5 Years Later: 5 Lessons We Learned from Sending Our Kids to School in South Africa

school children in a school in Africa cheering for their house at swim gala

Despite fears of crime, the biggest fear for many South Africa-bound expats with children is whether they’re making a mistake with their choice of school. Of all the questions I get asked, school choice is always the one that seems to cause the most sleepless nights. Here is a look at the lessons we learned from sending our kids to school in South Africa (hint: they were fine).

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Does Recess Need Coaching? Not in South Africa!

South African school children at recess

My favorite time to walk over the leafy campus of Dainfern College was recess. There would be hundreds of kids milling about, with no teacher to be seen. No one seemed to care whether the kids used the time to eat their lunch or not. Boys would be running around barefoot, their uniforms disheveled, kicking soccer balls that would frequently hit unsuspecting bystanders.

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Everything You Need to Know About South African Schools

In order to make my readers' life - and mine! - a little bit easier, I thought I'd gather all my blog posts discussing South African schools in any way, shape, or form, into one tidy list to hand out henceforth. Bear in mind that I wrote these over the course of 4-5 years, and that my knowledge of the topic evolved over that time period. Still, this is a good starting point for new expats.

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Finishing Matric in South Africa – Then What?

best time to be an expat

I have written much about schools in South Africa. But what about higher education, i.e. going to college aka varsity? If you have high school age children and are moving to South Africa from abroad, or already have been living there and your children are approaching the end of their school career, it is most likely a topic that causes quite a bit of anxiety in you.

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How Do I Obtain or Renew a Study Permit for a South African School?

After enrolling your child in a South African school, the school will issue a letter to you that confirms that the child is enrolled, and the duration of the term. You will then submit this letter together with your other documents to Home Affairs to obtain the study permits, which are linked to the overall work permit allowing you or your spouse to work in South Africa.

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International or Local School?

We made a decision to enroll our kids in a private South African school, not the American International School of Johannesburg (AISJ), when we first arrived in South Africa in 2010. I like to think that we had a ton of good reasons and made a very informed choice in an elaborate pro/con list, but, truth be told, it came down to something much simpler: Good manners and an accent.

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