Master List of Schools w/ Top Savings Potential

There is more than just salary to consider when you’re looking for an International School with excellent savings potential. Airfare to home, the local exchange rate and income tax, among other factors, can make or break any Contract offer.

Beware of dazzling big numbers only to later discover your salary pans out to be worth less than a smaller salary in a less expensive place to live. All that glitters at recruiting time may not be gold.

In an effort to help colleagues around the globe identify schools with strong saving potential (in relation to all other factors), we invite you to participate in constructing a Master List of Schools w/ Top Savings Potential.

Your entry should include school name, country, city and, based on your experience, what you estimate to be the yearly savings potential. Sharing a bit about the cost of living and other pertinent factors will be helpful. Feel free to ask for savings potential information on a specific school.

For example: XYZ International School, Warsaw, Poland. I estimate my yearly savings to be about $10,000 US. The cost of renting an apartment in Warsaw can be high but everything else is about half the price of living in the United States.

Your participation is appreciated – Please Scroll to begin

44 thoughts on “Master List of Schools w/ Top Savings Potential

  1. Oxbridge International School even though it might not have a good rating in the website, you can save 70-80% of your salary.

    The school offers salary from 28.000 to 42.000 US dollars and very good package. Out of experience of our teachers they can save easily most of their salary.

    For example, 30.000 a year.
    All the costs for going out and eating everyday in a restaurant might cost around 100$ a week. It brings $2.100 saved each month easily or even more as it depends on the salary.


  2. American International School of Bucharest
    They are tightening up some of the benefits, however if you are happy to live nicely – not extravagantly then it’s easy to save.
    Salary+housing cash, for M+12 teacher, Euro 55K, about $61,000USD.
    Easily save half with travels every holidays and long weekends.
    So, $25,000-35,000USD savings for a single, with a nice standard of living.


  3. American School of Bombay (ASB) has to be up there with one of the most competitive packages out there.

    Base Salary (Tax Free) regardless of experience & degrees
    $60K USD First Year
    $70K USD Beginning 4th Year
    $80KUSD Beginning 8th Year

    On top of this you receive a living allowance of approx:

    $3K Year 1
    $5K Year 3
    $9K Year 8

    Most expenses are covered: Medical, Flights, Housing, Utilities etc

    Mumbai is cheap if you live like a local, it is expensive if you want imported goods.

    Many teaching couples save at least a full salary annually and travel extensively.
    Singles can comfortably save half their salary while still travelling extensively.


  4. English Schools Foundation schools in HK pay well. I will state in HKD and convert to USD at the end . Teachers are on a 15 point scale based on their experience (primary and secondary) of which there is no cap on entry (i.e. you can enter at top). Cash allowance (in lieu of housing) is HK$8050 per month (HK$96,600 per annum) which doesn’t need to spent on housing and is essentially salary.

    Package in 2019:

    Basic salary
    Point 1 (no experience): HK$491,200 per annum + HK$96,600 housing = HK$587,800
    Point 15 (about 12 years full time experience): HK$859,600 + HK$96,600 housing = HK$956,200

    2 Year Gratuity (bonus):

    Every member of teaching staff will get an end of contract bonus (contracts are renewed, so you get paid this every 2 years). The gratuity is 20% of basic salary (doesn’t apply to cash/housing allowance). It is prorated if you resign within the resignation window (i.e. you can leave mid contract, but only after first contract I believe) . Therefore when considered annually….

    Point 1 is HK$491,200 + HK$98,240 (20% gratuity) + HK$96,600 = HK$686,040 per annum. This is US$88,300 a year.

    Point 15 is HK$859,600 + HK$171,920 (20% gratuity) + HK$96,600 = HK$1,128,120 per annum. This is USD$145,227 a year.

    5% of this is put in an MPF (retirement scheme) and the ESF match this with another 5%. You can take it out when you leave.

    The salaries have been increased for the last 5 years (between 2 and 3.4%).

    Tax in HK is low, housing can be expensive but many colleagues that I know are putting themselves in a good financial position.


  5. I am at Saudi Aramco Expatriate Schools. We no longer get the 7% raises mentioned below but yes the salary increases steadily over time. As a single I typically save between $70-85k. Some years more some less.


  6. The KAUST School- Saudi Arabia. Earning about $100K USD for one teacher (second teacher in a teaching couple earns less as they don’t earn the overseas bonus). I save about $60K each year from my salary (my spouse saves less). We don’t live frugally, travel a lot and have children. If you are more frugal with your holidays, you could save a lot more. There is little to spend money on here, unless you’re really into online shopping, and the health package is pretty great too.


  7. I have three perhaps dated assessments:

    1) International School of Kuwait – very good potential to save up to 50% of base salary ($25,000/yr.), school was poorly run but may have improved, housing was free and right across the street from the school, paid flights each year plus bonus in the 3rd year. Kids nice but entitled, staff great back then but transient as is normal in international schools.

