For expats moving to Turkey with their families, finding the right international school for their children is a crucial and often challenging task. Providing your children with a quality education that aligns with your family's values, expectations, and future plans is imperative to their success and overall well-being. In this guide, our aim is to support expatriates in navigating the diverse landscape of international schools available in Turkey by providing essential information and tips to make informed decisions.

In the following sections, we will highlight the benefits of international schools for expatriates and why they are often the preferred choice for families relocating abroad. We will provide a comprehensive overview of the different types of international schools in Turkey, including those that follow American, British, French, German, or other standardized curricula.

We will then narrow our focus to some of the top international schools located in major Turkish cities, such as Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. It is essential to gain a clear understanding of these schools, their curriculum, facilities, reputation, and performance, as these factors can greatly impact your child's educational experience.

Our guide will also offer insights on essential factors to consider when selecting the most suitable international school for your family, including location, tuition fees, language of instruction, accreditation, and available extracurricular activities. We will address the admission process and requirements at international schools in Turkey, covering necessary documentation, language proficiency tests, and assessment exams.

Finally, we will provide a list of tips to help ensure a smooth transition for your children as they join a new international school in Turkey. These tips will include strategies for cultural adaptation and fostering open communication within your family to ensure an enriching experience for everyone.

Join us as we explore the world of international schools in Turkey, arming expats with the knowledge necessary to choose the best educational opportunities for their children and secure a bright future for their families in their new home country.

The Importance of International Schools for Expatriates

International schools hold significant value for expatriate families, as they offer a range of advantages that contribute to the well-rounded development of children. These institutions often follow globally recognized curricula, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), or the national curriculum of the home country, ensuring that students receive a consistent and high-quality education comparable to their peers worldwide. Furthermore, international schools boast diverse learning environments that encourage cultural exchange, global perspectives, and the development of language skills, which prove to be invaluable assets in the rapidly globalizing world.

Types of International Schools in Turkey

Turkey is home to a wide variety of international schools catering to the diverse needs and preferences of expat families. Here are some of the main types of international schools in Turkey:

  1. American Schools: These institutions typically follow the U.S. curriculum and offer AP courses or the IB programme. English is the primary language of instruction, with some schools providing additional language courses, such as Turkish or other foreign languages.
  2. British Schools: British schools in Turkey adhere to the English National Curriculum, leading to IGCSE examinations at the end of Year 11 and A-level examinations at the end of Year 13. English is the primary language of instruction, and these schools generally uphold the high standards of British education.
  3. French Schools: Following the French national curriculum, these schools provide a bilingual education in French and Turkish, with some institutions offering additional language courses. Students typically graduate with a French Baccalauréat diploma, which is recognised internationally.
  4. German Schools: German schools in Turkey follow the German national curriculum and offer the German Abitur, a diploma recognised globally. Classes are taught primarily in German, with a focus on developing strong language skills and fostering cultural understanding.

Top International Schools in Major Cities

Below is a list of some highly acclaimed international schools in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, which hold exceptional records in both reputation and performance.

1. Istanbul:

- Istanbul International Community School (IICS): A top-ranked institution offering the full IB program for expatriate children aged 3 to 18.

- British International School Istanbul (BISI): Delivering the British National Curriculum, BISI offers a comprehensive education leading up to IGCSE and A-Level examinations.

2. Ankara:

- Ankara BLIS (Bilkent Laboratory & International School): This prestigious school offers an American-style education and the IB program, catering to students from pre-kindergarten through high school.

- TED Ankara College Private High School: Known for its rigorous academics, TED Ankara College provides bilingual education and an opportunity to earn the IB diploma.

3. Izmir:

- The MEF International School Izmir: Part of the prestigious MEF network, this international school offers both the IB and Cambridge IGCSE programs for expatriate students.

- SEV American College: Operating under the American Colleges of Anatolia, SEV offers a high-quality American curriculum alongside AP courses and the Cambridge IGCSE.

Choosing the Right International School

To find the best international school for your children in Turkey, consider factors such as location, tuition fees, language of instruction, and available extracurricular activities. Keep an eye out for schools with accreditations from recognized international organizations, such as the Council of International Schools (CIS) or the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), which can be an indicator of quality education.

Admission Process and Requirements

The admission process for international schools in Turkey may entail various steps, including application form submission, necessary documentation (such as school records, health reports, and passports), language proficiency tests (for non-native English speakers), and assessment exams. Interviews or meetings with school administrators may also form part of the admission process. Each school may have specific requirements; hence, communication with school admissions offices is vital for a smooth application process.

Tips for a Smooth School Transition

Relocating to a new country can be challenging for children and parents alike. Here are some tips to help ensure a smooth transition for your family:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the culture in Turkey, and encourage your children to learn about their new surroundings.
  2. Maintain consistency in routines, communication, and support throughout the moving and settling process.
  3. Introduce your children to extracurricular activities that foster connections with their peers and help them adapt to the new environment.


Finding the right international school for your children in Turkey is crucial to their success and well-being as expatriates. By understanding the available options and considering factors such as curriculum, facilities, reputation, and cost, you can identify the ideal institution for your family. With thorough research and a thoughtful approach to supporting your children through the transition process, you can ensure an enriching and fulfilling educational experience in their new home country.

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