The prospect of enrolling your child in a school that may be in a different part of the world isn’t something you would take lightly. If you’re considering this, you doubtlessly have a lot of questions about the school’s setup and the culture surrounding it, especially with how they can affect your child’s personal and educational goals.
While it’s only natural to have some questions, it can be helpful to be methodical in the things you ask. This can help you better narrow down your choices and keep you from making costly mistakes that may affect you and your child.Below are 50 questions you should try to consider before you make your move to a global international school in Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo, or any other Asian city.
Academics and School Life
While academics may not be the only reason you choose to move abroad with your child, you should still ask yourself these questions:
- Does the school have the subjects/majors that my child is interested in?
- How are areas of learning like science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics integrated into the curriculum?
- Does the school offer a sufficient variety of options should my child change their mind?
- Will the coursework be truly useful for my child’s long-term goals?
- What is the student-to-faculty ratio, and what’s the average size of each class? (Smaller is usually better)
- Will my child get credit for past educational experience?
- What are the graduation and passing rates for the school?
- Does the school offer a tutoring program that could help my child readjust?
- What are the credentials of the school’s professors, teachers, or instructors?
- Does the school have honors classes or other alternative and supplemental programs?
Even under the best circumstances, studying abroad can be quite expensive.Try to ask yourself these questions before choosing a specific school for your child:
- Are there on-campus employment opportunities for me?
- How many years is my child expected to study at the school?
- What is the average inflation rate in my destination country?
- Does the school offer scholarships?
- What are the requirements for getting these scholarship grants?
- Can my child realistically maintain scholarships given the expected changes in lifestyle?
- What financial aid options are available to my child?
- Are loans also an option for me?
- How much debt am I willing to take on?
- How long will it take to pay off student loans?
No school exists in a vacuum. The answers to the questions below can have a major impact on your family’s experience abroad:
- Where is the school located in relation to my future home or workplace?
- What are my child’s options for living on- and off-campus?
- What public transportation options are available for my child?
- How large is the school campus, and how much walking will my child need to do between classes?
- What kind of environment surrounds the school campus? Is it rural, suburban, urban, or wildlands?
- Is the climate something our family will enjoy or can deal with?
- Will I need to buy or rent a car during our stay?
- What amenities and entertainment options are there in and around the school and our home?
- Is it possible or practical to regularly revisit our home country from our host country?
- Will our family be doing a lot of traveling to neighboring countries or regions?
Cultural, Personal, and Social Considerations
Answering the questions below can help you find out if your child will have access to what they need to be happy during their stay:
- What are the academic and extracurricular clubs at the school?
- Are there clubs that are potentially useful for my child’s future education and career prospects?
- Does the school offer activities unavailable elsewhere?
- Can my child start their own club?
- How different is the local culture compared to what my child grew up with?
- Does my child need proficiency in a new language?
- Are there venues for my child to worship or practice our religious beliefs?
- What do other students do for fun on- and off-campus?
- Will we be able to take our pets with us?
- What’s the healthcare system like in our host country?
Higher Learning and Life After High School
Many parents choose to send their children to international schools in the hopes that it will help them secure a slot in a top-tier university. If this applies to you, there are several things to consider:
- Has my child already expressed interest in a specific college or university?
- Are the shortlisted schools recognized at their preferred universities?
- Do the international schools on my list have partnerships with my child’s preferred universities?
- Do any of the shortlisted international schools have alumni associations that could assist my child?
- Do the shortlisted schools offer International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement and BTEC programs?
- Can my child receive course credit at their preferred universities if I choose this international school?
- If yes, what does my child need to do to obtain course credit?
- Are we staying in our host country after my child finishes school?
- Are there good choices for higher learning in our host country?
- Will enrolling in this specific international school make a real difference for my child’s career goals?
These are just a few of the things you need to ask yourself before you decide on an international school and education for your child. You probably have many more questions of your own. Figuring out the answers to these and other important questions will not only help you narrow down your choices, but it may also allow you to set realistic expectations for yourself and your family before you commit to a school. Good luck on your next move!