..Something that has bothered me no-end about teaching overseas is the housing situation. I’ve taught at 3 schools & only one of them provided school-owned housing. The other 2 supplied a monetary allowance barely sufficient to rent a very “modest” apartment. This moderate sum, unfortunately, did not cover the rental agent’s fees or the $600 I shelled out in the form of a “security” deposit. Nor did it cover any of my out-of-pocket expenses for furniture & the basic essentials of a kitchen, bathroom & bedroom. All this stuff set me back financially & it irked me that I had it all back home. I even had to buy a refrigerator in one country! It all adds up super fast. I consider it unreasonable for a school to expect this of us & would say it makes a strong statement about those that do. If we were relocating permanently, then okay — but for just a couple of years? Really!?!
When I moved on to my new school (surprise, surprise) I lost my cleaning deposit at each location & sold everything I had bought at a big loss. When you’re leaving & you have to dump the stuff, you’re in no position to hold out for the highest price. I figure I lost at least $2000 or more at each school. To add insult to injury, one school covered only 3 days in a hotel room upon arrival. After that I paid the bill until I found an apartment. It took 6 days to close the deal even after I said I wanted the place!
As you can guess, the first couple of months at the 2 schools that offered no school-housing were a disaster for me. I spent far too much energy looking for an apartment, furniture, arranging deliveries, getting utilities turned on & moving in, etc. I received no help from the school. This rough beginning set the tone for the school year & I will tell you the tone was “flat” at best.
Apartment hunting is difficult enough in your own culture, but you’re at a huge disadvantage when you don’t even know the neighborhoods or the laws that govern rentals in your new locale. I figure most schools avoid house renting for teachers because they know that landlords can be money grabbers. So, instead of going to bat for us with these tyrants, which would in turn allow us to focus on setting up classrooms & preparing for our students, they throw us to the ‘wolves’ when we’re fresh off the boat. I will never again work at a school that does not provide housing. I now consider no-housing an omen of what is to come. At the 2 schools that didn’t provide school-owned housing it turned out to be a very bad omen for me.
Have you had an experience to Share or do you have some insight into this situation?
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