By: Eliza Najar
How to make the switch from a local school to an international one
In many countries worldwide, and in Asia specifically, international education has become a necessity rather than a luxury for various reasons. From wanting a more global education to giving children better future opportunities, the pull of international education has parents considering the option more seriously of late. But are the merits of an international education really worth the hassle and the price of switching?
The first question that people ask is why should they switch? In most cases, children are already accustomed to the curriculum and the school. Making a switch is a big decision. Here are some reasons for you to consider.
A higher standard of English
English is the most commonly spoken language across the world. When your child goes for higher education, English will be definitely required. Learning English and studying it at a high standard always helps. International schools typically have native speakers and this would contribute significantly to your child's mastery of the language.
There are various teaching styles in international schools, and finding one that suits your child will make a world of difference. Find a school that gives emphasis on the elements you think are important for your child's growth. Is it a child-centred learning that would help? Is it a stricter approach to academics? Or will your child flourish in an environment that is more creative and passionate?
Prep for international varsities
If your child has dreams of studying in an international university, an international school will be the right place to start. International schools provide the right kind of assistance in terms of preparing for university life. From independent study to critical thinking, these are elements that are emphasised in an international school environment. Studying in an international school increases your child's chances of attending a foreign university and cope up with the challenges of university life.
International schools typically have a variety of extracurricular electives not available in public schools, giving your child further options. From coding classes to golfing and from rock climbing to film studios, facilities and oppoortunities in international schools can be immensely supportive.
What is the right time to switch?
Good entry points are Year 1 when the child starts off with primary level and Year 7 when the child starts off with middle school. Hence, it will be better to move your child to an international school in K2. Once the child finishes with K3, then he/she would need admission in Year 2, which is a comparatively difficult situation.
Another good entry point is Year 7. Application for Year 7 has to be put in before your child begins Year 5. The next best entry points are Year 8 and 9. If the school follows International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), then you should consider shifting at Year 9. IGCSE starts in Year 10. Moreover, your children will be able to choose subjects of his/her choice in Year 9. Most schools offering IGCSE, A-Level or IB, however, don't accept students in Year 10 and 11. However, this differs from school to school.
How long will it take your child to settle down?
Well, this entirely depends on your child. Every person is different. However, the younger the child, the easier it will be to adapt. Younger children make friends easily. The most vital thing to remember when making the switch is that you have enough funds to get your child through their entire schooling period in an international school. Pulling a child out of international school to enrol once again in public school can have detrimental effects. Therefore, it is paramount that you budget appropriately before making that decision.
Tips to make a full transition
So what can you do to make this transition easier? Here are some tips to make this switch smoother for you and your child.
Visit the school and take a tour of the school with your child. This will make your child warm up to the new school with you by his/her side.
Create some excitement about the school shift with your child. Instead of discussing that the switch can be difficult, discuss things like how he/she can make new friends, how he/she will be able to learn new things and other positive things.
Make buying school essentials fun. Take him/her out for a special treat and then go to buy a uniform and school supplies. This will excite him/her about what's coming.
Discuss any potential issues with your child. Ask him/her what he/she is feeling and try to solve them. Make sure you convey that you all are a team who are in this together.
A little bit of understanding and a lot of enthusiasm can make this switch easy. It is a good decision which will be worth the trouble.