Whatever your reasons for moving overseas, helping your children to understand, and embrace your move will be at the top of your list of priorities. Finding the right school for your child is essential if they’re to settle in quickly and comfortably, but actually identifying what kind of establishment, or learning environment that might be, can be really difficult – particularly if you’ve decided to be strict with your budget.
The good news is that there are some fantastic, frugal schooling options available for international children, including local schools, home schooling, private tutors, and international establishments. The bad news is that you’ve got some serious decisions to make.
Let’s start with some things to think about
Before you start thinking about schooling options it’s vital to consider your child’s needs, and the kind of education you’d really like him or her to have. Would you prefer a formal, or informal learning environment? Have you thought about how your child might access the curriculum? What grades and qualifications are you expecting your child to achieve? Be clear on your expectations; without them you can’t possibly hope to find a school or educational establishment that will fulfill them.
It’s also important to understand the variety of school systems you’re going to be exposed to; some will be better for expat families than others, and you might not always agree with the recommendations given to you. You know your child better than anyone else, so it’s essential to consider him or her in every decision that you make. After all, there’s no need to make the move overseas any more confusing, or costly than it needs to be.
Find a decent international school
While local schooling and private tutors are always worth a second look a decent international school will be worth its weight in gold; why should you pay money for private tutors when your child will have access to everything he or she needs, and a group of friends to share it with? These kinds of establishments offer an enriching, varied curriculum, and will help your child get to grips with a new culture without removing every home comfort. International school curriculums and qualifications tend to vary from country to country, although you’re bound to find a good American standard school regardless of where you’ve settled.
There’s a chance, of course, that you’ve chosen to settle elsewhere in the world. However, the following are some of the most popular locations for international schools, and the qualifications your child will have access to.
If you’re considering sending your child to an international school in Hong Kong be reassured that there are several to choose from. The schools typically teach American and British curricula, with the International Baccalaureate being a popular choice; after completing their schooling, children are generally awarded a diploma based upon the number of credits they’ve achieved. Entry into Hong Kong international schools is competitive, so do your research properly before applying.
France is a popular destination for American parents looking to advance their careers, or find quality educational opportunities for their children. As you’d expect there are a number of international schools across France; most teach UK and US curricula, offering the American High School Diploma, SAT, and PSATs. Your child might also have the opportunity to learn with the International Baccalaureate system, which is renowned around the world.
Another popular destination with American expats, Dubai has a fantastic international schooling network for pupils just beginning to settle into the country. Usually following American or British curriculums, or a mixture of both, Dubai’s international schools also follow the Baccalaureate system. This qualification is recognized globally, ensuring that children who have completed the award are able to transfer their skills to college, universities, and careers elsewhere in the world.
As you can see, you’re likely to come up against a barrage of decisions when it comes to finding the right school for your child; regardless of where you are, the chance of your child being able to access a quality education that will see him or her in good stead for the future is high. Whatever you decide, try to ensure that your child is ready to join their class at the start of a new school year; arriving after everyone else has already started can make children feel isolated and upset. It’s also important to bring your child’s school records with you, to enable his or her new teacher to create a better picture of the kind of learner your child is.
Participation in extracurricular activities, play dates, and parties can go a long way towards helping your child fit in and make friends, so be sure to ask your child about his or her experiences and suggest new things to try. A little understanding can go a long way, and should ensure your child is ready to embrace the challenges ahead.