factors to consider to choose a school when living abroad 🌍

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When moving to live abroad with children, one of the top priorities -if not the number one- for families is to choose a school.
In this article, you will learn FIVE factors to consider before making your decision.

5 factors to consider

My first child was born in Tokyo, and in three months, we were moving to Brussels. When it was time to enrol him in a nursery school, we were in Frankfurt. The school year didn’t finish when we moved to Amsterdam with a toddler son and a newborn. After three years in Amsterdam, we moved back to Tokyo. But only for ten months, hahaha, because guess what, we moved again! This time to Singapore. It wasn’t our final move, but you get the idea.

So, I can assure you I understand you very well.

Above all, I know how you feel when searching for a new school for your children.
Besides your particular beliefs and criteria, there are other factors you should consider when looking for a school while living abroad. Here are my tips.

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1.-Length of stay.

How long will you plan to live in your new location?

It usually lasts between 3 to 5 years if the company you work for sends you abroad, as an ex-pat. For such a short period, you may consider looking into an international school. Or even a local system with a supportive program for international students. The program focuses on the student, and that will help your children to transition and settle better.

However, you may have chosen to live abroad as a life experience for your family. To settle, as a long term venture, you may then probably consider your children to attend a local school where they will make friends and set the roots within the new local community.

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2.-Age of your children.

Moving with babies or toddlers is more flexible than moving with primary or secondary schoolers. The older the children more complex it turns.

In the early and primary years, the learning process is as essential as getting social learning skills. Therefore keeping the balance between both is basic. Gradually, as children get older, they want to focus more on their academic profile. They may start considering which area of study they like for the future. Having a school that offers the choices for your children will be another factor to contemplate. 

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School is where your children will be attending classes every day and is where they will be making friends and acquaintances. Your children must have easy and quick access to school facilities to help them transition and socialize faster. 

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4.-Learning approach.

Have a clear idea of what learning approach works best for your children. You may consider a traditional one, rote learning based on memorization and repetition, where teachers are out front, dictating and examining the students. Or, you may like the inquiry-based learning approach focus on the student. Pupils are the centre of the learning process, and teachers act as a guide helping students to learn.

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The fees are critical factors to decide on a school. The range may vary from almost free of charge public school in some countries to several thousands of dollars for private or international schools. So, you may need to clarify with your employer to what extent the school fees are covered.

Do a checklist!

Choosing a school for your children gets more complicated when moving abroad because you need to consider other factors than your criteria. 

When choosing a school, the length of your stay in the new country, the age of your children, or to what extend your employer supports you financially, etc…, are only a few aspects to consider.

It will certainly help you to make a checklist with pros and cons using the five factors mentioned in this article, organised by priorities, to start the process of choosing a school for your children.

I have prepared a checklist ready for you to fill in! Just click the button below, and you can download it.

You can learn more about international vs local school in an upcoming article on my blog. β€œLocal schools vs International Schools”, coming soon!

Get ready for your next adventure! Read my other post on “What to expect when living abroad“.

All the best in your new adventure, and keep chatting. Comment and ask any question you may have. I will be glad to help!

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