Expat Essentials

Expat Essentials: Dispatches’ guide to international schools in Berlin, Pt. 2

One of the bigger challenges for English-speaking expat families – even for well-paid corporate nomads – is finding a satisfactory, English-language international school.

Such schools cater to expat students, with curricula tied to the host nation in question, or an international education organization such as Edexcel, Cambridge International Examinations, and International Baccalaureate; if you’re curious about the International Baccalaureate program, by the by, Dispatches Europe has a primer for your convenience.

25_berlin_wallWherever you’re headed, do not wait to get there before starting the application process with your preferred international school, which can be lengthy. With business growing ever more global, many international schools have more applications than spaces. My editor and our financial officer personally experienced this in Eindhoven, Netherlands where the Eindhoven International School has a difficult time accommodating all the students who wish to attend.

You might also want to check out the schools in person and interview parents in case the reality fails to live up to the promotional literature and beautiful photos of campus life at a given international school.

Our first stop of our tour of international schools in Germany continues with the second and final part of our two-part visit to Berlin. The capital city of Germany hosts a population of more than 3.5 million, with an auslander population of 15.3 percent representing 80 nations. David Bowie and Iggy Pop recorded some of their most beloved works in Berlin (Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy, Iggy’s The Idiot and Lust For Life), while Lou Reed recorded an album set in the then-divided city. Zoologischer Garten Berlin is the city’s oldest zoo (established in 1844), and is the most visited in all of Europe. Berlin boasts a long-lived, thriving LGBT culture, and the city’s nightlife is the most diverse and vibrant of any city’s nightlife.

metropolitan_school_thumbBerlin Metropolitan School: Picking up from last time, Berlin Metropolitan School lays claim to being the oldest international school in Berlin Mitte (the city center), founded in 2004. BMS has 930 students representing 55 nationalities enrolled in kindergarten through Grade 12, with the first Grade 12 students graduating during the 2014-15 academic year. Curricula includes those of the International Baccalaureate, Cambridge University, and Berlin Framework. BMS’ mission “aims to build an inclusive culture of learning that inspires and challenges every individual to develop to their full potential and be active and responsible participants in our global society.”

  • Fees (2016-17 academic year): Income-based monthly tuition fee, ranging from €147/month through all grades (based on an annual income of up to €30,000), to €1,158/month for grades 11 and 12 (based on an annual income of over €150,000); one-time admission fee (from Grade 1 forward) of €1,100, or the same amount as monthly tuition for families with incomes below €40,000/year. You can see the complete fee schedule here
  • Requirements: Email completed application with last two school reports for grades 2 and above; schedule a meeting; child attends either a play-date or trial day, sit an entrance test for grades 5 through 12; sign and submit contract with birth certificate and tax information
  • Application Deadline: Ongoing; extends into the next school year
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.metropolitanschool.com

imgresInternational School Villa Amalienhof: International School Villa Amalienhof first began life as a manor called Klitzing’s Farm, built by Ludwig von Kltizing in 1836. The name would be changed in 1860 to Amalienhof, after the first wife of Moritz Gebhard Reimer, Amalie Posselt. ISVA itself would be born on the estate grounds decades later in 2007, with the aim of being an open-minded learning community that educates students in an international environment according to standards of excellence” in “an inclusive environment in which mutual respect and appreciation for diverse cultures foster a sense of cooperation and collaboration.” ISVA is a member of Cambridge, Edexcel, AGIS, CIS, and International Baccalaureate.

  • Fees (2016-17 academic year): €10,000 – €15,200 annual fee (paid quarterly), depending on grade level; €800 registration fee through all grade levels; sliding scale sibling discount, based on birth order; income-based school fees available
  • Requirements: Complete application with all required information; complete three-day trial on-campus
  • Application Deadline: Ongoing
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.is-va.de

JFK_Logo_neuJohn F. Kennedy School Berlin: Founded in 1960, John F. Kennedy School is a tuition-free German public school composed of 1,700 K-12 students, 95 percent of whom are either German or American. Secondary school students can pursue either a U.S. high school diploma, the German Abitur, or both; JFK is not an International Baccalaureate member. JFK is a bicultural, bilingual international school, combining “the strengths of both the German and American educational traditions” in its mission to transform students into “responsible and democratic global citizens.”

  • Fees (2016-17 academic year): None
  • Requirements: Submit completed application with required documentation
  • Application Deadline: January 31 for the following academic year
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: www.jfks.de

nelson-mandela-schoolNelson Mandela School: From one school named for a famous political figure to another, we finally end our tour of international schools in Berlin with Nelson Mandela School. Like JFK, NMS is a tuition-free, bilingual school, where the student body and staff are composed of more than 60 nationalities. NMS is a member of UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project, the European Council of International Schools, and the International Baccalaureate Organisation. The school follows the path laid out by 19th-century Swiss educational philosopher Pestalozzi, where all primary and secondary students learn “with head, heart and hand.”

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