Should expat children be sent to overseas boarding schools

Published:  16 Oct at 6 PM
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Most children of expats working abroad are sent to local international schools, but boarding schools in overseas location may have their advantages.

Wherever in the world you’re living, expat life gives you a unique chance of becoming a true global citizen, but deciding on the best education system for your children can be a strain. Many expat workers on shorter-term contracts in exotic locations prefer to send their youngsters to boarding schools in their home countries, especially if the location is less than safe or very remote with no suitable schools.

Almost 7,000 international curriculum schools with some three million pupils are now established across the world in favourite expat destinations, with around 66,000 of their pupils on a full-time boarding basis. Even so, UK students make up a very small percentage of the number of boarders.

According to education professionals serving the worldwide expat community, most UK expat student return to the UK and board, or stay with their parents and become day pupils at overseas international schools. It seems there are few good boarding schools in overseas locations, with the exception of the USA and Switzerland, possibly because most international day schools have excellent reputations.

The obvious advantages of boarding abroad include avoiding parental stress if the international day school is at a fair distance from home and place of work, as in the UAE. Keeping parental careers on track may seem a harsh preference, but children do benefit from their parents’ success.

India, for example, has traditionally provided excellent boarding schools for expat children and the country is known for its educational excellence at this level. Students enjoy an overseas lifestyle and many outdoor activities, and make friends from all nationalities, an important asset in this shrinking world, as well as taking advantage of first-class teaching staff.
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