Nowadays more than ever, receiving an International education is one of the greater gifts parents can offer their children.
Our students today will be the ones making the decisions in the future. We want them to become active citizens in tomorrow’s world, conscientious participants in a globalized society that is going to require not only knowledge but the skills to understand diversity, respect cultural differences and cooperate with others, no matter how different from themselves.
The first obvious benefit for those studying in an international environment is logically linked to multilingualism and all the advantages coming with it, but let us go a little further: students that are able to communicate in a language other than their own are more confident and their self-esteem is high, thus they perform better in their studies as well as in their personal life.
Studying in another country, which is not their own, means being exposed to different sets of rules, conventions and all sort of cultural differences. Those differences are precisely the ones that will provide with the open mind that will enable them to be better problem solvers, non-prejudiced people ready to take risks in order to offer solutions.
Living abroad, away from their parents’ home, enhances tremendously the experience. Learning how to live day by day make students independent, teach them to thrive and blend without losing identity but gaining confidence and autonomy.
Students receiving an International education are more likely to develop wider connections with their fellow mates at school, as well as to extend those connections beyond their education years throughout their professional life. So, in a global economy that relays on good relationships between companies that are spread all over the world, students with an international education are going to have their employability chances exponentially increased.
The school and the native students of the host country. Do they also benefit?
So far we have talked about the evident benefits any student receive when immerse in another culture, in another country, but what about the host school? And what about the students, native to the host country; do they benefit in the same way?
Obviously no, unless the international population in your school is massive as it happens in fully International Schools that receive students from all over the world. But even though in regular schools where international students are scarcer, the benefits are going to be there. For example:International students bring an international perspective to classroom discussions and they challenge and encourage teachers to consider new methods of instruction that can better reach their now diverse classroom population.
The bigger impact though, will be among the students by increasing their cultural awareness. Decoding what others are saying in another language is totally different to really “understanding” what they are saying. That understanding comes when you are aware of the cultural background behind the mere words.
The more diverse internationally speaking, the student population in a school is, the better will be the chances for the whole community to avoid stereotypes in the mind of both international and domestic students, promoting understanding, appreciation, and developing open-mindedness.
To conclude, the amount of benefits international education brings is not limited to the students leaving their countries to study abroad, it also reaches the students native to the host school, and the community that it serves.
It is a win-win solution that is creating a better future by developing better prepared, better informed students with an open-minded vision of the world and the skill set needed to improve it.