Going International with Health Issues

October 29, 2015

Hospital building flat style. Ambulance and helicopter, health and care, aid and doctor. Vector illustration

Finding yourself overseas, cut off from meds and treatments you need is an emergency best avoided. So…If you live with a chronic health condition requiring periodic medical care and/or daily medication, do take the time to research medical procedures and medications available in what may soon become your new host country.

Diabetes, hyper-tension, high cholesterol and a host of other nagging yet common conditions are readily treated in most corners of the globe. If, however, you’re living with a less common condition that could be outside the expertise of the medical community at your destination, you’re advised to research whether the treatments you require will be available.

If it is specialty meds you require, bring a hefty supply with you overseas and do this even if the drug is available at your destination. It’s not uncommon for supplies to become exhausted in some locales and shipping networks can and do break down. Don’t count on having your prescription mailed to you, either. Customs duties can be ridiculously absorbent and the time your meds spend in customs may be long….too long!

On a similar note, a member writes: When I returned to the States from the African continent last Christmas, I soon discovered I had contracted a nasty tropical disease. Feeling worse by the minute and dealing with a wide range of ugly effects, I was not able to get it treated in my North American city of 650,000 inhabitants as it was, obviously, an uncommon disease in this part of the world. Fortunately I had brought meds back with me at the suggestion of our school nurse who advised all teachers to bring a supply ‘just in case.’ Lesson learned: Don’t take anything for granted! Lack of available care and/or medicine can happen anyplace in the world.

This brings us to the topic of health Insurance. Normally, schools purchase what is known as “group insurance.” This means that one or two members of the group with a costly pre-existing conditions can and do cause the overall price for the group to soar. Health issues can be a deterrent when schools consider teachers for employment. If you do have a pre-existing health issue, thoroughly read the school’s health insurance policy to be sure your condition is covered. Don’t take anything for granted, or the word of anyone telling you…”I think it’s covered.” ISR Reviews attest to teachers who found themselves overseas with a costly condition not covered by their school’s health Insurance policy. As always, we recommend research and the sharing of information and experiences. International Teachers Keeping Each Other Informed is what ISR is All About!

We invite you to post questions and comments concerning
medical issues as they relate to the International Teaching experience.

A Guide for Teachers Who Want to Go International

October 22, 2015

forum-pos-new-teachers66470527Just days ago we discovered an incredibly informative post on the ISR Forum. It begins like this: 

“My little sister is graduating from teacher’s college next year and wants to get into international teaching. I wrote this up for her, but I thought some new members here might find it useful (and edited the language to make it less personal). Feel free to share any comments/disagreements/improvements that you think should be changed.”

We won’t take time to tout all the excellent insights you’ll glean from this extensive ISR Forum post. We will say, however, that if you’re an educator thinking about going International for the first time and don’t know where to turn for answers, here’s just what you’ve been looking for. Many thanks to the author for taking the time to share their knowledge.

Go to ISR Forum post
(The ISR Forum is available to Site Members and Visitors alike)

How Long is Too Long at One School?

October 15, 2015

 Dear ISR, I’ve been at the same school for five years. I love it here! The country, the language, the school, the kids and parents…just about everything agrees with me…except the tap water. Last week the Director, who I respect and admire, asked us to drop a note in his box saying if we were planning to sign on for another year. It’s not a binding commitment, just a heads-up. I said I would be staying.

A few days later the Director called me in for a “chat.” I soon learned teachers who opt for a sixth-year, and beyond, are not eligible for expat status. This means, that if I stay, I will lose my housing allowance, medical insurance, yearly flight home and a number of other small perks to total about $10,000 in benefits–Thank you for your years of service. I didn’t see this coming and only have myself to blame for not doing the research. Although he doesn’t make the rules, the Director offered to take my case to the Board. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

I’ve been looking into the topic of International Schools removing expat status after a set amount of time. Apparently it’s not uncommon. I’m getting the idea that International Schools aren’t looking for continuity or longevity in staffing, but prefer a revolving door of educators. Growing up in Florida, my school was a place of stability for me. It was a given. A rock. The Teachers were well known and were respected, or feared if they were especially strict. I looked forward to having the same teachers as my older siblings. I feel our international students, many of whom are raised by nannies and drivers, are missing out on this experience and would benefit from long-term relationships with educators who know them well.

I searched the ISR Blog and Forum for comments on this topic and unless I missed something, it has not been discussed. If you would be so kind as to post this letter to your Blog and open it up for teachers’ comments, I would really appreciate it.

Have a wonderful day and thanks for the work you do at ISR,


If I Only Knew Then What I know Now

October 8, 2015

Handsome young man in shirt and tie writing something in note pad and looking over shoulder while sitting at his working place

…..No one will dispute that “hindsight is 20/20.” As such, looking back on your International Teaching career (assuming you’re already teaching overseas), what important lessons have you learned through experience that you wish you knew about at the beginning of your career? To put it another way, if you had it do over again, what would you do differently?

…..From colleagues in the “newbie” stages of International Teaching to seasoned veterans with years of overseas experience, we’ve all had revaluations & experiences that led us to say, “Oh, if only I had known!” All of us can profit from lessons learned. We invite you take a few minutes to share with colleagues something you know today that you truly wish you knew earlier in your career. International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what ISR is All About!

How Recruiting Fairs Fared in Our Survey

October 1, 2015

     ISR wanted to know if the trend away from Recruiting Fairs has been growing since our 2013 Survey. Our most recent Survey reveals that YES, there appears to be a significant shift away from brick and mortar venues, and an increased reliance on the internet as the preferred recruiting method.

It’s no secret that more than one recruiting agency is currently in the process of implementing virtual fairs. Apparently they have seen the writing on the wall, so to speak.


   The way we see it is this: About 17% fewer candidates attended Fairs as compared to 2013. This equates to nearly a full 50% of respondents opting to avoid Recruiting Fairs. Of those who did attend Fairs, fewer candidates said the Fair was not beneficial. Does this mean it’s possible that with less teachers attending Fairs, those that DO attend receive an increased level of attention?

Of course, there is a variety of ways to interpret data. Our interpretation is that physical Recruiting Fairs are becoming a secondary method of recruiting. What’s your take on the survey results?

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