Should Expats Use a Local or International School?

When you move overseas with children, one of the main things you’ll no doubt worry about will be their education. After all, the last thing you want is for it to be interrupted. Expats have a lot of options, from home schooling to private tutors, but most of them opt for one of two: either a local or an international school. So, which one would be best for your needs?

Local schools can be an option

You may dismiss the idea of a local school, but in some situations, it can actually work well. The sort of kids who settle well in local schools include:

  • Those who speak the local language, or are picking it up quickly
  • Kids who are confident with others
  • Children who have good academic performance without any concerns

Local schools are often a cheaper option, but the education on offer can vary a lot from country to country, so might not be the same standard you get at home. It’s worth doing your research into what’s nearby.

International schools offer an international education

There are a lot of reasons why international schools exist. They provide an education that’s mostly in English, and schools such as let children graduate with qualifications that are internationally recognised, so when they apply to university, they have a wider choice of locations. Also, it can be a big boost for them to be in an English-speaking environment, with language lessons on a regular basis. It doesn’t feel like an alien environment to them and means less disruption to their education.

Fees may not be as much as you think

An international school is basically a private school, and while that may not be something you can afford at home, it may be something that’s achievable in your new country. Fees can be reasonable compared to many private schools and include lots of extra activities and much more.

If you’re an expat who will be taking school age children with you, it’s likely you’ll be deciding between a local school and an international one. It’s common to worry that you’re not making the right decision. It’s worth thinking about the environment in which your child will thrive, whether they prefer to be amongst other expat children, or would like to be adventurous and learn a new language. You know your child better than anyone else, so spend some time thinking about what’s right for them.

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