Moving to live in an unfamiliar country can be a daunting task. There are many factors to be assessed and each seems more important than the others. Apart from finding and establishing your personal home; issues such as safety, health care, insurance and recreational opportunities may be high on the agenda.
For expatriate parents with school age children, the process gets more complicated as ensuring quality education often takes top spot on their list of priorities. Choosing a suitable school for your child is possibly one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make as a parent when relocating overseas. So much depends on individuality so it’s hard to provide a definitive guide to choosing a school.
There are many quality education options around Hua Hin for expats. As each family set-up and each child is different, there is no ‘one-school-fits-all’ solution even within ‘generic’ international schools.
What is An International School?
An international school is an educational facility that operates outside of the normal state system of any given country. Originally set up for the children of expatriates, these schools teach an international curriculum and have international values reflected in their mission statements and teaching ethos.
International schools in Thailand adopt either an international curriculum or the national curriculum of another country. This makes them the school of choice for expat parents, who are reassured that their children can resume their education with minimal disruption should they return to their home country.
For children who are on the move around the globe, international schools provide a form of stability. Their values and teaching will be similar wherever they are in the world so it’s easier to transition from one International School to another in very different locations. Instruction is almost always in English but the curriculum is tweaked to suit an ethnic diversity.
Another fast growing school type is local schools, serving a local populace, yet encouraging international students. Their curriculum is broadly similar to the host country but heavily modified to include many subjects delivered in English. These schools, despite the English language in many lessons, are considered immersive in nature; the overall language, culture and format is that of the host country.
Sometimes parents put too much emphasis on trying to find a ‘good’ education options in Hua Hin. This is very hard to judge as a parent as it depends on the curriculum, the teachers and differs from class to class and from child to child, even within the same family. What is most important is that your child is happy; a happy child learns, regardless of the school’s reputation.
What to Consider
Length of Stay
Do you intend to stay permanently in Thailand or will you be moving elsewhere in the future? If you will be returning to your home country it makes sense to choose a school running a curriculum that ties in with your home country’s system.
While most children tend to be resilient and adjust well when moving schools, a change of curriculum can prove challenging and may impact on their future success.
If you are here permanently, a local school may be the best option for you and your child. This is especially important if they need to learn a new language, as full immersion seems the best way to achieve this.
Doing Your Research
The obvious place to start is the internet, but school websites naturally place an incredibly positive spin on their school. Ask around for recommendations if at all possible. Speak to colleagues, other parents and call on anyone who has a connection to that potential school. Mixing internet research AND word of mouth can be augmented by asking on online forums or chat groups.
Age of the Children
Young children are more adaptable and flexible than older children who have already settled into a particular school system. At that age the most important thing is getting into the school spirit, learning to learn and learning to socialize.
If you have more than one child, it will, of course, be preferable to get them into the same school. That isn’t always possible, so this is something else to take into account when making your decision.
Travelling From Your Residence
How far away from you home is the school? Would you be able to get there easily in case of an emergency? Will you be able to attend activities that invite family participation?
Another factor to consider is that your child may not have friends close to home if the school is too far away. If it’s a long way from your home, you may find your child is unable to socialise locally and may be unhappy outside of school hours for this reason.
What Are the Education Options in Hua Hin?
Individual schools are all different so look carefully at the culture behind each international school on offer, considering what sort of educational experience you want your child to have. It’s all well and good to choose your ideal school, but be sure the individual school can live up to your expectations.
Our list of Hua Hin international schools shows the schools most often chosen by ex-pat families in Hua Hin. The information provided has been sourced from the school websites and has not been confirmed or assessed by us. The schools are presented in alphabetical order without any recommendations offered or implied.
It is vital to understand that it is not the end of the world if you choose a school that is not a good fit for your child. You can always change your mind if it’s not working out, and you shouldn’t be afraid to do so. Your child will adapt and it will not ruin their life to change schools.
If tertiary studies are on the Thailand agenda, Hua Hin also has that covered with two international universities. This could be a great way to have older teenage or young adult members of the family spend quality time overseas or even a mature aged parental Degree or Masters could be considered.