Wishful Wednesday: American International School of Johannesburg, South Africa


Johannesburg skyline photo cred https://www.flickr.com/photos/mister-e/196266116/in/photolist-ikV5y-crYP2s-7CVJPH-LkGSj-nLx7ut-azM1w5-9A5TRT-9t55Ew-7jCLTr-6E1X2P-6F2Nhy-6E1X2v-71hduc-68WWe-9sVzsg-5TBpef-9qPvjY-4kYgvo-aSHCoz-3banAk-25GSVA-qdg8tE-odTVQk-8focbm-ikUZR-5Jpzuy-7PWJgB-255RCL-4N2tT-kRYpZ-pXYxEL-aBQvW8-aBTcd5-3qoUrS-pNMBno-7aam78-9twgF1-9A9Q4A-71hecD-nYWbWK-5ENqxa-ieiNi8-pvYjUp-piMqzZ-ogdHD5-5ESHfm-8L7KSs-aVRWJ4-7uZqVr-fNNxhL

Johannesburg skyline photo cred 

I have this dream of working on nearly every continent…Australia is probably out unless something changes, and Antarctica would be impossible, but Africa is very doable! This is the first school that caught and has kept my attention over the years.

I give this school a  9.5/10! 

1. What type of school is it?

Non-profit, US accredited, offering an IB diploma

2. Student population:

On the school website it mentions that there were over 107 nationalities represented within its student body.  It sounds very international! On the FAQs page, it lists students as being “up to 25% … American with Dutch, South African, British, Korean, Indian and Swedish also well represented”. A State fact sheet states that in the ’13-’14 school year there were 1,174 students.

3. Class size:

On the school website I could not find a specific number of students in each classroom other than a mention of “small classes”.  I am distrustful of this phrase because some people think 25 is a small class whereas I think the ideal class has about 16 students.  On this website, it lists the average elementary classroom as having 15 students which is perfect!

4. Technology:

The school website does not specify information regarding the number of computers, ipads, smartboards or even computer labs.  It does say that the technology is “integrated throughout the curriculum”.  I read some of this teacher’s blog and came across a mention of an ipad cart and that teachers are given a tablet to work on.

5. Retirement:

Their benefits page mentions that AISJ will put in 10% and teachers 5% toward a “pension scheme”.  They do the same for the local hires which I think is great too!

6. Overall package:

I really like it when schools post their salary scale online! It just makes me think that if they are willing to be transparent about money that they will be transparent in other areas as well.  They have all the usual benefits including medical (and basic dental!), housing, annual air, settling in allowance, shipping, and “tuition for approved school aged children”.  I also appreciate that this school provides an interest free car loan with a 20 month repayment plan.  Also, in their brochure, they say they provide a GPS for the car! AND they have a seemingly well organized monthly PD

7. City Profile:

From what I’ve read South Africa is a very international place.  Johannesburg is a very green city with many outdoorsy activities which I have been missing. It is also almost always sunny and not too hot! I’ve met quite a few women in hostels around the world who said they loved Jo’burg. I would also love to live in a country known for good wine!  AND who doesn’t want to go on Safari?!

Safari in Johannesburg Photo Cred https://www.flickr.com/photos/gareth1953/5557196124/in/photolist-9t55Nh-p9G5tP-oLhPY2-oKkAH4-p2FZ1S-ou7qVp-9t55Ew-oLGw8c-oPkCKo-oNttpu-ozGBjJ-p2FYiE-oMF9F5-oLFfdy-oBFP6i-oPycqt-oMdZ7V-oWJVdq-p7jZB7-dnqPNg-oudB3q-oPkBZL-oMr298-oQJjmP-oV7Hr3-ozGeQa-oLFfGE-owbXxe-oTi6HN-oRBa4u-oT8XNn-oCDzS2-oGhEfg-p78Abo-oTVxRW-poxmRx-p7kH7D-oQviux-oy2bdc-oUUxy5-p8PVoz-oQJdN5-oTVcNH-p5qqe7-pcfHSG-p9G5Pi-oLGuoG-p9nNyd-oTVzTR-oYK14S

Safari in Johannesburg Photo Cred 

I don’t really like the fact that Johannesburg doesn’t have nice public transportation, but I’m used to it, and since the school provides so much support with the car situation it sounds like it will be fine.  Driving on the left-hand side of the road would take a lot of getting used to, but after driving in Venezuela where there are basically no lanes, I think I can drive anywhere!

