As the world transitions to having a more global workforce, many families today are deciding to move to a different country for better work opportunities and a change of lifestyle. In fact, according to the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, there are now close to 250 million international migrants living abroad worldwide, with a rapid increase in expatriates choosing to live in Asia.
If you are moving to Asia from a Western country, you may find Singapore to be the easiest country to settle in. Not only does the city-state feature a robust economy focused on specialized services and technological advancements, but it is also home to several international schools that make it easier for your children to learn and grow under the same educational curriculum as your home country. This is critical if your child wants to pursue higher education back home or in a university with globally focused programs.
Deciding on the Right Program for Your Child
In general, you may decide to place your child in a school that offers either Advanced Placement (AP) courses or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs. However, there are other alternatives you may choose from, depending on your child’s specific needs. That being said, all these programs typically prepare high school students for their college applications.
While many international school curricula build a student’s higher-level thinking and analytical skills, there is research that suggests that teenagers enrolled in IB schools in Singapore and other places typically perform better than their non-IB peers for several reasons. Here are some of them:
The IB Programme Is Holistic
The IB Programme fosters critical thinking while encouraging students to be productive global citizens and leaders. It trains students to understand the process of knowledge, understand why they need to learn these lessons, and how to apply them in everyday life.
As this will likely mold them into well-rounded learners, this approach will not only help them with their college applications down the line, but it may also benefit them in terms of their overall development toward adulthood later in life.
The IB Programme Teaches Students to Be Internationally Minded
The IB Programme encourages students to develop a more global mindset, enjoining them to respect and critically appreciate not just their own cultures and personal histories but also those of others. IB teachers focus more on building empathy and understanding for all cultures so that students can thrive in a hyper-connected world, where interactions with people from different backgrounds are all but expected.
This benefits expat families moving to a completely different country with minimal knowledge of the culture they are settling into. By being enrolled in the IB Programme, students can feel more comfortable in their new environment, as the curriculum is likely similar to what they are used to back home or back in their old international school.
The IB Programme Is Academically Rigorous
Whether you’re an expat family living in Singapore or in any other country, your focus is most likely on preparing for your child’s future. You want to give them the best education you can so that they can achieve their dreams and be productive members of society.
Enrolling them in a school that follows the IB Programme is a viable option, especially if your child wants to attend an Ivy League university or another top institution of higher learning in the future. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the International Insight Research Group, students who graduated from the IB Programme have a higher chance of being accepted into an Ivy League school compared to their non-IB peers.
The IB Programme Can Foster Multilingualism
One of the main benefits of working and living abroad is that it offers you the chance to immerse yourself in another culture, including your host country’s language. However, developing fluency may be a different story than learning “on the go.” Because the IB Programme provides a continuum of internationally focused educational programs, students are able to develop proficiency in both speaking and understanding another language of global importance—or maybe even the language of their host country.
This benefits them both academically and socially, as they gain a more in-depth insight into other cultures.
The IB Programme Teaches Your Child to Love Learning
Throughout all IB programs, students learn to love learning. The curricula challenge students to think critically and to learn in a flexible environment across cultural boundaries. One of the core classes in the IB Diploma Programme is the “fundamentals of learning” course, where students are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning and understand how knowledge itself is constructed. This allows the student to hone their logical thinking skills, ask challenging questions, and develop the necessary research aptitude for higher education.
Ultimately, having an IB education is impressive for its academic strength and because it supports the child to become a well-rounded adult. As an expat family, you would want the transition to your new country to be as easy as possible, especially for your children. With the IB Programme, you give them that opportunity while providing them with the skills and experiences they need to achieve their own versions of success.