Sunday, December 07, 2008

Earth Trek: The Next Episode

So lately I've been preoccupied (a kinder word than obsessed, although that's more precise) with my job search for the next school year and beyond. In the international school circuit, this process includes not only a search of school but of country and city as well, so you can just imagine the excitement- and stress-induced headaches I've had to endure. And, just because a city sounds fabu (Barcelona! Paris!) =! the school is great. In fact, many of the international schools in capital cities in Europe are second-rate compared to those in Asia.

What complicates it even further is this new school has to make the cut for being a decent workplace for me (there are quite a few draconian administrators out there) while being a top-notch academic institution with a strong performing arts for spawn (who'll be entering the 9th grade), and those two criteria don't necessarily marry well. There's a very unscientific formula to it all, weighted with a hefty dose of personal preferences. So after copious hours/weeks/ulcers of meticulous research, I've got it down to a list. My search centers around Asia because I decided that making 30-70% more than I do currently in Latin America (and Europe, where you often have to pay country taxes) is a good thing.

So here's my list, in no particular order. If you could live anywhere in Asia, where would you go?

I'm not posting the school names, just because. Of course, city grades are based on my own personal interests in the location, which can range from OMG, they have a Sephora there! to it's a foodie's paradise! to Holy Crap, there's a Hello Kitty-themed cafe! Package = tax-free salary, bennies, housing allowance, home flights, perks, etc.

School #1: Bangkok, Thailand: A school, A+ package, A- city (demerits for pollution, political instability, and being 20 minutes from downtown)

School #2: Shanghai, China: A- school, A- package, B+ city (demerit for pollution) [values added: spawn already has family/connections on his stepmom's side there. spawn really likes the city.]

School #3: Beijing, China: A+ school, B+ package, B+ city (demerit for pollution)

School #4: Beijing, China: B+ school, A package, B+ city (demerit for pollution)

School #5: New Delhi, India: A school, A+ package, C+ city (demerits for terrorist threat and too much stark poverty). [value added: a good friend already teaches there.]

School #6: Singapore: A- school [demerit for the supposedly insane workload], A package, A+ city

School #7: Cairo, Egypt: B+ school, B package, B city (demerit for my not owning conservative clothes and inevitably having to update entire wardrobe)

School #8: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: B+ school, A- package, A city

School #9: Tokyo, Japan: B+ school, A package, A city [value added: spawn really wants to go there.]

School #10: Taipei, Taiwan: A- school (demerit for quintessential type-A workload), A- package, A- city