Education: Points to Consider

Education: Points to Consider

For relocating families, choosing the best-fit school in the new location for their children a huge concern.  Indeed, housing and schooling are the two first items that families try to resolve when they are moving, and they go hand in hand, along with commuting times to work for the employee whose job has led to the relocation.

For families who are moving to a new country and are trying to decide on schooling for their children, a couple of things to think about:

Remember that the word “international” has not been patented.  There is no fixed or set definition of the term “international” when describing a school, and virtually any school in the world can hang out a sign and call itself “international.”  It may do so because it has a few native English speakers on staff or because it offers a “non-local” curriculum (international of sorts?) to local students.   Or maybe it simply wants to attract expat families because it’s a for-profit venture.  Consequently, if you are exploring international schools for your children, be careful to investigate what “international” means in the schools you are considering.  In addition to asking questions about curriculum, ask what percentage of the student body is local vs. non-local, and where the teaching staff are from.  In “real” international schools, both students and faculty come from many different places, although the balance of local to non-local varies from school to school.  Also, be sure to ask about accreditation and matriculation data for students’ further study.

Think about repatriation.  You may be excited now about your upcoming move and you’re so busy that the last thing on your mind is how your children will prepare for re-entry into your home country education system three or four years from now. Depending on where “home” is, however, it might not be too soon to think about this, since it may affect which school you choose for your children in the new location.    Also, if your children need to maintain their “home” language in order to re-enter their home-country system later, think before you leave about how you will do this. You might want to bring supplies with you such as literary and academic texts, depending on the age of your children.

If appropriate, know your company’s education support policy.   Be sure that you understand exactly what kind of education benefit support you may expect from the company moving you, before you take the assignment.   Will international school be paid for and, if so, indefinitely?  Will your children be provided with tutoring support in the host country language?  If your children will be required to learn a new language while on assignment because of schooling options, how will you maintain your home country language, and what kind of support will your company provide for this?  And, last but not least, will your company provide any kind of education support when you repatriate and your children are trying to re-assimilate into your home country education system? 

Have an open mind and consider this an adventure.  Don’t try to take home or schools with you when you move!  Rather, embrace the fact that this will be a new experience and that the very fact of living in a new country will be hugely enriching for your children.  Even if they don’t love their new school as much as they did their last one, living outside of their established comfort zone will broaden their perspective and increase their adaptability in ways you may not yet realize.  Also, remember that children are resilient, and if things don’t work out in one situation or another, it is a matter of adjusting the game plan or creating a new one. 


Education: Points to Consider Contributed by:  Bennett School Placement