Can I Really Live on that Salary?

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An ISR Member has proposed the development of a useful tool for recruiting candidates. We invite you to participate in its development:
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“Dear ISR,
As recruiting season approaches, I thought it would be useful for us, as a community of international educators, to pool our knowledge regarding net salaries paid by individual schools throughout the International School circuit.

To clarify: I want to establish a ballpark figure per individual country/school regarding what is an acceptable net salary as compared to cost-of-living expenses for that area. The figure I’m looking for is exclusive of benefits (Let’s assume all the usual benefits apply) such as housing/flights/medical/etc. For ease, let’s consider a teacher with 5-10 years’ experience and the salary value in U.S. dollars (as used by most recruiting agencies).

For example: If I were looking at an International School in Thailand and the usual benefits were covered, then I would consider anything less than net 70,000 Baht per month ($2282 US) very low and possibly unacceptable. An acceptable salary range in Thailand might be something more like 70,000 – 120,000 Baht.

So, in summary, I’m proposing we ALL pool our knowledge of the countries where we’ve lived and post what we feel is an acceptable net salary on which a teacher can live comfortably and save some, too. I understand this will not provide perfectly sound salary advice to everyone, but it may help us as we set off on our quest to dance with the good, the bad, and the downright ugly! Who wants to play?”

Scroll down to share what YOU know about acceptable net salaries in relation to cost-of-living standards in various countries/schools around the world. It will benefit us ALL!

84 Responses to Can I Really Live on that Salary?

  1. Anonymous says:

    In the UAE the salaries for teachers vary considerably. It is what you can negotiate if you are in a strong position. It is much harder to gain a good salary and good position in an outstanding school unless you look the part. Image is a very clear priority.School offers can range in Dubai from 12000 Dirhams plus accomodation and flights to over 20000 with benefits.It is not necessarily according to qualifications and experience.The lower end salary will not necessarily support a lifestyle here unless you live modestly. You can not save unless you are a couple. The higher end salary will provide a more comfortable lifestyle and opportunities to save well.

    As a British qualified teacher with 14 years experience I found it hard to get a salary above 14000. I found that most outstanding schools hired young NQTS who fit their image. Even an Arabic teacher in these schools was earning more than me.

    Whilst applying for jobs this coming year outside the UAE I have set my target to bargain for a higher salary. I will look closely at the cost of living in that country and see if it is viable before accepting.

    Like

  2. Mike says:

    Hi all,
    This is a very informative thread. Thanks all for your openess.
    My story is from Saudi Arabia. I have a B’Ed and a TEFL with 8 yrs teaching experience. I currently teach Vocational English to Saudi Students as part of their saudiazation project. Base salary is approximately 2200 UKP (English pounds) per month but rises to 3200 UKP with housing and travel allowances. In addition they provide 1x reimbursed flight per year/ medical cover/ annual bonus of 1 months salary.
    There is no tax or any other deductions on my salary. Living costs are low. I’m currently saving around 2500 UKP per month and doing a lot of travelling during breaks.
    Annual holiday averages out at 11-12 weeks a year paid.
    The students are paid to attend college so as you can imagine the calibre of the students is not too good. The job is easy once you learn to manage the students with minimal planning and admin work necessary.
    Life in Saudi is very quiet as you can imagine. I survive by going to the health club/ watching movies and dreaming about my next vacation. The fact it’s quiet enables me to save save save easily. No temptations. I’m hoping to find a position at an International school in a less restrictive Gulf country now I have banked up a good wedge of cash. I need to go somewhere more sustainable in the long term.

    Like

  3. Jody says:

    The Graded American School in Sao Paulo, Brasil. I make about $4,000 a month, but with the cost of living I’m saving about 20,000 a year.

    Like

  4. Anonymous says:

    Bogota Colombia- MA, 10 yrs experience, Salary $40,000/yr, paid in 10 installments, 10% tax on dollars paid (1/2 in dollars, 1/2 in pesos), housing allowance that covers about 80% of housing and utilities (out of pocket about $200-$300 per month), poor health benefits (in country only), only travel home at Christmas-no other travel, if you out more than 1x per month or enjoy drinks out very often…a single saves about $2000 per year at best.

