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What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
There's only one here - QSI. They are the only English-language school in the city. From what I understand, you can send your children to a local school, but they'd better speak Russian if you're going to do so.
Our experience with QSI has been mixed. On the one hand, it's very small (60-some odd students from preschool to 12th grade), so your children can easily get attention. On the other hand, they're not likely to listen to you (the parent) a whole lot, either. They have a program which is apparently used by all of the QSI schools, and it's not quite as robust as we'd like. My oldest has frequently complained about being bored, something he's never done elsewhere. My daughter loves it, though. But then, she thrives with a lot of attention from a teacher, and he gets bored if the subject matter is repetitive or slow for him, no matter what attention he's getting. When we approached them about my son, they said the material they were offering was completely appropriate for him and he didn't need anything else. Unfortunately, a lot of it has been way too repetitive for him.
We were also excited to find out they offered Russian for the non-Russian speaking students, only to discover that below the high school level it's only once or twice a week. And they seem to be taught random words or phrases. The most useful thing they've learned is how to say, "My name is..." in Russian, otherwise it seems to be things like "watermelon" and "I like cats/dogs".
I have heard comments about how they don't really have enough books or other materials at the high school level, either. My kids aren't in high school yet though, so that's just what I've heard.
Just like anywhere, there are some good teachers there, and some not-so-good teachers. The teachers tend to be there on two to three year contracts, though there are a few locals who have taught there for a very long time. We have met some nice people through the school, though, and it's enabled us to meet some of the other English-speaking expats that we might not otherwise have met. I will say I will be grateful to have my children out of this school at the end of this school year though, and we seriously considered homeschooling them instead. (Several of the people who have come here have done so.) - Oct 19, 2011