Trying to get children through school is a challenge for any parent. The effort it takes to help your child manage expectations, develop self-support skills and have a happy social life can be massive often with a never ending slew of anxieties to make everyday dramatic. However, when you’ve moved your children across continents away from friends and family the challenges can expand dramatically, especially when incorporating language and cultural differences. If there is not a clear understanding of the task and how it will be managed, the experience can devolve into a self-induced nightmare.
However, the expatriate schooling experience can provide a wealth of opportunities for any student and family, resulting in an expanded sense of competence and confidence. A key mechanism for success is establishing lines of communication between school and home that are open, direct and consistent. As well, specialised needs must be outlined up front with a commitment from both the school and home as to what required, specialised support elements will be put in place. Another action that helps the assimilation process is to participate in school supported activities both during and after class as well as providing weekly language opportunities that in turn open the lines of real communication.
Expatriate schooling for children offers many challenges and can bring frustration, isolation and disappointment. However, with awareness, planning and the establishment of realistic support options families can enjoy and grow from an overseas educational experience.