Questions to ask when applying for a job at an International School

Written by BFIS Staff

Finding the right job opportunity can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding a job at an international school in a foreign country. Applying for a job at an international school is different from applying for a job in your own country because there are unique guidelines and qualifications that must be met. Additionally, salaries and benefits may be different as it may be the culture and quality of life. That is why a good and thorough research about the country you are applying to is so important. 

It is also critical to ask the right questions throughout the entire application process in order to ensure that you understand all of the expectations and requirements of the position. Here are certain tips to take into account when applying for a job as a teacher abroad.

Application Basics

In order to find a job as a teacher at an international school abroad, you should be aware that you have to fulfill some requirements, which depend on each country. They are as follows:

  • Work visa.
  • Medical insurance.
  • Certificate of proficiency in the language of the country.
  • Valid passport.
  • Employment contract with an academic institution or teaching center.

In addition, there are some recommendations to keep in mind when it comes to finding teaching jobs in international schools abroad:

  • Explore the labor market of the country: It is essential to analyze in depth the labor market of the country where the international school where you want to work is located. In this way, you will be able to find out what the situation is like for teachers in that country, especially in the teaching area of your specialty.
  • Study the country’s education system: it is also vital to study the country’s education system, as it varies greatly from one place to another. In addition, each country has different requirements for its teachers that you will have to meet if you want to work in an international school.
  • Make a good resume: once you have analyzed the labor market and the educational system of the country, it is time to make a personalized resume that fits these conditions and the job offer.

Qualifications and References

When looking for a job as a teacher in international schools in a foreign country, it is essential to know what academic preparation is required to be able to work as a teacher.

The requirements vary depending on the country and the educational system. Most international schools publish their job opportunities on their websites, with job descriptions and teaching requirements. Make sure you read those carefully and apply to those which you meet the requirements. Some schools use recruitment platforms specialized in the education sector such as Schrole. These platforms help schools reach a wider pool of qualified candidates and streamline the recruitment process. Candidates can create profiles on the platform and search for job openings that match their skills and qualifications. They can also apply to multiple jobs with a single application, making the process more efficient. 

Questions about the school

One of the key aspects when looking for a job as a teacher in an international school abroad is the school.

The teacher interested in working abroad should ask questions about the school he/she is interviewing with. Surf the school’s website and if you have questions that remain unanswered, ask them during your interview. 

Important questions: What is the teaching and learning approach? How are the school’s mission and values lived? What are the most important traits of the school’s culture and community involvement? How is the parents’ communication encouraged? How are the classrooms and students distributed? What is the average class size and the teacher/student ratio? or what is the graduate profile? among others.

Questions about working abroad

Despite meeting the requirements, it is essential that the teacher who wants to work in an international school abroad asks questions about what it is like to work abroad.

Ask the school about the working conditions, length or distribution of the working day and even vacations, since these aspects do not necessarily coincide with the working conditions that teachers have in other countries. Ask about what type of work permit is required and how the school helps foreign teachers with this process.  Ask about the school’s policy on medical insurance, how the school describes the expat teacher community and how the school supports new teachers with housing and bureaucratic paperwork.

Salary and benefits

Undoubtedly, a good incentive for many teachers seeking job opportunities in international schools abroad is the salary and benefits offered by the school.

International schools often offer competitive salaries that reflect their unique contexts and locations. Of course, there are countries where salaries are higher than others, but also it is the cost of living. Salary is not the only benefit to take into consideration. Take into account as well the benefits package, including health insurance, moving allowances, travel reimbursements, professional development opportunities  and more – all of which should be discussed during your job application process.

It’s also worth figuring out if there are any additional perks such as language bonuses, tuition discounts or lunch tickets for staff or family members. Finally, make sure to research information related to taxes and pension contributions in your host country as these may vary from what you’re used to at home.

Cultural Considerations

Although cultural differences may be more or less pronounced depending on the country where the school is located, it is essential to take them into account. Different countries have different culture values, beliefs, and customs, and these can have a significant impact on the workplace environment and the way business is conducted. 

Ask the school about different aspects such how is teamwork valued and encouraged, how is the hierarchical structure, how the leadership team interacts with faculty, what is the communication style among staff members, but also with parents and students. Many international schools have different policies regarding communication with families and child safeguarding and protection. Make sure you read them carefully before starting working in the school you are interested in.

Another important aspect to take into consideration is the lifestyle and quality of life in the country of destination. Consider all the travel and learning experiences available to you while leaving and working  there. 

It is also interesting to connect with someone already working at the school (you can connect in LinkedIn) and ask them these questions personally. You will get a better idea of how life and work in the country where the school is located. 


In conclusion, applying for a job at an international school is an exciting opportunity; however, it’s important to be well-prepared and ask the right questions. Research the school’s website, take notes on the important information, and write down the questions that remain unanswered for you. That will make you look professional and interested in the job position. Gather as much information as possible, it will be helpful to make an informed decision about your future workplace. 

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