Perspectives

Expat Families: Choosing a School

International School in DubaiWhen relocating overseas with your children, one of the most pressing things that’s probably in your mind as a parent is how to go about choosing the right school for your children.

When choosing a school, you need to understand that you and your child, no matter their age is, will be looking for different things. As a parent, you are likely looking for one that can provide your child with a good learning environment — safe, nurturing and can stimulate your kids to learn. On the other hand, your child is most likely looking for a place where he or she can feel meet friends and feel comfortable — essentially, a place to belong and fit in. Trying to find a happy medium between what you and your child wants can be a little difficult, particularly when you add moving to the mix.

Local school or international school

Before deciding what type of school you should look into, consider the period you will be staying at in a new place. If it’s just for a year or so, you might want to look into international schools in Dubai instead. Look for one that closely resembles the curriculum being offered back home to help ease your child with the change. If you will be staying longer, say, two years and more, you might want to choose a local school instead. Not only will a local school help soften the culture shock for your child, it should also help them adopt the local language much more easily.

Make a list

Once you’ve decided which type of school would best suit your family, research and list in advance the schools in your new place. Look into their curriculum options and try to choose one that will support the future choices of your children, particularly when they go off to college. At the same time, try to get a feel if the school can provide your children their current learning needs. Don’t hesitate to message the schools and ask for any information you will need.

Remember the big picture!

Ultimately, try to prioritise what would help your children learn. Academics are important, but if your child is in an environment that he or she doesn’t feel happy or comfortable in, learning will not take place. What’s most important is that they feel loved and safe with the knowledge of having a family that supports and celebrates their individuality.