Second Language Program

Choosing the Right International School: Second Language Programs

Parent Tips for Choosing the Right International School

Choosing an international school can be challenging, so where to begin? If a high proficiency in Mandarin or other languages is crucial to you as a parent, consider starting your search by understanding the language programs offered. Schools offer a wide range of languages and proficiencies – some offer additional language instruction three days a week while other schools have daily classes. In addition to frequency, some schools offer few levels, while others differentiate. 

Research Second Language Options

Some key questions to consider: What languages are offered? How often? Are different levels offered? Is there a bilingual program? Is culture taught as part of the language classes? Program differences emerge in these details and will help parents shortlist their final options based on their priorities. Stamford American School Hong Kong offers 48 levels of modern daily language with both Mandarin and Spanish options and an elementary bilingual program (English/Mandarin). All students must take a modern daily language and benefit from 40 minutes of instruction daily, leveled by grade and proficiency. This model allows students to achieve a higher mastery and education tailored to their needs. Students also explore culture in their language classes through art, poetry, and music to foster a global mindset and gain a deeper appreciation of the language and culture through project-based learning.

Next Steps

Agree on Priorities

Before visiting, it is helpful as a family to agree on the non-negotiable priorities, as each school is unique. What are you looking for in the teaching approach? Are specific art, athletic, or STEM programs vital? Are certain facilities essential? Agreeing on a few key offerings can help you ask the right questions and ensure you are visiting schools likely to meet your family’s needs.


After shortlisting schools, take time to visit! Beyond the language program, it is essential to understand how the school will foster your child’s skills and academics to achieve their ambitions.  Opportunities to meet the faculty and see the facilities help you decide if the school is the right fit. Sign-up for school tours, Open Days, or other events and visit as often as you wish – choosing a school is a big decision.  

Stamford American School Hong Kong offers a wide range of events, tours, and Open Days to help parents understand our curriculum and culture. If you are looking for an innovative IB school with strong daily Mandarin or Spanish programs as well as  a bilingual option, visit us or contact us for more details.