Family & Relationships
Expat families have various international education options at their disposal.
Many parents measure the quality of their children’s international education by their own personal standards. However, different schooling options for international education may differ widely from what parents are aware of.
For expat parents and children, there are many international education options to choose from. Apart from the many local schools, bigger cities with a large expat community also have international schools or foreign national schools that follow a country-specific curriculum with international elements. However, not every type of school is suitable for every child, so be sure to choose your child’s international education wisely.
International Education: Essential Aspects to Consider
Before parents decide whether to place their child in a local school, an international school or even a boarding school at home, there are different aspects of international education to consider. For instance, the ideal type of international education depends largely on the duration of the parents’ stay abroad and on the child’s language skills.
A long-term assignment may require the child’s international education to include learning the local language. When expat kids reach a certain age, they might need the help of a tutor or language teacher. Younger children, however, often need very little help to pick up a foreign language.
Of course, the international education of expat children also depends on the available schooling options as well as their parent’s budget. Private and boarding schools can be extremely expensive and many not be affordable to everyone.
It is important to choose the type of international education which caters to children’s intellectual and cognitive needs and help them thrive in an academic environment. Some children may have extra physical needs as well. Local or public schools often do not offer all the support and facilities necessary for these children. Parents should make sure that their school of choice fulfills all their requirements to offer their children the best possible international education.
International Education and Local Schools
In local schools, both private and public, the language of instruction is that of the host country. Parents should be prepared for a much different curriculum than what they are used to. For younger children in particular, there may be no other choice of international education. Some private schools may offer instruction in the local language to foreign students, as well as international curricula or diplomas.
The quality of the international education varies from country to country. Parents with older children should be especially cautious. It may it be harder for these students to be accepted and keep track academically due to the language barrier. Moreover, academic qualifications are not necessarily transferable, and children may struggle to have their international education recognized for admission to college/university later on.
For younger children however, an international education at a local school may be the right and, in some cases, the only, choice. At an age when they pick up a language relatively quickly, it is often easier for children to immerse themselves in a foreign culture when they are surrounded by locals and an international education may be just right.