Friday, February 2, 2018

Housing When Teaching Abroad

International schools can own properties and/or rent properties and provide them to Teachers. I've been in three International settings. I am a mature woman. These are my experiences.

1) In the sub-arctic of Ontario, Canada, in a fly in community on James Bay west-coast, there are housing shortages for locals. In your first year Teaching, you will most likely be in shared housing. Living with another Teacher, in a 2 bedroom upper or lower of a house, is common. After 1 year, maybe 2, you can gain a 2-bedroom apartment of your own. However, if there are changes to your or someone else's housing you may undergo changes too. 

I adopted a puppy, or a puppy adopted me, after 3 months living in the community. I had to make a decision to move out of my shared housing or let the puppy go. I was moved, and my roommate stayed in the sub-basement 2 bedroom apartment. I lived with my puppy and a married couple and their 2 dogs for 3 months. This was not an ideal situation. When another teacher left, due to illness, my previous roommate was moved to the upper two-bedroom apartment, and I moved again, to my previous 2 bedroom sub-basement apartment on my own. My puppy is now 8 years old. He is a great dog! We've been through a lot together. He is my buddy.

2) I was told, Teachers will have two-bedroom apartments in Kuwait when I was interviewed. For the first 3 months, I shared a 2 bedroom hotel apartment with another teacher. Teachers found out the plan for new residences fell through and little was in the works to replace it. When it looked like there was no end to our hotel stay, Teachers got together to find a solution and met with the Assistant to the Director. Within a few weeks after our meeting, we had our own two-bedroom apartments.

3) In Slovakia, I was provided a one bedroom apartment to myself. The refrigerator did not work, and needed to be replaced within the first week. The washer did not empty properly nor wring-out clothes. It was replaced at the end of the year when I renewed the lease. Few people have drying machines in Slovakia. You air dry on your balcony and indoors on drying racks. My apartment had a shower, no tub. Some of the same apartments in the same building had tubs and shower. Another Teacher, didn't have water in her shower for the first weeks. While all the single female teachers lived in small one-bedroom apartments, no matter how long they worked with the school, another single male teacher, lived in a two-bedroom apartment in a house.

After three years in my somewhat tiny apartment, I found and moved to a two-bedroom upper in a house. Soon after moving in, and over the summer when I had visitors for two weeks, I found out the landlord had a problem because my visitors were different than who I said they would be. There was a change and I didn't have time to tell him, and honestly didn't think I would need to. Another problem for him, was that I had two small birds. One of my birds had cage anxiety, he flew around the room only when someone went near the cage. I left the cage door open so he would be well. My landlord entered the apartment without notice when I wasn't home, and I found this out when he called my workplace about the birds. He'd get very angry, yell, and  because of the language barrier, would call my workplace to tell them. My workplace told me that I had to get rid of the birds, and that he had the right to enter the apartment, and that I had to live the way he liked. What my workplace did not know is that he also wanted to know who my visitors were, dinner guests too, as he did my neighbors below me. My landlord wanted the birds in the cage at all times, especially when he entered the apartment without notice, I guess. He said the birds would infect the apartment. I was upset by all and chose to leave soon after. I let the birds go.

I lived in a hotel for the remainder of the school year, while I looked for a new place to rent. As it turned out I was interviewed for another position back in Canada and I left the school completely.

4) Back in Canada, rents are very high!