The Quest for International Schooling

As a mother of 6, I had lived in 5 different cities in France before moving to Strasbourg. In each of these small and mid-sized cities, I looked for the best schooling option for my children. As an American having emigrated permanently to France, I enrolled my children in the best French schools that I could find. I quickly learned that French school is very different from the American system that I grew up in. As an educator, I was impressed by the material that was presented in class. Starting in kindergarten, my children were regularly academically challenged with content in all curriculum areas. High quality content allowed teachers to create high level tasks that lead learners to high levels of performance. As a mother, there were ways of doing and being in the classroom that were difficult for me to understand. It was easy for me to see the link between the way children were educated and the types of interactions that adults have in French society, but difficult for me to accept the ways certain things were done. As a foreign national, I longed for a school in which my children would be prepared not only for life as French adults, but also for life as global citizens. When I learned that we would be moving to Strasbourg, I was thrilled. Finally, life in a European capital where international schooling options would be available!

A potential solution

Applying to the international section of the national system, I was surprised that my bilingual children might not be given a place in the English language section. I nervously waited until the end of the summer and was overjoyed to learn that I could enroll all my children on the same campus. I quickly discovered in September that the international section offered language instruction that the national system did not, but that the ways of doing and being were the same. I pulled my children from the section in December.

And there was magic

International friends that had lived in Strasbourg for several years steered me towards a French school with an international bilingual program. What immediately struck me was the combination of the high-quality French content and a very different way of doing and being. All 6 of my children grew and thrived in the international environment that the school had created. History will record that 3 of my children went on to take the French baccalaureate exam and 3 took the International Baccalaureate exam that the school offered. They went on to study in France, the Netherlands and England. As young adults they are both solidly anchored in France, where they all grew up, and particularly open to the other cultures where they have lived, studied, and worked.