How to Find the Right School Abroad for Your Expat Child
There are countless decisions to be made before relocating abroad with your family. Picking the right school for your child is undoubtedly one of your priorities since the choice can significantly impact your kid. Unfortunately, you often have to decide without visiting the school, so the pressure is even stronger. That’s why we will try to help you with our tips on how to find the right school abroad for your expat child.
Start searching ASAP
Once you pick the country and a place you want to relocate your family to, you should start researching schools for your expat child. The Internet will probably be your first source of information, but it must not be the only one. Every school likes to be portrayed in the best possible light, so their websites will not give you a realistic image of the situation. Whatever you read on their pages should be taken with a grain of salt. Social network groups might be more objective, so join those to get more info about your child’s future school.
Many websites offer help to people moving abroad. SIT Spain is one of the best ones assisting in immigration, relocation, and goods transport. On their pages, you can also find some useful advice about living abroad.
A personal recommendation can be beneficial
Have you got some friends or relatives in the place that will soon become your residence? If you do, don’t hesitate to ask them for the opinion about your child’s future school. They know you, and they are familiar with the city, so their opinion should be more relevant than any other you get on a Facebook group.
The expat community will probably play an essential role in your life once you move abroad. Try to find out which schools their children attend and why they chose those particular ones over others.
Now, the answers to the following questions might bring you closer to the solution.
How long do you plan to stay in the new country?
The answer to this question can help you decide which school to enroll your kid in. For instance, if you plan to stay permanently, you should opt for a local school that fits your needs, and there is no need to analyze the curriculum in detail. However, if you intend to move back and your kid needs to continue his/her education in your homeland, then an international school might be the best choice.
The same is the case with families that move often. Attending local schools in every country they live in might cause discontinuation in kid’s education. So, if you plan to go back in a year or two, you should look for a school that offers a similar curriculum to the one your child is currently attending. If your family relocates a lot, you know that the relocation can be stress-free and fun. Good organization and preparation are crucial. And, don’t you worry about your child being able to adapt – they will find it easier with time.
Will your child continue the education in their first language?
If you are moving abroad with your family and you have a chance of enrolling your child in a school that has classes in your child’s mother tongue, you should prioritize this option. Expressing themselves and making friends in the language they know best will help your child adjust more quickly. This is extremely important for high school kids and teenagers. The little ones will find it much easier to learn the new language and adapt to any school system. Of course, everybody’s experience is unique, and you can never predict how your child would react to the new environment, but the younger ones usually don’t object to these changes.
Should you turn to the most popular schools?
The most prestigious schools in the area are not always the best ones for your kid, just like the best-paid jobs are not everyone’s first choice. The best school is the one your child feels the most comfortable in – that should be your guidance! Your child feels the need to belong somewhere and to be accepted by his/her peers. So, instead of looking for the connections to get your child enrolled in the most popular school, you should try to find out more about the families whose children actually attend those schools. Remember, your kid will choose friends among his/her peers, so the adaptation will be easier if they have similar backgrounds.
Follow your child’s dreams and talents
If your child is into sports, you should look for schools that excel in this field. The same goes for your kid’s other interests – arts, science, technology, etc. Talents should be nurtured, and some schools are better at it than others.
Find the right school abroad for your expat child by picking the most practical one
The school that your child will attend needs to fit your lifestyle. What does that mean?
- When does the school day start? – some start too early, and others too late, so it might be impossible for you to take your kid to it and pick him/up due to your working hours.
- Where is the school located? – if the school is too far from your home or the place you work, your child might not be able to reach it safely. It can also be difficult for them to socialize with their peers who all live near the school.
- Is there a school bus that can take your kid to and from school? – public transport can be dangerous in some cities.
- Are there any extra activities your kid can attend after classes at school? Is there a school canteen serving the food your family approves?
As you can see, many questions need answers. Only after you get them will you be able to find the right school abroad for your expat child. At the moment, the situation with moving abroad might be a bit tricky due to the non-essential travel ban, but we all hope for the best!