5 Benefits of an International Education
The variety of educational pathways available to families in the United States is greater than ever before, with options from homeschooling, world-schooling, and boarding schools, to American public schools, parochial schools, and, of course, international schools.
However, families moving abroad tend to have fewer choices due to language constraints, so most parents planning a move overseas find themselves choosing between international schools when looking for their family's next academic home.
From a diverse community of peers to an international alumni network, the benefits of an international K–12 education are considerable and not often replicable at your local public or private school, no matter how excellent the offering.
What are the benefits of an international education?
Studying at an international school is a unique experience, and there are five important benefits to consider when opting for an international education and selecting the school that is right for your family. These benefits extend far beyond the classroom and truly last a lifetime by shaping the way that students learn to think, the community they develop, and the professional network into which they enter after leaving the school.
- A truly diverse community
- A world-class classroom, with familiar curriculum
- International opportunities
- Faculty and Staff with a Global Perspective
- An International Alumni Network
Keep reading to explore each point in more detail.
A Truly Diverse Community
International schools offer a unique opportunity to learn in a community of children from all over the world. Not only are different cultural backgrounds and viewpoints represented, but many different languages, ways of problem-solving, customs, and traditions enrich students' social, emotional, and academic development as they share with their peers from around the world.
At an international school, the things that make each student unique are celebrated as a key part of what makes a community strong and beautiful. Great emphasis is placed on self-understanding and making sure to celebrate the variety of backgrounds and views that each student brings to the classroom.
Research on diversity and strong bonds between people of different cultural backgrounds has shown that people who make connections across cultures are more creative, and can better work to solve a problem. This is certainly true of international school students, especially those at ASP!
In addition to the benefits to social cohesion, expanding one's worldview, creativity, and problem-solving that come from learning in a diverse community, families who plan to move internationally benefit from a diverse community at an international school by getting a 'sneak peek' of their next country and schooling options from parents who have already lived and learned in this future destination.
Whether your path takes you to Santiago, Chile, or Singapore, families at international schools have a wealth of experience abroad and bring their diversity of opinions, tips, and tricks to their fellow international school compatriots.
A World-Class Classroom, with Familiar Curriculum
And we're not just talking about a beautiful campus!
Many international schools that families consider during their move abroad are situated in some of the most historical and stunning cities in the world. From Hyderabad to Hong Kong, Paris, or Mexico City, studying at an international school gives both children and their parents the unforgettable experience of learning about a new part of the world, often while discovering new customs, learning a new language, and making new friends.
In 2020, experiencing an incredible city and embracing a new culture enhances a child's education, while most well-respected international schools offer familiar curricular options to continue seamlessly preparing students for wherever their path may take them.
At an international school like ASP, students follow an accredited American curriculum before choosing to continue with an American high school diploma, and Advanced Placement diploma, or an International Baccalaureate diploma once they reach the Upper School.
For our youngest learners in K3–Grade 1, our Early Childhood Education program prepares students for more rigorous curricula by using a play-based, outdoor-learning focused program, which begins introducing curricular units in K5. A familiar and easily-transferrable academic education takes place with Paris and the surrounding countryside as an incredible backdrop and complement to student learning.
International Opportunities and Global Citizenship
While local schools may plan one big international trip for older students, when studying at an international school, the rest of the region is on your doorstep!
Although many families take advantage of this opportunity for weekend trips or getaways during school holidays, most international schools organize regular trips for students as part of their curricular and extra-curricular studies.
In Europe, for example, many schools compete in the International School Sports Tournament league and regularly travel between England, France, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands to compete against their fellow international students in a variety of sports.
In addition to opportunities to practice international sportsmanship, academic classes regularly engage with students in other international schools for activities like Model United Nations, and international competitions like the FIRST Global Challenge in Robotics.
Beyond activities focused on academics, students at international schools often have the opportunity to participate in service learning programs both local to the school and abroad. The American School of Paris, for example, has worked with a school in the Kalahari Desert for ten years, and the Jyoti School in Rishikesh, India, for over 25 years. Each summer, students from ASP crisscross the globe to teach, volunteer with children and teachers, and learn from their fellow students in different learning environments.
Faculty and Staff with a Global Perspective
While some international schools around the world are run by local faculty and staff, many international schools are rich with teachers and administrative staff from around the world. When studying at an international school, families benefit from the global perspective of faculty and staff; not only is most everyone on campus familiar with the ups and downs of moving to a new country, everyone is prepared to help students and their families adjust to life in a new community!
It can be tricky to learn the ins and outs of a new place, and international schools like ASP usually boast a strong Parent-Faculty Association, an Advancement Department ready to help introduce families into the local and alumni communities, as well as events and workshops throughout the year to give insight and build important skills to help families make the most of their time abroad.
In addition to making the most of studying at an international school, a school community with a global perspective helps expand students' dreams for themselves, and what their academic community beyond Grade 12 may look like. For many students at an international school, formative experiences from field trips to local museums, conventions on sustainable business and future development, extra-curricular experiences in the arts, and encouragement to show their skills on an international stage directly contribute to what they seem themselves achieving after secondary school.
An International Alumni Network
One of the funny paradoxes of studying at an international school is that the more people you meet and places you go, the smaller the world can seem!
This is especially true when reflecting on one of the longest-lasting benefits of studying at an international school, beyond the life-changing experiences and eye-opening years spent in diverse, dynamic classrooms. A richly international alumni network, with members at universities and businesses all over the world, in every field you could imagine, is an incredible advantage for students who attended the same alma mater.
While most international school students continue on to university within a year of graduating, they very rarely embark alone; the Alumni Office of an international school is a treasure trove of like-minded global citizens, ready to connect with recent graduates over LinkedIn or coffee about their personal and professional ambitions beyond high school.
While this network at a school in the U.S. is traditionally reserved for graduates only, at an international school like the American School of Paris, all departing parents of children under Grade 12 are welcomed into the community along with the graduating seniors of that academic year. You're never too far from Paris with the ASP alumni community at your fingertips!
Although planning an international relocation has its challenges, the benefits of studying at an international school are well worth the effort and time it takes to make the move. You can learn more about the American School of Paris and all that await you and your family by scheduling a visit (virtual or in person!) today.