A few weeks ago, we asked our readers on Facebook and Twitter what they’d like to know about educating children abroad. Now Stephen Spriggs from William Clarence Education has put together some answers.
It would be interesting to hear your views on the challenges that Malaysian children and families have settling in to international curriculum schools in Malaysia?
International schools are a popular choice for parents wishing to raise global citizens. The curriculum is imported directly from the country of origin with an injection of local flavour.
Students that study for a long period of time in an international setting will make significant connections with a large range of diverse people, from all walks of life. Their understanding of the norms will be challenged by peers who hail from different cultural, social and emotional backgrounds.
I’d say the challenge would be very similar to anyone settling into a new curriculum, if it’s a UK curriculum school or US then the range of subjects is usually a lot broader and more diverse. The curriculum of an international school is what sets it apart from others as it attracts both students and staff by defining the school’s ethos.
Many international students who study in Malaysia seem to struggle with the culture shock even when attending an English curriculum school. However, Malaysian students seem to cope better in the international schools due to their understanding of local norms and culture alleviating the system shock some students may experience.
Nevertheless, although many Malaysian children have obtained English skills through school, this could also be a hurdle to overcome when undertaking an English curriculum and finding themselves surrounded by children of different backgrounds may take some getting used to if they have only previously been in a fully Malay environment.
We are moving to Germany next month. My children are older and I am struggling to find an international school that is affordable or has available spots! Unfortunately, I missed the deadline for tuition reduction. What can I do?
If you’re moving to Germany, it is important to be aware of the different school types in Germany in which you can enrol your child.
German international schools use the English or American curricula, which means they usually include more extra-curricular activities than German state schools. In private schools the school day can be longer which may fit better with the family lifestyle.
International schools in Germany are mostly day schools, however some offer a boarding option for parents that work and travel abroad. The schools are privately run and can be co-ed or single sex. They have a high level of education, therefore the fees are always higher compared to other education options. However, they have small class sizes and a variety of extra-curricular activities.
As a rule, places are limited so you should apply as early as possible in the year prior to the beginning of a new school year. You may need to show a copy of the student’s passport and birth certificate, as well as information such as school records and test/exam results from their previous school.
When looking into international schools after the tuition deadline, it may be worth approaching individual schools as a special case, as many bursaries and fee reductions are means-tested. Most schools offer scholarships and reduced fees for families on lower incomes and reductions for siblings, while some also offer academic or athletic scholarships in Grades 1-10. Therefore, if you don’t fall into that category then it will be hard either way; however, there could also be the option to approach the school for a sports or academic scholarship if your child meets the criteria.
What about if you’re living in a compound in Saudi Arabia? Home school seems to be the only choice?
In many countries there are accredited home-schooling options that offer parents the freedom to tailor their children’s studies and explore individual interests. It gives parents the opportunity to provide their child with undivided attention and support them through their learning process in an intimate environment. Parents can impart family values into education and give their child knowledge and guidance throughout their education.
It may be tougher to go this route in Saudi Arabia; or rather, sourcing the resources can be hard, since this form of teaching is not officially recognised.
However, finding international schools in Saudi Arabia is difficult, especially if you’re living on a compound, so I would suggest looking online for home-schooling courses and resources or even an online school. Many online schools now offer UK or US curricula from home, with a broad range of subjects to choose from. There are many supportive online groups for people in the same situation, so just do your research and see what method is best suited to you and your children.
About William Clarence Education
William Clarence Education is the leading education advisory and consultancy service in the UK. With an unrivalled reach into the UK Schooling and University Network, William Clarence helps and advises families from around the world to reach their maximum potential and gain access to the very best of UK education. With close links to former Heads of Schools and senior figures within the education industry, William Clarence is proud to offer expert advice that puts your child at the centre of the process. Their business works with families at every stage of their academic journey including school placement, university placement, Oxbridge applications, US college admissions and homeschooling.