Moving abroad for a new way of life is the start of an exciting adventure for families. There is so much to plan and prepare for, but one of the hardest aspects is deciding on how and where your children will be educated. We’ve put together a few things for you to consider about your child’s education when moving abroad, some of which may also be useful for existing Expat families.
If your first language is English then moving to a country where English is commonly spoken such as the USA, Australia or South Africa, means that at least your child does not have a language barrier to overcome whilst learning and socialising. If you are moving to a non-English speaking country then it can be a little bit trickier for your child to integrate into the schooling system if they haven’t yet learnt the language. A good solution may be a local international school near your new home which provides a UK curriculum education. International schooling can ensure that your child does not fall behind due to a lack of understanding. As mentioned later in this article, online education is also a viable option.
If your children are teenagers and approaching crucial exams then the timing of your move can be a concern. International schools may not be close to where you live or work and may not teach the curriculum your child is studying. Online schools such as InterHigh, may be a great option in such circumstances. It teaches pupils the full British curriculum, from iGCSEs through to AS and A Levels and because of its online status, timetabled lessons can be accessed anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection.
One of the benefits of moving abroad is learning a new culture and depending on where you move to – a new language. Sending your children to local schools can sometimes be the best way of immersing your child in the language, culture and society as quickly as possible. For others, getting thrown in at the deep end is not always the most suitable solution. A better option may be to study online or at a local international school to ease themselves into their new way of life, minimising any possible communication complication.
The quality of your social life can have an enormous impact on your children as well as you when moving abroad. Encouraging your child to join the school’s sports, music, drama and activity groups is a great way for them to meet other children and make new friends, from other Expat kids to local children. Once they have found their feet they will thrive. Living abroad can provide your child with an appreciation for diversity and empathy for other cultures and have a positive impact on their ability to interact and make friends in later life.
Being based overseas gives children an edge in later life. Learning a new language and experiencing a new culture not only gives them additional skills, but also opens up opportunity in more locations. If you move away from the UK, studying a British-based curriculum at an international or online school can also give you the qualifications and flexibility of being able to return home to work in later life.