Perhaps you’ve been offered a job in another country, or maybe you’re dreaming of a better lifestyle abroad. Whatever your reasons, if you’re thinking about moving to start a new life in a new place then there’s a lot to take into consideration – particularly if you have school-aged children. The culture of each country impacts the way your kids will experience the move, and it will have an effecton their education. Here are just some of the ways that educational culture differs from place to place around the world.
The first aspect of differing international education systems to think about is the format of the lessons and the style of teaching offered. Some countries take what may be seen as informal and relatively unstructured approaches to education, like designing school days that are shorter than usual or not giving out much homework. Other countries, like South Korea, often encourage students to take more classes in the evening as well as during the day. While there is not necessarily a right or wrong way to do it, what matters is that you find out in advance what the system is in the country to which you’re planning to move – and then make a decision as a family about whether it’s right for your children.
While the format of lessons may be different from country to country, it’s also the case that the content of the lessons varies from place to place. One of the world’s best educational systems, for example, is in Finland, and there it’s compulsory for children in basic education to do less familiar subjects such as environmental studies. Before you make the big move and decide to settle down with your children in a new country, it’s wise to do your research first and make sure you’re happy with the options on offer.
Even though there are lots of things to think about when it comes to the impact of local culture on education, it’s the case that more often than not children adapt to their new environment quite readily. Some parents choose to enroll their kids in the local school where, with support, they quickly adapt. Other parents, meanwhile, opt to give their children the best of both worlds, and they choose an international school with a Western curriculum. The Australian school in Singapore offers the International Baccalaureate and other major global programs, while also placing learning in an international context with global language teaching options.
Moving abroad may well be one of the most significant decisions of your life so far, and there’s a lot to think about before you take the plunge – and the impact of the local culture on your child’s educational prospects should be high on your list of considerations. But by doing your research and working out what the situation is like in schools on the ground at your chosen destination, you can go into the move fully informed and prepared for what the effect on your child will be.