Many parents often wonder: what are the real benefits of international schools? This is why we brought together experts from some of the top international schools to help you understand what are the real advantages of international education and whether it may be the perfect fit for your child. If you’re considering enrolling to an international school, here’s a complete guide outlining the best reasons why it could be a good decision for your family.
Internationally Recognized Curricula
An international curriculum will equip your children with education and qualifications that are globally recognized. It will also mean that they can move seamlessly from one school to another if you move to an other city (or country).
One of the first steps in selecting a great school for your family is understanding the curriculum they follow. There are several great options to choose from and each has amazing benefits for the students who study under that system. Click here to learn more about: which curriculum to choose if you would like to learn more about this topic.
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 recognized, but it will also mean that they can move seamlessly from one school to another if you move cities (or countries) again.
Academic excellence should be at the heart of a great international school, look for a school with an internationally focused curriculum. For example, the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and in Secondary look for a school that offers iGCSE and IB Diploma programme. These qualifications are recognized worldwide by top universities and prepare students for the future, with valuable 21st Century skills. Look at a school’s long-standing academic success, where students consistently score above the UK average in iGCSE and IBDP results.
High school is a crucial period for students to prepare themselves academically, mentally, and socially for their university days. At Leysin American School we believe that one of the best ways students can excel in these areas and distinguish themselves in college applications is by attending an international boarding school.
In most international schools, English is the language of instruction, plus since students often come from many different countries, English is often the only way to communicate—even outside the classroom. This means students live in a truly English-speaking environment.
The vast majority of International Schools have English as their shared school language. They focus on a deep education in world languages—but at the same time offer home language programmes to strengthen students’ own language and culture. Speaking several languages is key for communicating with the global world. ”It’s good to get to know other people’s perspectives, other cultures, and to learn to accept others quickly.”, says BIS student Victoria from Grade 5.
A few years ago, a group of American researchers discovered that, in the frontal lobe of the brain, the representation of second languages, those that are acquired late, is in a different place from that of native or mother tongues. However, when the different languages are acquired simultaneously and early, both are usually located in common areas of the frontal lobe.
Since these areas of the brain are specific to spoken language and not to its comprehension, the different brain location may explain why late bilinguals are always recognized as such, since they never, no matter how much they practice, come to express themselves verbally as native speakers in their second languages. Everything indicates that when language is learned late, it is no longer installed in the areas of the brain that are best conditioned for it.
Thus, the best language learning program is one that introduces the language into people’s daily lives at an early age, which means bringing it, as far as possible, into the family, school, professional and leisure environments.
Because of their international communities of students coming from many different nationalities, international schools bring children the understanding of other cultures, nationalities, religions, languages and universal values. It will be a great help for your children to succeed not only in their professional life but in their personal life as well.
A global education goes beyond awareness and understanding of other cultures, nationalities, religions, and languages, beyond the development of international attitudes and universal values. A truly global education is grounded in making a difference, in purposeful engagement and responsible actions aimed toward care and sustainability of the planet and its peoples, a holistic view of world affairs, and peaceful collaboration between nations.
Your Child Will Feel The International Spirit:
“Bavarian International School is a beacon of internationality and of course diversity. We have 61 nationalities, 50 mother tongues, and teachers from 29 different countries at our school”, states Dr. Chrissie Sorenson, Head of School at BIS. Students, Teachers, and staff from all across the globe gather together in the pursuit of knowledge and personal growth and form a community of enriching diversity.
Students who have the privilege of being exposed to a wide range of cultures and heritages from all over the world are given a deeper understanding beyond the classroom and are offered a very unique experience. An international education brings students both personal and professional rewards.
When students have the opportunity to study alongside global classmates, it offers them not only a remarkable chance to improve their global and cultural awareness but also gives them an explicit advantage when entering today’s global marketplace.
There is one certainty that is identifiable in the constantly changing future of our workforce; as globalization continues to expand rapidly, future workers will be working in environments that will require them to connect with people from around the world.
Attending an international boarding school encourages students to take on a more complex worldview and learn about new cultures and countries through firsthand experience. At LAS our community is composed of students from over 50 different countries; this diversity often generates thoughtful discussion, open mindedness, and the sharing of cultures in daily classroom discussions. Students at LAS also enjoy a travel program which takes them to new places both within Switzerland and abroad (some of our students’ favorite destinations have included Portugal, Zimbabwe, Cyprus, and Italy).
Children need access to an international community to understand that we are different. This will help them in their personal lives and their careers.
Living as a citizen of the world means each global issue affects you. International education can help students understand that worldwide, the changes that take place in the economy, the changes education faces, and the changes happening in the environment – all affect everyone.
Academic excellence is at the heart of any great international school. That’s why they offer smaller class sizes and create the environment that can attract and retain the best teachers in the world, by offering professional development opportunities and a global network for teachers to share best practice.
Top international schools will offer smaller class sizes for improved relationships between the teachers and the students. Not only are the professors able to directly address a small group of students, therefore creating a connection that enables better learning, but the students are more easily able to ask relevant questions to the teachers, and obtain better answers.
