Choosing a school for your international move
June 4, 2018
After your move overseas, a new life starts. New job, new home, and for your children, new school. Have you already started the school search? We tell you all that you should look at to find the right one!
Organizing your departure and international move from Saudi Arabia overseas can be a hectic period. Moreover, you have to, not only sort out all the requirements for leaving the country but also you need to plan your life at your destination. If you have children, this means finding a new school for them.
Choosing the right school plays an important role in the successful adaptation and settling in of your kids in the new environment. Children in school age will have to leave their familiar surroundings, friends and maybe give up some of their favorite hobbies. All these can be stressful and demanding, thus, counting with the right support, in particular, from teachers and educators is essential.
However, how can you find the right school in a place that you aren’t very familiar with? This can be a challenge and this is why we want to give you some basic tips to organize the school search!
Getting ahead: Discovering the schooling options at your destination
There is a lot of work to be done, that’s why the best is to start getting informed ahead of time. Here some important things to check:
• 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…)
Preferred schools: availability and costs
After some broad search, it’s time to dig deeper into a few numbers of schools that might be particularly interesting for your children. Check their websites to learn more about their curriculum, costs, enrolment policies and additional support for foreign students.
Idea: Create a list or chart with all the information you would like to have and fill it while you are visiting the schools’ sites.
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.
Remember: Not all schools might be a 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.
Visiting the school
If possible, try to organize a school visit, so you can check the facilities and directly talk with the teachers.
Try to have as much information on hand about your child 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?
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 to relocate from Saudi Arabia with your family? Don't miss our destination guides.