A major point of concern is that many sources list Jo’burg as being very dangerous.  Having lived in Venezuela which is also known as a dangerous country, I feel like I wouldn’t have too much of a problem with it. In fact, the Huffington Post lists South Africa as the 9th most dangerous country while Venezuela is number 2, so it would still be a safer move if I went there one day.

I’m only giving it half a point because while I am accustomed to living in a dangerous country now, I would like to in a country that didn’t make the list of one of the top ten most dangerous countries in the world.

8. Salsa Dancing:

According to SalsaPower there are TWO Cuban salsa (my favorite) academies which host weekly events in restaurants.  There are also 3 other salsa schools.

9. Teachers:

According to a State fact sheet, there are 162 faculty members (as of 2013-2014).  The AISA website lists the teachers as mostly American with 15 other nationalities present.

10. Food:

While I wouldn’t recommend this place to my vegetarian friends, Joburg sounds like a meat lover’s paradise!  Only two of the ten most famous dishes listed on this page don’t have meat involved.  You can even eat ostrich and alligator which I’ve liked in the past.  I don’t think I would lose any weight eating South African food, I am sure I would love it!

Please comment! Have you been to Johannesburg? Would you want to work there? Have you or someone you know worked at the American International School of Johannesburg? Can you add any info to what I’ve listed above? 


9 responses to “Wishful Wednesday: American International School of Johannesburg, South Africa

    • Usually when I’m actively searching for a job I will subscribe to the paid side of International Schools Review to see the newest reviews. Despite the fact that I post these Wishful Wednesday posts I’m not actively searching for a job now so I haven’t seen the reviews for this school in a while. However, when I do have access to ISR I also read it for fun!

      Now, if I want up to date, and more accurate, info I would ask people in the ISR Forum or in a group I belong to on Facebook. For the purpose of these posts I use as many sources as I can find to answer the specific questions I have about a school and city that I would like to visit.


  1. We’ll let you know what we think after August! We’ll be on the Pretoria campus though, which I think is growing rapidly but at the moment it’s only elementary and middle school. By the way I learnt to drive in Caracas… I then had to relearn a few rules when I came home 🙂


    • How exciting that you get to be in such a lovely country!

      I know what you mean about needing to relearn how to drive in your home country! I only drove for about three years before I left the US (and then not very much because I took the commuter train downtown for work), and now I’ve been driving for about three years in Venezuela and every summer I’m constantly worried that I will break some US driving law.


  2. Pingback: My Top 10 International Schools | Teaching Wanderlust·

  3. Hi,
    Enjoy your website. I’m a teacher in Canada and lived in South Africa for 9 months, though I was a volunteer with a charity organization (not teaching). I didn’t live in Jo’Burg but spent some time there. In some ways it’s a very easy city for a North American to adjust to. Most of the amenities you’d find here, you will find in Jo’Burg. Health care (private) is very good. The cost of living in Jo’Burg is high by South African standards but still quite cheap, though much depends on the fluctuating currency (the Rand). It’s currently low so American dollars will go very far. Food and eating out is relatively cheap. Vehicles and fuel are expensive.

    Safety during the day is not a huge concern, provided you stay off the metro subway and away from certain areas of the city. Nighttime is a different story as unfortunately muggings and carjackings happen regularly.

    South Africa is a fascinating country but it can be an uncomfortable place. Post-apartheid tension is still a reality. Very little has changed economically for the average South African and the disparity between the rich (you and I) and the very, very poor is a painful reality. White and black South Africans are still very economically segregated and often the only interactions they have with each other is through an employer-employee relationship. However, Jo’Burg is a little different than the rest of South Africa in that there is a growing black middle and upper class. Soweto is proof of this and is a fascinating place to visit. The Apartheid Museum is possibly the most memorable museum I have ever visited.

    Liked by 1 person

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