Many people have lots of preconceived ideas about what it is like to attend an international school. Some will be extremely accurate, while others tend to be more negative stereotypes. In reality, there are many differences along with many similarities, and we believe that this is why many British students find settling in, far more straightforward than what they may have imagined. As Britain has one of the most prestigious education systems in the world and the previous colonial links, there is little surprise that there is an affinity between the two countries.
At Harrow International School, we are regarded as being amongst the best British international schools in Hong Kong, and we appreciate that choosing the right school is essential. With around 50 schools to choose from, the task of selecting the best can be a daunting one. Suppose you are moving from the UK or perhaps planning to return in the future. In that case, you will want a school that offers a similar curriculum, provides a comparable or better level of education and one where your child will be happy.
When you start to research the various educational establishments in Hong Kong, you will quickly realise that the choices are endless. Almost all the world’s major curriculums are available so you will be able to find one that meets your requirements easily. At Harrow, we offer the UK curriculum, so when students attend; they will be immediately familiar with what is expected from them. Younger children may not be aware of the importance of this continuity, but older pupils and parents recognise and appreciate the significance.
Which curriculum you wish to follow will probably depend on several factors. These can include where you come from, the stage of education that you or your child is at, their future educational needs such as well as where they will finish their schooling and if they wish to attend university. For students who are from the UK or wish to continue their education in the UK, Harrow School is the perfect choice because of the similarities to the UK educational system.
Some international schools in Hong Kong have teachers that come across the world, but the vast majority of our teaching staff are from the UK. We believe that this is essential when it comes to guaranteeing the quality of teaching with all teachers having the relevant UK based qualification. Naturally, this also means that there are several similarities between our school and those in the UK.
From our experience, students coming directly from the UK also find it easier to relate to British teachers. They once again, know what is expected and what demands will be placed upon them. This understanding enables them to settle quicker, which is, of course, essential when it comes to educational development. At Harrow, we are also in the fortunate position of being able to pick and choose the best teachers with our school a desirable option from their perspective.
The facilities are arguably one of the most significant differences that you will notice. In most cases, the facilities at international schools in Hong Kong are far superior to those in state schools and even many private schools in the UK. We tend to find that most students relish this aspect, and it heightens their overall learning experience. Learning in a high-quality environment usually has a positive impact on results with more students fulfilling their potential.
The better quality facilities also improve the learning experience for teachers who will have everything available at their fingertips which will help them get the point across. We find that both teachers and students are far more motivated and happier in an international school when compared to those in the UK. Of course, this too means that there is a correlation between the facilities and the students’ achievements.
- Attitude of pupils
Another significant different between international schools in Hong Kong and schools in the UK is the attitude of the students. Our students, for a variety of reasons, tend to have a better attitude towards learning. Some of this can be attributed to the cultural attitudes of the local pupils who are often more respectful and appreciative of the opportunity presented, and this culture filters through to overseas pupils. We also believe that our facilities and the quality of our teachers has a notable impact.
New teachers frequently comment that, as a general rule, our pupils are more willing to learn and enjoy their schooling. Of course, this improved attitude and happiness are reflected in the results attained. We need to be careful that this is not perceived as criticism of UK schools; merely an observation of the positive impact attending an international school can have on students.
- Extracurricular activities
Although schools in the UK certainly offer pupils the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities, it is not to the same extent as at an international school in Hong Kong. We offer our students the option to take part in a diverse and comprehensive range of activities including a variety of sports, music and the arts as well as opportunities to travel to different countries and experience different cultures.
Almost all students take part in one or more activities, and it is a fantastic way for them to make friends with likeminded people. It is, of course, beneficial from a social perspective, and we believe that it forms an integral part of the overall learning experience.
- Overall experience
As we discussed at the start of this article, there are several similarities and differences between international schools in Hong Kong and schools in the UK. The differences are all positives with almost all teachers, pupils and parents agreeing that students find the experience beneficial. It is something which is reflected in their academic achievements, their personal development and helps to shape their future lives. If you are considering moving to Hong Kong from the UK, as long as you choose the right school, you will not have any concerns about the academic future.