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Ahh teaching overseas....when only the best countries will do!

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by nedkelly, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. Now I reckon I've been posting on this forum long enough now to decide on a few things without even one nanosecond of hesitation. For example, FP never drinks beer on a Sunday, Mainwaring is a closet rock and roller, BFG is really ET's twin brother, Stopwatch actually prefers lawn bowls to football, Ane is a Collingwood supporter, and the Hippo can't stand vodka!

    And when it comes to working out the best countries in which to live and teach, it's a snack really. Especially with the help of the search function and a scan through many of the threads on this forum pertaining to different countries. So here are my top 20, ranked on an overall view of the packages and conditions some of the international schools within each country would appear to offer, and giving due consideration to perceived differences in the quality of life, which includes cost of living and taxes!

    1. Hong Kong
    2. Singapore
    3. Malaysia
    4. The UAE
    5. Thailand
    6. Brunei
    7. South Korea
    8. Poland
    9. Bermuda
    10. Egypt
    11. Saudi Arabia (and Kuwait?)
    12. Czech Republic
    13. South America, especially Brazil and Argentina
    14. Switzerland
    15. Italy
    16. The Caribbean islands, including the Bahamas
    17. Sweden
    18. Germany
    19. Spain
    20. Mainland China

    Of course the list can only ever be very approximate, and you may well disagree. Are there any changes to the rank order you would make, any additions or deletions? Let us know your thoughts/views on the best country in which to live and teach, without naming individual schools or organisations.

  2. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Having taught in Egypt and Mainland China, I can definitely say that they should swap places on the list. The earnings are much greater in China, while the cost of living is much closer to Egypt then any Western country. When you factor in the fact that outside of politics, the Chinese are much less hung up than Egyptians on some of the things that make life enjoyable (alcohol, sex, bacon, no tipping, not necessarily in that order), then clearly the Great Wall should be ranked above the Great Pyramid.
    Also, Japan should be somewhere on the list. Very civilized place, great food and public transportation and very few hang ups about the aforementioned list.
  3. Hi Ned
    I cant do your list because as you know Im in the state sector. However, after being screamed at by the Head on Thursday and as a consequence walking out, then being begged to come back, I would put Spain on the bottom of the list. (State and/or International)
    Collingwood... ahhh yes the Pies. Lovely black and WHITE club. Im a Brisbane Lions person myself and on the odd occasion lean towards the Cats. I do remember the days of Carl Dietrich with the Saints. (an affable Nazi)
    I love cricket! But then that's another topic. Brian Lara forever and, of course, the 'Chucker'.
  4. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    All this is very subjective, and each experienced expat teacher will have varying views on this.
    For my 2 cents..having been in Egypt twice and S america too, I'd demote Egypt to below Spain, and put S America above Poland.
    Your mention of '
    gives a get out clause. There are so many variations within each country. Even Egypt has at least one, perhaps two good schools. Likewise, Malaysia, quite rightly high in the list, has a few doubtful places and with the surge in schools opening over the next few years, even more rubbish will be born, perhaps bringing the country down in rankings over time.
    In summary, although an interesting chatting point, no list can be reliable. I suggest a better idea would be to group countries in the Good, the bad and the ugly. That way the worst countries, such as Nigeria, can be clearly highlighted as no go areas. The best group would be clearer; I can't honestly put Thailand above or below Malaysia, they're both worthwhile and enjoyable places.
  5. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    For typical expat employing schools in the county:
    The good:
    Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, The UAE, Thailand, Brunei, South Korea
    So so
    Poland, Bermuda, Kuwait, South America, Switzerland, China, Russia, India, Indonesia
    The bad
    Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, Italy, The Caribbean, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Tanzania, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Botswana, Kenya
    The Ugly
    Nigeria (incidents in the last few years include - several teachers dying - including a well known incident of a headteacher dying and family then being mistreated by school, teachers being shot, armed bandits entering school premises, numerous staff being sacked for no reason, numerous teachers doing midnight runners for fear for own lives, parents taking over running of schools, contracts not being honoured, numerous staff being owed thousands of pounds, etc, etc. Of course, some heads in the country will always try to say how great the place is...)

    Please add to the list the many countries I've missed.
  6. Nezelette

    Nezelette New commenter

    I'd love to know where people would put Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos on that list.
    Also, I know the schools are great in Hong Kong, but don't the lethal levels of pollution put a slight damper on things? Surely the quality of life factor is affected by air quality...
  7. Singapore air quality is very poor at the moment too.

