How to Manage Expat Children’s Education Abroad

Written by Dr. Russ Gadzhiev

“Parenting has nothing to do with perfection. Perfection isn’t even the goal, not for us, not for our children. Learning together to live well in an imperfect world, loving each other despite or even because of our imperfections, and growing as humans while we grow our little humans, those are the goals of gentle parenting.” – L. R. Knost 

 

“The thing about parenting rules is there aren’t any. That’s what makes it so difficult.” – Ewan McGregor 

 

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

 

When you are moving abroad and taking your child with you, one of the questions that should be on the list of your priorities is how your child will be educated in a new country. The good news is that some countries offer free state education for non-citizens. However, what if your child does not yet speak the language of your new country? In this case, whether education is free or not will not make any difference.

In this short article, we are going to talk about how to help your child get an education in a new country. We will consider various ways of educating them and discuss other strategies that will help them get used to a new educational system without much stress and worry.

 

Choose the Right School

 

Home schooling.

 

One of the possible solutions to this problem is educating your kids at home with the help of home schooling. It is understood that home-schooling has several notable advantages. The move overseas is already a huge shock to your child. Imagine if they have to get used to a new school, with a new language, teacher, and people on top of that. That will surely be even more stressful for them. By contrast, if your child studies at home, they will be able to have time to adjust and focus on their education.

Home-schooling is a good option if you think that you may not be able to afford to pay for your child’s education at a local traditional school, at least during the first months of your stay. Of course, if you have been offered a very well-paid job or your employer has agreed to cover the costs of your child’s school, this should not be a problem. There are numerous advantages to home schooling. For example, if you child is studying at home, you have stronger control over what your child is learning. home schooling provides your child with a sense of security while they are adjusting to their new life in a new country. The lessons that your child is being taught are tailored to their interests and educational needs. Last but not least, if you are child is home-schooled then you can save on their travel expenses.

However, there are also certain disadvantages of home-schooling in a foreign country. The most obvious one is that your child will probably not be able to make new friends and establish social connections. These are important for successful acculturalization and adjustment in a new society.

 

Studying on-line.

 

Another option that is available to you is online home schooling. Because of the COVID pandemic, online education has become extremely widespread. Indeed, it is not difficult to find an online school with qualified teachers these days. In many ways, online schools are like traditional schools. However, there is one thing that makes online school seem like a good option. Your child can attend classes from anywhere in the world and all they need is a computer and a stable internet connection. Besides, online schools are usually cheaper than brick-and-mortar international schools.

If your child is enrolled in an international school, not only will they expand the horizons of their knowledge, but they will also be able to make meaningful connections with people from all over the world. This is especially important if we consider the fact that the world we are living in is becoming increasingly globalized.

 

Do Not Worry About Grades

 

So now you have chosen a school, what else should you do to make sure that your child is educated without interruption and unnecessary stress? Well, although it may sound like a rather strange piece of advice, don’t pay attention to your child’s school grades in the beginning. Yes. Just give them some time to get used to a new place and cope with other additional stressors. If you feel stressed about moving to a new country, imagine how they feel. Yes, grades are important, of course. But not when they are trying to get to a new place. Instead of making them focus on their grades, do everything to help them adjust to a new system of education. Help them make new friends. Help them learn a new language. Just the fact that your child may not be good at speaking the language of the new country, will already have a negative effect on their grades. So do not judge them. Do not demand that they get great grades.

 

Regularly Communicate with Your Child

 

Communicate with your child regularly to know how they feel and how they are going with adjusting to a new school. No matter your own work and commitments, try to spend as much time as possible with them. Ask them about their school and about their classmates. Let them know that they can come up to you with any problems and concerns and that you are always there to help them.

 

Overcome Culture Shock

 

Just like adults moving overseas, children are also prone to having culture shocks once they find themselves in an unfamiliar environment. So, in order to mitigate the undesirable effects of a culture shock, there are several things you can do. First, you can sign them up for specialized language courses. Likewise, when choosing a school, consider an international school. Yes, such a school may be more expensive than other types of schools available. However, unlike other schools, international schools can offer diversity. Your child will be able to find other children, who have just moved overseas.

Parents considering international schools for their children should remember that the demand for such schools is growing. And it is not only due to the increasing number of people moving overseas, but it is also because local people opt for these schools as well. So if you do plan to send your child to a school like that, you need to make sure that you do that in advance to secure a spot for them.

 

Listen to Your Children Carefully and Validate Their Feelings

 

Unfortunately, many parents who try to do their best for their children, end up making them feel worse. How? Well, sometimes when a child is telling us that they are feeling upset or feel anxious about going to their new school, some parents choose superficial answers and shallow promises such as – everything is going to be ok, do not take it too seriously, it will be fine. What happens because of such an approach? Well, our children end up feeling alone and misunderstood. And this is something you want to avoid when helping your child settle in a new country.

 

So if your child comes up to you and says that they feel scared or anxious about going to the new school, avoid platitudes. Just listen and validate what they are saying. Although, as parents, we really want to make life easier for our adults, sometimes we just can’t. By listening to them carefully and validating their emotions, we are showing them that they are not alone and that you are there to help them.

Moving overseas is an exciting and life-changing event. However, it may also be difficult, especially psychologically. Moving overseas is twice as challenging because you need to prioritize the emotional and, importantly, educational needs of your child. It is very important that you don’t push your child to do things they don’t want. It is very important to listen to them and validate their feelings. In this article, we have looked at a variety of options to help your child get an education overseas and hopefully, you will be able to choose the one that is suitable for you. Carefully consider all the options and decide which one is good for you.

 

 

 

 

Russ Gadzhiev obtained his PhD in history and politics from University of Melbourne. He also holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Moscow State University of International Relations, a top-ranking diplomatic school. Dr. Russ is a strong education professional with a history of working in the higher education sector of Australia and proven ability to effectively communicate with learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. He is passionate about teaching and mentoring, writing, curriculum development, research, information management and public speaking. He is fluent in Russian, English, Spanish, and Portuguese. He has lived in Russia, Australia, Spain and Brazil and he possesses first-hand knowledge about the issues that people face when moving to other countries and adjusting to a new culture. 

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