Moving your life and family to a new country is an exciting but daunting time which poses many questions and conundrums, from how to carry out the big move to which neighbourhood to make your home in to “how many of these cuddly toys do we really need to bring with us?!”. One of the major decisions that needs making is, of course, which school to send your child to, and within this lies the all-important choice between national and international school.
International schools are schools usually found in capital and other major cities which provide an international education for an international community. In your search for the right school it is well worth taking a look at local international schools and weighing up the pros and cons compared to national schools in your new city. Before you do so, here are four good reasons why choosing an international school for your child might just be the best decision you make this year.
1. Global Outlook
In our increasingly globalised world, it is more important than ever that our children understand the wider world and develop a global mindset. International schools are globally focused and provide students with the skills and knowledge which encourages them to be active citizens in a global community. They are also culturally diverse spaces and allow students to connect with children from all over the world, not to mention culturally aware teachers from many different countries.
2. No language barrier
In most international schools the main language is English, so if you’re coming from an English-speaking country, your child will be able to slot right in with one less obstacle. Moving countries and schools can be challenging enough, so removing the language barrier will make the transition much smoother for them and take a weight off your mind too. They’ll also have the opportunity to learn the host country’s national language and most likely another one or two.
3. An international curriculum
This is a key factor to consider in your choice of school. Not only will an international curriculum equip them with education and qualifications that are globally recognised, but it will also mean that they can move seamlessly from one school to another if you move cities (or countries) again. For example, the International Baccalaureate* (IB) programme is taught at international schools in almost 150 countries. This may be preferable to an American school, for example, which would teach the U.S. curriculum, or a British school which would be based on the GCSE and A-Level exam syllabi. The IB curriculum is also known to be challenging, with an emphasis on critical and independent thinking and which leads to capable, internationally minded students.
When you join the community of an international school, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by people just like you who have faced similar challenges, share similar experiences and understand you and your lifestyle. You and your children will have the opportunity to meet and share time with other expat families, as well as the school staff who can empathise with your child’s situation and are adept at helping new students settle in.
So, there you have it; four good reasons to get you thinking about international education. If you’re weighing up options and still feeling a little unsure, why not chat to some other expats to gain an insight into their decision-making process and how it worked out for them? Then get in touch with the international schools in your new city and organise a few visits to see for yourself. And don’t forget to bring the children!