Our current plan is to reside in the US until Mini RB40 starts college, then we will live part time overseas. I would like to live in Thailand and then South America for a few years each. RB40 Jr. will start college in about 16 years and we will be 56. We won’t qualify for Medicare until 65, so I want to take advantage of the lower cost of healthcare overseas while exploring the world at the same time.
Right now, we are in a pretty good school district and Jr. will attend the local public school until he graduates from high school. Of course, 16 years is a long time and who knows what can change. One of our readers asked what our education options would be if we move to Thailand before he finishes high school. Since this is a possibility, why not explore it a bit? Our current goal is for him to attend a good university in the US.
Ahh… I love the internet. I just looked up the Chiang Mai International School and here is the standard annual tuition.
- Pre-School: 194,000 baht (~$6,258)
- Grades KG thru 6: 242,000 baht ($7,806)
- Grades 7 & 8: 263,000 baht ($8,483)
- Grades 9 through 12: 330,000 baht ($10,645)
- Pre-School Enrollment: 10,000 baht ($323)
- New Student Enrollment: 70,000 baht ($2,258)
- Returning Student Fee: 10,000 baht ($323)
- Capital Improvement Fee: 20,000 baht ($645)
- ESL/EAP fees: 48,000 baht ($1,548) – If the kid needs English as a Second Language.
Holy crap! I knew it was expensive, but I didn’t think it was this much. The exchange rate is about 31 baht for 1 US dollar. OK, I added the US price in parentheses. It looks a little better now, but it is still quite expensive for regular people like us. Unless we’re really rich in 10 years, I don’t think this is a valid option. Even if we save on cost of living and healthcare, the education cost will just cancels it out.
This is the best option for kids whose goal is to attend college in the US or other first world countries.
Note: There is a significant discount for nonprofit organization employees and missionaries at this school.
International schools in Bangkok is much more expensive – Steve.
International School Bangkok (ISB) – Registration fees come to THB 265,000 ($8,548) and tuition for high school aged kids is THB 803,000 ($25,903!).
The American School of Bangkok – Registration fees of THB 300,000 ($9,677) and tuition for high school aged kids is THB 545,000 ($17,580)
Wells International School – Registration fees of THB 104,000 ($3,355) and tuition for high school aged kids is THB 350,000 ($11,290)
Thai Private School
Here is an option that I didn’t know about until now – bilingual schools. There are private schools in Thailand that teaches the Thai curriculum in English and Thai. We’d have to teach him US history and civics, geography, and a few other things ourselves.
The tuition is much more affordable at $1,500 to $5,000 per year depending on the school. Another good thing about this option is that he’d be able to make friends with local Thai kids (most likely well to do kids whose parents can afford these schools).
This sounds like a good compromise, but I need to do more research. I’m not sure if the kids from these schools can get into a US college or not. I suppose you can go to a US community college for two years and then transfer if getting accepted is a problem.
Another problem is the rote learning system in Thailand. Kids have a ton of homework and they are driven pretty hard. I remember lugging a huge backpack to school when I was in 3rd grade. I like the US system better because we emphasize critical thinking and creativity more. The goal of the Thai curriculum is to get accepted into a Thai university and that’s not really our plan.
This is a good option for kids who plan to live and work in Thailand for the long term. They should be able to get into a Thai university and function well in Thai society.
Home schooling is not legal in every country, so you need to check for yourself. In Thailand, it is fine to home school your kid. We would follow our state’s requirement and use the US based curriculum. From my minimal research, testing is required at grades 3, 5, 8, and 10.
If we relocate to another country, it would mean that we’re both not working a regular job anymore. We would have time to educate our kid. I don’t it will be that difficult if we split it between two people. Socialization might be a problem though. It would be really tough to make friends in a foreign country when you don’t go to school.
Oregon has a Free Online School program – Oregon Connections Academy. This sounds like a great option because we’d be able to follow the standard US curriculum. I’d have to check with them to make sure expats can enroll, though.
There are also many other internet based public and private homeschooling programs. From what I understand, most of these programs are tuition free or have a minimal cost.
Thai Public School
Of course, Thailand has public schools too. From what I read, this is not a good option for expats. The class size is huge and the quality of education is questionable.
Stick with Plan A
We plan to stick with our plan A as of now. RB40 Jr. can attend public school here and then go to college next. After that, we’ll live part time in another country to enjoy a better standard of living on a budget. However, we could also relocate earlier if the stars align. Perhaps if we live in Thailand for 6 months/year, then we can go with a combination of online and homeschooling. He can attend school here for a semester and then we’d home school for the other semester.
If you have kids, would you relocate to another country?
A special thank you to Steve from Money Infant for providing some first hand information.
photo credit: flickr SEE TEFL Teacher training