Choosing a good school for your child in your home country is challenging enough. But when you try to choose the right school when moving abroad, the process becomes more challenging. You don’t know the culture or standards. And you have no idea what teachers will expect from the students either.
When it comes to choosing an overseas school, so much depends on your personal goals. Your main focus might be the quality of the education itself. Or if you’re like many parents, you also want the school to offer well-rounded curriculum as well. While literacy and numeracy are critical, there’s much more to consider.
Where possible, try to limit the number of schools on your shortlist to a handful. Scouring the entire globe for the perfect educational institution is a little bit like trying to find your soul-mate. It’s not something you can force – it just happens.
The Research Process
The first step in finding a school in a new country is to do some research. You’ll want to get a sense of what types of graduates particular institutions have minted. This will be a good indication of the rigor and quality of education your child will have access to at a particular institution.
Once you have a list, the next place to go is the school’s website. It should give you a menu of sorts outlining all of that the school offers, including extracurricular activities. It will also give you a feel for the kind of standards the school aspires to. If the website is basic or out of date, then the school probably doesn’t care too much about branding. But if it offers lots of functionality and options to apply, then it at least suggests an engaged staff with attention to detail and communication.
If you know people in the target country, ask them about their opinions. Get word-of-mouth information about what the school is actually like from teachers, parents, or even grown-up students who used to go to the school.
Consider The Age Of Your Child
If your child is old enough, they may be able to study overseas without you by their side. For instance, some foreign students board abroad.
However, younger children will need the support of their parents. If you have a child accepted for a place at a foreign institution, you may be able to apply for ILR. This status allows you to stay in the country as long as you need, without immigration authorities demanding periodic visa renewals.
Remember, for young children, the school curriculum isn’t the only priority. At a young age, the quality of the environment and opportunities to socialize should play a large role in your decision process.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Lastly, you’ll want to consider whether the school fits in with your lifestyle as a parent. In some countries, the school day doesn’t coincide with the working day. So kids go to school at 7:30 in the morning and then finish after lunchtime. That might not coincide with your work requirements.
You’ll also want to consider how far away the school is from your home. Will you be able to get there easily in the event of an emergency?
In summary, choosing the right school for your child comes down to your personal comfort level and your child’s best interest. Ideally, you want somewhere your child feels at home and will benefit by learning with students from different backgrounds and cultures.
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