In general, there is a cycle to preparing for a post-to-post transition when it comes to schools. The Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO) at the Department of State also provides resources on the process of Transitioning from School to School.
For parents who are part of the foreign affairs community, the general steps to follow include:
- Research posts/schools on your bid list.
- Gather a digital student portfolio for each child.
- Suggested items to include:
- Report cards,
- Grade level projects,
- Standardized testing results,
- Recommendation letters from their current teacher,
- Art projects, and
- Departing school contact information.
- If your child has special needs please also include:
- Medical records,
- Individual Education Plan (IEP)/Individual Learning Plan (ILP),
- RECENT psychosocial evaluation,
- Specific behavioral issues, and
- Other pertinent information.
- Suggested items to include:
- Meet with the REO to understand your options.
- Secure post assignment.
- Apply and enroll in school.
- Office of Overseas School encourages you to begin a dialogue/application process with your desired school as soon as you know your post assignment.
- Please see the Office of Allowances Regulations on Education Allowances.
- Enjoy your time at post!
- Maintain digital student portfolio for your next transition.
- When the time comes for bidding on your next assignment, go back to step one.
The U.S. Department of State provides assistance to overseas schools through direct and indirect support designed to promote an American-style program. Assisted schools must meet specific requirements in order obtain and maintain this status. These requirements include, but are not limited to, that the school:
- is nonprofit, non-religious, nonpolitical, and U.S. accredited;
- have American Embassy representation on their governing body, where possible;
- have significant number of U.S. citizen and U.S. trained staff and administration;
- have strong American-style curricula and materials;
- provide assurance of fiscal oversight;
- operate in compliance with local law and transparency with the community; and
- have in place policy, procedures and implementation in regards to child protection.
While there are many good international schools around the globe, assisted schools have a uniquely close relationship with the Department of State and their respective Regional Education Officers, which benefits American students where the U.S. government has a diplomatic presence. Generally, there is only one assisted school per diplomatic post. Each diplomatic post must demonstrate a need for an assisted school and work with the Regional Education Officer to make sure the selected school meets and maintains the requirements. The Regional Education Officer is the arbiter of these grants and relationships.
These list contain both assisted and non-assisted schools at posts. Contact information for current assisted schools can be found in the 2022-2023 Assisted School Directory (pdf). The lists below include U.S. and non-U.S. curriculum, religious, proprietary, and local public schools.
Disclaimer: The U.S. Department of State provides external links solely for our readers’ information and convenience. The U.S. Department of State does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information contained on a linked website; does not endorse the organizations sponsoring linked websites or the views they express or the products/services they offer, and is not responsible for transmissions users receive from linked websites.
The Office of Overseas Schools understands that curricula around the world can differ greatly. This is part of the reason that the assisted school program exists. Assisted schools have been deemed by the Regional Education Officer as the closest thing to an American public school education at that post. Still families have school choice, and not every post around the world has an assisted school, so families sometimes select a school based in a different cultural context.
Keep in mind, sometimes the transition back to the US after having enrolled in a different educational system (i.e., British, French, or other system) can be difficult. Yet it is also observed that we have USG families moving from the USA to an overseas post and back again, where educational systems have differed, and the transition has worked, especially with advance notice to school academic counselors. If the student is falling behind, then the supplementary instructional allowance can be considered. Also note, colleges and universities are well-versed in managing differing global educational systems.
For questions about educational allowances and the DSSR we encourage post and parents to work directly with the Office of Allowances (AllowancesO@state.gov). For help with the transition back to the United States from post we encourage you to work with the Global Community Liaison Office- Education and Youth Team (GCLOAskEducation@state.gov).
- Transitioning from School to School – Global Community Liaison Office, Department of State.
- – Mid-Atlantic Association of IB World Schools
- – Information on the IB Diploma, Middle Years, and the Primary Years Programs.
- – Information on the ACT college admission test and on educational and career planning.
- – Virtual college tours, maps, college videos, etc. for colleges across the United States.
- – Online registration for the SAT, database of more than 3,500 colleges, application to colleges online, information on scholarships and financial aid.
- – Used by 230 colleges and universities.
- – Information on 3,300 colleges and universities and information on financial aid for each.
- – The professional organization for admission counselors, has a section for students on finding the college that’s right for you.
- provides admission test preparation (SAT, ACT, SSAT, PSAT, AP and TOEFL), education information and advice, and guidance on college admission and financial aid for nearly 4,000 colleges, as well as information on 1,500+ private day, boarding, religious, special needs, single-sex and coeducational programs.
- – Information on specific financial aid for universities and colleges across the United States. Use the search facility to quickly access the entry for the college of your choice.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
- – Scholarship information, check your fastWEB mailbox, focus on scholarship and loan information, and link to the FinAid Page.
- – Information on Federal student aid programs with help for every step in the financial aid process.
- – With categories like Planning for College, Apply for a Loan, Manage Your Loans, Student Loan Finder, Sallie Mae tackles the nuts and bolts of obtaining grants in a well-organized and easy-to-understand fashion.
Adequacy rating is made over a post not an individual school and it ties directly into the Away from Post Allowance. Adequate means an elementary school (grades kindergarten and 1‐8 or equivalent) or secondary school (grades 9‐12 or equivalent) not requiring mandatory denominational religious instruction and providing an educational curriculum and services reasonably comparable to those normally provided without charge in public schools in the United States. The major criterion of “adequacy” is whether a child of normal ability, upon completion of a grade, or its equivalent, can enter the next higher grade in a public school in the United States. The Department of State Office of Overseas Schools determines the “adequacy” of the schools at the overseas posts that are not U.S. Department of Defense Schools. Click here for the Overseas School Allowances for more details on what adequacy means in terms of the Away from Post Educational Allowance.
An “inadequate” rating does not always mean that a school is academically inferior. In fact, there are some fine schools that are deemed “inadequate” because of differences in academic calendar year, religious affiliation, or other factors unrelated to quality of instruction. If a post is deemed “inadequate” for certain grades the Away from Post Education Allowance is higher than the base tuition for schools at post. Please note that you can send your child to boarding school even if the post is deemed adequate, you will receive the same amount as the base tuition and you will pay the difference with the boarding school.
For questions about Away from Post Allowance please reach out to The Office of Allowances (AllowancesO@state.gov). For more information on boarding schools please visit our partners in the Global Community Liaison Office (GCLO).
Every year, hundreds of U.S. families with special-needs children have to make career-related decisions about whether to go overseas and if so, where.
Two booklet were developed by the Office of Overseas Schools and its Advisory Committee on Exceptional Children and Youth, whose support, guidance and wisdom has helped increase services to children with special needs in international schools. The brochures, [19 MB] and What Can You Expect To Find In Overseas Schools For Your Gifted Child 2023 are designed to help families think through such decisions and to facilitate their children’s transition to the most appropriate school setting possible.
Each assisted school has a Special Needs Profile which can be found on our website.
The Office of Overseas Schools is staffed with a Director and Regional Education Officers (REO), each assigned oversight of a geographic region, who are well-informed about schools attended by U. S. citizen school-age dependent children. For general information please email OverseasSchools@state.gov. For information about overseas schools, you are encouraged to contact any of the following Regional Education Officers:
Dr. Tim S. Stuart
East Asia Pacific
Mr. Andrew A. Hoover
Eastern Europe, Central Asia
Ms. Mary E. Russman
Near East, South Asia, Greece, Türkiye, Cyprus
Mr. Mike Emborsky
Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, South America
Dr. Robin D. Heslip
Dr. Christine L. Brown
Mr. Mark E. Ulfers
Ms. Elise N. Webb