International Moving: Changing Schools When Moving Abroad

When moving abroad there are many changes that your children will have to experience. One of the hardest is making new friends and changing schools. However, there are certain precautions you can take to make the transition as smooth as possible. It is strongly advised that, if it all possible, you let the kids finish their current school year before moving abroad. Giving the child a sense of closure at the old school and the summer to adjust to the new surroundings will make the following school year less daunting. It also helps to keep some continuity in their lives by finding a place for the child to continue old hobbies in your new country. Start by visiting the website of the city or town that you are moving to. Here, you should be able to locate community sports, activities and groups that interest your child.

When finding a new school it is important to realize that many countries have different terms and policies when it comes to education. In some countries high school is called secondary school and elementary school is called middle school. You will need to determine what grade your child will be entering. This can be more complicated than it seems because most countries have different education requirements for specific grades. Start by checking with your local school as they may have recommendations. Also, make sure to speak with the principal of the new school as he or she will be familiar with your situation and will understand your child’s needs during their international moving adjustment period.

It may be useful to take a separate trip before the official move in order to evaluate potential schools. Use the following questions as a guide to help you select the school that most suits your needs:

- Has the school obtained good accreditation rates?
- Does the school have a good university placement record?
- What is the student to teacher ratio?
- How many students are there per class?
- Does the school promote new technology?
- Is there a wide variety of courses offered?
- Is there a wide variety of recreation and sports offered?