In May our son, Andrew, sported a cap and gown down the aisle and was recognized at Raha International School's Graduation or Celebration as they called it. A few days ago, we actually received his final results from the International Baccalaureate for his Diploma Program exams he took for all of his subjects in early May. These exams are what determines if a student actually receives the coveted IB diploma and truly graduates. Yes, it's a little "cart before the horse", but lots of things are different when you're an expat kid.
In my research I found that the International Baccalaureate fit our children perfectly, as both were excelling in all of their subjects at the private school they had attended in the US for many years. I have never been a fan of curricula that teach to a test like the Virginia Standards of Learning offered in public schools in our home state. To each his own, but I prefer my children learn to be free thinkers and learn to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to become global citizens. To me this is far more important than being able to mark A,B, or C on a multiple choice test. The IB curriculum may not fit every child, but the learner profile can be found here for those interested.
The value of Raha and the IB education have become extremely evident this past week as we received my son's final marks. He indeed passed and has officially earned an International Baccalaureate Diploma, but that is not all he has earned. You see his scores on his final exams translate to credit hours at universities in the United States. In fact, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University aka Virginia Tech, which he will be attending in the fall, these exam scores have earned him a year's worth of credits at the university and he hasn't even started taking classes there yet. Not only has the IB reduced the time it will take him to earn a bachelor's degree, it has saved us thousands of US dollars in tuition. The later of the two my son keeps pointing out to us.
For my husband and I, it's nice to see choices we made as new expats years ago were the right ones. You can do tons of research, but sometimes you just never know until you see them played out. We are both extremely proud of Andrew, and we look forward to him being just as successful at Virginia Tech as he has been at Raha. He currently plans to stick with his Arabic language studies, so that he can return to Abu Dhabi to work after earning a degree in business.
He left for the US in June, and was only gone for about a week before he was telling me how much he missed the UAE. It's nice to know he loves this country he now calls his second home, again some reassurance that we made the right choice by moving here.