Feeling lonely- Send your kids to international school

International schools in the Netherlands are particularly open to parents’ participation. Parents are expected to volunteer for events, accompany the class on school outings, or even provide assistance in educating the children. Schools are highly determined to “stimulate activities that encourage parents to come to the school and feel they are involved”*.

According to Christie, a French expat spouse and a mother of three, residing in Eindhoven for five years, "With the international school you can have a full-time job if you want to. If you want to be really busy they will always find you something to do, without any income by the end of the month".

High involvement of parents does not only benefit school’s budget and reputation, or academic results of the children**, but positively impacts parents as well.
Expat parents usually find very quickly that there is a busy social life happening around the school, parents and children. They realise that bringing a child to international school provides them with an opportunity to meet new people with a similar background. It becomes an excellent introduction into life abroad, and helps enormously beating the blues of loneliness in a foreign country.

"In one week you know everyone at school. Because it is an international community, they are used to people coming in all the time. They are not waiting to say "hello", but are coming straight to you and explaining everything. It was really easy to make friends, to know people. It felt easier mentally to relocate from France to Eindhoven than to move from one town to another within France. All this mainly thanks to the international school. If we had put our kids into a local Dutch school, it would have been a completely different experience," Christie shares her experiences.

Parents who are involved in their children’s education also feel better about it themselves. Involved parents have higher confidence and greater personal satisfaction than parents who are not involved. Apparently, taking an active role in your child’s learning makes you feel particularly useful. This enhances your confidence level and decision-making skills.

So, if you feel down and miss close friends around, get involved in your child’s school community. That will not only benefit your child, but your mental health as well. International schools in Eindhoven provide more than enough opportunities for that!

Lina Butkute
Expat psychologist, www.internationalcounseling.nl

* http://www.isecampus.nl/
** Hill & Tyson, 2009. However, other scientific studies report less positive results: http:/parental-involvement-is-overrated

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