EF Academy Blog
Stories from our international boarding schools
MenuVisit EF Academy

International school abroad in 2021? The benefits you can’t get at a local school

International school abroad in 2021? The benefits you can’t get at a local school

Education. Every parent wants the best schooling for their child – particularly during high school, when students are preparing for university, and especially in 2021. Amidst the disruptions brought to schools as a result of the pandemic, most parents are worried their children are falling behind on their education.

International schools are a popular answer to parents searching for a superior education for their children. With over 12,000 international schools worldwide in 2021, chances are that most families don’t need to travel far to find a local international school. However, many parents still choose to send their children abroad for high school.

Although you might think twice about travel in 2021, the ways in which sending your child abroad will benefit their education haven’t changed. Holding students back is part of what will make them fall behind. So, why should parents consider sending their child to an international school abroad in 2021?

World-class academics 

  • International school diplomas are recognized worldwide, opening many doors for students’ futures
  • Students at international schools score higher on average in programs like the IB Diploma and A-Levels
  • Studying in the US or UK, countries renowned for their teaching philosophies and high academic standards, stimulates full English fluency and can expose students to opportunities that better prepare them for university-level study

International education has become the gold standard for many families and private institutions. Its focus on educating students to understand the world around them, consider subjects through a global lens and develop intercultural perspectives from an early age is seen by many parents, universities and employers as the best preparation for living and working in the globalized 21st century.

International schools have a strong track record of helping students obtain higher than average grades on qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and the British A-Level program. Highly qualified teachers, personalized academic guidance and experience teaching students whose mother tongue is not English all factor into the outstanding support international schools abroad are able to give students to help them excel. Particularly in the United States and United Kingdom, international school students benefit from total English immersion inside and outside of the classroom, as well as studying in countries that invest heavily in research and education. Receiving this education at an early age can not only better prepare students for university, but also present them with more opportunities to excel in high school.


University readiness

  • Enrolling in an English-medium high school is highly advantageous for gaining acceptance to top-ranking universities
  • International schools abroad in the US and UK give students increased exposure to universities in those countries
  • Many international schools abroad boast strong university advising programs

A significant drive for international education is parents wanting to send their children to university abroad. Particularly for students whose first language is not English, English-medium international schools are often seen as the first step towards gaining acceptance at an English-medium university abroad.

Universities familiar with international curricula such as the IB Diploma recognize why international students are so well suited for higher education. Many of the world’s leading universities are also some of the most international; they seek to create diverse, multicultural communities and look for students who can contribute to this community.

The US and UK top the list of most popular university destinations for international students year after year. Parents who send their children to international schools in the United States or United Kingdom often do so to bring their child closer to the institutions they aim to apply to for university. By obtaining a high school diploma in the country where students aim to continue their education, they benefit from already being settled into the country and culture by the time their demanding university degree program begins.

International schools abroad are attuned to their students’ university goals and hence work to elevate their university readiness, often by providing comprehensive university advising programs. University guidance sessions and workshops with admissions counsellors who are experts in the application processes for American and British universities help ensure that international high school students shine in their personal statements and present themselves as desirable candidates for prestigious universities.

A global student body

  • Local international schools are made up of 80% local students, while international schools abroad remain highly international
  • At international schools abroad, students put their lessons on global citizenship into practice in their day-to-day lives

Originally, international schools were founded to provide expatriate families with a consistent, global educational system for their children. However, as tuition fees have become more accessible to local families, many parents are transferring their children to local international schools for a chance to gain English fluency and international exposure closer to home.

The rapid growth in international schools in recent years has come not from families moving abroad, but from local families sending their children to local international schools. This means that, although the curriculum stays the same in theory, in practice local international schools are becoming more monocultural and losing the advantages of being culturally diverse. A 2019 report by ISC Research found that ‘over 80% of the student population enrolled at international schools are now local nationals.’

With a guaranteed multicultural student body, international schools abroad like EF Academy prepare students to find their way in a globalized world. Receiving a world-class education while studying abroad lets students live what they learn by developing their global mindset and paving the way towards an international future.

The study abroad experience

  • Experiencing international school abroad teaches students crucial skills for succeeding at university, including independence and leadership
  • Research shows that people who experience living abroad develop a clearer sense of self
  • Studying abroad increases employability, as employers favor candidates who are also global citizens

While academia may be the main motivation for studying at an international school abroad, the skills and experiences students obtain go far beyond the classroom. A 2019 OECD report found that studying abroad improves students’ employability and becomes a ‘key differentiating experience for young adults’ at university. In an increasingly globalized world, employers not only look for highly qualified professionals, but also candidates who know how to adapt, engage and collaborate in a multicultural work environment.

Furthermore, research published in the Harvard Business Review shows that people who experience living abroad develop a clearer sense of self. When a child’s high school years – crucial for academic and personal growth – are spent in an international environment, they receive a world-class qualification as well as a character-building education for life.

EF Academy International Boarding Schools opens a world of opportunities for students by providing them with a transformational, international education abroad, thorough preparation for university and a future that knows no borders. With our Safe Learning Promise, we are committed to ensuring every student continues their education with us in 2021 no matter what.