Teacher Housing

Teacher Housing When Working Abroad

When you teach for an international school or ESL school abroad, your housing is, for the most part, taken care of. As housing is often a big chunk of a teacher’s expenses in the West, “free” or almost-free housing, is a huge perk when teaching overseas and can quickly increase a teacher’s disposable income. In fact, the free housing should always be considered when looking at a sometimes-low international school salary.

Housing Provided by Schools

Most international schools and ESL schools provide their teachers with housing in a good location convenient to the school. However, “convenient” is a relative term so it is always a good idea to ask the school how far the housing is located from the school and how they are supposed to get to the school from the housing. Some schools provide local transportation, and other don’t. When housing is provided to a teacher, it is generally already furnished with basic furniture necessities and is expected to be shared with another teacher of the same sex.

Housing Allowance

Most schools that do not provide housing will offer a housing stipend or salary increase to help with a teacher’s housing costs. When schools provide financial compensation in lieu of housing, they also assist teachers in finding an adequate apartment or house. A housing allowance can be a plus because it might mean that teachers can bring dependents with them, since teachers will be getting their own private housing. Or to save more money when schools provide a housing allowance teachers can rent with another teacher to save money.

House vs. Apartment

In most major cities around the world outside of America residents, even families, usually live in apartment houses instead of single family homes. America seems to be unique in the concept of urban sprawl; other countries combat this by building up instead of out. Think New York City as opposed to Los Angeles. The advantage to clustered housing so close to the city is that people often don’t need a car to get around. When living overseas you’ll likely live in a nice apartment building, often complete with a private terrace and a doorman, although usually without a swimming pool or gym, as is typical in U.S. apartment buildings.


Gas, electricity, and water expenses for teachers overseas are handled in the same manner as housing. International schools usually pay for all a teacher’s utilities, often without a teacher ever even seeing the bill. In some cases, instead of paying directly for their utilities, schools will help remunerate teachers for utilities with either a stipend or increased salary.