When a professor teaches a large class, they usually have to generalize the content and have a more basic view of the topics. While this is a good way to teach, it may invoke less interest in the students and not allow them to deepen their knowledge on more specific topics they’re interested in. In smaller classes, however, the teacher is able to get a good view of the progress of the class and tailor their courses to allow extra attention to topics of difficulty. By properly comprehending the needs of a small class, the students are better able to advance.
Many of the benefits of small schools are overlooked. Sure, everyone knows that students in smaller classes get more individual attention but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the perks of enrolling at a small boarding school.
To begin, students have less of a chance of encountering bullying and negative cliques that often develop in larger schools. Shy students feel safer and are included more and begin to develop more confidence amongst their peers.
Moreover, success goes hand in hand with small school environments. Time and time again, studies indicate that academic success rates are much higher in small school settings. Firstly, students in small learning environments are often able to participate more and have their voices heard. With small class sizes strong student-teacher relationships can flourish which help students feel comfortable taking risks both academically and socially. These strong connections can also lead to greater social-emotional development. Students and parents are often able to be given much more regular feedback from teachers and staff of the facility. In small school settings each student can feel a part of a community as interactions are more frequent and more meaningful.
Speaking of parents, they also enjoy the added benefit of having their child’s teacher readily available for any concerns. Typically, any behavior or academic issues can be addressed well before evolving into a more serious matter. In a small school setting, prevention of issues is the cornerstone.
Following an international school helps you achieve the excellence expected of students at a foreign university. International schools allow you to focus on specific courses and have a deeper understanding of each. They also offer support whenever you need it.
International schools provide students with many and varied opportunities to develop new skills and experiences beyond the regular curriculum. Many international schools offer after-school activities on top of the base curriculum, such as sports, music, dance, technology and many more.
Is your child a Drama king or Debate queen? International Schools offer extensive After School Activity programmes like competitive sports, exceptional Arts education, outdoor activities, eco-projects, or Model United Nations. Extracurricular programmes open many doors—they can boost academic performance, promote physical health, and provide a safe, structured environment for the children of working parents.
Forward-thinking schools choose to make after-school programs central to their educational offerings. The American International School · Vienna offers 25-30 after-school activities per semester. With more than 25 years’ experience offering ASAs, AIS is a leader in innovative programming. AIS activities serve, on average, 500 students from Pre-K to Grade 8 per year in a wide-array of activities designed to engage and benefit a well-rounded child. The classes range from arts and sciences (drawing, cartooning, ballet, engineering, coding, foreign languages) to sports and music (basketball, taekwondo, tennis, swimming, guitar, strings).
In international schools, there are not so many mandatory courses that allow students to take on extracurricular activities. These can help them grow, can help them achieve their well-being, and offer community support. An international school challenges students with real-life issues and offers support when needed. It teaches them to overcome challenges, admit when they have trouble solving them, and help them in future challenges.
Traditional classroom setups often have a teacher standing in front, by a board, with students’ chairs and tables facing the front. That arrangement primarily facilitates a teacher-led lesson. International Schools are now increasingly shifting away from that. Classroom setups promote collaborative learning and create numerous opportunities for discussions and reflection on one’s learning. Some schools can even support different learning styles including comfy corners for independent thinking, reading, and contemplation balanced with spaces for teamwork.
A Global Education Opens the Door to a Global, Technological World Global citizens need critical thinking skills and technological literacy to participate in the worldwide community of learners. International schools are designed to be effective and conducive learning environments; classrooms and laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art educational technology. Schools like Bavarian International School offer 1:1 device programmes, deep learning, and technologically trained teachers and staff to integrate technology into daily practices, teaching, and learning.
Students of international schools develop a lifelong network of friends and contacts from all around the globe who can help them socially and professionally in the future. After LAS students graduate, they automatically become a part of our extensive alumni network, which opens them up to internship and mentorship opportunities, as well as the chance to join in on LAS reunions around the globe.
For parents and students, international schools offer vibrant communities that work together to provide an international education. Parents also benefit from finding their own community and meet new friends.
We asked a mother who has enrolled her children to explain to us the reasons why she chose an International School:
The International Community
(One for me this time.) It was important to find a community to support me as we made the transition from the UK to Germany. From help with food shopping, to learning where to buy school shoes, or learning that I would need my name on the postbox or would never receive mail! At ISD, there is a Welcome Committee for new families, opportunities to volunteer at the school, grade level coffees, representatives from most countries and much, much more.
In an international school, you have colleagues from around the world. Whether in class or online school, the international community of students you are a part of helps you develop as a person, helps you understand other cultures, accept differences, and form friendships.
We hope that you have found in this list, listing all the benefits of international education enough help to help you decide whether or not an international school is the right choice for your family.
Remember that there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing an educational path for your children–every family needs to find what works best for them and their goals in life.
If you are still on the fence about making a decision, we encourage you to contact us so our team can provide expert advice specific to meeting your needs.
What did you decide and why? Let us know by leaving a comment below!