Finding a school for kids when moving overseas
June 1, 2018
Are you just afraid at the thought of having to find the right school for your kids? We tell all you need to know before starting the school search!
When a family decides to relocate abroad, a period of excitement, preparation and stress begins. Organizing the international shipment of your belongings, getting all the necessary documents and applying for a million of things begins.
All these can be an up and down for your family, especially for your kids. Children in school age will have to leave their familiar surroundings, friends and maybe give up some of their favorite hobbies, in order to relocate to a new country. How can you make this process easier?
As you can image, there isn’t an unmistakeable answer, as each child is different, however, choosing the right school in your destination country plays an important role in the successful adaptation and settling in of your child in the new environment.
But finding the right school in a country that you aren’t very familiar with can be a challenge and this is why we want to give you some basic tips to organize the school search!
1. Understanding the choices available at the destination
- School types (public/private, religious/non-religious)
- School orientations (religious/non-religious, sports-oriented…)
- Caring facilities (day-care, extended opening hours, meal options…)
- Language choice (do they teach your mother tongue?)
- Curriculum (International curriculum, local curriculum…)
2. School availability and costs
Unfortunately, there some areas with few (international schools) or areas with a big number of expats, which turns into long-waiting lists to get a place in certain schools. This might restrict your choices – as well, of course, as the tuition costs, which can differ considerably depending on the area and the school.
3. Finding the perfect match
In addition to understanding the choices available, it is important to consider everyone’s individual needs and requirements in order to make a smooth transition. Pay attention to your children's emotional development for the transition to a new school. However, most of the children succeed in and benefit from the diverse and multicultural environment.
4. Flexibility might be the key
Replicating the same school’s conditions that your children have in your home country might not always be possible. Thus, you should try to be open-minded about the process, opportunities, and school availability. For expat children, their new way of life will be very different from what they were used to in their home country, yet one can find and create many similarities to their existing lifestyle.
5. What the school wants to know
While looking for a suitable international school, try to have as much information on hand about your children as possible so that you can be their advocate. The following list summaries some of the most important questions schools will ask:
• What is your child’s previous school experience and what type of school have they been attending?
• What is the teaching language at the international school?
• What is the current child’s year-group named?
• If the school is not English speaking, is the child receiving additional support for learning English as an additional language?
6. Schools have an active role in the children successful integration
Remember that there are three vital participants in the process: your child, the family, and the school. In general, international schools have also a responsibility to support families and children in this transition. You should all feel comfortable stimulating schools compromise with a high level of support for the expat children.
Are you planning your international move with your family? Get a free moving quote!