Foreign Service Journal - June 2013 - page 68

JUNE 2013
t’s hard to predict how a teen-
ager will react to the idea of an
international move. Some see it
as a grand adventure and look
forward to the change of lifestyle
with eagerness and enthusiasm.
Yet many parents worry that they might
face the opposite reaction: open mutiny,
complete with accusations of ruining the
child’s life. Of course, the reaction could
also be somewhere in between—or both,
depending on the day.
Each teenager is different, but one
thing is universal: Choosing a school is
not only about feeding the mind, but also
feeding the young person’s appropriate
social and emotional development. That
makes it a doubly important decision,
one for which consideration of the child’s
resilience is essential.
Even under the best of conditions,
bidding on posts while trying to find the
right school for your child is a challenge.
The bid list of possible posts around the
world comes out, and you have a tight
turnaround time to figure out whether
the job is right, the post is right, and
the school is right. If you have to find
a school that will meet the needs of an
exceptional child, your anxiety can be
thrown into the red zone.
Choosing a school for your FS child is not
just about feeding the mind, but also feeding
the young person’s appropriate social and
emotional development. Here are some tips
on how to make the right choice.
Rebecca Grappo, a certified educational planner, is the founder of RNG International Educa-
tional Consultants, LLC. She works with Third Culture Kids around the world and is a frequent
presenter on the topic of global mobility and its impact on children and teens. Ms. Grappo
does placements for international schools and boarding schools, including those for students
with learning disabilities, as well as for therapeutic schools and programs. She also works with
students from around the world on college applications, and is an instructor with the Univer-
sity of California-Irvine, where she teaches other consultants how to work with international
students. Married to a retired career Foreign Service officer, she has raised their three children
internationally. You can reach her at
Choosing a School
Though there are many benchmarks
for determining the suitability of a
school, it is important to keep in mind
that every individual has their own
needs. A school that is great for one stu-
dent may be a disaster for another. Here
are some of the things to consider:
Larger schools tend to have more
academic and extracurricular offer-
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