Written by Meghan Zuvelek,
26th October 2017

Finding the right education fit for your child while living abroad is a big decision. Here are some important considerations.

Deciding how you will educate your child can be one of the biggest decisions when moving abroad. Finding out schooling options, minimizing disruptions and ensuring they are receiving an appropriate education are all vital. The country you are moving to, the age of your children and for how long you are going will help determine which style of education fits best.

The local school system is a good option for families who want to fully integrate into a culture and meet local families

Here is an overview of what your options are as an expat family moving abroad.

Early Childhood

In many cases, pre-school children will stay home with one or both parents. If this isn’t possible and alternative care must be arranged, local day-care centres and au pairs are two popular options. In some countries the cost of a live-in au pair or live out nanny is much the same as day-care, so simply decide which model will work best for your family and then conduct research from there.

State schools

Local state schools can be an excellent option for expat kids, especially if the language taught in school is the child’s first language. If you intend remaining in the area for a while, it will help them settle in both to the community and the country as a whole. Even schools which speak a foreign language can be a good fit if the change is long-term. Younger kids especially can pick up languages quickly and it is proven learning multiple languages is great for brain development at younger ages.

The local school system is a good option for families who want to fully integrate into a culture and meet local families. The cost of local schools is much lower than private or international schools and free in most cases, although not everywhere.


Moving abroad can be a great start in life


Private Schools

The private school system is another option. These schools often have superior academic rankings and the stats suggest they are better for getting into a good university. Boarding schools are a popular choice for expat kids. Boarding schools make sense in countries or areas that aren’t as safe, or for children requiring an English curriculum in a foreign location. Boarding schools typically have an excellent academic reputation but can be very expensive, and are not suitable for kids of all ages. Some children and teenagers simply don’t thrive in a boarding school environment away from their families. It can be tough for the parents too!

International School

Many countries have international schools which offer centralized curriculums and foreign national schools which have curriculums based on specific countries. International schools have a lot to offer academically and often have plenty of extra-curricular activities to develop different aspects of the child. The international environment means children will be exposed to a variety of cultures and is ideal for children and teenagers who travel around a lot, offering consistent curriculums no matter where they are in the world. The International Baccalaureate (IB) is the most common international school with over 3,000 schools in more than 140 countries.

Once you know the schools are okay in your new country, find out how the healthcare shapes up. Read our brand new guide: Healthcare Abroad 2018.


Increasingly families are choosing to home-school their children while living abroad, especially if the duration of the trip is short to medium term. For families seeking a diverse experiential education where travel plays a pivotal role, home-schooling can be a great fit. Home-schooling offers much more flexibility than traditional schooling options, and is considerably cheaper. If the parents aren’t comfortable teaching their kids there are online tutors and courses available.

Share This