    Like

  5. Steven says:

    Hi all, enjoy reading your posts. thanks.
    here’s my info: Master’s, 7 years experience teaching science (6th -12th), 2 years international years in Vietnam (Hanoi)
    benefits: $32k/year with housing/minimal medical/RT flights to US, 4 weeks paid holiday during year, and small class sizes (5-10) for my first school
    $39k/year with no housing/minimal medical/RT flight to US, 4 weeks paid holiday during the year plus 1 month paid summer holiday and a few small bonuses for my second school.

    It’s very inexpensive to live in Vietnam. Nice, furnished 2 BR and 2 BA apt or house is $500-600/month.
    Vietnamese Restaurant Breakfasts–$1-2, Lunch–$2-8 and Dinner $5-12 for one person and drinks
    Electricity is expensive, about $75/month for 2BR apt.
    Internet is a little slow and costs $12/month.
    Transportation varies: local buses–$0.50, local motorbike taxi–$1-5, car taxi–$2-10, and taxi to airport is $13 one-way.

    Lastly, it’s very safe here (except for the insane driving) for children, adults, and the elderly. Most Urban Vietnamese know a little English (and more if they’re a Uni student). Few, if any, countryside Vietnamese know English.

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  6. Chris says:

    Will someone tell me if i will be able to live a comfortable lifestyle. I will be living in Phuket, Thailand and will be making a base salary of 70,000 baht/per month plus a 15,000 baht/per month housing allowance. I am traveling from the US. I have student loans to pay back so I will need to send about 600USD per month home. I am a healthy person so I will more than likely cook from home all the time. I can rent a car for 14,000 baht if I wish. I want to know how much I can realistically save per month. Thanks so much everyone. I do not drink nor do I go out to bars either. Thanks.

    Like

  7. Wesley says:

    I pay a quick visit every day some web sites and sites to read content, however this website provides quality based posts.

    Like

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have 15 yrs teaching experience, post graduate qualifications and earn equivalent of US$25,500.00 in a Caribbean International School. Cost of living is very high. Great beaches, great lifestyle, especially for kids, but no, cannot afford to live here!

    Like

  9. Druid says:

    MA degree Elem. Ed/10 years teaching experience. After 5 years at a second tier school in Shanghai salary is $43500 with 3500 retirement bonus at the end of year, plus flights, plus housing ($1000 per month). Starting salary at the school first year was $34500.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I live and work in Kuwait. I’m quasi administration (HOD) and I make around $75K a year tax free. That includes the 220 KD housing stipend I get from my school. Take that away and I make about $65K. I can save $50K of that a year and still travel once or twice because gas is so cheap here. Food is expensive though, especially the western stuff. I have a very high salary compared to most teachers here. When I was only a teacher I was making about $40K a year tax free and could save half of it.

    Like

  11. Lindy says:

    I’m in the mediterranean area and am working on negotiating salaries for the staff. Is anyone willing to share some pay and benefit information from any schools in the mediterranean area?

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    • Paul says:

      In Jakarta we make 7000 USD per month as a couple tax free an housing paid for. Our bills rarely go over 2k a month and we live very well

      Like

  12. Pippa says:

    Is a salary of 80,000 Singapore dollars sufficient in what I am told is an expensive city to live in?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Will you have housing paid for?

      Like

      • Pippa says:

        I will get a housing allowance of 2,200 a month

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        • Anonymous says:

          You will most likely need to supplement housing costs out of your salary, but otherwise you should be able to support yourself and save a bit, maybe S$1000/month if you don’t go out very much. Less so if you travel, but SEAsia travel is quite cheap from Singapore.
          Happy hour drinks are usually 2 drinks for S$15-S$20 and western food is quite expensive. Will you get reimbursed flights?

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          • Pippa says:

            Thanks so much for your help. I’ve been told I can get a decent two bedroom apartment for about $3,000 pm, and yes my flights are provided.

