International schools in Italy are a good option for expat families who only plan on living in the country for a short period, or those who want their children to continue studying the curriculum of their home country. These institutions are also better equipped to ease the transition into expat life in Italy, and students attend school alongside other children from similar backgrounds. Having a child at an international school also allows parents to connect with other expat families and create a network in their new country.
On the other hand, international schools also create a bit of a cultural bubble and can restrict children from assimilating into Italian society. While some wealthy Italian parents do opt to send their children to international schools, they are a small minority.
An ideal middle-ground would be to enrol children in a school that combines the Italian curriculum with the student’s home country’s curriculum, or a bilingual international school teaching in both the child's native tongue and Italian.
Expats will find a wide range of international schools in major Italian cities such as Rome and Milan, but there are many more scattered all over Italy. Curricula offered at international schools in Italy include American, British, French, German as well as the International Baccalaureate (IB).
Competition for places is stiff, especially at the more prestigious international schools, so it is best to apply ahead of time. Admission requirements vary from institution to institution, but previous school records are usually required and, in some cases, children must sit admission exams and attend interviews.
Expats who choose this option should negotiate a schooling allowance into their relocation package, if possible, as tuition fees at these schools are high.