information for global expats

International Schools for Expats in Canada

Submitted: November 2013

International schools are learning institutions that facilitates a student's education in line with the education system and curriculum of its host/sponsoring country. International schools adopt the curriculum of another from that which they are in. These schools tend to provide for non-nationals of the host country, such as children of parents who work at foreign embassies, or international organizations. However this does not exempt local Canadian students from attending. Parents may opt to enroll their child in an international school for two main reasons and advantages. The first is to expose their child to another language as some international schools teach in the native language of their sponsoring country and secondly to later have the opportunity to attend an international university. Keep in mind that some of these schools prepare their curriculum in the language of their sponsoring country but follow the local curriculum.

There are a number of international schools in Canada. When deciding on an institution a good place to start is in assessing the school and the quality of education they provide, and in considering this you should determine if the school is accredited by an international or local body. For international schools you can visit the individual school’s website for accreditation information.  One international accrediting body is The Council of International Schools www.cois.org.

Aside from the major factor of accreditation, the International Association of School Librarianship compiled a list of criteria for a school to be considered an international school;

  • Multinational and/or multilingual student body
  • English and/or bi-lingual language of instruction
  • International curriculum
  • Transferability of students across schools
  • Nonselective student enrollment

This list should be taking into consideration in any decision making, along with basic criteria such as;

  • Class Sizes/Student Teacher Ratio – Lower student teacher ratios, tends to be an advantage to the child’s learning process as the schools can cater for the schools individual needs.
  • Teacher certification – are teachers certified to teach especially English courses being thought as a second language (ESL)
  • Facilities – You should consider the resources available at the school such as a library, internet services, areas for outdoor activities, and cafeterias.
  • Extra-curricular activities – Consider if there are extra-curricular activities that a student can partake in.
  • Cost – Canada offers one of the lowest tuition rates as compared to other countries. However do consider that each school will have their own rates and fees, which can be viewed on their individual website.

Each school has its own admissions criteria which will be available on its respective individual websites. Most schools’ initial step begins online with the completion of an electronic application form, with basic information such as name, date of birth, and prior school records (where applicable).



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