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            • Anonymous says:

              On $80,000 even if you’re paying 12-15% tax and topping up your rent supplement by $1000 you’ll still be able yo save a lot more than $1000 per month. Depends on your lifestyle. Cars are very expensive (100% import tax and high road user and fuel charges) but trains and buses are cheap). On that salary I would think you could save $2000-3000 per month.

              Like

  13. just me says:

    Hong Kong. Salary about $5000/month. Housing allowance about $1000. It covers about 1/3 of my rent. Only reimbursed flights coming. Some people seem to be able to save a lot, but I am getting hammered. HK is expensive. Taxes 10% and a 15% gratuity per contract.

    Like

  14. KY says:

    I’m currently in the UAE and with a MA and 8 years of experience I earn $3700 per month.

    If your housing is included (I don’t know a school here that doesn’t offer housing) you can live very well here. How much you save depends on how much you spend. There is always something to do here so if you’re the partying type you won’t save as much as I have because entertainment options are often quite pricey.

    I live comfortably on $1,000 per month and send the rest home. I eat out once a week, and only drink during ladies night which can be found almost every night.

    Like

  15. Anonymous says:

    I am in my second year in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania- my net pay per month is $3100.00. High tax here of 18%, which the IST International School of Tanganyika has managed to side step and place part of this into a monthly pension, 13%. School provides housing totally furnished, water and that’s it. I own a car, bought before I got here, costly, with duty taxes, but one really needs a car here. I send home 50% of paycheck to a US account. Travel is expensive, flights, safaris, food is a little expensive, more so if you want export stuff. I ow live off campus, so am spending more on petrol, and chose to join the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club which puts one back $1000.00 US intially and then a monthly subs fee of $45US. House help is cheap- much more than Taipei, Taiwan where I was before. House cleaner and pet sitter costs $156.00 US/month
    Eating out is generally expensive. Single person without bills back in the U.S. can do 2-3 trips around East Africa and save. Being Africa, there is a lot to buy in the art, materials and hand made furniture if you like this type of shopping. School pays for a trip to home of record, mine is Hawaii. Note: one doesn’t come to East Africa to make money, it is to travel and hike and safari.

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  16. Rick Vezzoli says:

    Santiago, Chile is not a cheap city and housing prices continue to climb. But someone with 10 years experience will net about 4500 to 5000 US$ a month. Housing allowance will cover most of your rent. Couples are able to save plenty. Many teachers have purchased their own homes or apartments.

    It’s not part of the rubric, but you have to consider living in Chile vs Shanghai, Beijing, Qatar, Kuwait, Bangkok or Jakarta as a bonus if you love nature.

    Like

    • Kim says:

      Hey Rick,
      Do you have any more info on life in Santiago? I’m interested in applying for a position there. I would be going as a single with some expenses back home. Thanks!

      Like

  17. Anonymous says:

    I taught at an ESL academy in Yeosu, South Korea for one year. While it is not an international school it was an international teaching experience. I made $2100 USD a month and had my housing paid for. I had to pay for my water and electricity. If I ran my air conditioning my electric bill would be $500 a month so after a month of that I learned to use a fan! Anyway, the cost of living in South Korea is similar to that of Dallas, TX in regards to food. I was able to save $12000 in one year there but never left Yeosu. International schools will pay more than the ESL academies.

    Like

  18. Yan tan says:

    Thanks to everyone who has contributed, I hope it will be useful to some, even if it has it’s limitations. Keep them coming.
    (BTW, this is also running on the forum).

    Nemo, that’s a great idea (for someone ^_^) .

