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Choosing a school from abroad

Guide to help you make the best choice

In an ideal world, in advance of moving you can visit potential schools, meet teachers, and get a good sense of the school environment. But what if there is not time, or cost or distance make a scouting trip prohibitive?

The following steps will help you make the best choice:

Make your wish list

Clarify the kind of school you  and your child are looking for. Consider your child’s abilities, interests, and learning style. Then seek advice from her current teachers about what type of school environment they think will suit her best.

Coordinate your school and housing decisions

Some people find a school they like and then find an apartment or house in the vicinity. Others do it the other way around. Driving across the coast twice a day for school drop-offs and cars will get old really fast. It will also make it harder for your child to connect with new friends outside of school.

Connect with other parents

Tell everyone you know about your move. It could turn out that your best friend’s sister or your son’s tennis teacher’s friend lives in Marbella, and can give you honest information about the school. Remember, too, to tell friends on Facebook and Twitter about your move.

Use online school resources

School web sites will give you information for public and private schools in Marbella. On our website you can look for homes for sale near the schools on your list. Whether you’re considering public or private, browse individual school websites. Many schools now have Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, and if you “like” the school on Facebook, you will automatically receive updates about events and other school news. Do a Google search on the school and consider setting up a Google news feed, so you will get news about the schools you are considering. Look on YouTube as well. Many schools post videos by students, parents, or the school itself.

Seek out local resources

Look on the website of the local newspaper or city magazine for articles about the schools on your list. And if you already have a new job in place before your move, put an email blast out to your future colleagues asking for their recommendations on the best local schools.

Contact the schools

Once you’ve narrowed your search to a few schools, contact each one directly. Have a list of questions ready for the school principal or administrator. Ask school administrators to recommend a parent or two who could talk with you about the school.

Have a back-up plan

Be sure to have a back-up plan in case the school you choose does not work out. Narrow your list to two or three schools and enroll your child in your top-choice school. Find out if there are slots available and what enrollment procedures are at your back-up schools. That way, if things don’t go well for your child at her new school, you can move her quickly without starting the process all over again.

Final details

If you have a school lined up, check with the school and ask what paperwork they will need in advance of your arrival.