Why are more Hong Kong parents sending their children to overseas boarding schools?

Despite the expense, more Hong Kong parents are sending their children to boarding schools in locations such as the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the US. For some, it is about stability and freedom of education. For many, it is due to the perceived benefits such as excellent academic results, exposure to more innovative & creative teaching methodologies, a shortcut to international universities and substantial personal development.

At an annual cost typically in the range of HK$500,000-HK$1m per year and an average admission age of 11-13, the expense of an international boarding school education is considerable. Despite this, there has recently been a noticeable increase in interest in primary-level boarding schools overseas and admissions consulting companies in Hong Kong are scrambling to deal with the inquiries about procedures, cost and preparation.

international students playing chess

Parents in Hong Kong have always been focused on access to higher quality academic environments, however now more than ever, parents are keen to secure global opportunities for their children – whether that’s a spot at a top university (try the Bizibuz career advisory tool which matches your child’s aptitude with occupations and then outlines the top global universities for those matched occupations) or a better chance at winning a coveted job at an international institution.

There are softer benefits too. Children can hone their social skills, learn more about cultural diversity, become more resilient & independent, and become fluent in an overseas language. There is considerable evidence that English language skills are particularly impactful on job opportunities and even future salary levels.

students learning at school

For many children, going away to boarding school at such a young age will be their first experience at living in a dormitory with other students and their first time living in a foreign country. This can be a daunting experience - the loneliness, the requirement to adapt to different routines and rituals, and the potential for discrimination. However, it is the very chance to face and overcome adversity which itself can be the biggest advantage of all (Michelle Obama’s words not mine). It builds mental strength and the ability to overcome setbacks with confidence. It can contribute to a more defined sense of self that leads to stronger self-esteem and engagement. And these attributes may yield benefits that far outlast entry into a university or job.

This is the first blog in Bizibuz’s international boarding school series. Look out for our deep dive into US boarding schools and UK boarding schools in the new year!