    Like

  19. Anonymous says:

    I work in Kuwait. I’ve been here for 5 years now. My school provides housing, utilities (water, electric, basic cable), one round trip flight per year to the nearest international airport to my home, international medical insurance that is good everywhere except for the USA and Canada, and local government medical insurance. My starting salary when I arrived in Kuwait was 830KD which is between $2900-3000 USD per month. Depending on how much you eat at home, eat out, shop, travel, use taxis, etc you could save a large percentage of your salary every month. The salary is tax free. Estimated savings, depending on what I just mentioned, should be between $12000 USD – $30000 USD of what you make each year. Of course if you have student loans, credit cards, car loans, property, etc back home that you are paying for this will not allow you to save nearly as much. Kuwait labor law also mandates that for the first 5 years you are here that you will be paid 1/2 your months salary when you leave and 1 month for every year beyond 5 that you stay here. Not as good as Qatar where you get 1 month per year but better than a lot of places and again it is tax free.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I forgot to mention that when I first arrived in Kuwait I was initially paid 830KD ($3000 USD) a month. I’ve since been promoted to an HOD position and coordinator position and my salary is now 1150KD ($4000+) per month. I don’t take the housing stipend which would be an additional 220KD per month ($770 USD).

      I would not come to work in Kuwait for less than 750 KD ($2600) per month. On this amount you can still save and travel on all of your school breaks (winter, spring, summer, and a couple of long weekends).

      Like

  20. Memo says:

    This is a good idea, and exists already for other professions. Rather than seeing it like this though, we need it in a ‘chart’ format.
    It would be nice to be able to look at a grid and see how many years of experience and rough salary payments. There should also be a line somewhere (the fine print) which would say something like *based on X number of replies
    Each teacher can enter in their own amounts, and it could be broken down by individual schools, if the project is ambitious enough.

    I live in Qatar, and have 8 years teaching experience. I have 2 undergrad degrees. My current salary is $42 000USD/yr. Add to that benefits incl housing, and you end up with a very nice package. Having said that, Qatar does NOT have transparent salary scales. Many of my friends make more than I do, with less experience but the same education.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    I live in UAE and my salary (top of scale with HOD allowance) is 17,000 dhs per month, no tax. That’s good and you get by well, especially if you have accommodation allowance and school fees. A reasonable salary would be 12,000dhs+ Some schools offer 10,000 dhs per month but this is really low even if you do get all the benefits as groceries, alcohol, etc are quite expensive.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    In Brazil you also have a 13th salary, and some schools will organize for you to get back some of your tax money by ‘firing’ you at the end of your contract. If you agree to pay the school a percentage, they may do the paperwork for you, and the average teacher can receive up to 1/2 year’s salary after spending two years in the country. Full year’s salary after four years, etc.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Have lived in Qatar for a few years. The salary at my current school is between 8000-14000QR a month, I am currently on 11000QR (over 10 yrs exp). Accommodation allowance given, if used on the schools compound then it covers rent, outside not so much. Health & 1 flight home a yr covered. Cost of living is expensive here, however, very central for traveling. Saving is possible, as is having a good standard of living & social life. Negotiate pay before accepting anything and look around, this is NOT the best pay available in Qatar!!!

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  24. Star says:

    Prices in Jakarta have gone up a lot the past 5 years or so. I wouldn’t work here for anything less than $45000/year plus the usual benefits. If you have dependents, you’d want more.

    Like

    • Gatorade says:

      Depends if you are on a single or couple allowance. We both make that in Jakarta and are saving a salary and some. As a single, you can do okay on a bit less than this provided you don’t have mortgages or other debts.

      Like

    • katie says:

      I just took my first international post in Jakarta making 34,000 tax free. All accommodation is covered. I was thinking that I would be able to save 2/3 of that. Do you find that this is not the case. My partner will also be making the same

      Like

      • wilbert says:

        While it may be possible, I wouldn’t want to live on $10k. I couldn’t have come close to doing it, but I had only one salary and kids.

        Like

  25. Anonymous says:

    I live in Vienna, Austria. Accommodation is not included and you would be looking at paying about 800 to 1000 Euros. You would need to be earning at least 3 000 Euros net to have a comfortable life and save a little as a single person. Going out is not as expensive as most major cities and the quality of life is very high.

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  26. Kuwait says:

    I live in Kuwait and I make 2,700$ per month. I live on my own in the school’s accommodation so I am able to live on that salary comfortably. Shopping and eating out at western restaurants is expensive here but if I don’t shop and eat out excessively, then I am able to save. Kuwait is a great travel hub so traveling to surrounding countries isn’t too expensive. And of course, gas is very cheap here.

