Tips for choosing an international school
May 6, 2016
While relocating overseas can be a thrilling experience, it can also be stressful for families with children in school age. When it comes to education and finding the right school in a city that is unfamiliar, stress levels can rise simply because parents are not prepared to know how to even start the process. Education is one of the main challenges and is a recognised challenge to relocating to a new country, following these tips might help you with this important decision.
Choosing the right school overseas
The process of finding a school in a city you don’t know is not only intimidating, but can be hard and frustrating, especially if there are just a few options and long waiting lists. 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. Parents should be aware of their 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.
Parents need to know that it will not be always possible to replicate the same school’s conditions that their children were attending, and consequently they need 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.
Important information for the school
When looking for a school, try to have as much information on hand about a 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 the child’s previous school experience and what type of school have they been attending?
- What is the language of teaching of the 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 also a responsibility to support families and children in this transition. You should all feel comfortable stimulating schools to compromise with a high level of support for the expat children. Confirm that all schools offer a tour and of the facilities an orientation talk.
Key to finding the right school for your children is to remember that, there are three vital participants in the process: the child, the family and the school. You need to be well informed in order to satisfy the needs of all of them:
- Gather a child’s background (needs, interests, previous experiences, current situation, special features etc.)
- Have a thorough awareness of the family’s needs and preferences
- Have a good understanding of the available schools (size, philosophy, availability, approach to teaching, attitude with new students, etc.)