Housing is one of the most important factors when deciding whether to accept a position or not. The reason for this is that a large portion of a person’s salary in his or her home country goes towards rent or mortgage payments each month. Most International Schools offer either a housing allowance (payable with your salary) or provide you with accommodation.
Allowance vs Provided Accommodation
When deciding between the housing provided or an allowance there are many factors to consider. For example, in China your housing allowance may be 3,000rmb but the cost of a 3 bed apartment may only be 1,200rmb, giving you added savings of 1800rmb per month. In contrast, a housing allowance in Myanmar could be $600 a month but the cost of renting an apartment may be $1000, leaving you with a deficit of $400 a month. Based on these examples, it may be a better option financially to take the allowance and find your own housing in China, whereas in Myanmar it would be better to take provided accommodation.
Regardless, housing should be included in your benefits package. If it is not, you should enquire and negotiate with the employer. Researching the average price of accommodation in your prospective location before signing a contract is recommended. Also, asking for pictures of prospective housing is advisable.
Like housing, many schools will provide an airfare allowance to teachers. Some schools will reimburse your flight allowance in full on arrival. Others will give it to you at the end of one year, provided you submit receipts. You must bear in mind the following:
- In some cases you will need to supply full and clear receipts of your flight purchase.
- Although you are granted an allowance, in some countries (particularly China) schools will only pay for tickets to and from your home country. If you decide to fly somewhere other than your home country, you may meet with obstacles when it comes to being reimbursed!
- You may only receive your flight allowance at the end of your contract, or at end of an academic year.
- Depending on where you are flying to, the allowance may not even cover the full cost of your flight.