Advice for Children Entering a New School Abroad

Sometimes it makes sense for a child to enter school in a new country. The family may have moved, or they may choose to send a child alone for the purpose of seeking a better education for the child. No matter what is the source of the relocation, there are several pieces of advice to help a child succeed at a new school abroad (see How Boarding Schools Contribute to a Student’s Development).


Be Prepared for Change

A child that is put out of her comfort zone may feel overwhelmed. She may not have an easy time making new friends in the country, because she won’t be used to the feeling of isolation that can come from being in a new place without close friends. A bit of preparation goes a long way in making a child ready for school abroad.

Talking with the child about what he might feel or think in the new place will help the child prepare for a new life. He should know what kinds of cultural differences he can expect. He should know how other children might perceive him in the new country and how he can help himself make friends. And, he should be allowed to try and make new friends and test out his social skills in a controlled and supported new social setting close to home. This will help him to adapt much better once he is abroad.


Learn the Local Language

Even if the new school will be taught in English, a child should know some of the language before he or she enters school in a new country. This will help the child overcome feelings of being isolated or put into an unknown situation. Even a little bit of a common language will help the child bond with his or her peers in the new country. Children pick up new languages quickly, especially when they are very young, and so a language immersion might help a child pick up a valuable new school.


Keep in Touch with Home

Another thing that will help a child’s experience of living abroad is to stay connected with the people and things from home. Remembering her past will help the child to feel more connected, both to home and to her new environment. Having people to talk to from home can help her cope with new situations when she is feeling overwhelmed.

Parents can help a child keep in touch with home by sending care packages that remind the child of home, or by sending letters from home. Frequent contact with the people from home, through phone calls, emails, or letters, can ease the adjustment period in the new country.


Research the School System Beforehand

Finally, an important part of a child’s academic success is being mentally prepared for the new school. The standards may be higher or lower than in the home country, and schools may have already covered material that the child doesn’t know yet. Parents can help prepare students for what they will be expected to know in the new country.

Armed with the tips above, a child will be able to go far when entering a new school abroad. Read more advice from