One of your major decisions as an expat would be to find a new school for your children. While they’re probably excited about the adventure of moving abroad, there is an element of loss due to leaving behind all their friends and familiar surroundings. When choosing a new school, you should try to find one that will help them feel as comfortable as possible.

Questions to ask when looking at a new school abroad:

• Does your child require any special educational support?
• How should a school cater to your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses?
• Will your child have to complete any assessments or examinations to repatriate back home?
• How much do you want your children to learn about the new country and culture?
• Would you prefer your children to learn alongside a diverse group of kids from different countries, kids from the new country, or from their home country?
• How easily does your child adapt to change?
• What are the financial implications that should be considered in choosing a new school?

A look-and-see trip before relocating overseas offers the perfect opportunity for parents to assess private, local and expat schools for their kids before moving abroad. Be sure to ask your overseas relocation expert to add schools to your look-and-see trip itinerary.

Let’s look at the different aspects involved in choosing an new school.

3 Ways to Choose a School Abroad

When moving abroad, choosing a new school in a different country can be daunting. As parents, we tend to focus on finding a “good” school, but the aspects that comprise a good school differ vastly. What makes a good school?

• location
• language
• curriculum
• school system
• teachers
• extra murals

All these aspects are very hard to assess without actually being part of the school, and good and bad aspects tend to co-exist within every school. Instead, try to focus on a school that will make your kids happiest. The best school will inevitably be a school that suits their age levels, the family’s plans, and lifestyle. Once you have narrowed down schools that meet those requirements, you can zoom in on the finer details. Ultimately, as long as your child is happy in a school, he or she will learn.

Our highly experienced relocation assistants provide the following tips for expat parents considering schools for their kids:

Ages of the children

Kids in general are quite resilient, but younger kids adapt easily in most cases. Older children might have adapted to a certain school system, in which case it would be best to find a similar curriculum, even if the school is not at the top of your list of choices.

Initially, experts advise that expat children from the same family try to attend the same school, if possible.

Your family’s future plans

If you’re only planning to be in the foreign country for a few years, it would be best to choose a school which offers a curriculum that ties in with the one they use back at home. Many expat schools offer standardised curricula for this very reason.

On the other hand, if your move abroad is permanent, a local school might be the ideal way to immerse your children into the new country’s culture. While the different language and curriculum might take some time to adapt to, they are bound to overcome it and learn valuable life lessons in the process.

Family lifestyle

The school hours in your new country may be quite different to those in your country of origin. Consider how school hours will affect your working day in terms of the distance of the school run and school buses.

Will you or your spouse be home during the day? If homeschooling is allowed in your new country, that might be a good option. Many expat families homeschool their children where they don’t have access to schools (international schools are usually only located in main cities), or where there are no international schools where they don’t speak the language. You may need to follow certain regulations in order to homeschool your children, so be sure to find out the laws with regards to teaching your children at home.

Need help finding a school abroad? Speak to your international relocation assistant about adding school visits to your look-and-see tour of your new country prior to moving abroad. We’d happily assist!