    Like

  27. Anonymous says:

    It is important not to assume that “all the usual benefits apply” as these do not exist in the majority of European schools.

    Like

  28. Anonymous says:

    Current salaries at my school in Egypt are around 30-38K for 5-10 years experience

    Like

  29. Anonymous says:

    Where are you working at in India?

    I also work in India, but I make less than 10K a year. Cost of living is low. Most of my “savings” goes towards holidays and visiting home. The school provides travel every 1.5 years and rent.

    Like

  30. Anonymous says:

    Made 45K in India. Cost of living is low there but it is a difficult place to live in because of infrastructure issues: power, clean water, sanitation, insects, extreme weather (cyclones), etc. Can save a lot of money and families with young children can easily afford a live out nanny for about $150 per month.

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  31. BMD says:

    I have lived and worked here in Cebu, Philippines for the past 9 years . I am speaking from the standpoint of a teacher with a non-teaching spouse and two school age children. I would say that 2750/month for such a family situation. Single teachers or teaching couples can do very well on that.

    Like

    • Brandon says:

      What school in Cebu makes that much? I have have a long term Philippines plan. I have a house in Mindanao, and will be buying more land in the next 5 years for my eventual retirement. Making 100K peso a month with housing is all I need, and I could carry out my plan from Cebu, I would be completely STOKED!!!

      Like

    • Sanja says:

      What would be the minimum monthly salary for a teacher, non teaching spouse and a child?

      Thank you
      S.

      Like

  32. Anonymous says:

    Northern Tanzania, becoming increasingly difficult to save, if you are single no problem saving say $1000 per month but with little exploring of the country, A family with one income you really need to think twice, however a family on two incomes should be able to save something. Cost of living into double figure % growth per year at present. Some staff live on Campus and have fixed costs for utilities which is easier to budget, all families bare boarding parents live off campus and hav

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  33. I work in China and am not sure about a previous post that mentions $5000 per month. I’ve been here for 5 years and did get that salary as a Head of Faculty. Generally, teachers get between 20000 – 25000 RMB per month – net (see the post from Danny). This allows for some saving – (but not for 86% per month like the November 8th post).

    China is expensive – unless you live on boiled vegetables and rice. With a beer in a reasonable bar at 6$ a bottle (much more for clubs) you can forget tales of getting rich here. Also consider – there are LOTS of westerners willing to work in Chinese schools for MUCH less than in international schools. 5000 – 12000 per month. They are slowly eroding the status (and salaries) of the real, qualified, ‘International Teacher’.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I work at a top international school in Beijing as well (I suspect I work for the same school as the Nov. 8 poster). My salary is $5000+ per month. My husband and I have basically lived on 1 salary (we dip into the 2nd salary for travel) here. I have 3 kids, too. China is expensive, no doubt. But my school offers a fantastic benefit package as well, so there’s great savings opportunities.

      Like

      • Brandon says:

        I think you only make that much at WAB, ISB, or maybe 1-2 other schools. 20K RMB is high for a 2nd tier school. I made 18K, and was easily able to live a nice life, travel, drink and eat out and put 1000 USD a month away. That was supporting 2 people!

        Like

        • Home now says:

          I agree with Brandon, I was paid 17000RMB and was able to eat well, travel overseas as well as service an overseas loan on that amount. I think it depends on where in China you live. I found Beijing very cheap to eat locally at the markets and also to buy fruit and vegetables at the local market. My health insurance (barely acceptable) and apartment were included in the package and I had no daily travel costs as my apartment was next to the school.
          There is such variations between packages within each country it is hard to compare.

          Like

  34. weedonald says:

    I worked in 3 countries as follows:

    Kuwait….my wife and I earned a combined salary of about 50KUS and were able to save half that over 2 years. A reasonable salary there is at least 30K US/annum.