    2) Westhill Academy, Mexico – average salary and low cost of living, with a housing allowance. Could save about 5000$ if you were frugal, over two years. School poorly run, mostly a cash cow for weird owners. Kids entitled but polite, staff a very mixed bag and high turnover when I was there.

    3) International School of Stuttgart – Europe is expensive but salaries match the costs. Could save 40-50K if, once again, you were frugal. Salaries are expected to cover housing and taxes, etc. Housing was not provided but assistance to find the right apartment was. Generally the housing is first class. Possible to own a good used car and travel extensively if you are near an airport. Kids were great and well brought up. Staff were a mixed bag depending on how long they had been there and how they felt about you. Very good management and support with parents and students,


  8. HKIS in Hong Kong has good savings potential. Salaries are not on a typical salary scale because there is ‘performance pay’ but they tend to be around $70000 to $90000. Singles can live a good lifestyle and easily save $25,000-$50,000 a year. Teaching couples can easily save a full salary or more. Housing is provided and can be in school provided apartments or by a housing stipend which varies based on family size. Housing is very small in Hong Kong so that is something to keep in mind if you’re not up for high rise apartment living. Public transportation is great, so most people don’t have cars. Taxes are about 12-15% of your income. For the provident fund, teachers can put in 6% and the school puts in 12%. Flights home are provided every year. A shipping allowance is given when you enter & exit the school.


  9. We went from Karachi American School (excellent saving power) to Singapore American School (not quite as good savings-wise, but still very good if you lived simply) to Saudi Aramco Schools (I’d guess this is still end of the rainbow.). I think the first-year salary there was rivaled by expensive-to-live places (say, ASIJ in Tokyo), but saving power was much higher. Then, since the company had a very strong bias toward keeping people long-term, things were kind of exponential. If you stayed 5 years, you were vested in the company’s retirement system, and the longer you stayed, the more things went up – raises averaging like 7% a year. At 7% a year, your salary would double in 10 years, We were there 12 years, and total compensation, which was really good to start with, far more than doubled, so I’m certain there’s really no place out there that can compare with at least what Aramco WAS. We left early this decade, and I’ve heard things have tightened up financially, but still, if you love the place, as most people there did (as everywhere, there’s some Darwinism at work), staying for the long run meant you were set (well, other than the fact that no matter how much money you have, you think you need more…). There were odd things about the company I’m skipping over, but also many other super-cool things I also won’t go into, but on-balance, those super-cool things way outweighed the oddness.


    1. I have a friend who worked there for about a decade and was recently laid off from Aramco. Thus, they seem to be getting rid of some of the long-timers there. Also, isn’t there now a “dependent tax” that you have to pay yearly per dependent that can reach into the $1000s of dollars? These new developments plus compound living and the restrictiveness of the culture would make me think really hard about taking a job at Aramco nowadays….


    2. Was your friend still working as a teacher? I haven’t heard of any teachers who have been laid off in recent years. I am aware of a couple teachers who chose to transition out of education and into other positions in the company and those departments were then cut or reduced resulting in some layoffs including one former teacher I know of. However it is not an accurate representation of the situation to imply that long timer teachers are being laid off.

      Yes there has been a national dependent tax for a few years now but for most teachers it’s minor compared to the compensation so it does not affect their decision to stay or leave the company.

      Compound living is not for everyone. Some hate it and for others it is heaven. Definitely something to reflect on before considering a job in this part of the world.


    3. I only know the case of my friend. She said the Aramco was doing a “workforce reduction” so I’m not sure if it was aimed at years employed there, her age, her particular teacher role, or something else. She left in December 2019. it seemed kind of sudden, and she sounded sad to leave.

      Good to know that the national dependent tax in minor compared to the overall salary.

      Yeah, compound living would drive me nuts but I understand why it would appeal to other types of people.


  10. Yangon International School, Yangon Myanmar
    Est. Savings around $25k
    Housing provided
    Low cost of living but a miserable place to work. Most of your income will be spent on travel outside the country as travel within can be very costly.


  11. Cayman Int. School. A teacher with 8 years entering the school will start at about $50 000 US. Flight paid at beginning and end of contract. One child tuition free per teacher. Bonus around $3000 after 3rd year. PD is plentiful. Housing and food very expensive. Housing will eat about 40%-50% of your salary. As a single probably only save $5000-8000 a year. As a couple considerably more. We were frugal but still vacationed out of country at Christmas and saved $30000 a year. Nice environment, professionally run but small island is limiting.


  12. Haidian Kaiwen Academy, Beijing, China. Since the school pays for housing, if I never traveled I’d be able to save at least $35,000 a year. Transportation, utilities, and cooking at home are not expensive at all.


  13. Daegu International School in Korea is on par with the rest of the Korean International Schools. Salary Scale is $40-51K starting (depending on MA and Experience), Free Housing, Free Meals, great insurance, $2000 yearly for PD, Flights home each year, 3 small cash bonuses for Holiday ($200), Pension, free housing, and an option to live in the dorms with some duties for an extra ($5-8k). As a single no kids, I can easily live on less than $500 a month, travel each break, and still save $40k).

