Skip to main content

Why local schools can be better for expat kids

By September 26, 2018July 25th, 2020FinGlobal

Why local schools can be better for expat kids

September 26, 2018


One of the biggest dilemmas facing expat families when they move abroad is schooling. Parents often want to ensure that children experience as little disruption as possible when they make the move – which leads some expats to consider placing their children in international schools. International schools teach the international curriculum of many of the leading countries, which ensures that their schooling will be uninterrupted from an educational point of view. However many expats prefer to place their children at local schools for the following reasons:


Moving abroad is an expensive process and if you don’t have an expat relocation package, paying for the high fees that International schools command can be beyond the reach of many expats budgets. In addition, International schools often have limited places and long waiting lists, which is a problem if you haven’t managed to secure a place. Local public schools are usually free for local citizens – and in many countries the quality of education is extremely high, making it the more affordable option

Language fluency

If you moving to a country with a foreign first language, immersing your child in the local culture at a local school can be one of the quickest ways to ensure they pick up the local language. Expats with young children often choose local schools for this reason, believing that exposure to the local way of life (including attitudes, customs, language and tradition) will help them settle down faster than if they are placed in an international school where they will be surrounded by expat children from many other countries.

Tertiary admission

If you are planning to live in the country for a long period, then it may be easier for your children to gain admission to local tertiary institutions if they have attended a local school and are familiar with the education system of the country you are living in.

Life-long friends

Children at international schools are usually expats and may only be residing in the country for a short while. If you and your family plan to stay for a few years, then local schools will provide a better opportunity for your children to create long-term friendships.

How to select a local school

Many local schools are zoned – so that only children living in the area can attend them. If you want your child to attend a specific local school – do your research beforehand and ensure you rent or buy in the correct area. Try and coincide your move with the beginning of a new semester or new academic year as there will probably be other new children joining, which will help make things easier for your child.

Countries with top local schools

If you are moving to any of these countries, you can rest assured, the local schools offer education that is highly regarded internationally. The list was compiled by Pearson – a British multinational publishing and education company. The criteria for the ranking is the education in primary, secondary and high school, as well as the higher education institutions and international schools.

  1. South Korea
  2. Japan
  3. Singapore
  4. Hong Kong
  5. Finland
  6. The UK
  7. Canada
  8. The Netherlands
  9. Ireland
  10. Poland

If you are a South African living abroad and would like to know more about the process of financial emigration from South Africa, cashing in your South African retirement annuity and our tailor-made tax solutions for South African expatriates living around the world, contact FinGlobal today.


Leave a Reply