  8. Oof. I could never put Kuwait or the UAE above Cairo. I can't imagine one or two other places mentioned being better than Cairo either.
    Qu. 'Do you know why there are so many Polish people moving to England?'
    No? I do - I've been there!
    Wasn't Clint Eastwood in 'The Good, the Bad, the So So and the Ugly?'

  9. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Hi Ned, thanks for that. I'm currently looking for work and was wondering about two jobs that have just come up in Hong Kong and Singapore. I'll probably apply now, though if these are the best places I'll be facing stiff competition.

    However, aren't the school days rather long in Singapore, and don't they also work Saturdays? And is it the same regime in Hong Kong?

    I'd love to know why the fatherland is so far down your list. I'm currently in Berlin and quite like the place - in fact I'd love a job in Munich.
  10. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    It's a completely soundproof closet so I was hoping nobody had noticed.
    I have my doubts about Singapore. Good restaurants, brilliant zoo, excellent hospitals but expensive, crowded and an awful climate. 33C and dripping wet year round. And SMALL...A small place with a small mentality. Singaporeans competing on 'Millionaire' regularly use all three lifelines to get to $1,000. That's not because they're unintelligent. It's because their culture frowns on risk-taking.
  11. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Yes, it was a straight to video sequel..!
  12. Our survey says?............UH! UH!
    Could be - have you seen 'Twins'?
    Now that might be true....

    Don't know the others too well....

  13. Although if you did ask M what he thought of the compositions of Jimmy Page, he would probably ask "What century?"
  14. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    I haven't been to HK yet (planning to go this winter break), but I am in Beijing where the pollution is even worse. All I can say is that it has not been as bad as I was fearing and that we get quite a few nice/blue sky days. We are really enjoying living here. Yes, the really nasty looking air does roll in for a few days and it does make you wonder what you are breathing and possibly why are you here, but basically you just go about your life. Is it good for you? Of course not. But people do live, raise families and teach here for years and years and it does not statistically appear more fatal then living anywhere else.
  15. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    I have lived in the UAE, and while it was pleasant enough to live in, I don't think I would rank it that high.
    I also rather like Switzerland, but that is very much dependent upon your school.
  16. Nezelette

    Nezelette New commenter

    Well, that's the thing about 'years and years'. Sure, Hong Kong has got one of the longest life expectancies in the world. But the air pollution is now much, much worse than it ever was, so statistics are basically useless. We'll have to wait and see.
    On a separate note, I'm a bit saddened no one's mentioned my homeland. Not sure about the Paris schools but know that life in Lyon and Toulouse is sweet indeed.
  17. johnnersco

    johnnersco New commenter

    I have lived and worked in Latin America for 15 years (with a brief sojourn in Europe) and don&acute;t wish to appear abrupt or rude (although it is late in the evening here and I have drunk rather too much of the local rum), but I have a question: Why have all the South American countries been lumped together? The overall placement might be right as I cannot comment on Asia or Africa, but South America is a huge place.
    My tuppence worth (if it that is not overpriced) is that I would put South America higher than Egypt, but only because I disliked Cairo on my one visit there.
  18. I'm surprised that China is ranked so low
    I am currently working here and finding that the very generous pay and the low cost of living very attarctive. My colleagues here who have middle east /Egypt experience give this a favourable rating as a place to live. We are not even in Beijing or Shanghai which would probably rate higher.
    If you are prepared to learn a few words then it is easy enough.
    You do hear a few stories about locally owned schools being unpleasant but I would say that applies in most countries.
    Singapore and HK do well due to pay rates but the cost of living eats heavily into that. Both are efficient city states and HK has a lot more soul than Singapore. Malaysia may get better with the more prestigious private schools due to open - they may have more A-tier schools to offset the recent increase in B-D list ones.
    Finally, the list is a bit Middle east and Asia centric and I suppose, ultimately, is an interesting yet futile task.
  19. .. because I couldn't separate them on the basis of the information I gathered. Which country would you rank higher?
  20. johnnersco

    johnnersco New commenter

    Having considered this for a few minutes, it is not that easy to come up with a ranking. The truth is that only a very few international schools in Latin America offer salaries that are competitive in international terms. You see it at most job fairs at sign up time: a long line of for Chinese schools and very few people for Colombia or Chile.

    As for ranking, I think it should go something like this:
    Argentina/ Chile


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