Expat Essentials

Expat Essentials: Dispatches’ guide to international schools in Rotterdam

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.

RotterdamMaasNederlandWherever 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.

Also, few – if any – schools in the Netherlands or Europe as a whole offer bus transportation in the style of the United States. Students typically ride bikes to school or take public transportation. Rotterdam has trams, a metro and bus service.

Founded in 1270 around a dam on the Rotte river, and formally established by the Count of Holland in 1340, Rotterdam grew into its role as a major logistic and economic center over the centuries. The Port of Rotterdam is Europe’s largest port, and the one of the largest (and busiest) ports in the world. The famed Erasmus University is in Rotterdam, which has the operations of multinational corporations such has Unilever, Pfizer, Proctor & Gamble, and Maersk. The port city has a vibrant nightlife, a massive waterfront, and plenty of architecture to admire, including the New Orleans Tower (largest residential building in the Netherlands), the Euromast observation tower (a major tourist draw), and the Masstoren (largest commercial building in the Netherlands).

logoAmerican International School of Rotterdam: We begin our tour of English-language international schools in Rotterdam with the American International School of Rotterdam. Located north of Rotterdam’s city center, AISR has offered a comprehensive Pre-K through Grade 12 program since its founding in 1959, is accredited by both the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and College, and is a member of the International Baccalaureate Organization. About 220 students were enrolled in AISR for the 2015-2016 academic year, 60 percent of whom were American, British, Dutch, Korean, and Japanese; the remainder hailed from over 30 countries of origin.

  • Fees (2015-16 academic year): 3,750 euros one-time assessment fee; 1,500 euros annual registration fee; 9,825 euros to 16,500 euros tuition fee, depending on grade level
  • Requirements: Two years of school records (three years for Grade 12 students); proof of birthdate such as a passport
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: queries@aisr.nl; parents/guardians may also fill out AISR’s information request form
  • Website: www.aisr.nl

27513e48a9d36b0e992d795232e77a95Rotterdam International Secondary School at Wolfert: The Rotterdam International Secondary School at Wolfert is next on our itinerary. Unlike AISR, RISS covers international students who would be entering middle and high school in the United States (ages 11 through 19). The Wolfert van Borselen School Group affiliate offers its students both IB and the Cambridge International General Certificate of Education programs. Forty-five nationalities are represented at RISS, the majority of whom come from the Netherlands, Great Britain, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and the U.S.

  • Fees (2015-16 academic year): 6,800 euros to 7,420 euros tuition fee, depending on grade level; 250 euro new student registration fee; 500 euros new student security deposit; 200 euros Futurewise career/higher education program fee (available only to new Grade 11 students; no fee if enrolled in Futurewise at previous school); 60 euros installment fee per student; 100 euros discount if fees paid in full by October 1st; 800 euros examination fee for Cambridge IGCSE (Grade 10); 750 euros examination fee for IB Diploma (Grade 12)
  • Requirements: None is listed on the school website other than international students must be residing in Holland with their parents; contact school for more information
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: admin.riss@wolfert.nl
  • Website: www.wolfert.nl/riss

imgresInternational Department of the Blijberg Primary School: Our last stop brings us to the International Department of the Blijberg Primary School, located in the city center of Rotterdam. The department serves students of international families ages 4 through 12, and is working with seven schools with an international department in the Netherlands to develop “an internationally-oriented curriculum.” The program’s aim is to help its young students continue their international education elsewhere, whether back in the students’ home countries, or at a secondary school (such as AISR and RISS) in the Netherlands.

  • Fees (2015-16 academic year): 3,300 euros per year
  • Total enrollment: 215
  • Total number of teachers: 20
  • Requirements: An interview with Ms. Margaret Nolan
  • Application Deadline: N/A; contact school for information
  • Contact: margaret@blijberg.nl
  • Website: www.blijberg.nl
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