When you’re moving to a new country, one of the first things you will want to know is that your children can continue to get a good education, make new friends and earn the qualifications they will need to be successful. In order to achieve this, there are several factors you’ll need to take into account. You can be reassured by the fact that many families have done it before; in fact, many of the world’s leading entrepreneurs had the experience of attending schools abroad during their childhood. It doesn’t need to make life hard for your children, and it could give them an educational opportunity they’d never get at home.
There are three main ways that children are educated in this situation:
The local school system – This can be a challenge, especially if your child is not familiar with the local language. It often means that children might fall behind a bit in the beginning, but they can learn languages remarkably fast and become effectively bilingual.
International schools – This gives children the chance to socialize with others who are in similar situations, and it ensures that they get qualifications that will still be useful to them when or if they return to your original country.
At home – Sometimes one parent decides to homeschool children. The country you are in may have rules about how this is done. Curricular support is usually available, but it’s still a big undertaking, and success will depend on the parent’s skills.
Exams and grades
There are internationally recognized grading systems available that help children moving between countries to fit into classes at the right level and get qualifications that will be respected around the world. In some countries, local schools have systems that fit in with this anyway; where they don’t, they may be able to arrange special exams for your child at the right stage. International schools offer internationally recognized exams and grades automatically. If you choose to home school, you’ll have to arrange for a local school or college to administer exams for your child.
Good locations for schooling
Some countries are better than others when it comes to educating expats, so if you have a choice about where to move, this is something you may want to bear in mind. Singapore is currently at the top of two sets of world rankings and has a great international school system. Sweden also scores very well, as do China (especially around Shanghai), Japan and Poland. Although many children in India don’t get access to education at all, the country is home to some exceptionally good private schools.
No matter how they go about it, studying abroad can be good for children, giving them fresh insights into familiar subjects as they discover the different ways in which the new culture surrounding them looks at things. They will learn from their schooling as well as the move itself, becoming fully fledged citizens of the world.