    Mexicio ….They generally pay poorl;y and the best pay I obtained was about 28Kannum. A reasonable salary there is 20K since things are still very affordable…yhou can also save on that salary but not much.

    Germany ….taxes and cost of living are very high but so are the salaries. I earned over 70K Euro and lived comfortably,saving about 25% over 2 years. A decent salary is at least 50K Euro/annum.

    Like

  35. Batesieboy says:

    I am in Saraburi, Thailand. Western teachers here, qualifications/training/experience or not, earn 50,000 Baht, and that is for 10 or 11 months per year.There might be opportunities to earn a little more through Clubs, or private work. Benefits are really minimal. Housing is awful. Enough to live, but not much else if single (and you want to go to Bangkok every so often!) Maybe easier for couples, without too many kids!
    In my experience, China was good, Bahrain was fine, as was Brunei. Milan, Italy was as awful as London! It so much depends which school you land up in. Not all the “best” teachers are in the best schools, and there are great teachers in “poor” schools…so it’s mostly a matter of luck, really.

    Like

  36. China says:

    I am a single working at a top international school in Beijing, China. The package is excellent, so I don’t pay out of pocket for anything except food, doctor visit co-pays and travel. Net pay is $5,000/month. After regular average monthly expenses, I am saving $4,300 per month (before travel costs). A longevity bonus will kick in next year, so my net take home will probably go up to about ~$5,500. The school switched over from paying in dollars to RMB this year to take advantage of the increasing strength of the Chinese yuan.

    Like

  37. Jon says:

    I am in Hong Kong. I get about $6400 US p/m plus a ‘housing allowance’ of $1000. Health as well. No return flight or shipping. 20% gratuity on total gross after 2 yrs. Top tax rate of about 15% in HK so subtract that from figure. Good package salary wise but renting expensive in HK – average about $2500 p/m I would guess so that eats a fair way into it. Other living costs ok. 2 x teacher incomes would be great and no worries saving & travel. 1 income with family a bit tough at beginning so not much saving going on – will use gratuity for that purpose.

    Like

  38. Danny says:

    A great resource for cost of living analysis is http://www.numbeo.com

    Numbeo calculates a “cost of living” index for each city based on aggregating user-submitted data.

    Even more useful (for expats), is the Cost of Living Calculator. Numbeo can calculate what salary you need to maintain the same standard of living when moving from one country to the next.

    For example, I’m currently earning around $3,400 a month in Shanghai. Suppose I was offered a job paying $3,000 in Bangkok. Now I know BKK is slightly cheaper than Shanghai, but is the difference in cost of living enough to maintain the same standard of living on the lower salary?

    Well – just plug the nuimbers into Numbeo and this is what it gives me: $3,400 in Shanghai has the same local purchasing power as $2,600 in BKK. So earning $3,000 would actually increase my standard of living!

    Like

  39. Nick says:

    I’m currently in Porto Alegre, Brazil. I get $1900/mth net, with apartment, health insurance, condo fees, lunch and transport paid. I’ve travelled to Rio where I spent relatively freely (by my standards!), go out to the restaurant once a week, will be going to Iguaçu next week, back to Canada in Xmas (ticket already paid), and I’ve saved about $2000 since August 1st. So I won’t save tons, but I can live well, travel, eat well, and still come home with about $10K after two years (which is more than I was saving back home anyway).

    Like

    • Misty says:

      Hi Nick,

      I am about to attend a job fair in Atlanta and your school has contacted me for an interview. Can you tell me more about the housing situation and school? Are you happy there?

      Like

      • Nick says:

        Hi Misty,

        I have no problems sharing, but I would prefer to do it in private. Feel free to leave me your email and I’ll then answer all your questions!

        Like

  40. Carrie says:

    I am currently living in Moscow, Russia. The monthly salary is $4,300 (including rent and travel). If they are already paying for your apartment then 3,000 per month would be a good salary. Cost of living is cheap if you don’t eat out and travel. I have been able to save, travel, and go out to eat a couple times a month. In rubles I would say between 100,000 per month plus rent is a good salary here.

