In today’s increasingly competitive employment market, academic prowess is simply not sufficient. Employers now have their pick of graduates who have excelled in examinations, and are looking beyond transcripts for potential employees with ambition, initiative, and that little something extra. Parents of students approaching K12 are all too keenly aware of the demands that will be placed on their children to be not only academically strong, but also well-rounded, confident leaders. Families are understandably eager for schools to respond to this increased demand with development options beyond the traditional book-based curriculum.
An international school education, by its very nature, produces graduates who are well-rounded and culturally aware. Students who formerly attended an international school are often bilingual, and tend to have experienced a number of different cultures during their formative years – already standing a step ahead peers they will be competing against for jobs.
In addition to this, a number of international schools have shifted the focus of education to skills that go beyond classroom learning. The K12 programmes in many international schools now encompass modules that encourage the development of leadership expertise, maturity and confidence- attributes that are so attractive to today’s employers.
Here are three schools you should consider for your child’s international education…
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HO CHI MINH CITY (ISHCMC) – VIETNAM
Last summer, ISHCMC – the first international and IB world school in Ho Chi Minh City – renovated its campus; introducing a purpose-built Information and Media Center, plus new Grade Two and Three classrooms following from the delight of the new Grade Four and Five Classrooms redeveloped in the summer previous. Learning spaces at ISHCMC are designed to encourage the school’s ethos of inquiry-led learning, where students research topics of their own choice beyond a classroom curriculum.
There’s also the brand-new ISHCMC Secondary Campus. Opening January 10, 2018, this state-of-the art facility will encompass Vietnam’s first Innovation Center, plus the iLearn Center for collaboration and interaction between schools, as well as for students to engage with leaders and businesses in the commercial world. Other facilities include a theater, DT Suites, Science labs, a Community Garden, Music Suite and Recording Studio, Black Box Drama Studio, Mindfulness Zone, Rooftop Sports Field, Community Café and Food Tech Areas adjoining the Student Cafeteria.
This is a school that prepares students to excel in the DP, boasting a long history of graduating students whose results reside above the DP average to universities the world over. ISHCMC is renowned for its well-rounded approach to education and widely praised by world-class universities – including Harvard.
A holistic approach to education incorporates student wellness – including a minimum of ten minutes of structured mindfulness practice per student per day. In a working world where employee burn out and poor coping skills are increasingly problematic, learning emotional regulation and self-care skills at such an early life stage surely sets these graduates apart.
SINGAPORE AMERICAN SCHOOL (SAS) – SINGAPORE
Flexibility and academic program personalization are the hallmarks of an exemplary SAS education. Students get to merge their passions with academic learning and develop academically, intellectually, socially, and emotionally. . Advanced placement options are available on top of regular courses, allowing students to sample college level curricula and be examined at a college level.
The school’s Catalyst programme allows students to focus on their area of passion, to undertake work experience in a chosen area, or complete an in-depth academic or artistic project on their topic of choice. Graduates leave high school with experience and knowledge, fostering ambition and understanding of their chosen field, making them more attractive to employers. One of the most unique components of the Catalyst programme is that it recognises talent beyond academic prowess—building confidence at an early age as students experience authentic guidance and real-world opportunities.
Additionally, SAS offers an Interim Semester program where students spend a week undertaking an experience abroad. The projects offered focus on three key areas—global studies, eco-adventure and service learning. From volunteering in children’s homes, to trekking in the Himalayas, learning about the history of Turkey, and more, these experiences expose students to new cultures, foster maturity, and develop a global mindset; while exposing them to new areas of potential interest and passion for a future career. Since 1973, SAS students have taken over 35,000 Interim Semester trips to different parts of the world!
BRANKSOME HALL ASIA – SOUTH KOREA
This all girls’ school located in Jeju, South Korea, also offers the renowned IB DP curriculum as part of its senior programme. With a focus on opportunities that develop leadership skills at both a local and global level, senior school students are expected to play an integral role in modelling the school’s values of ‘meeting life’s challenges with sensitivity, intelligence and courage’ to younger students. This fosters a sense of responsibility and pride that can be transferred to university, and eventually to the workforce.
The graduating class of 2017 earned a 100 percent pass rate in the bilingual IB DP programme. Proficiency in two or more languages is a highly sought-after attribute in an increasingly international workforce. Additionally, the class of 2017 had a 100 percent university acceptance rate from the world’s top 100 universities. These statistics speak for themselves in terms of the commitment of students and staff alike, and how highly-regarded Branksome alumni are across the world.
Individual University Counselling sessions and support with applications in K12 fosters a sense of focus and ambition in students, and helps ensure that they select a career path that falls in line with their passions and talents.
AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (AIS) – SINGAPORE
Based in Singapore, students at AIS have the option to follow either the IB DP programme or the New South Wales Higher School Certificate programme, and also to undertake vocational training of their choice. This recognition that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to education fosters confidence in students of all abilities, and means that students and their families can take control of the decision of which curriculum best suits their own skillset and future ambitions. This system means that from the early stages, students are encouraged to take the initiative and make pro-active decisions about what educational path best suits their career goals.
This school places an emphasis on appreciating the creative professions as well as the traditional academic careers. A particular focus is placed on musicality, and students who intend to pursue a career in music will be happy to learn that higher level elective courses in music are available under both the IB DP and the NSW HSC curriculums.
The Inventors and Mentors programme at AIS sees students interacting with internationally-renowned leaders and experts, including Nobel Laureate for Physics Professor Paul Schmidt and Nobel Laureate for Peace Dr Mohamed ElBaradei. These unique opportunities to learn from the greatest minds of the adult generation is sure to inspire and instil ambition in the younger generation for what they, too, could achieve in their chosen fields.
Opportunities to learn multiple languages, and to undertake service learning projects in the local community, combined with the variety of available curriculums is certain to produce some of the most well-rounded and ambitious graduates on offer to employers.
Overall, it is evident that while the job market is growing increasingly competitive for new graduates, international schools such as those mentioned in this article, and indeed many more, are more than rising to the challenge. The next generation of graduates from these schools will certainly be well-rounded, focused, and confident in their abilities to lead both their own career paths and those of their peers. The future is certainly in safe hands.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International
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