Liesbeth V., Dutch family.
Why did you choose ISB for your son? Our son joined the international track at ISB in 9th grade, coming from a public middle school. We chose ISB because it offered more languages and a more rigorous academic program than our local high school, and we liked the smaller class sizes and higher-level individual support that ISB offers. If he needs help, teachers are always available to sit with him 1:1. In addition to the staff, I have been impressed with how much students support each other; they regularly get on a call to work on assignments together.
What is it like being a new ISB family? How easy/difficult is it to fit into the ISB community? My son did not speak a word of French when he joined, nor did he choose to take French in 9th or 10th grade. Playing soccer and interacting with French track students exposed him to it, and this year, in 11th grade, he started to take beginner's French. However, you can totally get by without taking/speaking French, and choose German, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese instead.
I did have concerns that the smaller class sizes would limit his chances of finding someone he could connect with, but he was quickly adopted by his new classmates. I think because students come from all over the world, they are more open to accepting new people into their group.
As a new family that joined ISB in the Upper School, we did not have the opportunity to stand around in the playground and get to know people that way. I chose to become a room parent, and helped organize the annual parent potluck (pre-Covid) for my son's grade as well as communicate any issues to school leadership. This was a perfect way to get to know his classmate's families. We've been feeling very much at home in the ISB community, and are thankful for the opportunity for Upper School students to receive an in-school education 4-days a week, during these difficult times.