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What Really Matters When Choosing Your Child’s School Abroad

Updated: Jan 5

When moving abroad, finding the right school for your child can be one of the greatest topics weighing on your mind. Whether you are considering an international or local school, here are some tips to assist you in making an informed decision to help support your child’s academic and personal growth. 

Understand the Local Education System:

Start by getting a good grasp of how the education system works in your new community. Details like school schedules and cultural nuances matter. Check out websites like International Baccalaureate (IB), Council of International Schools (CIS), and local education departments for insights into curricula, standards, and local practices.. 

Accreditation Matters:

You also want to make sure that the schools you are considering offer the accreditation your child needs either from local or international school accrediting bodies. The Council of International Schools (CIS) and local accreditation boards ensure high-quality educational standards and can be great resources as you identify what would be a good fit for you and your child. 

Educational Directories:

There are lots of helpful platforms that can help you along this journey. Platforms such as International Schools Services (ISS) and The International Educator (TIE) offer comprehensive information about a wide range of schools, both local and international. These directories can be invaluable resources to compare programs, facilities, and admission processes.

Connect with Expat and Local Communities:

Another invaluable resources for all things move abroad are virtual and social media communities. Although general communities can be helpful, for country-specific, or identity-specific information, try to find a group that focuses on that exact thing. For example, if you are looking for a local school for your teenager with specific needs, or you want to ensure inclusion for your African-American elementary-schooler, you should look for groups that can answer questions for these specific needs. Websites like ExpatExchange, local education forums, and community groups can offer great insights, tips, and advise on pitfalls to avoid. 

School Websites:

Websites of potential schools can be a great source of information, either by the things they say or what they do not say. School websites often provide detailed information about their curriculum, ethos, community, and admission procedures. Take some time and delve into these sites. They can provide just the confirmation you need that this is the place for your child to grow.

Explore Government and Embassy Resources:

Embassies and consulates usually provide lists of recommended schools, including both international and local options. Government and embassy websites can guide you in understanding the education landscape of the country you are moving to.

Language of Instruction:

The language of instruction is very important when considering your child’s next school. While many international schools offer bilingual programs, local institutions may provide immersive language experiences. It is essential to ensure that your child is comfortable with the language used for teaching.

In the vast sea of information, remember that every school has its strengths and weaknesses. Use the available resources to gain a sense of what suits your child before arriving. Additionally, don't underestimate the power of personal connections; a phone call can go a long way in alleviating any concerns you may have. An international education is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child. Remember to stay engaged with the school community, foster open communication, and enjoy watching your child thrive in their new academic environment.

Stay Connected and begin living your Best Life Abroad

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