If you’ve been struggling to figure out whether you should send your child overseas to study, you’re not alone.
Many parents find it stressful to imagine their children living without them for extended periods, never mind in a far-off, unfamiliar place.
Like other parents in a similar situation, you probably have concerns about how to guarantee your child’s safety, security, and physical and mental well-being when they live so far away from home.
However, while going to an overseas school isn’t a suitable option for every child, it does come with considerable benefits.
Children attending an international or boarding school don’t just get access to top-quality education and extracurricular activities. They also have more chances to learn independence and crucial life skills earlier than their peers. Such children often emerge from the educational system as adaptable, mature individuals who are well-prepared for adult life.
Naturally, selecting the best possible school for your child is perhaps the most important decision you will make once you decide to send them overseas.
Whether you’re choosing a boarding school in Singapore, Spain, Johannesburg, Italy, or any other part of the world, you’ll definitely want to consider the following criteria before making your final choice:
As with choosing any other kind of school, you’ll first want to look at the academic programs and learning environments of overseas schools.
Above all else, you’ll want to ensure that these are well-suited to your child’s interests, needs, and learning style. Finding the right school for your child in this manner is an effective way to set them up for success not only during their school years but also into their adulthood.
Sporty, active, and energetic children will benefit from attending schools with well-developed athletics programs and high-quality sports facilities.
Children passionate about science, art, or technology may be best off attending institutions specializing in those areas of study.
On the other hand, children from multicultural backgrounds or those with an active interest in languages will likely thrive at bilingual schools with intensive language learning programs.
Choose a school with the people and resources necessary to nurture your child’s unique strengths and interests and bring out their fullest potential.
Values and Vision
Your child’s school will play an integral role in shaping their values, beliefs, and perspectives on the world as they grow up.
For many children, their school’s influence on their personal development comes second only to that of their home and family. This influence will surely be especially strong for children who live at school or spend significant amounts of time immersed in their school community.
You’ll want to make sure that you agree with the principles around which your chosen institution builds its educational methods and school culture.
For instance, would you be comfortable sending your child to a religious school, especially if the school subscribes to a different faith than that of your family?
How do you feel about the school’s disciplinary policies and the measures it has in place to safeguard student welfare?
What are their core principles, and how are these integrated into the curriculum?
These are just some key values-related questions you should ask when you assess your options.
While the location is an important factor in choosing any school, it’s especially vital for residential schools.
Check if the school zone is located close enough to any healthcare facilities and other essential resources that your child might need in the event of an emergency.
You’ll also want to check the campus and the surrounding neighborhood for infrastructure like streetlights and sidewalks, which will help keep students safe at night.
Lastly, you may want to see if your chosen school is located close to places where students can enjoy rest and recreational activities off-campus, such as parks, galleries, sports clubs, camping grounds, and other similar places.
Every school community is unique, so you’ll definitely want to learn more about the student body and general culture at different overseas schools.
Do you prefer a single-sex school or a co-educational one?
Are you looking for a school with a small student population and more personalized education or a larger one with a more diverse array of classes and activities available?
How do the teachers interact with and support the students?
Above all else, think about the sort of social environment that would make your child happiest and most comfortable during their time abroad. Once you have a sense of what kind of community they need, you can look for an institution that can provide it or something like it.
No matter where you send your child, studying abroad will be an expensive endeavor, so keep costs in mind when looking for an appropriate school, in addition to tuition and other fees.
Check how much the school charges for room and board, food, textbooks, other learning materials, and other required expenses. Account for these in your budget alongside additional costs you’ll have to cover for your child, such as health insurance, international travel expenses, and transportation.
While the idea of sending your child abroad to an international school or boarding school may be daunting, know that the experience may also open up life-changing personal and academic development opportunities for them.