. And if you want more money, tutoring jobs are plentiful for all comers!!! I know one guy who made 800 KD per month teaching and then tutored to the extent that he wanted to. He supported his non-working spouse and two children (including private school tuition in Kuwait) for two years and still saved over $40,000 to buy a house when he got back home. That could NEVER be done in North America or Great Britain! And, even better, I feel safer here than in the states, even though I’m not a Muslim.

      Like

      • AussieMum says:

        Hi Loves Teaching, My husband and I would be interested in finding out what school or schools you recommend to make such great savings in Kuwait. We are looking at Kuwait but it’s hard to decide on schools as so many have terrible reputations. Happy for personal e-mails to discuss details if you are more comfortable with that – christined@coct.qld.edu.au

        Like

      • francysmily says:

        Hi! I am a primary school teacher, who currently works in Milan(Italy). Even though I have only 1 year of qualified teaching experience, I have been working only in Milan for 9 years and I finally decided that it could be the time for an overseas experience. I was considering Middle East as a destination. Could you please write the school in Kuwait you were recommending? Thank you!🙂

        Like

  79. Anonymous says:

    Living and working in boarding schools can be extra challenging, but when the housing is included in the benefits packages, 3 meals a day are offered to faculty and there’s a low to no commute to the classroom transportation fees can be an area of savings. Weekend field trips and activities are another advantage. I’ve listened to concerts, visited theme parts, museums and taken trips to areas of the country on the schools dollar as a chaperone thus saving more. It all depends on how I view it. Is it work? Or an opportunity to absorb the country I’m living in.

    Like

    • What country are you working in?

      Like

    • lal says:

      Yeah but no personal life!!!! What you describe sounds ghastly! I think that it is really important as an international educator to have your own life outside of school. Much of the time, that may be with people that you work with but school should not be the only way that you socialize, have friends, participate in activities (such as meals!!!), travel, have fun etc….money is NOT the reason international educators do the job…well it shouldn’t be!

      Like

    • Danny says:

      Teaching in a boarding school isn’t for everyone, but it isn’t for no one either. You get to know the kids on many different levels and there are lots of advantages beyond money. Don’t be so quick to dismiss it. But yes, you do have to take advantage of your time off to get away, and most international boarding schools are good about providing that time for an outlet.

      Like

      • Diane says:

        I too taught in a boarding school and enjoyed the experience and I save a lot of money. I wouldn’t want to do it for many years, but I still think that my time in the boarding school was my best overseas experience. Also, in reply to the idea that you don’t have a life outside of school, I could say the same for many teachers who teach overseas. Many of the ones that don’t know the local language are with their colleagues during their free time. So, they don’t have much of a life outside of school as well.
        Boarding school is a great option if you are trying to save money and if you want to see how the students interact without the racist biases of their parents. It is quite interesting.

        Like

        • Anonymous says:

          Hi there. Which school were you t if you don’t mind me asking? I have often thought of working at a boarding school for the experience! I’d love to work at one of the Swiss ones ideally Le Rosey or TASIS.

          Like

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