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Entries in International School of Brussels (19)

It’s all about fit! Choosing an international school in the Benelux

  

You could say that we’re all involved in the people business because no matter what our job is, we work with people every day.

And the way we work with them almost always determines how successful we are in our job.

International schools are no exception. With often hundreds of students from every corner of the world - each child bringing their own learning style, skills, interests, passions, personality, hope and dreams – it is hardly surprising that learning communities are notoriously complex organizations! And again, the way we work with the students and their families who join our school communities almost always determines how successful we are in achieving our educational mission.

Schools are a bit like people too. They all have ‘personalities’, generating a particular feeling or atmosphere, which goes way beyond a simple analysis of the curriculum offered, number and range of sports teams or success in getting kids into the best colleges. These factors are, of course, important, but there is often more to making the decision. Many families, after they join the International School of Brussels (ISB), for example, explain how their eventual choice of school was based simply on a sense that ISB and the experience it offered was the right ‘fit’ for their children and the family as a whole.

It could be argued that the Benelux stands apart from the rest of the world in terms of the quality of education offered by the various international schools in this region. In Brussels alone, there are plenty of good schools to choose from. In fact, the only problem families moving to Brussels often seem to have is that they are spoilt for choice!

So, in the end, how do you know you are making the right choice for your children? How do you know that the ‘personality’ of a school is right for you? My advice is simple: take the time to visit each school; meet the people who work there; talk to them about the hopes, fears and expectations you have for your children; and ask lots of questions about the school’s core values and philosophy of learning.

For some people, the decision is easy. It is literally, ‘love at first sight’. For others, it is a growing sense of trust in a particular school. In the end, however, the best schools are not out there giving you the ‘hard sell’ – even in times of global financial crisis. They are simply wanting to help you choose the best school for your child, even if it isn’t theirs!

 

This article was first published in Newsweek in February 2009. 

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