Five Things to Consider when Choosing an International School in Thailand
Moving to Thailand with a family can feel equal parts excitement and trepidation - there are so many choices to make in order to create this new chapter in your lives. Naturally, one of the first things on your checklist will be finding a school. A quick search on the internet will deliver many different schools serving a diverse international community and it can feel overwhelming to trawl through each one to determine the best fit for your children. Finding the perfect international school for your child can be even more complicated when moving to a new country, culture, and schooling system. To make things easier, international school experts at ISB have developed some pointers for you to consider when narrowing down your shortlisted schools.
Here are five things to consider when trying to choose the best international education for your child and community for your family.
Curriculum & Transferability
IIt should feel counterintuitive to think about life after Thailand before you even arrive, but for many expats, the reality is that job postings or other career opportunities may take you to other distant shores whilst your children are still in full time education. Finding an all-encompassing curriculum that will not only inspire academic excellence whilst in Thailand but will equip your children with the transferable skills they will need in order to thrive in their next school is vital. For older children, you may need to examine High School options such as the IB Diploma (to access global universities) or a specific program such as the US High School Diploma with AP courses and SATs to gain easier entry into top US colleges.
Being ‘new’ gives children the opportunity to widen their horizons, having lost the inevitable social conformity of previous friendship groups, so take a look at the school website’s extracurricular pages and see what else might be on offer to add to your child’s current interests. International students are well-known for offering welcoming encouragement to join clubs and societies and your child’s new friendship group will be no different.
Transition into a new school is made so much easier when the school’s ethos matches your family’s own. The school’s Mission and Vision statements should be easy to find and should give you information about inclusivity, diversity and what is expected of the school community in values and belief systems. We would also recommend looking at your top school's social media channels (Facebook, Youtube, Instagram) to acquire a better understanding of the school culture and their ethos.
No-one moves to Thailand for a standard 9-5 job in a standard office with children attending a standard school! Thailand is bursting with vibrant, exciting experiences for the whole family and it’s important to really think about what you consider to be the perfect work-life balance for you all and how your school choices fit into this. For example, consider the commute times the whole family would be willing to travel to access work and school - for example, living in downtown Bangkok might appeal but the compromise will be that the whole family can spend up to two hours a day commuting even short distances. Being based just outside the hustle and bustle of the big city can mean that children can walk or cycle to school and playdates within minutes, and there are often inexpensive air-conditioned commuting services, giving time planning your day in comfort without having to drive, although working parents may have to leave early and return home early to beat the traffic. Also consider your precious downtime - your private space, access to leisure facilities and truly authentic Thai experiences for you to write home (or post to instagram) about.
Moving many miles away from your support networks can be incredibly tough, but your small talk skills will be fully utilized as you make new connections that will turn into fast and wonderful friendships. You’ll find a warm welcome from Thai nationals and expats alike and you’ll soon feel at home. It’s important to consider how comfortable you might feel in a very ‘local’ setting (it is one good way to pick up the most important phrases in Thai!) or whether you’d like a ready-made expat community with plenty of Thai influences, social groups and events. Access to an international supermarket may feel like a cop-out, but having a bar of your home country’s chocolate nearby can really be a comfort in those times when you really miss a hug from a loved one!
We hope that these five easy steps will help you choose the best international school for your children and help narrow down your choices.
If you are moving to Bangkok, and would like to have a talk to one of our Admissions advisors about ISB, our curriculum, community, and school culture, you can fill out a short inquiry form, or speak directly to someone on our admissions team. You can also visit our website www.isb.ac.th to find out more about our school and panther spirit.