Family Living Locations

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Family Living Locations

Post by applecake »

So many factors when narrowing down locations. One of them is where your family might live - not neccesarily the city/country but the surrounding areas and the type of dwelling. What does the day-to-day look like for a family?

Wondered if we were looking for a throwback to the 80s where we had family neighborhoods and kids biking in the streets reminicent to Stranger Things - which schools / cities would be best to take a closer look at?

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Re: Family Living Locations

Post by Heliotrope »

applecake wrote:
> Wondered if we were looking for a throwback to the 80s where we had family
> neighborhoods and kids biking in the streets reminicent to Stranger Things
> - which schools / cities would be best to take a closer look at?

This sounds a lot like how other teachers have described the housing compounds for some schools in Saudi Arabia (Aramco, KAUST, AIS Riyadh, AIS Jeddah, probably a few more).
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Re: Family Living Locations

Post by expatscot »

applecake wrote:

> Wondered if we were looking for a throwback to the 80s where we had family
> neighborhoods and kids biking in the streets reminicent to Stranger Things
> - which schools / cities would be best to take a closer look at?

Actually, pretty much any city where there are compounds, in particular ones where there are a large number of expats living in them. Beijing has a few in Shunyi which are like this - Capital Paradise being one - and there are a few in HCMC and KL too.
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Re: Family Living Locations

Post by secondplace »

If you're looking for something not compound based then Europe:

Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Netherlands.

And there must be others that people can recommend.
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Re: Family Living Locations

Post by Innsbruckave »

Looking for suburban living is a challenge in a city. Many international schools are in cities and then you're looking at condo living. That can be nice too for a family if the condo has other families living there. We lived in a high-rise in Shanghai, a multilevel compound in Guangdong, a semi-detached house in a housing development in Malaysia, and a detached house in a Bangkok neighborhood (that took 3 weeks to find). My kiddos were born in China, were younger in Malaysia, and older and more independent in Bangkok. I wouldn't have little kids in Bangkok if I had to choose. Shanghai was challenging enough and the public transport, infrastructure, and cleanliness, were definitely better than in Bangkok. It's a struggle to push around a pram in Bangkok unless you are in a mall. I took my little kids on my bicycle in Shanghai, but they had space on the road, Bangkok does not. I think some areas of Malaysia are better for younger kids, we had a car.
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Re: Family Living Locations

Post by BigMike »

American School of Doha. Kids went round and round the compound!! and a huge pool in the middle!
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Post by PsyGuy »

You could certainly find the type of scenario you describe in a compound or in DODEA (if you lived in on base housing). As to dwellings:

1) Apartments/Flats: This is by far the most common. The type of apartments vary greatly across regions. While most ISs are in cities there are some rural ISs, and suburban ISs. Some very general commonalities are that they tend to be furnished and tend to be located near amenities such as a conbini and a fast service restaurant. If youre in a compound or housing complex these may be located within the complex. Complexes also tend to provide additional amenities such as athletic/sports courts, some exercise machines and pools. You basically find two types of apartment arrangements:

A) Provided Housing: In this scenario you get to the apartment and find everything set up for you by the IS. Often the apartment has gone through several faculty hands and the IS maintains a revolving lease agreement with the property owner. The apartment will most likely be furnished, with appropriate furniture and appliances. Usually the past ITs will have left some stuff behind which might include various countertop appliances and usually kitchen flatware and utensils (pot, pan, a cooking knife, mixing spoons, etc.). Typically, you have to procure your own linens and bedding (though this might have been left behind as well). Among the appliances there should be a clothes washer and depending on the region (uncommon in Asia) a machine dryer. Usually the last ITs will leave behind whatever cleaning products (detergent, dish soap, etc.) though amounts might vary.
As part of the housing package the IS will have turned on the utilities (power, gas, water, etc.) which may include an antenna, satellite or cable programming package (often this is the most basic programing and you have to arrange more expansive programing on your own. There may or may not be internet installed in the apartment. This may require little more than contracting with the provider and a switch being thrown somewhere, or it may require a visit by a technician. While the basics will be on you will have to arrange for the payment of these with the utility company. Typically this is something you do on your first day of new faculty orientation. For most issues like repairs you will talk to the ISs secretary or office staff who will make the appropriate calls and emails. You may even pay your utility bills with the IS or the IS may pay them directly without any input from you. Typically before your arrival a welcome basket with some basic food stuffs is provided (snacks, pasta, sauce, milk, etc.) and you may receive a settling in allowance in coin. Someone should show you how things such as the appliances and electronics work either directly or with a diagram.
This is the most convenient option but has the least flexibility. You dont have to spend a lot of time or effort but youre usually stuck with what the IS gives you.

