Generally speaking, international schools are some of the more expensive educational options available. Tuition and miscellaneous fees for most international schools are comparable to those of the most exclusive private schools in the developed world. Yet, enrollment at international schools throughout the world continues to increase, often at rates faster than that of local schools within mainstream educational systems.
Once primarily serving the families of expatriates and diplomats, there has been a worldwide trend in locals enrolling themselves and their children in international education programs. Clearly, many people believe these institutions are worth the high price of admission.
Below are six reasons why you may want to enroll your child in an international school program.
1) International Schools Expose Your Child to a Diverse and Accepting Multicultural Community
Being able to expose your child to a multicultural environment early on can help them cultivate values such as tolerance and empathy for others. A child who only interacts with other people from their own community will often find their practical experience lacking when they go to college. They might find it difficult to act appropriately when they encounter people from cultures other than their own, particularly if they continue their education overseas.
This acceptance and open-mindedness also cuts both ways, and international schools are often a better fit for children who have a hard time adjusting elsewhere. Whereas mainstream schools tend to be designed for one specific culture, international schools provide a safe, structured environment for children of all personalities and backgrounds to interact with one another. This means they may be less likely to face the isolation that “outsiders” experience when in the mainstream school system.
2) These Schools Tend to Provide the Rigor Necessary for Real-World Success
Most parents want their children to succeed in life. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to guarantee this. However, an education that encourages children to test their limits will often put the odds in their favor.
International schools, particularly those that offer International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs, are often considered to be just as challenging as the top schools in mainstream systems. Nevertheless international education is also often designed to correspond with the interests of the students. Parents who want their children to be prepared for difficult challenges later in life —but who also want their kids to have the flexibility afforded by holistic education—might find that international schools are better-suited for meeting their needs.
3) International schools can better prepare your children for the era of globalization
The world is only becoming more and more connected with time. Borders are becoming less relevant — but not for everyone. Children who are not prepared for the accelerating trend of globalization will often find fewer, less-desirable personal and career opportunities available to them.
In a sense, international schools are at the very forefront of globalization. By enrolling your children in international education programs, you ensure that they are better prepared not just for college, but for the wider world as well.
4) You Can Help Your Children Cultivate a More Universal Point of View
Throughout the world, there has been a growing trend of locals sending their children to international schools, rather than to some otherwise excellent schools in mainstream educational systems.
While they might do this for the other reasons we mentioned, many are also doing it so that their children can avoid dogmatic, insular, or jingoistic thinking that is all too common in mainstream schools, which are often designed to cater to one dominant culture. Parents who consider this aspect of mainstream education to be a problem may consider the modest added cost of international schooling to be well worth it.
5) International Schools Tend to Offer More Extracurricular Activities
International schools have long been known to offer a wider range of extracurricular activities to comparable mainstream schools. This was mainly because international schools used to primarily teach the children of diplomats and expats, who would not otherwise be able to enjoy the pursuits that were popular in their home countries.
Today, however, both locals and foreigners often choose international schools partly because they offer their children a wide range of clubs that would be unavailable in regular schools. The focus of these clubs run the gamut from visual arts, music, and literature to mathematics, sciences, and sports. For children with very special interests, international schools may be the only good option for ensuring they become truly self-actualized.
6) Better Recognition at Top Universities
Parents who want to make sure that their child has a pick of top-tier college programs may consider the extra cost of an international school to be well worth it. International schools that offer International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs are widely recognized by the world’s top universities. Enrolling your child in an international school that offers American curriculum in Singapore, for example, prepares them for the rigors of the American university system. Additionally, many of these institutions of higher learning may also give top-performing students of international schools course credit, saving them time and allowing them more flexibility when they enter college.
Are International Schools Worth It?
For parents who want to spare no expense in ensuring their child receives a well-rounded, worldly, and widely recognized education, sending them to an international school is certainly an attractive option.
While there is no shortage of schools in mainstream systems that provide a high quality of education, most will not be able to provide a nurturing, multicultural environment that empowers children to succeed wherever they are planted. For the most part, this is what parents who send their kids to international schools are paying for. For them, knowing that they are doing their best to help their child succeed in life is worth it, at any price.