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What is an International School?

It is important for students today to learn about the world in which they live and to become global citizens. As economies, environmental policies and humanitarian efforts become increasing interconnected, people need to understand, reach out to and work with other cultures and societies. One way to acquire this perspective is by attending an international school, which promotes a global perspective.


What is an International School?

An international school follows either a curriculum approved by an international organization, such as the International Baccalaureate, or one from a foreign country rather than the country in which it is located.


What Are Some Types of International Schools?

The International Baccalaureate program was founded in 1968 in Geneva to educate children living in a country other than their family’s homeland. There are more than 3,000 schools worldwide following the International Baccalaureate program.

The Cambridge International Examinations program grew out of the Cambridge Assessment, which began in 1858 at the University of Cambridge. This program is now followed at more than 10,000 schools.

Another type of international school is one that follows the curriculum of a country other than its host country. For example, there are schools across the globe that offer a U.S., British or Canadian curriculum and prepare students to attend universities in those countries.

There are also international schools that do not follow any of these programs, but consider themselves to be international because they focus on an international perspective and prepare students to become global citizens.


Who Attends International Schools?

There are typically two kinds of students at international schools. The first are the children of people who are not citizens of the host country. Traditionally, their parents work for foreign embassies, international businesses, international organizations, military services or missionary programs. The children receive an education that allows them to return to universities in their native countries. The second are local citizens whose families want an international education rather than a local one. Some of these students will go on to institutions of higher education abroad. Others will take their global perspective with them to local universities.


Why Choose An International School?

Families choose an international school to give their students what it takes to become a successful global citizen. This means understanding and working with different people and finding ways to encourage cooperation and interdependence in solving key issues. This means exploring and valuing their own culture and history as well as learning about and valuing the histories and cultures of other backgrounds. Students in this kind of school will find diversity is appreciated and individual growth encouraged. Families may also select a school that will prepare their children for higher education in a particular country, either their own homeland or one abroad. Here are some other reasons to choose an international school.

Attending an international school is a good way to establish a foundation as someone who can live and work in the international world. Students from this kind of school bring important skills and perspectives to whatever institution of higher education they later pursue.


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