Read our latest review of international boarding schools

Global society is more interconnected and competitive than ever before, and this has prompted dramatic changes in the dynamics of leadership, professionalism and business. Students who attend university abroad are often better equipped to navigate these shifting dynamics. However, the real prize in 21st-century achievement and marketability is for students who begin their international education at the primary or secondary level.

There are many reasons that Asian parents consider sending their students to international schools and boarding schools, not least is the residential campus environment that reflects the university model and places education and enrichment at the center of all activities.

Studying at Strathallan School

Pic: Studying in the Art Department.

But there is much more to the international boarding school advantage than campus atmosphere. The faculty members at leading international schools are among the best in the world. In many cases, these are impassioned individuals who pursue teaching as a calling rather than a mere vocation. Passion like this is contagious and produces students and graduates who pursue their own callings with the same zeal.

The campus environment also breeds higher degrees of responsibility, independence and individualism. Students are well cared for by the adult staff, but they generally learn to step out and explore on their own earlier in life than their home-bound peers. Furthermore, young international students are in a much better position to acquire and master English language than older learners. Rather than playing catch-up with language proficiency once they enter the international university scene, they are  prepared to meet and grapple with the concepts of higher education from day one.

Butler Hall Atrium at EF International Academy

Pic: Butler Hall Atrium at EF International Academy.

The best international boarding schools also offer facilities and programs with which regular primary and secondary schools simply cannot compete. Music and arts education flourish; aspiring athletes receive expert coaching; and gifted learners are encouraged to attain higher-level certifications and credits before they have even entered the university scene.

How to choose an international school
Choosing the right international school for your child is a daunting task. Criteria differ from one family to the next, but there are a few hallmarks of quality education that set distinct institutions apart from the competition.

Parents in Asia place a high priority on English-language education, which is offered at leading schools across the world. Multicultural experience is also a strong selling point. Children attending schools with a diverse student body are better equipped to navigate multicultural and social challenges as adults, a competitive edge that paves the way to a happier, more prosperous life.

Some families have strong regional requirements – for example, a preference for schools in the UK, North America or an rising Asian powerhouse such as India. For others, favoring strength in either the arts or the sciences helps to narrow the list. The most important thing is to set clear and intentional criteria, and then approach the selection process with these in mind.

Woodstock School sports

Pic: Woodstock School sports.

The following are some of the leading international schools for Asian students:

ST. GILGEN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL – AUSTRIA
Located on a lakefront in Salzburg, Austria, St. Gilgen International School offers exactly the sort of boarding school experience parents imagine for their children. The village campus is spacious, with glass-fronted buildings facing the lake and offering spectacular mountain views. But panoramic views are only the beginning of St. Gilgen’s offerings. This International Baccalaureate (IB) World School combines forward-looking 21st-century curriculum with commitment to the development of time-tested personal values. As a result, students graduate as well-rounded world citizens primed to excel at leading universities across the world. Read the full profile here…

St. Gilgen on Lake Wolfgangsee

Pic: St. Gilgen on Lake Wolfgangsee.

EF INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY – INTERNATIONAL
EF International Academy is part of EF Education First, the world leader in international education. With over 45 years of experience, EF has helped more than four million students realize their dream of studying abroad. EF International Academy is dedicated to meeting the needs of young people who are committed to developing their future through an international education. High school-age pupils may choose to study at one of fourlocations: Oxford and Torbay in the UK, New York in the US and Vancouver in Canada. Read the full profile here…

SEDBERGH SCHOOL – ENGLAND
An internationally acclaimed boarding school, Sedbergh School was established in the 16th century in Cumbria, England. An storied history, excellent facilities and an impressive list of accomplished alumni make this a top choice for international parents seeking a world-class education for their primary- and secondary-aged students. Currently, Sedbergh Junior School cares for and educates 100 pupils aged 4 to 13. The Senior School has a total of 450 students and 80 fully qualified teachers, coaches and pastoral care providers. Exceptional full boarding is a particular strength of Sedbergh School and is offered to pupils aged eight and above. Read the full profile here…

Cricket pitch at Sedbergh School

Pic: Cricket pitch at Sedbergh School.

WOODSTOCK SCHOOL – INDIA
Asia’s oldest international boarding campus, Woodstock School, regularly ranks first in number-one in India according to peer and parent surveys conducted by Education World(2008, 2009 and 2011). The institute serves more than 500 students on a 250-acre campus Mussoorie, India, roughly 180 miles north of Delhi. Woodstock School was founded in 1854, when it served the children of Christian missionaries in India. The campus has become more diverse in the 21st century, though many students are still children of public servants. Today, the school’s religious roots are expressed through the institute’s commitment to excellence, personal responsibility and service. Read the full profile here…

ROSSEAU LAKE COLLEGE-CANADA
This famous Canadian boarding and day school opened in 1967 and has garnered an outstanding international reputation in the decades since. This is a highly competitive school, and students are advised to apply early. Rosseau Lake College boasts a world-class academic tradition that is enhanced by strong community values and a full roster of extracurricular activities. For example, students give back to the Rosseau community each year by sponsoring charitable events.

INSTITUT AUF DEM ROSENBERG – SWITZERLAND
The Institut auf dem Rosenberg was founded in the late 19th century and carries on a tradition of excellence in international education. Students are accepted from six years of age and benefit from a 1:4 student-to-faculty ratio. The school occupies 100,000 sq m of parkland dotted with historic buildings and gardens. The curriculum includes tracks that specialize in education systems from Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the UK or the US, and students graduate with proficiency in several important international languages.

PHILLIPS EXETER ACADEMY – USA
A prestigious and highly secondary school located in the state of New Hampshire, Phillips Exeter Academy dates to 1781 and employs the ‘Harkness teaching method’. Students sit around oval-shaped tables rather than in rows. Discussion takes precedence over lectures, which are all but nonexistent at PEA. The student body is particularly divers, and one out of four students are of Asian descent.