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Netherlands > Articles


A Guide To International Schools In Rotterdam

Friday December 15, 2017 (15:38:50)


Despite being the second-biggest city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam has relatively few international schools to choose from. It could be that this makes your decision easier if you have children and decide to move there!

All English-speaking international secondary schools offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, but not all offer the Cambridge-administered International General Certificate of Secondary Education. It’s therefore worth looking into each curriculum to see what might be best for your child.

Application processes for international schools can be notoriously lengthy, so we recommend starting this as soon as possible.

With the exception of one Japanese school, all international schools in Rotterdam are English-speaking. What follows is a guide to these English-speaking schools.

Please bear in mind this is a guide only – something to get you started. It’s always best to visit the school in person to gauge how you think your child might fit in. Ultimately, it’s important to find a school that will help make your child’s transition into a new country as easy and enjoyable as possible. The right school will set your child up to succeed in their academic pursuits as well as establish friendships that will make their time in the Netherlands memorable.

American International School of Rotterdam

Offering a balance between academics, arts and athletics, the American International School of Rotterdam (AISR) provides comprehensive pre-kindergarten to Grade 12 education. It offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, International Primary Curriculum, and International Middle Years Curriculum.

Student body
AISR had around 260 students enrolled in the 2017/18 school year. Sixty percent of these students are Dutch, American, British, Japanese or South Korean.

English is AISR’s main language, but the school also offers a variety of modern language programs.

The American International School of Rotterdam sits just north of the city centre, in leafy Hillegersberg. It is one of the few in the city that offers a door-to-door bus service, American style, although at a minimum of €2,750 per year, this service doesn’t come cheap. However, students can easily ride their bikes to this school, and there are plenty of public transport options.

For the 2017/18 school year, fees start at €13,900 for pre-kindergarten, and move up to €17,650 for Grade 12. Parents are also charged a one-time assessment fee of €3,750 and a €1,500 annual enrollment fee.

Application and enrollment
There are no application deadlines for this school, as it accepts students all year round. Two years of school records (three for Grade 12) are needed to apply, and proof of birth.

Rotterdam International Secondary School

Rotterdam International Secondary School (RISS) is a values-driven school, with a focus on developing 'confident, ethically responsible and innovative global citizens'.

This school offers international education to students aged 11-19. It teaches the International Middle Years Curriculum (grades 6-8), the Cambridge-administered International General Certificate of Secondary Education (grades 9-10) and the International Baccalaureate (grades 11-12).

Student body
RISS is open to:
• Children of expats,
• Dutch children who have had at least two years of international education, and
• Dutch children who will be moving internationally within two years.

More than 50 nationalities attend this school, the majority coming from America, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

The school offers students the opportunity to study in English while experiencing Dutch culture and language. Lessons are in English, although learning Dutch is also compulsory. French and Spanish are also offered.

RISS is very close to the centre of town, and a 15-minute walk from Rotterdam Central Train Station. It is also easily accessible by bus.

Fees start from €7,800 for grades 6-9, then increase to €12,840 by year 12. There is also an exam fee for grades 10 and 12.

Application and enrollment
The school offers an online application process, although it encourages parents to visit in person. Students are also interviewed prior to being accepted.

De Blijberg International Department

The De Blijberg International Department is part of the wider De Blijberg school, which is a state-funded Dutch primary school. The International Department aims to prepare students for continued international education, either at a secondary school or elsewhere. It offers the International Primary Curriculum.

The International Department also works with seven other Dutch schools around the country to develop an internationally-oriented curriculum.

Student Body
The International Department offers international education for children aged 4-12. About 215 children are enrolled.

Like its sister school RISS (see above), the De Blijberg International Department is open to:
• Children of expats,
• Dutch children who have had at least two years of international education, and
• Dutch children who will be moving internationally within two years.

English is the main language. Teachers will work closely with non-native speakers to ensure they have sufficient command of the language to learn the full curriculum. Dutch language and culture lessons are offered to students who are already comfortable with English.

De Blijberg is in the city center, walking distance from Rotterdam Central Train Station.

Being part of a state-funded school, De Blijberg International Department’s fees are considerably kinder than other international schools. Sending your child here will set you back around €3,500 per year, plus a €150 application fee.

Application and enrollment
Contact the school directly to be sent the application form. To enroll, they need the completed form, a copy of your child’s passport and previous school reports, plus your temporary work contract.

More information

The Foundation for International Education in the Netherlands also has plenty of information, including a comprehensive overview of each school, that might help you make a decision.

However, as we said earlier, nothing beats seeing a school for yourself and getting a feel for the community you might become a part of. Talk to other parents, chat with the teachers, and ask your kids what they might like in a school.

Have you sent your children to an international school in the Netherlands? What would you tell other parents on the hunt? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!


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