International schools in Thailand are becoming more and more popular. As an ex-pat in Thailand, you’ve likely considered sending your child to one while they’re young. If so, then congratulations! International schools offer a wonderful way to immerse children in another culture and get them excited about learning something new. But if this is going to be your first time sending a kid abroad or even sending one of your kids abroad alone (if you have multiple children), then there are a few things you need to know before packing up your bags for the airport.
Communicate with your kids’ daycare provider
Talk with your kids’ daycare provider, who will be the most familiar with their learning needs and personality. Ask them how they feel about your child going abroad; ask them what they think your child should do to prepare; ask them how they feel about having your child go abroad; and finally, if you have any other questions for the daycare provider.
Provide your kids with a few basic survival tools
- Make sure that your kids have a phone that works in the country they’re moving to. If you can, get them a local SIM card so they can make calls and use data while they are there.
- Have them bring their laptop or tablet with them because these days many international schools have internet access for students, but not all do. The school may also be able to help you set up a VPN if necessary, but it’s best if your children have some sort of connection from home as well.
- If your child is going somewhere where photography is allowed (like Tanzania), then make sure that he/she has a decent camera with plenty of memory cards/batteries for it—it will allow him/her to document his travels and share them with friends back home!
- Bring along one or two good books; this way when there aren’t any classes going on or the weather’s bad, at least they’ll have something interesting to read! Plus these can also be used as gifts when meeting new people abroad 🙂
Learn about the school rules
You’ve found your ideal international school, and now it’s time to consider the policies of the school.
- What is the policy on homework?
- What is the policy on technology use?
- What are the policies regarding food and drink?
- What are their clothing policies (for both students and parents)?
Find out who can help your child during times of emergency or difficulty
It’s important to know who can help your child during times of emergency or difficulty. The school should be able to answer questions about the international school community, as well as make sure you have someone to contact if there are problems at home.
- Who is responsible for what? (Who will my child report to if something happens at school?)
- Who is their main contact point?
- Where do they go for help with problems at school?
- Where do they go for help with problems at home?
- Where can they get advice on how best to handle issues with friends and classmates?
Make sure you’re aware of all school fees, including what will be paid by other people (i.e. Summer camps)
Another thing to keep in mind is the cost of extracurricular activities. If your child is interested in music lessons or martial arts, make sure you know how much those will cost and how often they’re expected to occur. Likewise, if your child wants to join an extracurricular club (debate team, drama club, etc.), make sure you have a good idea of what that means in terms of time commitment—and funds!
The last thing to consider when preparing for international school costs is student loans. Like with any other loan application process, there are different kinds of student loans: some are better than others and some require a co-signer while others do not. You’ll need to do some research here before committing yourself—especially if you don’t have substantial savings or other income sources at this point in your family’s life together!
Be happy and excited for your kids
It’s also important that you be happy and excited for your kids in this time of change. Take them out to dinner, buy them ice cream, or take them on a walk so they can enjoy the weather and get some fresh air. Let them know how proud you are of their accomplishments, and let them know that if they ever want to come home from school early or go home early for vacation—or even just stay home—that it’s not a problem at all!
Be prepared to visit them at school often if they’re going far away, even if they live in the same city
If your child is going to be in a school far away from home, it’s important that they know you’ll be visiting them often. If they’ve never been away from you before, they might feel confused or sad if they don’t see you every day. Also, even though there may be other parents who live near the school, most of the children will likely come from different places than where their parents live. Having someone nearby can help them feel more at home in their new surroundings.
If your child is headed overseas and attending an international school there, this can also help them adjust because they’ll get used to seeing lots of different people around them all the time instead of just their friends back home!
The best way for both parent and child alike is by having a schedule set beforehand—whether weekly visits on certain days during specific hours (for example Monday through Friday between 3 pm and 4 pm) or monthly visits once per month on whichever day works best for both parties involved (e.g., second Saturday).
Insist on seeing your kids’ friends at home frequently and doing their homework with them whenever possible
You can’t be there to help your kids with their homework, and they won’t have a parent around to ask questions.
As a result, you must make sure they understand the material and aren’t falling behind in school before leaving them—especially if you’re moving abroad for an extended time.
You’ll want to insist on seeing your friends at home frequently (if not every day) and doing their homework with them whenever possible. If you can’t afford this financially or logistically, consider putting them in tutoring sessions or hiring someone else who will be able to help them learn from home regularly.
It’s easier to adjust to life abroad as a young adult than it is as a teenager living abroad alone
When it comes to choosing a school abroad, one thing you’ll want to consider is whether your child should go as an adolescent or as a young adult.
Adolescents are more likely than adults to have negative experiences abroad because they can be at an age where they’re still forming their identity and don’t yet have the tools needed to adapt well to new environments. They also may not fully realize how much change is necessary or desirable for them to thrive in their new surroundings. Additionally, adolescents tend to have difficulty adjusting socially at school because they’re still learning how best to fit into social groups outside of their family units and friendships from past schools. They may lack confidence about speaking up for themselves or making friends with people who are different from them (again, this could stem from not knowing how). And finally, adolescents often experience difficulty adjusting socially within their community (e.g., making friends) due either directly or indirectly to parental expectations around protecting children from uncomfortable situations such as bullying incidents that might occur on school grounds.
Remember, the most important thing is to make sure your children are happy and feel supported. If they feel like their needs are being met, then they’ll be able to adjust quickly and easily.
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