If you are a parent on a school hunt, the dilemma may have already presented itself to you: local school or international school? What is the core difference and which would be best for your child’s development?
Expat parents typically prefer the international route, as they may be more familiar with the syllabus, and it’s easier to find the compatible systems if or when they relocate again. But one big difference is the intercultural aspect: international schools are greatly favoured for the intercultural environment. There’s no doubt that international schools will shape your child into a global citizen with their value for diversity.
Why is an intercultural education valuable?
Even though the pandemic has caused borders to close and travel has been put to a halt, in such a highly globalised world, your child is bound to live, work and interact with people of other cultures at one point or another. In fact, you don’t have to look far to realise the rise of intercultural societies. Despite being a tiny red dot, Singapore itself is the perfect example of a melting pot of cultures!
An intercultural education offers your child more than just a vibrant school scene. This holistic education teaches your child to be sensitive to his friends’ different lifestyle habits of their friends, cultivating a sustainable way of living. And of course, when your child is more attuned to cultural differences, they see global issues beyond a pair of rose-coloured glasses.
How are schools curating this intercultural education?
1. Creating a rich melting pot of cultures
With over seventy nationalities in a single international school, cultural exposure becomes a first-hand experience for your child! From teachers, classmates to the friends made in co-curricular activities, there’s always going to be a new addition to your child’s knowledge of languages, customs, culinary dishes and more.
Although local schools might also offer diversity due to the nature of multicultural Singapore, international schools offer a more immersive experience with a greater mix of expats and locals.
2. Leading in cultural events
Different cultures come alive in schools with the celebration of cultural events! Cultural events a taken up a notch when it becomes a conscious and school-wide effort not just to include but to appreciate other traditions. For instance, events such as United Nations week where students come dressed in their home country’s traditional costumes. Your child will be proud of his heritage and be prompted to ask friends about theirs.
When intercultural education is repackaged into such innovative events, it won’t be long before your child becomes thrilled to learn about different nationalities. This interest will go a long way in building his awareness of this increasingly globalised world.
3. Language learning
With intercultural education at the forefront, many international schools in Singapore have included a emphasis on bilingual education.
One school’s bilingual education model can be different from another but they share one common purpose: language learning goes beyond what your child speaks and writes daily. Language learning involves immersing into the language’s culture! Through the various bilingual education models, your child is exposed to rich history and perspectives of a different nationality.
The intercultural learning environment in an international school is truly one-of-a-kind and incredibly advantageous to your child’s cultural development. Enquire for open houses and explore the options of international schools in Singapore. Especially for bilingual education models, you’d want to find the right one that matches your child’s interest and learning pace.