How to choose a school overseas

So, you’ve decided to move overseas.  The decision was huge and took careful deliberation and consideration.  Behind the death of a loved one and divorce, moving is listed as the third biggest stressor in life.  

Now, you have another critical choice to make – how will you choose a school for your child overseas?  In many cases, your children’s future is the primary motivating factor behind decisions to move your family overseas, so choosing a suitable school will be top on your list of priorities. In this article, we will discuss different factors to consider when choosing a school overseas. 

Your child’s personality

One of the most important factors to consider is your child’s personality. Are they outgoing, extroverted, and adaptable to new environments or do they take a long time to settle? Understanding your child’s unique personality is vital in choosing a schooling environment where they feel comfortable and motivated in their studies. Once you understand their unique motivators, preferences and stressors, you can choose a school, curriculum and subjects to fit their needs. This is what we like to call personalised learning

Take this short quiz to help you better understand your child’s unique personality

The curriculum in your new country

Another important factor to consider is which curriculum is offered in your new country. Is it similar to the one your child has been following and will their subject choices be the same? With younger children, this could be their first school life experience, so the curriculum isn’t necessarily the first precedence. At that age the most important thing is getting into the school spirit, learning to read and write and learning to socialise. But for an older child, a major shift in the curriculum could be highly disruptive and you may want to find a school that follows the same or similar curriculum to what your child is used to. 

Schooling environment

A child’s learning environment has a direct and lasting impact on the way in which they absorb and retain information. Some children learn better in a large group setting whilst others may learn better in smaller classes with more one-on-one attention. Some children may absorb information through open discussions and others may enjoy interactive online learning content. 

Parents need to consider which learning environment best suits their child’s unique needs in order to harness their love for learning. The three main learning environments to consider are; traditional schooling, hybrid schooling and homeschooling. We have created this short online quiz to help parents better understand the different learning environments and to try to shed some light on which environment is better suited to your unique needs. 

The ethos of the school

Before selecting a traditional or online school in your new country, we recommend visiting the school’s Facebook page or website to ascertain whether the values, culture, mission and vision suit your child and your family.  It’s also a good idea to ask questions in international schooling Facebook community groups to gauge other families' personal experiences and feedback. 

Language 

If you are moving to a country with a different first language then you should ask yourself if your child is young enough to adapt to learning a new language. Younger children are very susceptible to language learning whereas older children might struggle to learn in a different language than what they are used to.

Parents can investigate schooling options based on languages. Many public schools teach and communicate in the country’s first official language so if you would prefer that your child learns in their home language then you may want to consider enrolling them in an international school that teaches in English or another language of your choice. 

The size of the school 

Take the size of the school into account in light of what your child has experienced previously, and the schooling environment in which they thrive the most. A school of 200 learners is quite different from a school of 1000 learners in terms of learner experience.

When you arrive

When you land in your new country and you decide to enrol your child in a traditional school or online international school it is important to help them integrate into their new environment. Find out what social activities are available for your child in your area.  Are there sports clubs, dancing classes or volunteer groups your child could join?  

Attending community events and activities will help your child (and you) become socially integrated into your new community.  All of the above may sound like an insurmountable mountain – but when it comes to your children’s future, every mountain is worth climbing.

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