The Pros and Cons of International Schools for Expat Children

When moving abroad with your children one of your main concerns will be schooling and making sure that your children still get the education they need. It can be a hard process choosing the right school when moving abroad. There’s always much debate over whether you should send your children to a local or international school.

International schools were originally created to cater to the expatriate market and foreign nationals that often move around on assignments and would bring their families with them. This definitely makes things easier and safe when moving abroad with children as local schools can often be tricky as they operate on different instructions.

If you’re planning on moving abroad and are not sure whether to send your children to a local or international school. Here are the pros and cons of international schools and local schools to help you make a decision.

International Schools


Children might not adjust as quickly

Children can often find it hard to settle into a new environment and culture and it can take some time for them to adjust. Choosing an international school is a good idea if you think that a child might need some time to settle in. International Schools generally have small class sizes so that it’s not so overwhelming for new children and allows them to become familiar with their new surroundings slowly.

They integrate cultural studies

A lot of international schools actually integrate cultural studies into the schooling programmes so that students get a feel for both international and local studies.

International baccalaureate programme

International schools also mostly follow the prestigious international baccalaureate programme which can open many doors for students when it comes to university applications and it is also recognised in most countries in the world, making your child’s transition into different countries or your home country easy.


  • They can be very expensive
  • Can isolate expat children and families
  • Can stop them learning the local language

Local Schools


Pick up the language quicker

Children that attend local schools often pick up the new language a lot quicker than those that attend an international school. At an international school, the standard language that is spoken in English but at a local school, children will have to learn in the local language.


Studying at a local school will be a lot cheaper than an international school because they won’t charge steep tuition fees.

Immerse them in the culture

Sending your child straight to a local school will make it a lot easier to immerse them in the customs and traditions of the country. This early exposure gives them the added benefit of experiencing what it’s like to live among the locals and will help them to adjust to their new way of life much quicker.


  • May not be as competitive as international schools
  • Depending on the country you are moving to the educational system may not be as good
  • The curriculum or diploma may not be recognised in other countries

Each schooling option has its own pros and cons and these will also vary depending on your country of residence. It’s always advised that you research specific schools in your chosen country before making a decision to ensure that your child gets the best education.

If you and your family are moving overseas make sure to cover your journey with one way travel insurance protection.

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