The Foreign Service Journal - December 2013 - page 61

t’s hard to predict how a teenager will react to the idea of an interna-
tional move. Some see it as a grand adventure and look forward to
the change of lifestyle with eagerness and enthusiasm. Yet many par-
ents 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.
Though there are many benchmarks for determining the suit-
ability of a school, it is important to keep in mind that every individual
has their own needs. A school that is great for one student may be a
disaster for another. Here are some of the things to consider:
Extracurricular activities
Peer group
School culture
College counseling
For a full discussion of each of these aspects of choosing a school, as
well as a discussion of the types of schools and alternative approaches
that are available to meet the particular needs of FS kids, go to
educationarticles to access the complete article.
Rebecca Grappo is a certified educational planner and the founder
of RNG International Educational consultants, LLC. She does place-
ments for international schools and boarding schools, including those
for students with learning disabilities, as well as for therapeutic schools
and programs. Married to a retired career Foreign Service officer, she has
raised their three children internationally.
From the
Education Supplement June 2013
Thinking through Educational Options For Your Foreign Service Child
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