Expat Essentials

Expat Essentials: Dispatches’ guide to international schools in Brussels, 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.



Wherever 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 International School of Eindhoven 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 Belgium continues with the second and final part of our two-part visit to the de facto capital of the European Union, Brussels. Seventy percent of the city’s population consists of residents whose roots lay outside Belgium, with France, Morocco and Romania occupying the podium, respectively.

More than 80 museums can be found in Brussels – including the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, the Magritte Museum, and the Belgian Comic Strip Center – as well as 1,800 restaurants serving the finest waffles, fries, chocolates and glasses of Kriek (a cherry lambic beer), and R.S.C. Anderlecht, the most successful soccer team in the Belgian Pro League with 33 titles to their name.



The International School of Brussels calls itself “the community school, where 70 nationalities find common ground… welcoming students with different needs, strengths, and futures.” More than 1,500 students ages 3 to 18 attend ISB at its 40-acre campus some 9 kilometers southeast of the city center. The school is a CIS Accredited School, a member of the International Baccalaureate, and bases its instruction on the Common Ground Curriculum, a program created by ISB as a way to answer the question, ‘What’s worth learning?’ ISB also offers a summer camp in three one-week blocks from late June through mid-July.

  • Fees (2016-17 academic year): €16,750 – €36,150 annual tuition, depending on grade level; €16,550 special education fee, paid in addition to annual tuition; €2,000 application fee (as of 1 September 2016); full schedule of fees here
  • Requirements: Complete and submit application with fee and required documentation; view the checklist here
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: isb.be

o_7XJpm5ISF Waterloo International School:

A small school of about 190 students from 42 nations, ISF Waterloo International is the first Google for Education School in all of Belgium. This means all students receive Chromebooks and tablets, every teacher is Google Certified, and Google handles all of the IT so teachers can focus on delivering the best education possible for your kids. Class sizes are capped at 18 students per teacher, enabling teachers to “ignite a passion for life-long learning.” The goal is to develop  “adaptable world citizens, confident in their abilities, sensitive to their communities, responsible to their families, and effective in their endeavours.” ISF Waterloo is a member of the European Council for International Schools, follows the International Primary Curriculum for its primary students, and administers the Cambridge International Examination tests for middle and high school students.

  • Fees (2016-17 academic year): €10,500 – €25,000 annual tuition, depending on grade level; €750 one-time application fee for the first child, €250 for subsequent children; €1,000 one-time school development fee per family; aforementioned fees tied to parent(s)’s corporate sponsor –  see non-corporate fee schedule here
  • Requirements: Submit completed application form with registration fee and all required documentation
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: isfwaterloo.org


photoSt. John’s International School:

More than 720 students from 61 countries call St. John’s International School home. The Christian school has been an International Baccalaureate member since 1978, and offers a bilingual IB Diploma in several languages, including English and French. St. John’s was founded in 1964 by the Faithful Companions of Jesus, and its mission is to provide “an English-language education based on Christian values” of companionship, integrity and respect. All faiths are welcome to attend the K-12 school, which is accredited by the Council of International Schools and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; St. John’s is also an ECIS member.

  • Fees (2016-17 academic year): €10,965 – €33,690 annual tuition, depending on grade level; €1,000 one-time application fee; €500 one-time campus development fee per accepted student
  • Requirements: Submit completed application with fee and required documentation; interview with admissions staff or school principal
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: stjohns.be


imgresSt. Paul’s British Primary School:

We finally bring our tour of Brussels international schools to a close the same way we started: with the Union Jack. St. Paul’s Primary School was founded in 1975, and has been closely associated with St. Paul’s Anglican Church Tervuren since 2006. St. Paul’s is accredited by the Council of British International Schools, and bases its education the UK National Curriculum, which is augmented by Christian teachings as found among fellow Church of England Primary Schools members. All nationalities, cultures and faiths are welcome.

  • Fees (2016-17 academic year): €800 non-refundable one-time application fee for the first child, €700 for each subsequent child; €6,600 – €18,200 annual tuition (non-corporate), €9,450 – €26,000 annual tuition (corporate)
  • Requirements: Submit completed application with fee and required documentation
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Website: stpaulsbps.com
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Lifestyle journalist. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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