How valuable is an international education?

Posted on: 17 Nov 2015

Chris Green, Assistant Principal and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Coordinator at ACS Hillingdon International School, discusses the strengths of an international education.

School leavers and university graduates are increasingly expected to have sound knowledge and experiences of the world on an international level and I believe that one of the best ways to achieve this is through an international education.

Exposure to multiple cultures

ACS Hillingdon is an international school in every sense of the word, with a diverse student and staff body made up of over 50 nationalities including British, German, Russian, Israeli and Japanese. This diverse international community helps create a rich intercultural environment for our students by bringing together multiple views and experiences. It encourages students to develop a sense of how their actions can impact on others both locally and globally, whilst importantly fostering the development of international mindedness.

Developing international mindedness is an attribute right at the heart of the school; the Council of International Schools recently recognised ACS Hillingdon for its outstanding work in developing the global citizenship of its students by awarding the school the CIS International Certificate. ACS Hillingdon is the only UK school, and the only school in Europe, to receive this accolade.

Transferrable and globally recognised qualifications

Studying for a globally recognised qualification, such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma, or the Advanced Placement (AP) is a great way of allowing students to develop an international mind-set and those all important workplace skills.

The IBDP curriculum approaches education in a different way to the A-level qualifications that are offered in most UK schools and brings together a strong academic focus and a curiosity for the international world, helping to instil a life-long appreciation and understanding of different cultures. At the heart of the programme is the IB Learner Profile which encourages students to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective – all attributes needed in a constantly changing world.

The teaching style of the IBDP drives students to learn and to apply their knowledge beyond the classroom; being able to nurture students holistically in this way means that fundamental skills, such as, time-management, research and working in a team are developed from a young age.

It is not just in the classroom that students are able to develop their interests; through the compulsory core area of Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS), students are able to work within the community, at local and global level, to see first-hand how social responsibility can be practically used to benefit others. Within their CAS experiences a number of students have taken part in international projects such as the Orbis internship, a flying eye hospital, (which delivers vital eye-care to disadvantaged communities), thus giving students the unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of global issues.

Our latest ACS International Schools survey of UK university admissions officers highlighted the IBDP as the best qualification to prepare students for the academic nature of university, and the global nature of the business world. In terms of developing global awareness and connectivity – a highly sought after skill - 80 per cent of admissions officers cited the IBDP as ‘good’ compared to, just six per cent for A-levels.

The AP programme too is highly valued by American universities due to its courses being taught at higher education level. Through studying the AP, students gain credit for their first year at university, giving them a head start with their degree.

I truly believe that an international education provides children with the best possible foundation to go forward and reach their full potential. Holding a global recognised qualification, such as the IBDP, is highly regarded by many top league universities across the world, providing the opportunity for students to stand out and be memorable among the scores of others applying for places.

ACS Hillingdon will be hosting an Open Morning 21st November 10am till 12pm giving prospective families the chance to tour the school and meet current students and the Head of School.

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