Your first day at an international school!

It is sometimes hard to tell who’s the most nervous on the first day at a new school; the parents or children. With the added dimension of the school being international, these feelings can be multiplied.

What will it be like, will there be people like me, and will I have friends?

A good school may put your children in touch with a ‘buddy’ before the first day. Someone to sit next to, make sure they get to classes and don’t get lost, and play with. These are major concerns of children on their first day and some schools do a good job of this.

With a buddy, kids can find their feet. Parents can help by being open to play dates during these first months, even if it takes a little extra organisation, to help cement a social group. An unhappy child is not going to perform their best no matter how good the school is.

If they are slow to make friends, talk to the school. A benefit of international schools is that new children are always joining, so a relatively new child used to the routines can be a ‘buddy’ for a new arrival - an ideal responsibility for a shy child to shine and meet new people.

Once they are settled, the priority becomes academic performance. If there were new courses taken up (often related to national requirements), these need special attention. Schools will often have ‘starter’ classes for such subjects to help new students.

The first parent meetings and the reports are critical, and any issues should be flagged early with parents. It is also important for parents to be aware of group placement. Some schools might place a student where it suits them, rather than the student - this should be addressed swiftly.

Finally, don’t worry! Schools are experienced in dealing with the movement and welcoming of new pupils.


With thanks to Nord Anglia International School Dubai, visit

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