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I teach at the American International School of Bamako. I am childfree and married with a non-teaching spouse. I am able to save 24K per year. Imports are very expensive.


  15. I taught in Kuwait at American Creativity Academy 4 years ago. My contract included free housing, free transportation to work daily, and medical insurance. I was able to send home approximately $2000 per month. I supplemented my income in Kuwait with private tutoring which at the time was 20 kd per hour. (I was lucky because I was tutoring a member of the royal family in Shaab area.) This added up significantly and paid for my personal travels to other countries. Now, I am in the Dubai, UAE. The contracts I have obtained does not cover housing or transportation. These are “included” in your salary as allowances; however, the housing market is extremely high. I send home an average of $600 per month. 😦


  16. Chadwick International
    Amazing package.. Free housing, free insurance, free tuition,payment into the Korean pension,percent of taxes covered,money towards utilities and phone, travel expenses and moving expenses paid, free lunch. Best package I’ve seen in my work experience. Had a car, traveled a lot!
    Savings- 20-25,000 easily.
    Maybe only negative is distance from Seoul.


  17. NIS in Kazakhstan usually come with an all-inclusive rent including wifi.
    Amenities are old-fashioned but work OK.
    Food and entertainment are incredibly inexpensive. Paid $5000 US per month – able to save at least $2500 per month and get out and about a lot.


  18. Egypt has a low, but rising, cost of living. Local goods and services are cheap but imported is expensive. Salaries are lower than other big name ME countries; however, there is NO age limit on the working visa. One can expect to save between fifteen and twenty thousand a year and still be able to travel overseas a couple of times. But, Egypt has an excellent tourist industry with lots to see and do, this perk makes staycations all the easier.


  19. Yew Wah Bilingual International education school in Shanghai. Costs for a fairly lavish lifestyle of holiday abroad, eating out a lot, some imported food and consumer durables will still leave you with enough to save $40000 plus on a single salary, though this varies through the school, and some might only be able to manage $30000 on the lower salary rungs. This is with no extra responsibility payments. This is aided by free housing and cheap food costs, although treats can be more expensive.


  20. Karachi American School is pretty good if you taken into consideration the cost of living and entire package – not just the base salary). The median base salary (8 years with a MA) is $46,408. However, you get 15% of this paid yearly as a retirement benefit to the account of your choice. That brings you up to $53,369. All housing, utilities, and travel within the city is provided plus international low-deductible health insurance, a $1000 PD bonus, yearly airfare home, shipping allowance paid in cash, a re-signing bonus, etc.

    As far as actual cost of living goes, even eating imported Western food is no more than $600/mo and if you want a maid/cook/gardener then you can add another $300 or so to that. Everything else is yours to spend or save. You also get paid for extra classes (anything over five 45-minute) and clubs/sports. If you are motivated and frugal, you can easily save $50,000 a year tax-free.


    1. How can you save 50k when you make 53k a year? I assume you mean as a teaching couple each making 53k a year?


    2. Sorry Stacey, that was a typo. You can easily save $40,000 on a singles salary without dependents. Although I do know people who have saved more by teaching extra classes and coaching.


  21. Seoul International School (Seoul, South Korea)
    Excellent package. Competitive salary, platinum-level health insurance, pretty decent housing provided (no rent) in school-owned building that is about a 10-minute walk from school (I didn’t own a car for the first 6 years and didn’t need one at all). Very low living expenses. If you are frugal, you can save tens of thousands of dollars a year.


  22. ISSR Cambodia. There is a 3 tier salary system. If you have 11yrs + experience you are on the highest tier. Savings potential is very low. Housing is not provided. If you live a very frugal life you can save approx 5000usd per year (4000/3000 on lower tiers). However, in my experience most staff save nothing, as return flights to home country are per contract (2years) and pay a fixed amount which only covers 50-70% of the flight which are expensive due to the location not being situated near and international airport.


    1. I think the information was relevant, thanks. The message contained information about salary, savings potential and cost of living (housing and flight).

      Master List of Schools w/ Top Savings Potential.

      Your entry should include school name, country, city and, based on your experience, what you estimate to be the yearly savings potential. Sharing a bit about the cost of living and other pertinent factors will be helpful.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. British School Jakarta – massive saving potential. I can easily save US $50,000+ per year. Cost of living is generally low. Housing is very good. Most employ maids, nannies and drivers. Great for families with children, the city is less appealing for singles, especially women. The city is safe, but singles find it difficult to get out and about, with heavy traffic, high pollution and long journeys to clubs, pubs and restaurants. Travel opportunities are awesome – but beware – this is where many spend too much money, often upping their taste in hotels because of the high salary.


  24. Ivy Collegiate Academy Taichung Taiwan.
    Free housing (GREAT) free food, almost free health insurance. Free flight every year to and from. Great school. Is possible to save 80% of pay per month. Only real expense is gas for scooter.


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