How to find the right school for your children when you go abroad
When parents decide to leave their country, the priority for is often to find the future school of their children. There are three types of schools open to expatriates: French ones, international ones, and of course the local ones.
The choice of the future school will be based on different criteria. It will depend on: his age, his adaptability, his language skills, the length of expatriation…
The choice of the school is only one step in the expatriation project with his children. If you are planning an expatriation with your family, you can also read our two articles on expatriation with the children: partie 1 and partie 2
For the little ones who can’t read or write yet, you can opt for a local school. They will learn the language of your expatriation country while they are still learning their mother tongue. Learning a language is easier for children, as their learning capacity is much higher. Several studies show this, including the 2014 Harvard Medical School.
An older child, but still speaking the language of the new country, can also continue his education at a local school. It will allow him to settle in the new country faster.
The local school is also a good option if you are planning a long-term expatriation. Indeed, the child will have to settle in the new country anyway. As mentioned above, it will allow him to integrate more quickly.
However, the reintegration into the origin country can be more difficult, due to the lack of equivalencies of local schools with the French system.
A French or an international school ?
They are both very well known. It all depends on what you want to focus on. If you are planning a short-term expatriation, the French school may be a better choice. Indeed, this will allow him, as soon as he returns, to re–enter a normal French school. On the other hand, if you are planning a longer expatriation, the international school is a good option. It’s a wise choice if you want to focus on the English learning.
The French school abroad
They have generally been known to have a good level. Most subjects are taught in French, and some lessons are taught in English. It can be a good solution in some cases. For example, if you want, in the future, to put your child in an international school, but he does not yet have the required level in English. Also, as previously developed, this choice is relevant to predict the schooling of the child returning to France. He will return to a French school without difficulty.
This type of school is becoming more and more attractive to parents. Many of subjects are taught in English. This is a major asset of these schools, as employers are now asking for a good level of English. It also emphasizes the personal enrichment of students. When you will return to France, it will be better to put the child back in an international school. Indeed, the bachelor’s degree prepared is not the same as the French one. It is possible to send the child to a French school on the way back. However, the latter will probably have to repeat a class in order to readjust well to the French program.
French schools abroad, such as international schools, can be difficult to access. They require a good level of education from the student. Indeed, these establishments often ask the students to pass entrance examinations.
The CNED (National Centre for Distance Education) offers a distance program adapted to the French system. It gives several subjects, and your children has to choose some of them. He will follow these subjects in addition to his schooling abroad, whether in a local, international or French school. It is appropriate to follow this program when you enroll your child in an international or local school. This allows him not to completely drop out of the French school system. Thus, when he returns to France, it will be easier for him to return to a French institution.
How to find the school?
The question of the school taunts you: Is it difficult to find a French or international school? How do I find it? Don’t worry, there is a significant number of French-language institutions around the world thanks in particular to the AEFE network (French Education Agency abroad – http://www.aefe.fr/). French schools can be found in almost every major city and capital city. The same is true for international schools, which often have even more students. However, they will be more difficult to find in smaller cities, far from capital cities.
Deadlines and rates for registration
Application deadlines are generally the same as French schools. Registration starts in September. As for registration rates, they are often high, with a range from 5,000 to 10,000 euros per year. These rates are for a half board. Count more if you want to put your child in boarding school. It should also be noted that not all countries have the same registration rates. Some countries, such as China, Switzerland, or Belgium, have more expensive international schools.
You now have all the information you need to choose the right school for your child. All you have to do now is start the research!