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Education options for children overseas

Teaching abroad when you have school-aged children means that you will have to rethink their education plan too. Deciding how your children will continue their education while living abroad can be puzzling. Many countries will offer teachers options, including public, international, or home school. Unfortunately, some countries won’t allow foreign students to attend local public schools and in others,  you may find that the public school system is full. Teachers who have tuition fees included in their contract can choose international schools for their children, where the curriculum and assessment will be identical to their home educational system.

When you are considering which route to take, ask yourself the following questions to help make your decision:

  • What language is spoken at home? Can your children speak any of the local language?

  • Is it important to you or your child that he or she be able to read and write in the local language?

  • How adaptable is your child?

  • How involved do you want to be in their learning process?

  • What is your child’s learning style? Will it mesh well with the public education system that primarily focuses on logical and linguistic learning styles?

  • Will you be moving again shortly? Will you be staying put for a while?

  • What does your child hope to do when they graduate high school?

  • Is an international school affordable to your family?

Now that you’ve asked yourself these critical questions, read below to consider your options.


Homeschooling is an especially appealing option to Americans, who are no strangers to homeschooling. In fact, Americans have been homeschooling children for centuries. But not every country will allow you to homeschool your children, in fact many forbid it. Others have different rules for expats living within the country. Read briefly about homeschooling regulations on Wikipedia or check with an embassy to see what’s allowed.

Public schools

If you are planning to stay put for a while, the public school system is an option to consider (if you are able to enrol your children in the public program — some countries won’t allow this, so it’s something to investigate). The public school system will expose your child to local students, local issues, and local language. For teachers whose contracts don’t include any educational allowance, international schools may prove to be cost-prohibitive. And for those located outside of urban centers, the commute for students to an international school may be difficult. If you have younger children (e.g., elementary-aged), the public school system may be an option.

Private international schools

Choosing a private international school may be a good decision if you intend to move back to your home country or state before your child reaches college age. Then, their curriculum hasn’t changed drastically and they will still be on track with their fellow students. This will make it easier for your child to reenter the school system back home if their grade system matches that of your home country.

Another factor you should consider when making your decision is the age of your children. If you have older children, it will likely be more difficult for them to adapt to an entirely new life and new school.

If you do decide to go the route of private international schooling, be sure to register your children as soon as possible, as many have waiting lists.

For teachers abroad now, how did you decide to educate your children while teaching overseas? Do you have any advice or tips for teachers heading overseas with dependants? Share your advice below in the comments!

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