Tips to Help Expat Children Adjust to School Abroad

by David Tompkins

Tips to Help Expat Children Adjust to New Academic Environment Abroad

Tips to Help Expat ChildrenOnce you find the ideal school for your expat children, you will have to ensure that they are coping up with the challenges of being in a new school and starting life afresh in a foreign land. The difference in culture, language, fashion, and accent may be very daunting, but all these anxieties will fade away as you learn to deal with every hurdle that comes your way.

International schools for expats generally offer a curriculum that is widely accepted internationally, and subjects are usually taught in English. If your employment abroad offers perks that cover your child’s education expenses, opting for an international school would be ideal. If you are moving into a country permanently or on a long-term basis, enrolling your child in a local school can be a good idea unless there are restrictions for expat children. Placing your child in a local school would also help you save money as they may be free of charge in case they are state-run. Privately run schools, meanwhile, are generally cheaper than international schools.

Here are some few tips to help expat children that will assist you in preparing your child to join a school in a new country:

1. Before Expat School Starts

Get your child prepared to go to school regularly by visiting the new school premises even when it is closed or maybe during weekends. Get your child excited about the possibilities of learning new things, and meeting fellow students who are helpful and friendly. Assuring that your child is not the only new kid in school will boost their confidence too.

Once you have relocated to a new country, encourage your child to interact and socialize with kids in your neighborhood before the new school session starts. Similarly, you can interact with parents to know what to expect from a school in terms of education, environment, games and extra-curricular activities. Take the child to the city areas to familiarize him/her with the new culture. Every expat destination has something unique to offer, so discuss with your child about the positives and the interesting aspects of your new location.

2. Once School Starts Abroad

It is important to know what your children are not telling you when they have started going to school. It may be small little things like a cool backpack or a lunchbox that they would like to carry to school. Also, find out if they are keen to play with local kids after classes. Check out if they want you to accompany them to school or they like to use the school bus where they can have a good time traveling with fellow students. Encourage children to express their feelings and communicate with you regularly, especially during the first few weeks at school.

Prior knowledge of your children’s daily timetable is a must so that you can ensure that they have everything that they may need during and after school hours. For instance, if they go to a PE (physical education) class without a proper sports kit, they may feel left out as they may be told to sit on the bench, leave alone the pain of listening to their complaints the whole evening after school.

Trust your kids and show them that you care about their well being. Also, express your confidence in them by giving them the freedom to choose their own friends and playmates. This will make them feel empowered; however, be there in case they need your help without interfering too much.

3. Helping Expat Children Deal With Culture Shock

Moving to a new country can be a culture shock for anyone. You may have to learn the local language too before you leave for your dream destination. Once you arrive at a new place, you should sign up your children for intensive language courses. There can’t be anything worse than not understanding what other kids are saying. So, learning the local language will be imperative to see that your child is getting happily integrated into various groups at school or in your locality.

If you looking for ways to prevent culture shock for your expat children, getting them enrolled in international schools can be your best bet. They can be a bit expensive, but it is seen that expat children are more comfortable going to international schools as compared to local ones. The best part about international schools is that they offer cultural diversity, which helps in preventing culture shock that can be very harsh on young children. The reduced pressure of language barrier will let children learn the local language gradually and at an adapted speed.

Adjusting to a completely new culture takes time and effort. As an expat, you will get ample opportunities to delve into a country’s culture and tradition during your stay. Let your family indulge in popular food and cuisines as you start a new lifestyle with full of hopes. If you are excited about your new expatriate life, there are chances that your children will also accept it similarly. Join an online expat community where you and your loved ones can share interesting experiences with fellow expats.

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