What should expatriates look for when picking an international school in Hong Kong?

There is a lot to consider when you choose an international school in Hong Kong, there are multiple schools to choose from.

For a variety of reasons such as expert educators and marvelous facilities international schools are the best choice for your children. However, you may be asking yourself which international school is the most suitable for your children to learn and grow. Take a look at our tips to make the right choice:

1) See if Your Values Match
What are your personal values and philosophy? What kind of person do you want your children to be in the future? For example, creativity, diligence, integrity are all possible traits you aspire for your children to have.

These are perhaps the most important questions you need to ask and find a school that matches what you want for your children. Investigate the school’s mission and vision. What kind of environment they strive to be? What type of student do they seek to produce?

Most importantly find out how they plan to achieve their mission and vision and make your children leaders of tomorrow.

2) Engage With Current Students & Parents
Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get information you need is from the parents and current students of the international school itself. They will be able to give you more details on the good, bad and ugly of the school. Whatever it is, it will be their unfiltered honest opinion. Ask around your network of friends to see if there are any parents you can connect with. If you are unable to do so, try going online to facebook groups. However, it’s important to get multiple suggestions and feedbacks from multiple parents for a more fair assessment. Here at Mandarin Connection, we have parents from the most popular international schools in Hong Kong. Chat with them during or after the Mandarin lesson or connect with them at the Mandarin Club event.

3) Observe The Environment
You absolutely need to visit the campus to ensure the facilities of the school will be conducive to your children’s development. Comfortable and well-equipped classrooms, laboratories and libraries will enhance students’ learning. However, it is also important to take note of the sports and recreational facilities, so that your children can have healthy balanced lifestyles.

Furthermore, take in the atmosphere. Is it friendly, vibrant, supportive? This is especially important if your children will be living in a boarding school. Can the international school be a home away from home?

4) Get To Know The Academics
One of the most essential components of a school is its faculty. Thus, it is important you converse and get to know the academics and staff. Find out if their teaching style, philosophy and methods are suitable for your children. Their backgrounds and experiences are also vital information.More than that, observe if the teachers are truly passionate and commited to their role as educators. Will they not just teach but also nurture and inspire your children?

Furthermore, a number of international schools also possess a team of academics hailing from all corners of the globe such as Australia, America, the UK, Hong Kong and more. If cultivating a global perspective for your children is important to you, this diversity is a huge benefit.

5) Investigate The Curriculum
It is vital you take an in-depth at the curriculum of your potential international school. Get the essentials of the class structure, subjects and style. Find answers to questions about the curriculum you think are important. For example, does it provide a holistic education? Does it also promote social and emotional development? Does it integrate technology and practical skills?

The American, Australian and British curriculums are considered the mainstreams, while the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum has also gained popularity among international students. There are other schools that offer education based on their home country’s system, such as the German-Swiss, French, Australian and Singapore International Schools. The English Schools Foundation (ESF) schools are popular options and they offer the IB system. There are 22 ESF schools located in different districts, but they only accept students who live within the designated “catchment areas”. More than half of them are located in traditional and new expat areas, [such as] Pok Fu Lam, Mid-Levels, The Peak, south side, Lantau [Discovery Bay and Tung Chung], and Sai Kung.

Additionally, different international schools may base their curriculum around the education system of different countries such as the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

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