How International Education Prepares Students for Future Success
In today’s increasingly dynamic and interconnected global economy, the ability to work effectively with people from diverse cultural backgrounds is now more valued than ever before. These days, more parents see international education as an important way to prepare their children for a globalized future because it is seen as a way to provide young people with the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to succeed in a virtually borderless world.
This is especially true for expatriates with children, particularly in cosmopolitan places like Singapore. The fact that they traveled to a foreign country for work may already indicate that they value diversity and openness to new experiences and things that they may want their child to share. Not surprisingly, when it comes to curriculum-related options for American education in Singapore, US expats tend to lean toward systems that promote global citizenship, such as the International Baccalaureate and the Advanced Placement programs.
In this article, we’ll look into how international education prepares children for the future and why so many Singapore-based expats are willing to go the extra mile to send their children to a good international school.
- 1) International Schooling Provides Early Exposure to Diversity
- 2) Opportunities for Language Learning
- 3) Potential Improvements to Leadership Skills
- 4) Better Cultural Intelligence
- 5) A Wider Personal and Professional Network
- 6) Potential Early Work Experience
- 7) A More Cosmopolitan Outlook
- Preparing Your Children for a Global Future
1) International Schooling Provides Early Exposure to Diversity
One of the primary benefits of international education is that it exposes students to diverse cultures, languages, and ways of thinking. Earlier exposure to different perspectives helps students develop a more global view and a deeper understanding of what motivates them. Compared to their less worldly peers, students with international experiences are often more open-minded and better able to tolerate and appreciate different or even seemingly contradictory ideas. This may have positive implications for their empathy, improving their ability to lead and get along with others.
2) Opportunities for Language Learning
The United States is one of the few major Western economies where a vast majority of people are monolingual. A 2013 YouGovAmerica poll found that 75% of Americans reported being monolingual, which is unusual among most countries. The number is probably much higher in reality if only the functional use of a second language is considered. The same poll, however, finds that about 43% of Americans believe that learning more languages is important, a figure that is probably higher among expats and those who actively seek to work abroad.
American expats in Singapore generally recognize that international education may provide their children with the opportunity to learn a new language. Learning a new language is not only valuable for general communication purposes but also helps young children develop cognitive and problem-solving skills. Studies have shown that bilingual individuals may be better than their multilingual counterparts at multitasking, problem-solving, and decision-making, perhaps due to the new perspectives made possible by learning a new language. In addition, learning more languages can eventually lead to more high-value job opportunities, better compensation, and a more well-rounded view of the world.
3) Potential Improvements to Leadership Skills
Another possible benefit of international education is the opportunity to develop one’s leadership skills. We already touched on how diversity and language learning may help empathy and decision-making, both of which are important for leaders. However, international education also requires children to be independent, adaptable, and responsible, all things that contribute to a better disposition for leadership.
Additionally, better international schools will also guide children to develop other critical leadership qualities, including self-confidence, effective rhetoric, non-verbal communication skills, and conscientious teamwork. These qualities are highly valued by employers and can be instrumental in helping children achieve future success in the global workforce.
4) Better Cultural Intelligence
At a time when cultural sensitivity is more important than ever, parents may turn to international education to help their children further develop their cultural intelligence (CQ). CQ refers to the ability to understand and navigate various cultural contexts effectively. In today’s globalized economy, having a good CQ can make a significant difference as more people from different cultures find themselves working together. Children who have developed a high level of CQ are better able to understand cultural nuances and build relationships with people from diverse backgrounds, making CQ arguably as important as multilingualism.
5) A Wider Personal and Professional Network
One of the most significant benefits of international education is that it helps students develop a truly global network, effectively expanding their potential job opportunities and giving them more options for self-actualization. Young people with international education can build relationships with people from different parts of the world, and this is especially true in cosmopolitan countries like Singapore. The relationships formed in international schools can eventually become invaluable in career opportunities and personal growth.
6) Potential Early Work Experience
Some of the top international schools also provide students with the opportunity to gain practical work experience through internships or study abroad programs. With job markets becoming increasingly competitive, these experiences can be instrumental in not only helping students develop the skills needed to succeed in their chosen career paths but also piquing the interest of employers. In particular, students that have participated in internships or have studied are often shortlisted by hiring managers, as the experience demonstrates that the student is adaptable and able to work effectively in diverse cultural contexts.
7) A More Cosmopolitan Outlook
Generally speaking, expats are more inclined to have a sense of global citizenship, which they may want their children to share in as well. Children who have had international education, particularly in multicultural countries like Singapore, often have a greater appreciation for the interconnectedness of the world. This may make them more empathetic and more likely to engage in activities that promote social and environmental justice. This more nuanced sense of equity and cooperation may prove crucial in shaping children to be thoughtful, worldly adults.
Preparing Your Children for a Global Future
As the world becomes smaller and job markets more competitive, international education will become more of a factor in determining the hiring ability of graduates entering the workforce. In addition, international experiences can help young individuals build the foundations they need for self-actualization, wherever they may end up in the future. Given this, expatriate parents in Singapore who have the means to send their children to a good international school should strongly consider it, not just for their children’s future professional success but for their long-term happiness as well.