Types of Schools for Expat Children

Posted on 02/22/2014 ~ Categorized as Live
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As the lead inbound marketing consultant and web designer, Don Halbert practices what he preaches and enjoys living, working, playing and investing abroad in Costa Rica.

Types of Schools for Expat Children

Making the move to a new country is an exhilarating decision, especially if you’re fortunate enough to have your family with you.  For your children, where you decide to enroll them will play a vital part in their experience and adaptation to their new surroundings.

Understanding the basic types of international schools will help you make the best possible choice for their future.  No matter which category you feel is the best, there’s a very likely chance that the curriculum will be rather different than what you grew up with, so try to maintain an open mind.

Local Schools

If your move is permanent or even fairly long term, then a local school could be your best option.  Many of the private and possibly some public schools will offer programs that will assist in your child’s transition into a new culture, although the instructors will probably speak the local language most of the time.  Your children will more than likely adapt more quickly to their surroundings, but it may be a bit rougher than an international school since the schooling isn’t designed around their needs.

Foreign National Schools (AKA International Schools)

International schools are particularly suited to short-term stays for expat kids since they provide the lowest culture shock of schools abroad.  They tend to follow a more classic curriculum of their respective country so their educational flow isn’t interrupted, but with the benefit of local language and cultural lessons.

In general, these schools are sparse and sometimes not available at all.  However, for children that will only be in the country for a short period of time, they are the easiest environment for repatriation as well.

Boarding Schools

A very different choice is to send your child to a boarding school.  Although it might seem extreme, this could be practical if you will be living abroad in a more hostile country or one that offers very little schooling options.  One of the biggest perks of a boarding school is that they usually have fantastic academic reputations, which will serve kids well in preparing for college.  The biggest downside will be the high cost and not having your children at home with you.  While great for academia, make sure your child is ready for the emotional toll of living and studying apart from their family.

Your location will be a big determining factor on the kind of schooling availability you’ll have for your children.  When choosing which direction to take, keep your child’s intellectual and emotional needs at the forefront and you’re sure to find a great school that will allow them to thrive in their new environment.


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