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'Explore all options': How can parents in Austria choose the right school?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected] • 22 Jan, 2023 Updated Sun 22 Jan 2023 09:37 CEST
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An empty classroom (Photo by HUGO MATHY / AFP)

Many foreign parents in Austria are divided between choosing state or international schools. We asked some to share their advice.

International schools have the advantage of being standardised worldwide, ensuring that a child who will only spend a few years in that country will receive an education that will allow them to continue studying elsewhere later. 

But they can also be expensive and limit the child's contact with their new home. So the decision is definitely challenging.

For most parents, deciding whether to put their children in a public or private international school comes down to many factors. Among them are the cost, parents' personal preference, and the school's location, for example.

A very important thing to consider that may help parents decide is how long they plan to stay in Austria.  

In a recent The Local survey, parents who knew they'd be moving away in a couple of years opted for the standardised and high-quality teaching of international schools - even if they weren't 100 percent satisfied with it. 

It was the best choice for Olivera Mocilovic, who is from Canada, as her 15-year-old son would've struggled to attend a regular school and pass the Matura (the end of high school exam) without German knowledge.

READ ALSO: What is Austria’s Matura exam and why do some want it abolished?

Her experience made her advise parents to make sure that their kids start learning German as soon as they plan to move to Austria.

If you intend to live permanently in Austria, many parents choose the Austrian public system. Jim Aladin, from Sweden, advises parents with long-term plans to stay in Austria to not go to international schools. Not only so they can integrate into their new country but for social reasons too.

"In international schools, if your children make friends, they might move out of the country after a few years", he noted. 

'Do a lot of research'

For Claudia, who initially put her kids in one of these schools because of language, the advice is: "Do a lot of research and don't believe the brochures".  Kelly Langford also recommended people speak with other parents before making their final choice.

READ ALSO: The verdict: Is it worth enrolling your kids in one of Vienna’s international schools?

Learn about what they are taught and how, and get to know the teachers, classrooms and other kids and parents. If having classes in English is a significant concern, besides the international schools, there are also several public schools in Vienna with a bilingual programme. 

"If you have a longer visibility of staying like a window of 4-5 years and if your kids are younger that means in primary school, you should explore bilingual schools option in Austria", said Suvie Kaul, from India. 

For Janet Gruber, the bigger picture is more important: "I would always look at how the students learn and if it is relevant and up to date for their world", she said.

Alexandra Cosentino, from the US, also had a more general tip for parents still in doubt: "Check all the schools carefully. Maintain and become involved in a relationship with your school", she said.

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Amanda Previdelli 2023/01/22 09:37

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