As the teacher survey results show, “Salary” is a key motivator for teachers looking to move abroad. The reasons are clear: salaries for working in an International School can be higher than a similar role back home. However, it’s important to consider the full package and your net income.
When considering your income in an international school job, also consider:
- Monthly salary
- Tax (as this can range from high, to non-existent depending on location)
- Currency (is your salary in the local currency or in a foreign currency which can fluctuate?)
- Accommodation (does the school provide somewhere to live, or an allowance?)
- Gratuities/end-of-service payments (which are common in the middle east)
- Flights home (possibly once or twice during a 2-year contract)
- School places for dependents (will all your children be educated for free at your school? If not suitable – due for example to your children’s ages, will the school fund places in a different local school?)
The big unknown will be your actual cost of living. You can get a very rough idea of the costs of living in one city vs another in this International Cost of Living calculator. But, having lived in many countries myself, I know you can live expensively or cheaply. You certainly need to adapt your habits. If you eat like a local your costs will be lower. If you eat imported goods from your home country, they may well be high.
Moving abroad will also give you opportunities to travel. If you take full advantage of these, then your spend (investment!) in travels may well cost more than it would have done at home. (Have a look here for some other great ways to make the most of your time at an international school).
If you are looking to save more while you’re away, consider reading the most recent book from Andrew Hallam. Andrew used to be an international school teacher. He then wrote a book, Millionaire Teacher, about his experience – and recommendations – for investing and saving. Since then he writes on financial matters and gives talks worldwide (for free) to help others. His latest book, Millionaire Expat, is worth reading. You’ll be happier and richer in the future if you do!