Local schools vs. international schools


International Schools

Many international schools today were originally created to cater to the local expatriate market and foreign nationals who bring their families abroad with them while on assignments.


It’s worth noting that children may not be able to adjust to a new culture as quickly as their parents, so international schools are a good fit for children who need some time to settle in. International schools also offer the chance for children to become slowly familiar with their new surroundings as most international schools have small class sizes, so it’s less likely that the children will feel overwhelmed. Some international schools even integrate cultural studies in their programmes to give their students a feel of both international and local studies. 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.


International schools are very expensive, and it can also isolate your family into an expat community bubble while you’re living overseas. While it comes with many advantages, in some countries, it might be good to expose your children with the local culture and let them have a real international experience.

Local Schools

Local schools can be quite tricky for expats, as there might be a significant difference between the method of instruction between your home country and your new country of residence. There may be more risks to sending your kids to a local school, but there are also some advantages.


Children who attend them can pick up the local language much faster compared to international schools, where English is usually the standard language spoken in the classroom. On the plus side, it’s a lot easier to immerse children in the customs and traditions of the country when they attend a local school. Such early exposure gives them the added benefit of experiencing what it’s like to live among the locals. It is also a lot cheaper to study in local schools, as international schools tend to charge steep tuition fees.


Local schools may not be as competitive as international schools. Depending on the country, the educational system may not be as good. There could also be an issue of getting your child’s diploma recognised in other countries abroad. Local schools usually follow a certain curriculum, and if this curriculum is not accepted in your next country of residence, or your home country, then your child might have to repeat a level. These are things you would need to look into before enroling your child in a local school.

Local schools and international schools have their own share of pros and cons, and the weight of each advantage and disadvantage may change depending on your specific country of residence. For example, Singapore is a very culturally diverse country, as such, schools have a bi-lingual method of instruction and their students are taught in English and Chinese regardless if it’s an international or local school. Given the international atmosphere in Singapore, as well as the good quality of local education in the country, it might not be worth sending your kids to international schools, but in other 3rd world countries, the gap between the quality of education in international schools and local schools are quite substantial. So before you make your decision based on the general facts, consider the situation of education in your country of residence as well.


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