People have recognized the value of a foreign education for millennia. Young people used to move to neighboring or allied nations to develop an insider’s knowledge of foreign powers. More recently, it was common for the wealthy to send their children to boarding schools, finishing schools and advanced academies in other countries.
The benefits of an education abroad are varied. You have the opportunity to learn about another culture and gain a deeper understanding of other people. This cultivates critical thinking skills and empathy and teaches you to consider the differences, similarities, benefits and frustrations of all cultures and the people whom you meet. You can also learn valuable information about regional social courtesies and new languages, depending on where you study.
You also have a potential career network to consider. Historically, those who studied abroad were part of a small, tightly connected and privileged group. While a foreign education is not accessible to everyone, these days, it offers access to a diverse group of people who are well-traveled, well-educated and often very well-connected. You can benefit from gaining a network of peers around the world who can open doors, share knowledge and offer opportunities that would otherwise be challenging or impossible to access.
While it’s possible to place a child in an overseas school from a young age, it’s more common to start an education abroad during the high school and post-secondary years. Children are more actively engaged in learning about others, have more developed critical thinking skills and are in a better position to take advantage of the connections that they’re building. For many, a foreign education can lead to opportunities in global trade and finance, politics, nonprofits and more diverse arts or sciences careers.
If you are a parent who is considering moving abroad with your children, then you’ll want to consider which approach is right for them. Factors that may influence your choice of region include your own career or a strategic area of growth. Choose a gateway city that has many high-quality institutions and resources as well as easy access to other parts of the region that you might want to visit. Asia is experiencing massive growth, and cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo house strong communities of international elites as well as the best professionals in the region. A Singapore international school offers English-language education at a world-class level in a location with ready access to the rest of Asia and the Middle East.
Other considerations may include your family relationships and patterns, the ages and preferences of your children and their future career goals. You might look for a school with a strong sports or arts program, one that has a large number of students living with their own families in the area or one that offers the full boarding experience.
The right foreign education can open doors for you or your family. Parents can give their children a rewarding education and help them access global opportunities. The foreign education experience sets people up for success with core academic and leadership skills as well as a valuable network of international professionals for a future without borders.