Article: ‘Why You Should Put Your Child Through International Schools’ by Sophia Leite
At the age of eleven my family moved to Angola. As a result of the limited options of schools, my parents ended up enrolling my little sister and I at our first international school. Over the years this has become a common trend among expatriate families, with over 340 new schools added to the network just this past year and more than 2.8 million students enrolled worldwide, according to The International Educator.
The reasons for the exponential growth in this school system within the past ten years are the endless benefits that it brings to the students. Here are the four main reasons as to why this is certainly a trend worth following.
A better understanding of the world
It is a true privilege to have the opportunity of going to school where students, as well as teachers, come from such distinct parts of the world.
This type of upbringing triggers students to get a bigger and better view of the world, enhancing their understanding of different cultures. It also enables students to become very open-minded and tolerant of other beliefs and values, an essential skill nowadays.
A diverse network of friends
Students who attend international schools are often the children of professionals who were recruited to work outside of their home country. As a result, this creates a diverse and multicultural environment.
Growing up my friends were from all different countries, such as the United States, Norway, South Africa, Russia, Colombia, and many others. It offered me the opportunity to learn about cultures very different from my own, an experience I would have never had otherwise.
This prepares students for adulthood, especially as the world becomes more integrated and globalized. Therefore, if these students ever work with foreigners in the future, this early educational exposure will prepare them to deal with cultural differences and potential communication issues.
Your child will most likely become very adaptable to change
As a result of the short-term contracts many families have when living abroad, international schools usually have a high turnover rate. The constant changing environment students are exposed to forces them to be adaptable in order to succeed.
If your family is moving from country to country, this proves even more accurate. After every move, children will often experience a short period of culture shock, but soon enough students will adjust and adapt to their new environment. This is frequently unavoidable, but quickly becomes a skill.
According to a research done by the University of Texas in Austin international students “exhibit ambition and high levels of achievement academically” and are “four times more likely to pursue a Bachelors degree than their domestic peers.”
There are a variety of curriculums at international schools, but most often they are either from the United States or the United Kingdom or they follow the International Baccalaureate Diploma. All of these are academically challenging and allow students to learn from alternative perspectives to their schools at home.
Another big convenience is the fact that the curriculums in most international schools are designed so they are transferable from country to country, easing the process of transferring credits when families move away.
After seven years attending international schools in different countries around the world, I see how big of an impact it had in my life. It truly taught me the importance of having a global mindset, as well as helped me develop skills that I will take with me forever. It was definitely one of the most impactful experiences during my childhood and one I am eternally grateful for.
Sophia Leite is a junior at George Washington University majoring in International Business. She was born in Brazil but has also lived in Angola, Portugal, the United States, and she is now studying abroad at the East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. Her childhood was spent attending international schools, and she hopes to continue to travel throughout her adult life, too.