Expatriation: finding my children's school


Julianne Liebert

Expatriation: finding my children's school

The priority for parents when they move abroad is to find the school where their child will be enrolled. There are 3 types of schools open to expatriates: French, international and local schools.

The choice of the school in which your child will study is made according to different criteria. It depends on your child's age, ability to adapt, language skills, length of expatriation... The choice of school is only one step in the expatriation project with your children.


Local schools

For the little ones who cannot read or write yet, you can opt for a local school. This way, they learn the language of the country you are going to live in, in addition to their native language. Learning a language is easier for younger children, as their learning capacity is much higher. An older child who speaks the language of the new country can continue his or her education in a local school. This will allow them to assimilate much faster into the country of expatriation. The local school is also a good option if you are planning a long-term expatriation. Indeed, the child will have to integrate into the new country. As mentioned above, it will help your child regarding his or her integration. The only drawback is the reintegration in the country of origin. It will be more difficult due to the lack of equivalence of the local schools with the French system.


French or international school?

They are both very renowned. It all depends on what you want to emphasize. If you are planning a short expatriation, it is better to choose a French school. This will allow your child to resume normal schooling upon return. On the other hand, if you are planning a longer expatriation, an international school is a good option. It is a wise choice if you wish to focus on learning English.


French schools abroad

They are generally renowned for having high standards. Most courses are taught in French, and some subjects in English. It can be a good solution in some cases. For example, if you want to send your child to an international school, but he or she does not yet have the required level of English. Also, as previously mentioned, this choice is relevant to plan the child's schooling back in France. He or she will be able to return to a French school without difficulty.


International schools

This type of school is becoming more and more popular with parents. Indeed, most of the courses are given in English. This is a major asset of these schools, since employers nowadays insist on a good level of English. It also emphasizes the personal enrichment of the students. Upon returning to France, it is best to send your child to an international school. Indeed, the baccalaureate prepared is not the same as the French one. It is possible to send the child to a French school upon return. However, the child will probably have to repeat a class to readapt to the French program. French schools abroad, like international schools, can be difficult to access. They require a good academic level from the student. Indeed, these schools often require entrance exams.


French CNED

The CNED (Centre National d'Enseignement à Distance) offers a remote program adapted to the French system. It offers your children a choice of several subjects. They will take these subjects in addition to their schooling abroad, whether in a local, international or French school. It is a good idea to enroll your child in this program when they are enrolled in an international or local school. This allows your child not to drop out of the French school system completely. This way, when he/she returns to France, it will be easier for him/her to reintegrate a French school.


How to find the appropriate school?

The question of the school is bothering you: Is it difficult to find a French or international school? How can you find one? You should know that there is a large number of French-speaking schools throughout the world, thanks in particular to the AEFE network (Agence Enseignement Français à l'Etranger). There are French schools in almost every major city and capital. The same is true for international schools, which often have a larger number of students. However, they will be more difficult to find in smaller cities, far from the capitals.


Fees and registration deadlines

Registration deadlines are generally the same as for French schools. Registration begins in September. Registration fees are often high, ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 euros per year. These rates are for half board. Count on more if you want to put your child in boarding school. You should also know that not all countries have the same enrollment fees. Some countries, such as China, Switzerland and Belgium, have more expensive international schools. You now have all the information you need to choose the school that best suits your child. Enjoy your research.


Julianne Liebert

by Julianne Liebert