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2020-08-21 12:16:06

Secondary education abroad is both risks and opportunities

Secondary education abroad is both risks and opportunities

Growth trends in the global economy make students' willingness to study, live and work in the international community a competitive advantage. Studying abroad can improve career prospects and greatly enhance language skills. Education abroad is becoming more popular every year: according to a survey by HSBC (a large banking group), in which 15 countries took part, the share of those who are thinking about sending their children to a foreign school has grown from 35% in 2016 to 42% in 2017. Parents choose to study abroad when planning their children’s international careers: this helps to form the skills of a future successful career, because education is an important investment for a global career. Prestigious international schools offer a variety of educational programs, and parents are waiting for a modern view of education, choosing progressive learning systems that open the door to promising work.

Preparing for an international university experience

Foreign schools, demanded by applicants from different countries, study complex programs that allow them to obtain a certificate, which is accepted by the world's leading universities: A-level, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, etc.

  • The British A-Level program invites students to focus on a smaller number of subjects than in a general education school, to get in-depth knowledge in their chosen disciplines. A-Level exam results are the standard selection criteria for university admissions in the UK and around the world. By joining the A-level, in just 2 years you will prepare for your studies at the best universities abroad.
  • International European course International Baccalaureate is a training program for students from 3 to 18 years old. It is based on academic rigor and allows you to enter the world's leading universities.
  • The American Advanced Placement program is a program that allows you to study only specialized disciplines, earn college credits or prepare for advanced studies at a university. APs provide college-level experience.

The traditional choice is an international baccalaureate or a national English or American curriculum (less often other national ones). Small international schools offer one course, larger ones two, sometimes more. Base your decision on what curriculum the child studied before moving, where the graduate plans to go next.

Consider class sizes, student demographics, and of course the overall spirit and approach to school. Small classes mean more attention is paid to the child one-on-one, but large classes allow you to do the same if there are additional teachers in the school (for gifted students, people with special needs).

High cost

Travel expenses, tuition, accommodation, meals, books, study materials, utilities, local transportation, leisure - this adds up to the cost of studying abroad. At the initial stage, this amount will be supplemented by the cost of visas, the cost of consultants, the purchase of a wardrobe. The average cost of studying abroad is 18,000 $ / semester.

International environment

Famous foreign schools are melting pots that bring together representatives of different cultures, nationalities, social and political circles. Students learn to communicate and get along together, developing useful skills for future study and work. Students from all over the world (without the dominance of one nationality) learn to overcome tensions, resolve conflicts. Leading institutions organize international evenings, attendance at United Nations conferences, travel abroad, and participate in charitable projects.

High competition

A highly competitive environment is a plus and a minus at the same time. The student grows up surrounded by people oriented towards success, hard work. Among students in European schools and universities, the percentage of students from Asia is high: from early school age, students from Japan and China give priority to education, make great strides, do not take sick leave, and always stay for the summer semester. A child accustomed to a relaxed learning rhythm will experience discomfort from involuntary comparison with other foreign students.

Culture Exchange

The best way to experience different cultures is to experience them in an authentic environment. The ability to effectively understand and interact with people of different cultures is an integral part of a successful world career. In practice, realizing the importance of cultural differences, the child will gain valuable knowledge about effective communication in an international environment while studying at a foreign school.

Culture shock

Significant cultural changes, new food, foreign religious practices, unusual transportation systems, a different style of dress - culture shock leads to frustration, anxiety, homesickness. Students usually cope quickly with the stress of changing lifestyles, but if the individual is not able to cope with cultural differences, this can lead to apathy and poor academic performance.


Studying of foreign language

Studying abroad is the perfect way to prepare your child for university entrance, focusing on new language skills. Half of the parents who consider studying abroad for their children consider the acquisition of foreign language skills a major advantage. Knowledge of multiple languages is a tool that can open many doors.

Abroad, a student will prepare for language exams (IELTS and Cambridge Exams), receive official certificates of knowledge of the English language, which will help when entering an international university.

The most popular language of study abroad is English, but many European educational institutions have programs in French or German.

The language barrier

Success while studying abroad depends on effective communication skills: students need to be fluent in a foreign language - to understand spoken language, academic terms, read, write. If the student does not speak fluently or does not have time to complete the teacher's assignments, it will become a lot of stress. In parallel with the development of new educational material, formal and informal rules of behavior, the student will intensively learn the language

Gaining new skills and confidence

Foreign travel and studying play an important role in broadening the horizons of young people, preparing for the future. Feeling comfortable speaking a new language in a new city, meeting people from all over the world is an experience that will make your child ready to communicate, complete school assignments, and write in a new language. He will become confident in unfamiliar surroundings, ready to tackle new academic and professional challenges.

Independence or loneliness?

Most students had never lived independently or traveled alone before being sent to a foreign school. Symptoms of culture shock (sadness, anxiety, feelings of isolation or alienation) appear after the realization that friends and family are far away. Chatting on Skype with friends at 3 a.m. (when it's noon at home) is not as enjoyable as chatting with them live. And if you make friends with the locals while abroad, the need to return home becomes more difficult.

Social network and prospects

Studying abroad brings lifetime benefits. Abroad, the student builds an extensive global network of friends, potential work colleagues. Offering exciting work internships - a week at a Geneva bank or 10 days at an Italian fashion house - schools attract parents by giving their child practical international experience and professional contacts.

Affordable air travel, the Internet, and the growth of the remote work market mean that the world is getting smaller. Today's students will compete for work with peers all over the world, and an applicant who is ready to move abroad, speaks several languages, has real experience of living in a foreign culture will have a better chance than someone who has barely set foot outside their hometown.

High expectations

Most graduates of foreign universities describe the experience of studying abroad as unambiguously positive, and they rarely talk about the difficulties of life and adaptation. The frustration of many students at the initial stage is associated with a mismatch between expectations and reality. Talk to family and friends who studied away from home, ask about the difficulties of the first months of independent life abroad.


Travel broadens one's horizons - it is a common place, but it matches the wishes of parents who send their children to school abroad. In this way, students become well-rounded, internationally oriented, who feel free with people of different cultures.

Studying abroad with students from different countries, a child from a young age gets acquainted with new languages, products, different traditions, sports and lifestyle. Education does not end in the classroom: on weekends, students attend various activities, learn about the environment, learn new skills - skiing, horseback riding, and learning martial arts.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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