Finding the Right School for Your Expat Children – Expat Education Options
As a parent, emphasizing too much on finding a ‘good’ school may be futile. One can never judge with certainty the quality of the curriculum and teachers in a school before your child starts with their classes there. It is important that you get your child enrolled in a high school where they are happy and show growth regardless of the school’s reputation. Before you enroll your child in an educational institution abroad, you should consider various factors including language, expense, location of schools, child’s age, availability, and educational programs.
You have expat education option to choose either homeschooling or a boarding school for your child; however, most expats generally opt for an international or a local school. Here are some basic tips that may assist you in finding the ideal school for your child:
Think and Plan Ahead
Are you planning to settle permanently in your chosen expat destination? At some point of time, if you move to another place abroad, you will have to select a school that can provide continuity of education for your child. For instance, if you plan to return to your native country after a few years, the education curriculum of the school in your expat destination should match the one in your home country.
You can also choose International Baccalaureate for your child if you have plans to settle in another expat destination. Local schools can be a great option only if you have plans to settle permanently in that country or if a new language has to be learned. Children tend to be uncomfortable while adjusting to a new school’s environment. In such a situation, you have to ensure that your child is enrolled in a school where there is no curriculum change as it can adversely affect your child’s learning ability.
Research Your Expat School Options for Your Family
Researching various schools on the internet is easy and convenient. But this should be done before you move out to that foreign destination. Merely surfing official websites of schools may not help because almost all of them may have exaggerated the truth to attract more students for admissions. Your internet research should identify international and local schools that suit your child’s aptitude.
Word-of-mouth publicity can also help you zero in on the ideal school for your child. Speak to other expats, colleagues or ask for recommendations from people who reside in your expat destination. You can also get in touch with someone who is connected to that country’s schools in some way or the other. There are also forums and chat groups that can give you a fair idea about the best possible options for your child’s education.
Age of a Child Matters
We know that younger children can adapt to a new school environment far more easily than the older ones. Some can adjust quickly to a new curriculum, but others can’t. So, in the best interests of your children, you should let them continue studying where they feel comfortable. Education disrupted after short periods due to hasty relocation’s may have a bad impact on your child’s studying habits and academic success, so decide judiciously.
School’s Schedule Shouldn’t Affect Your Lifestyle
If your child’s usual high school day doesn’t fit in with your regular lifestyle, you will have to make adjustments or look for a school change. In many countries, high schools start and finish early. This can mess up your regular schedule and sleep cycle!
Check Distance of the School from Your Expat Housing
A school’s distance from your residence matters. Enrolling your child in a nearby high school will help him/her make new friends and socialize locally, instead of feeling bored and lonely after school. Also, check whether the school provides school buses. Otherwise, you will end up spending many hours taking your child to school and bringing them back using public transport.
Choosing a School is Your Personal Decision
It is important that you place your child in a school where he/she is happy and feels comfortable. High school students may temporarily struggle with exams and a new curriculum. Selecting a school for your child’s educational progress can be very challenging. But it is still only up to you to make the decision at the end of the day and hope for the best. Remember that enrolling your child in a school that is not working out doesn’t mean the end of the world for your kid.
You can always change your mind, and your child will gradually adapt to the changed routine in a new school even if the process is very cumbersome. Make sure you obtain adequate global healthcare for your expat children while living abroad.