The concept of “international education” has several definitions, depending on who you’re speaking to. In most contemporary scholastic contexts, however, it refers to a type of educational approach that was pioneered by the International Baccalaureate (IB), a nonprofit based in Geneva, Switzerland, which created the International Baccalaureate Programmes that are internationally recognized today.
Many international schools also offer the Advanced Placement or AP courses, which, in turn, were developed by the College Board, an American nonprofit organization headquartered in New York City. In practice, these schools cater to expat families as well as locals looking for an alternative to local mainstream school systems.
While the ideas and practices behind international education are not exactly new, the growing trend of globalization has created significant interest in the kinds of educational systems offered by IB and similar certification bodies. Today, many parents and people pursuing higher learning are interested in the potential benefits of an education with a more cosmopolitan and global perspective.
Below are some of the ways international education can help one’s prospects, both personally and professionally. Be sure to consider these before looking into AP and IB schools in Singapore that you may want to attend.
1.) You’ll Learn Much More Than What’s on the Curriculum
One of the biggest draws of international education is that students tend to learn a lot of useful things that are not necessarily on the curriculum. Most international schools have a substantial selection of extracurricular clubs and activities, as these can be very important to expatriates and their families. Sports and enthusiast groups that are usually rare in mainstream schools tend to be somewhat more commonplace in international schools, making them an attractive option for those who desire a more holistic education.
2.) You’ll Be Better Exposed to Foreign Languages
While our world is more interconnected than it’s ever been, many parts of it are still practically off-limits to people who don’t speak a language other than English. And though English proficiency is growing worldwide, huge bodies of media and of scientific and artistic literature are still only accessible in other languages. Furthermore, entire concepts and ways of thinking are not adequately translatable into English. Learning more languages can therefore be a good way to become more self-actualized and connected with the world.
Having an international education is no guarantee that one will learn new languages, but for most people, it will be a great start. This is especially true for preschool and elementary age children, but even older students still stand to benefit from regular, structured exposure to new languages. Even more useful than learning new languages in class is being able to apply them in real-world scenarios, which is not always possible for those enrolled in regular school systems.
3.) International Education Opens Up a Lot of Opportunities
International school graduates gain internationally recognized qualification for entry into top higher educational institutions around the world. They could even earn college credits depending on what courses they take in school and how well they do in them.
Given how interconnected the world is, savvy employers also often prefer job candidates with an international education, as they may be less likely to make critical missteps when working with a transnational team or when dealing with clients and suppliers in other countries. This preference is common enough that many people choose to earn degrees and certifications overseas to give their careers a boost.
4.) You’ll Develop a Better Appreciation of Different Cultures
Choosing an international education can dramatically widen horizons for yourself. We often don’t realize how much of our ways of thinking are influenced by our own culture until we go out and experience others.
Being in close contact with people from other countries and cultures has a way of opening one up to new ideas and possibilities. What’s more, international education also tends to teach tolerance, empathy, and understanding of different peoples, which is something all of us could use more of these days.
5.) You Can Enjoy a More Diverse Personal and Professional Network
Regardless of whether you enroll in an international school at home or abroad, you’re almost bound to diversify your existing personal and professional network. You can connect with people from around the world, gaining future personal and business opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable in the regular school system. Generally speaking, being a student in an international school makes it so much easier to find exciting challenges and opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere.
Unique lifelong friendships are par for the course for most students who attend an international school. However, these institutions are also often a special source of future internships, careers, business contacts, partners, and other possibilities.
Indeed, international schools offer some unique benefits that many of the best mainstream schools simply can not offer. This is because many of these advantages are not necessarily related to the curriculum or the quality of instruction.
While international schools do tend to be high-performing, these institutions also offer a cosmopolitan environment steeped in diversity, which few mainstream schools can match. This means students at international schools often experience a more holistic education that better equips them for an increasingly interconnected world.