SmileTutor Blog Parents Key Decisions Changing Schools: The Effect of Expat Life on Your Child’s Education

Changing Schools: The Effect of Expat Life on Your Child’s Education

Living abroad offers many opportunities, and foreign students who move to Singapore enjoy various advantages, including a rich and diverse culture.

However, the idea of moving your children halfway across the world can affect their education. 

Although good education is mandatory for success globally, the question is, how can you ensure that your children will have a similar or even better standard of education as the one found back home? To some degree, a foreign education can be a blessing because children will gain vast knowledge regarding the new culture.

There’s never a straightforward way when faced with the choice of relocating. But with a bit of forethought, you can weigh the benefits and disadvantages of taking your children overseas.

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The Benefits of Taking Children Abroad

Children Experience a Different Way of Life

One advantage of raising children abroad is the opportunity to interact with people who have different beliefs, backgrounds, and cultures.

Emigrating offers your children endless possibilities in terms of hobbies, job prospects, relationships, and much more.

The possible reasons are: when your children are abroad, they’re exposed to new experiences and ideas that they don’t find back home. They also get a headstart on developing career interests and building their portfolios.

They Gain a Unique and Diversified Form of Education

Based on their age, your child may have received a surmountable amount of education. Uprooting your child from their current school and standard curriculum may not seem like a good choice.

However, according to recent studies, students who stayed overseas during their childhood will likely excel in their studies and join institutions of higher learning.

Children Learn a New Language and Culture

Younger children can learn more than one language remarkably, which is associated with improved cognitive development. They adopt new customs and cultures much better whenever they visit a place.

Introducing them to the language beforehand will help them integrate into their new environment better upon arrival. 

Depending on the country you move to and the type of education they offer, your child may take private lessons for languages. Research about the availability of such schools before applying.

Encouraging your children to interact with their peers together with private tuition will help them pick up the local lingo faster.

Additionally, socialising with children who speak a different language enriches your child’s life in their new school.

Children Experience More of What the World Has to Offer

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To take a break from education, thousands of young adults take a gap year and explore different parts of the world.

This opportunity not only makes them experience the world but also broadens their horizons beyond their hometowns.

Travelling offers people hands-on learning experiences in the world. It also helps children discover their passions and limitations.

It Brings Your Family Closer

Relocating your family from their home and moving them halfway across the globe can cause emotional strain, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the new place. This is on top of the cost of moving overseas

In such scenarios, most expat families remain tight-knit, making it possible for children and parents to bond.

Visiting new places once you settle in a new country helps families to create memories because they experience a new culture together.

Make time within the first few days of moving to explore your new town, visit the supermarkets while meeting new people.

Joining a hobby club and introducing yourself to neighbours is the perfect way to blend into your new community. Your children can meet new friends, making the transition more comfortable.

The Disadvantages of Taking Children Abroad

Cultural and Social Differences

Before relocating overseas, you need to do thorough homework about the school your child will attend.

Moving to a new school and making new friends isn’t easy. Simultaneously, trying to befriend people who have an entirely different upbringing, speak a different language, and have different interests is extremely difficult for children.

Your child may experience culture shock. But as time goes by, they will get used to their new school, and they might find it easier interacting with other children. 

However, in the beginning, don’t expect so much from your children. They’ll be focusing most of their energy on social acceptance.

A Change in Curriculum

Joining a new school can be tough for any child. Can you imagine how scary it is to start school in an entirely new country?

Although it’s not unworkable or harmful, the period for settling in might take a longer time. However, it might be more or less of a problem depending on the number of years your child has attended school.

The best solution to ensure your child isn’t missing or repeating subjects is choosing a learning institution that runs the International Baccalaureate program.

Children will Miss their Life Back Home

It’s worth noting that your children will miss their life back at home. Accept this and offer them optimal support.

Pay attention to your older children because they’re at a greater risk of unhappiness. Although younger children may also feel homesick, they will have a higher chance of making friends quickly and creating new relationships.

Some signs that will help you know your child is struggling include:

  • Aggressive or disruptive behaviour
  • Constantly reaching out to friends back home
  • Declines offers to make new friendships

In case you regularly move between countries, ensure there’s some form of education continuity taking place. If not, your child may end up learning the same topics in Science thrice but fail to learn about new topics in Math.

However, if you’ll return to your country after some time, try working out the stage of education they’ll be at because school admissions during crucial exams can be a daunting affair.


Moving abroad is an arduous process for a growing number of expats, including children. From finding new schools, to making friends, the reality of living abroad can be overwhelming at times.

Despite being challenging, it’s believed that younger children are likely to learn new languages easily.

Although it’s true, sometimes children deal with their unique challenges when they relocate to a new country.

Knowing what you’ll encounter and the possible moving outcomes can help adults prepare their children for the new changes.

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.