How to choose a school abroad for a child: tips for expats
Choosing a school abroad for your child is an important decision. Factors that influence the choice include academic quality, cultural adaptation, and financial costs. The difference between international and local schools lies in the curriculum and language of instruction. Learn how to make an informed decision about your child's education abroad
Moving abroad with the whole family is an interesting experience that can give your child a wonderful childhood, expand his horizons and help in the formation of his personality. However, a major concern while living abroad for many immigrant parents is securing a high-quality education for their children. Quite often, you should look for a school before deciding on an apartment to rent or buy.
How to provide a child with quality education abroad? Tips for choosing a school for expat parents below.
What factors influence the choice of a school for a child abroad?
Choosing the right school for your children when moving abroad is an important decision that will be influenced by many factors, including:
- Planned period of stay at the destination: you emigrated permanently, plan to return to your homeland or move to a third country after a certain time.
- The age of the child - the younger the child, the easier it is to adapt to a new environment.
- The period of the academic year when you move.
- Language barriers.
- Family budget - tuition fees differ significantly in different countries and educational institutions.
Useful tips for choosing a school abroad
Despite the fact that most often the choice of an educational institution depends on the specific needs and wishes of each family, here are some tips that will help you make the right choice:
1. Look for the curriculum that works best for your child
Determine whether you want the child to study according to a national or international curriculum. The answer to this question directly depends on:
- What did the child learn before moving?
- Are you planning to move to a third country?
- Will the child take national exams?
- Which university do students plan to enter in the future?
2. Find out the size of classes in educational institutions of the future country of residence:
A good student-teacher ratio is an important element to consider when choosing a school abroad. In large classes, the child will have a wider circle of communication, while in small classes, each student receives more attention from the teacher. Also, smaller classes are usually more cohesive.
Remember that each child is special, and what is good for one may be completely unacceptable for another.
3. Pay attention to extracurricular activities
Extracurricular learning develops social skills and teaches teamwork. They also allow themselves to have fun and actively spend time after lessons. Be sure to check what extracurricular sports and activities your prospective schools offer, as well as what is included in the school day as part of the core curriculum.
4. Check the level of equipment of the school and the teaching staff
Find out how well the future school is equipped with the necessary equipment. Also, pay attention to the teaching staff and the availability of support staff - teacher assistants, librarians and medical staff.
5. Choose the ideal school location
Although this is not the main factor that should be paid attention to. However, finding a school that fits well with your daily commute will give you more free time.
In addition, depending on whether the school is located in the city center, on the outskirts or in the countryside, its grounds can be anything from cramped and unfriendly to spacious and green.
6. Make a budget
Tuition fees at International Schools will vary depending on location and quality of education provided. In addition to education, the total cost of studying at an international school may include sports, meals, excursions, extracurricular activities and insurance. So don't forget to factor in all the extracurricular costs you'll save by applying to an international school.
As an expat, you can negotiate with your employer to receive appropriate allowances to ensure the required level of education for your child.
If international or private schools are too expensive, focus on local schools.
What is the difference between an international and a local school?
Considering the above factors, most expats usually choose between international and local schools, the advantages and features of each type of institution are discussed below:
1. International schools
Most expat parents believe that an international school is the best choice that meets the needs of their children. According to statistics, about 32% of foreigners send their children to an international school when moving.
The advantages of international schools include:
- Internationally recognized educational programs, which allows children to continue their studies regardless of their country of residence.
- A supportive social environment – as international schools welcome new students from all over the world every year, it can be easier for foreign children to adapt to a new school and make new friends because their classmates are in a similar situation.
Disadvantages of international schools:
- Attending international schools is often quite expensive, so they may not be affordable for all expat families.
- Inconvenient location - usually one or two international schools operate in the city and they are located most often in the center, so it can be geographically difficult for the family to get to the educational institution.
2. Local schools
If there is no international school in the new place of residence, it is not available due to geographical or budgetary restrictions, or you are moving to the country for permanent residence and want to immediately immerse your child in the local environment - the ideal option would be a local school.
According to statistics, 31% of expats send their children to a local public school, while 21% choose local private schools.
Unlike international schools, the adaptation period at a local school can be more difficult and long for a child:
- A foreign child will be in the minority in the local school environment and may not have enough confidence to meet his peers at first.
- Language barrier - usually local schools teach in the native language, this can create additional difficulties and problems with learning the program.
A new curriculum, often it differs from what the child is used to at home.
Taking into account all the above factors, the next step is to create a list of schools that you think may meet your criteria and arrange with the management of the institution about excursions so that you and your child can see the place. If after the visits you have a positive impression of a particular school, you can start studying.
Daria Rogova, Head of Insurance at Visit World
To move, travel or work safely in a new country, you will need travel insurance. You can apply for an extended policy on our website here.
Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:
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