    Like

  41. Iguanab says:

    I live in Kuwait and my salary is $3100/a month but make a more via privates – about an extra $2000/month. The cost of living here is relatively reasonable because gas clothing and gas are cheap. To eat local fare is inexpensive, but Western foods are a bit high. I save about half my income a month and live very well.

    Like

    • Iguanab says:

      I should add that the annuity/bonus system here lends itself to staying for longer than some might prefer. We only receive 15 days salary per year for the first four years of completed employment. Upon completion of the fifth year, those years then increase to one month’s salary/year. So, if a person were here for four years, she would only be able to leave with two months of bonus salary. But, should she remain for a full five years, she would leave with five months of extra salary. This is great if a person is wants to wait out the five year period, but it can be quite frustrating if, after a short time, a person feels they want to move on.

      Like

      • CL says:

        We are in Kuwait also – I agree with most of Iguanab info- cost of living is increasing. We are a teaching couple – for the same items that we buy each week – in 2005 we paid 10-15 KD, now the same items are 25-30+ KD. The conversion rate to KD/US$ is about the same then and now.
        Salaries are not keeping up with the inflation either. Many schools are also cutting back on housing (smaller apts and in not ‘good’ areas) and benefits are being reduced and or cut. More money is ultimately coming out of our pockets. One can live ok and save – but, the western standards that we are used to is not provided here. Many of us use the private tutoring money for travel – to de-stress.
        Western items are VERY expensive – I just purchased two Sweet Potatoes – 1Kilo – for $6.20. A can of Grand bisquits (just the reg kind) – $10.30-this is just FYI because I refuse to pay these prices.

        Like

        • Iguanab says:

          Yes, CL, ever since the shipping strike last year when food prices went up, they haven’t come down. Also, rents are going up. Luckily, my school has given a raise every year that I’ve been here. I forgot to add the fact that I receive an extra $530+ for my apartment because I chose to leave the teacher housing. I got lucky and found a 2/2 flat for an extra $370+ and my privates more than cover that. I also don’t buy many Western items here – and the good news is that I think I’m getting healthier for it! However, it appears that most of the building owners are raising their rents, so it may happen that I will have to move back to teacher housing to keep saving at the rate I do.

          Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Iguanab’s information is accurate, but I must clarify the indemnity law (bonus for years working). In order to qualify for the 1 month salary, you must work the sixth year. For example, if you work for 5 years and leave at the end of the fifth, you will get your 2 weeks times 5…so 10 weeks pay roughly (in actuality they calculate it based off of 12 days as most companies pay a months rate over 24 days assuming you work 6 days a week of which we don’t in education) So, if you work 6 years then you will get 5 x 2 week salaries and 1 x 1 month salary. There is an upside though, it is not supposed to be prorated, which means you are paid out at your last wage which is usually your highest. Keep in mind, not all schools pay at the end of your contract, but only do it yearly. It seems nice at first, but if you are here for the long haul you will lose out a few thousand dollars.

        Like

        • Iguanab says:

          Anonymous, thanks for using the right word – I was thinking about an annuity program this last week, and I guess it stuck in my head!

          However, our indemnity was explained to me differently by both the Western administration in our school and our accountant. We were told that the full indemnity will kick in at the end of the fifth year and that the 15 days per year would change. But I guess I’ll find out at the end of my fifth year! My plans, right now, are to stay on as long as I can. For me, life in Kuwait has been good – far from perfect – but a good place to figure out the world through a who different pair of lenses.

          Thanks, A!

          Like

    • Anonymous says:

      English tutors should get a minimum of 15KD/hour ($50+USD) with math and science able to get 20-30KD/hour ($70-105USD). I’ve seen a few math teachers tutor small groups of students 5 dasy a week and bank an extra $5000 USD a month tax free…..You would have to be someone that could handle doing that and have no life outside of tutoring and work but some people can do this and the opportunity to do so is there.

