Moving abroad has many benefits but can be a challenging experience. Relocating to a new country with teenage children and finding an international high school can be a whole new adventure by itself.
Your teenager will be making many adjustments, including leaving close friends behind, adjusting to a new environment and culture, and navigating a new school system, all of which will present unforeseen obstacles you may have not thought of. It’ll be important to work out the logistics to ease the transition, but knowing that your kids will have the unique experience of being surrounded by other international students from all over the world should be comforting.
Are international schools accredited?
Locating the best international schools starts with eliminating those that are not accredited.
Accreditation is an official certification process that demonstrates that a school or course of study has met a particular standard. It legitimizes the curriculum of the school and can be important for transfer credits in the event your child needs to go to another high school or when they chose to enter college. You can easily verify this information by checking the Council of International Schools.
What course offerings are available?
You will have to do some investigating when searching through the best schools for international students, and that includes examining course offerings closely. This includes combing through the school’s curriculum to gauge flexibility, rigor, and immersion.
If your teenager has an idea of what they want to pursue in college, it may be best to find an international high school that caters to this. A good way to do this is to check the school’s staff directory and reach out to the department head of the program you are interested in for more information. This is a great way to find out whether it is the best international school for your teenager.
International Baccalaureate and immersion programs are a good addition for international students if you plan to stay for an extended time in the new country.
Baccalaureate programs provide advanced courses while enabling students to achieve intellectual, ethical, and cultural maturity.
Immersion programs allow the high school student to spend a significant part of their days learning a particular foreign language. Other popular international high school programs are service learning-based, meaning they provide valuable lessons through community service work. They encourage students to engage with the community while learning a foreign language.
How big is the school and what is the student-teacher ratio?
Knowing your teenager’s personality is important when choosing the size of the school they should be attending. A smaller school with a smaller student-teacher ratio may provide the hands-on attention your child needs.
However, a larger school may provide more opportunities for extracurricular activities and programs that your child can benefit from. When visiting the schools, take note of how the students interact with the teacher and vice versa. It’s a good indicator of whether your teenager will be comfortable in the learning environment.
What resources are available and what are the graduation rates?
It’s very important to identify how the school integrates technological resources in the classroom to facilitate learning. The interactive use of tablets and computers to complete assigned homework online can be an important aspect of the curriculum.
At the end of the day, understanding how these resources lead to graduation rates for the school is key. Knowing what percentage of the graduating class continues onto college provides a good picture of how effective the school is in bringing young people into the next phase of their lives.
How much will it cost?
This is a valid concern since the best schools for international studies are not cheap. Since a majority of expats move to decrease their cost of living, finding an international high school on a budget can be challenging.
Like other private schools, the best international schools will be pricey, but this does not mean that they are out of reach. It is a good idea to reach out to the school to speak with administrators about your financial concerns, as they may be able to help.
Chose what you think is best
Looking at the schools’ parental engagement associations helps to show the students that their education is being taken seriously. School culture, extracurricular activities, and diversity are all critical aspects you should examine when looking for the best international high schools.
Choosing the best schools for international studies can be a challenge, but by using these tips and asking the right questions, you and your teenager will be better prepared and informed. By being engaged and doing your own homework, you’ll gain peace of mind knowing that you’ve researched your options thoroughly.
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