If you are making an international move with family, it is important to think about their new school before you arrive. Your first decision will be whether you will be sending your kids to public or private school. Many countries have American or international schools, where students from foreign countries are placed in academic settings that are similar to schools in their home countries. Try to ensure that the school you choose has after school opportunities as well. This should help your kids with staying busy and making new friends. Consider the following when searching for a school:
- If you are considering enrolling your child in an American or international school, try to plan ahead. Some international schools are very selective and may have limited enrollment.
- Terminology will differ—in some countries high school is called secondary school and elementary school is termed middle school. Talk with a number of schools in your new area to find out what grade your child should be entering and what courses they should be taking.
- Well in advance of moving, ask your kids’ current teachers for an outline of their academic requirements and your child’s progress to submit to the new school because schools abroad may have different academic requirements or operate on a different system. This information should be helpful in determining what grade level your child should enter.
- Research the academic ratings of schools, looking at the percentage of its students that go on to attend a university and how students score versus the average on standardized testing.
- Find out the teacher to student ratio, and ask how many students are in each class on average. You know how your kids learn; so, if getting one-on-one attention in a smaller class is what they need, make sure their new school offers it. Ask what resources the school has to offer to students. How many computers does the school have available for student use, for instance?
- Ask each school about its sports and after school activities. Try to ensure that your child’s favorite activity is available at his or her new school. This information might help your kids visualize fitting into their new school. If your kids do get involved at their new school, they are more likely to make new friends and feel comfortable in their new setting.