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      • Iguanab says:

        Yes, I know that Western teachers seldom charge no less than 15KD/hour, but I charge different rates for different people. For people whom I know can afford it, I charge 20-25KD/hour. However, because of the horrible discrepancies between what Westerners and all the other, mostly Asian, nationalities make here, I always give a discount to those whom I know make less.
        In fact, this discrepancy can most easily be seen within the international school “system” in Kuwait. As we discuss our incomes we are making on this forum as mostly Westerners, those other teachers who also work in Kuwaiti international schools make much less than we do. When I first arrived, I made 800KD a month, and a fellow Indian teacher who lived next door to me, only made 400KD a month – and she is a GREAT teacher! Luckily, she has no family to raise. For the families with children, they must also pay for their kids to attend schools. I know I could charge more, but I prefer “passing it forward.” I think it will pay off for me in the end!

        Like

  42. nahcuur says:

    I lived in Qatar three years ago and made $3150 per month, with the school supplying the apartment and benefits in addition to this. I was able to save a good chunk of my salary and also travel two or three times per year. I think if you were to make anything less than this, you would have to find a compromise between enjoying life to the fullest there and reaching your savings goals. With this salary, I found that I was able to accomplish both.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      If you have bills back at home and you can’t cover them on $6000 USD a month then going abroad to teach isn’t going to work for you either. If you go abroad and they are paying your housing, utilities, plane ticket, and medical insurance then you might make enough to pay your bills back home. I had a new SUV ($600/mo), house ($1000/mo), student loan ($500/mo), and credit card payments ($300-500/mo) when I first went abroad and found it difficult to save anything but after my first year I was able to pay off the SUV and credit cards then sold the house. Now all I have is the student loan payment which I’m content to pay $500/mo on while saving what I don’t spend on food and taxis.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        salary in egypt about 18GBP experience doesn’t count for much. 3000EGP housing, generally, no tax, medical though take care, transport to and from school usually. As a single you can’t save if you want to travel and have fun with friends. Cost of living goes up daily. If paying bills back home forget it, you will be worse off than before you came.

        Like

        • Anonymous says:

          I had a similar salary to this but knew of many other in the big schools (for example MES) which has salaries which matched UK payscales. Over 2 years I saved about 7000 US, not much considering my partner is a teacher also and we were sharing cost. However, we had great holidays which included 2 safaris and trip to the US. Now I live in Vietnam with the pay of about 40000 US. You can live very well on this salary and save as long as you don’t do too many Sherton buffets! Housing is included as is one return flight per year.

          Like

          • Anonymous says:

            I think it really depends on the school. I made 42K with free housing/medical/flight home each summer/bus to school. I was able to save between 15-18,000 each year and i travel extensively–lots of europe trips, india, thailand, malaysia, jordan, lebanon, turkey, etc…and of course throughout egypt and regular weekend trips to the red sea….so it is possible, even as a single. the harassment did increase post revolution, and its not as safe.. but not unsafe either.

            the main thing to be careful about now is check your contract carefully about and conversion from EGP. We were paid in USD but only during the revolution when the EGP went down realized that there was a conversion range of EGP to USD that they used …so we lost a little bit…..but now that the EGP has really dropped, this is a bigger issue for people in this circumstance –so check the contract!!

            Like

  43. Up front with it says:

    Great idea. I lived in Gyayaquil Ecuador about 4 years ago and made $2100 per month. The school supplied the apartment and benefits. I could live just fine on the money but didn’t save much. Fortunately we had my wife’s salary, too, and that we were able to save 100%. Check the cost of living in Ecuador. There is no exchange advantage because the US dollar is the currency of the country.

    In Pakistan I made $3500 per month and my wife made a little more. Pakistan was inexpensive and we saved about 6K per month, with two kids and lots of travel. That was about ten years ago. Thinks may have changed.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Hello!
      I have been offered a teaching post in Jakarta .
      The salary offered is usd 12000 yearly.
      The school is providing accommodation, free education for one child and subsidized for the second , water and electricity bill to certain limits, gas , cylinder and medical benefit for the family. We are four in the family . Will I be able to suffice with this salary in Jakarta.
      Urgent Advice needed.
      Anonymous

      Like

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