If you are considering moving abroad then chances are that you have researched international schools for your kids. Whilst many families choose public schooling for their children, there are many families who opt to enrol their child in an international school.
In this article, we will look at some of the pros and cons of choosing an international school when moving abroad.
What is an international school?
Wikipedia.com defines an international school as “an institution that promotes education in an international environment or framework.”
An international school usually offers a curriculum that is separate from the host country and their national system of education. The curriculum is usually internationally recognised or aligned with another country. For example, families from the United Kingdom often choose to send their children to accredited British international schools, but there are international schools aligned with other countries, including the UAE, USA, and Germany, among others. This provides the child with the opportunity to attend an international university - should they wish to do so.
Whilst the curriculum may be different to the standardised national curriculum of the specific country, the school itself will usually ensure that they abide by the requirements of the host country’s laws and regulations. The school may also choose to teach in a different language. For example, in Portugal, there are a few international schools that opt to teach in English whilst still abiding by the Portuguese Education Departments' schooling laws and regulations.
An international school may take the form of a brick-and-mortar facility or it can also be administered through an online learning platform, like CambriLearn. Whether you are looking for a traditional classroom environment or a more personalised education solution through online schooling, an international school is a great option for immigrating families.
Advantages of choosing an international school
- Your child can be taught in a language of your choice.
- Your child can learn alongside other children from a similar background, whilst also enabling them to meet children of other cultures.
- International schools tend to have smaller classes.
- Your child will receive an internationally accredited education of your choice.
- International schools are generally more accepting of students going away during term-time to visit family back home and of the different religious and cultural festivals of their students.
- Following a standardised international curriculum, like the international British or Cambridge curriculum, means that children can move between schools easily. If the family moves often, which is often the case amongst expat families, then it is relatively easy to slot into another international school in the next country where they may move.
Disadvantages of choosing an international school
- International schools are generally more expensive than public schools.
- Children who are enrolled in an international school may struggle to immerse themselves in the culture or language of their new country.
- There are fewer international schools than public schools so it may be difficult to find an international school nearby to where you live that has space for your child.
- International schools tend to have a higher turnover rate for staff and students. Students tend to move frequently and children may have some hard goodbyes and have to learn to form new friendships and teacher relationships.
International private schools vs. online schooling
Whilst you may find a suitable international private school to accommodate your language preference, the brick-and-mortar versions of these schools are often unaffordable, especially after navigating the never-ending costs of immigrating.
These schools are also often situated in major cities so if you are moving to a more remote or rural area, then it might be difficult to find an international school nearby to where you live.
Online schooling gives families who are moving abroad a more affordable international schooling option. This combined with the freedom and flexibility to study at your own pace, whilst working towards an internationally accredited education, makes this option of schooling a popular choice.
There are a variety of online schooling platforms to consider, however parents need to ensure that their schooling provider is internationally accredited and has experience in providing online education. CambriLearn has over a decade of experience, is accredited by COGNIA and has been tried and tested by more than 3.5 million students worldwide.
Hybrid schooling environment
If you are considering enrolling your child in an international online school then you may want to consider finding a local tutor to assist with their studies. This is often referred to as hybrid or blended learning as it allows children the freedom and flexibility of online learning, combined with the support and social interactions of studying alongside a group of peers.
CambriLearn has partnered with more than 600 tutors around the world to ensure that our students have access to ongoing student support. Here is an example of a CambriLearn learning pod in Mauritius.
Questions to ask when considering an international school
- What is my child’s preferred learning environment and does this school suit my child's preferred style of learning?
- What is the average teacher-to-student ratio?
- Are the teachers properly qualified?
- What curriculum do the students follow and will my children be able to transition to the international curriculum?
- Does the school provide progress reports?
- Is the school accredited by an organisation like COGNIA?
- What extra-curricular activities and courses do they offer?
- Do children have to sit an entrance exam or interview?
- What are the school fees and additional costs, is it affordable to your unique family?
- Will my child receive personalised learning support?
- Is the school flexible to my child’s schedule and pace of learning?
- Does the school adopt a no-homework policy and instead promote revision?
- What are the school’s values and vision?
- Are there any scholarships or bursaries available?
If you have questions about choosing an international school for your unique family or if you want to connect with other international online schoolers around the world, then please join our international homeschooling Facebook community group.