B) Procured Housing: In this scenario you work with a leasing/property agent to identify a place and then secure leasing of it. This is usually facilitated by the IS providing a housing allowance. Your IS should put you in contact with an agent or someone to help you identify a place in advance. This kind of assistance can vary greatly. In some ISs the agent might simply be a member of the ISs office staff that knows what apartments have recently been vacated by departing staff and they simply point you towards those locations with an expectation you will accept the one option or maybe a couple of options. This is more common for first time arriving faculty who arent given provided housing. Typically the freedom to branch further out on your own only comes after spending a year or more at the IS and only if a housing allowance is provided. You will either be put in contact with the agent before your arrival and will have secured a place prior to arrival or you will spend a few days in temporary housing (hotel, etc.) and begin identifying with the leasing agent the next day. Typically you will have been in contact with them prior to arrival and they will have a few places chosen to show you on the first day.
One of the pressing issues is that ISs offer various amounts of coin and assistance in this process. The IS may provide guarantees for you saving you from some of the deposits and other fees in securing the housing unit. An IS that offers little may require the IT to commit substantial amount of coin to move in. This can easily be the equivalent of several months of rent in some locations. In addition you will have to arrange for the utilities to be billed to you and turned on. The property agent/owner may already have activated the basic utilities and only require a change in the billing information. This process can be rather time and resource intensive. An IS may bill against your housing allowance any time spent in temporary housing. They may not provide guarantees or may not provide additional coin for deposits and other startup costs. ISs will usually take a more hands off approach to procured housing as they would with provided housing. You may as a result have to report maintenance and repair issues to someone other than your IS. You will have to familiarize yourself with whatever system and process there is for a number of things from post/mail collection to security and facility fees. This option allows for greater flexibility and customization, youre more likely to get what you want in terms of priorities but its going to take more time, effort and expense.

2) Dormitory: This refers to dormitory type housing that is on the ISs campus. Typically these are rooms or small apartments in an on campus building/complex (such as an ISs Panda house in China). While the physical description may vary little between this and other apartments they do come with certain characteristics not found in other housing arrangements. Essentially, you always have to have your work face on. Your property agent/owner is the IS and thus your leadership becomes your property manager (even if its designated to a specific . or individual). You will also have your fellow staff/faculty as your neighbors. Whatever happens at the IS will follow you home. You will likely experience less separation between work life balance. Usually these properties have superior and inferior units and incoming faculty usually get the worse of them with returning staff getting priority of better units from departing staff. Suffice it to say your complaints go to leadership, and there have been times a newly arriving IT found the housing accommodations needing significant attention who had their contracts nullified and dismissed (not being a team player, or whiner).

3) Boarding: This includes various types of student housing in conjunction with some amount of faculty housing (usually as part of a house parent role). Suffice it to say in this arrangement you will never really get away from the students and their issues. Its become more common that this role is a FTE position in of itself but ITs may find themselves in a holdover situation where they are tapped to fulfill a house parent role during a holiday or break or the role may be combined with a teaching appointment.

4) Shared Housing: In this scenario the IS has procured a larger dwelling such as a house or large apartment/flat that is located off campus but typically near the IS. ITs are typically given a private room (and maybe WC/bathroom as part of an en suite) but share common areas with other ITs such as kitchen, living room, balconies/patios, clothes care facilities, etc. This option differs from the dormitory in that youre not living among the entirety of the ISs faculty but a small part of it.

5) Houses: This option has many of the same characteristics as the apartment/flat as far as mechanics. What differs is the location and availability of amenities. Typically these options are outside the CBD and urban area and usually in suburban areas. Typically you dont find the array of amenities either on the property or in the vicinity. This option is usually reserved for families that have familiar with the region and been with the IS for sometime or are settling in the region permanently. Typically the IS provides the least amount of assistance with this housing option, with the assumption you know what your doing.

6) Compounds: This is an extension of the Dormitory option with the exception that different housing sizes and amenities may be available. Instead of cookie cutter units there may be standard and premium options available where the premium options are provided at additional coin (that comes out of salary) and there are typically various sizes available. In addition both the housing unit and amenities are all controlled by the organization responsible for the compound (usually its a business interest of which the IS is just a part of).

7) Field Accommodations: This is usually associated with some form of adventure/sport/field experience. It may be a cabin on a ship, a chalet at the top/base of a ski mountain, a tent on the savanna/forest, a room in the back of a building (stable or sports complex such as an ice rink or lake), a habitat in some extreme environment (arctic, etc.), or as simple as a hotel room at a site some distance from the IS. This may be a permenant posting or a temporary one such as during an IS outing or trip. You get what the IS provides for you and its unusual to have other options.

Most ITs will get some form of housing benefit (those on an OSH package) that will include various allowances such as shipping/shopping, relocation (airfare), settling and commuting (travel between residence and the IS). Sometimes the IS provides these directly (such as in the case of a IS provided van) and other times its a reimbursement (submitted usually monthly and either received as an extra disbursement or included in your next salary disbursement) or a fixed amount (if your cost is more you pay the difference out of salary and if its less you pocket the extra).

Housing is often sited as one of the negatives of having dependent children. It cost more coin for larger accommodations to fill the same classroom. Larger accommodations may also have lower availability or command a premium in the housing market depending on cultural differences.
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