My husband and I had always wanted to move abroad as a family. It turns out, we were clueless about the entire process. At the start, for example, we weren’t even sure what country we wanted to live in. Secondly, even after we honed in on Spain, we realized we knew absolutely nothing about visas. Or how to buy foreign health insurance. Find housing. Or just about anything else an international relocation would require. But most importantly, given its impact on our children’s well being, we had no idea how to choose a school for our kids while living in a foreign country as a family.
Researching How to Move Abroad as a Family
With overwhelm quickly settling in, I got down to research. Specifically, I dug into education in Spain, options for public school versus private school, and bilingual education.
After all, I was “that mom.” I’d banked serious hours volunteering in my kids’ classrooms. I showed up at those parent teacher conferences ready to advocate for their unique learning needs. I’m the go to homework helper in the house. Certainly, I was qualified to evaluate schools for a family move to Spain for a year.
Turns out, I didn’t even know the right questions to ask. The reality is, choosing a school for your kids in a foreign country requires evaluating considerations that are all but irrelevant in your home country.
You might never consider private school at home, but it might be a better fit when moving your family overseas. In your home country, you expect to drop your kids off in the morning, and not see them until the end of the day. But in the foreign country, they might have the option to come home for lunch. Should you take it? And what about sports? Grading systems? What’s the standard for parent teacher communication?
Living Overseas with Family: How to Choose a School
Here in the US, you likely already have some knowledge about what you might expect from your local school district. Sure, there’s variation from state to state regarding start dates and the like. But, generally speaking, there’s a similarity to school day hours, lunch times, recess and core curriculum.
In Moving to Spain as an American Family: 7 Things I Wish I Knew About Choosing Schools In Spain, I share helpful tips of things to consider when researching schools for your child overseas. From “language of the playground” to other expat education related lingo, these 7 tips will be helpful for any family moving abroad with kids.