Many expat families move around the world every year. Due to Covid-19, the last two years have been a bit different. However, families are now starting to move again and with that comes the challenges of transition. When a family moves from one city to another within the same country, the challenges are minimal. The kids need to make new friends, learn a new school’s rules, and find new parks and places to run, jump and play. The story changes completely when a family needs to move from one country to another.
Expat families add many new issues ranging from distance from family and friends to new languages, cultures, and expectations. Children will have to switch from one version of a math book to another in a completely new language. The real-world applications found in their new Science book might also be of a different culture. School isn’t just about learning the basics of Math, Science, History, and their native language. It also needs to add cultural relevancy, societal history, and in-country expectations as part of their educational journey.
Top three educational options for moving expats
Everything we mentioned about all then comes down to one question “What is are the options for my family?” There are several options available, but it is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every family is different, and each reason for the move changes the best option for each family.
1.Enrol in a private international school with native homeland roots
To narrow this down a little more, for instance, an American can enroll in an American international school. An expat from the United Kingdom can then enroll in a British-based institution. These schools use texts from the home nation, teach English spelling and grammar from the country of origin, and usually have many cultural norms associated with their host country.
2.Enrol at an international private school
These education institutions are usually filled with students and staff from all over the world. Most schools offer families raising their third-culture kids in this new location. In many cases, they are beneficial for the family at large because they offer additional family-based support to help the new families settle in the foreign nation. These often become a hub for the family, offering more than just education. It is a place where families can find friends, host activities, and find solutions to their newfound issues of being first-time expats.
3.Register at a full-time online school from your home country
Examples of online schools like these include The Bridge School, an international online school based in the United States. The curriculum will align with US national-based standards and will make the transition back to a US high school or college seamless. We highly recommend The Bridge School over other options because it’s an accredited and NCAA eligible K-12 school using an intentionally designed online product. (Comparing what many families experienced online in 2020 to something like The Bridge School is like apples and oranges.)
Not only is finding the daily education solution important, but other pieces of the education puzzle are important considerations for parents considering an expat move. Schools will often do a good job of working with students to understand the culture and societal norms of the new country. But still, parents and students enrolled in a full-time online option can find exponential value in solutions that offer language and cultural training packaged together.
A solution like BiCortex Languages for a family provides multiple benefits. Firstly, it offers language and cultural support in a seamless partnership, offering a deeper look into your new host country. Secondly, using a service like this as a family brings the family together in a new, fun, and aligned activity that will find relevance in immediate use cases. One incredibly beneficial feature, specific to BiCortex, is that it can be delivered in-person or online, allowing maximum flexibility for the family. Lastly, they also offer services on translations, cross-cultural training and spouse support.
To sum it all up, learning Math, Science, and History are very important. But if one cannot use this information in a culturally appropriate manner, the outcomes will not find as much value. Learning the host country’s language will immediately open doors for ease of life in the new country. And, pay dividends later in life for both the parents and the children.
By: Chase Eskelsen M.Ed.
Chase Eskelsen M.Ed. is the founder of FerskenED an education firm focusing on supporting families, schools, and education technology firms to maximize their potential for students, teachers, and families worldwide.