Finding a new school overseas presents one of the biggest obstacles faced by parents considering a fresh start abroad.
It’s not an easy decision to disrupt a child’s education, uproot them and expect them to cope with a strange curriculum, perhaps in a different language.
After all, telling a child to “man up and enjoy the adventure” probably isn’t the best way forward. However, there are a number of more positive options parents can consider.
Although it may suggest parents have to take on the role of the teacher, it’s not actually the case.
The family pays in advance for the materials and for a tutor who will then lead their child through a series of modules via telephone and the internet. The classes lead up to an iGCSE or A level exam if necessary.
Marks and feedback are given for completed work. The student is then guided on where they have excelled and where they need to improve.
The advantage of this system is that, with a good teacher and a dedicated student, home schooling can be almost as good as one-to-one tuition. Children who lack confidence in a classroom environment can also blossom and learn at their own pace.
However, to get the best from home schooling, the student needs to take on considerable responsibility for time management and just how they apply themselves to each project.
Parents have a part to play too of course but, if the child’s heart really isn’t in it, then it can become a daily battle. Home-schooled children can also find themselves isolated and with fewer opportunities to make friends. Picking up a different language can also be more difficult without additional tuition.
As the name implies, international schools offer classes to children from many different nations all learning to a common curriculum.
If you are looking into finding a new school overseas, they have the advantage of a set regime and a classroom environment, which most children will find familiar. Although the host country’s language may form part of their routine, most international schools teach in English.
Well-used to helping newcomers settle, children who attend an international school will also tend to be more culturally aware. They also have the advantage of mixing with others their own age.
However, international schools are not available everywhere (there are none in the Fethiye area for example). They can also be costly.
They can also become a closed society, insulating the child against the raw experience of living abroad.
If their free time doesn’t include opportunities or active encouragement to immerse themselves in their new “home nation”, it’s a disadvantage which can be overcome pretty easily. If not, the child may shy away from the unfamiliar, missing out on some of the adventure of a new life overseas.
Total immersion in the culture of your host country can have many advantages. It can lead to swifter understanding of the nuances of the culture, a more speedy integration into the community, a sense of adventure and of real achievement.
Sending your child to the local school will mean they have to adapt; they’ll learn the language quickly and they will probably even be able to advise you on how to avoid unintentional cultural indiscretions.
Children are resilient – but it would wrong to expect them to settle immediately. It may be several months before they feel they have found their feet and, if there are no other foreign students to knock about with, they may find themselves isolated for a while. Classes may not be structured the way they’re used to either and they may be behind if the family arrived half-way through an academic year.
But, if the school itself is geared to helping students from overseas to settle, and if the teachers are willing to show patience and forbearance, it may not be long before your child no longer feels as though they’re swimming against the tide. Being fluent in another language can also be a huge advantage in later life.
However, if you are thinking of sending your child to a local school, good advice would be to find out as much about it as you can in advance. Your child is bound to have plenty of questions about what it will be like and having answers can make it that little less daunting, perhaps even giving them a head start on day one.
Here to help
If you’re were considering a possible location for a fresh start this year and and finding a new school overseas is one of the obstacles, by all means drop us a line or give us a call.
We’re not just about the buying and selling of homes; we’re happy to help with the logistics, paperwork and advice before, during and after your move so feel free to get in touch. We’d love to help if we can.
Alternatively, feel free to browse our blog for previous posts you may find useful or, if you’d like to check out our portfolio, you can find details of properties currently on our books right here. You can also keep up to date with our Facebook page here.