What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
There are a few international schools near Chiang Mai. The 2 I'm most familiar with are Chiang Mai International School (CMIS) and Grace International School (GIS). CMIS - Near the city, a small campus and small, cozy environment. There are two classes of around 18-20 kids for each grade in elementary. I think there's just one class for each grade in junior/high school. They use an American curriculum and the main teachers are mostly American. Our kids attend this school and they love it. Before coming I heard bad things about this school, but so far I've found it to be more rigorous than other international schools my kids have attended. Maybe the one complaint that could be valid is that it is more of a traditional education and somewhat less experiential learning than some schools we've attended. Some parts of the campus need some serious updating, but they are working on it and will have opened two new buildings during the time that we'll be here (though my kids don't care what they look like). While it is a Christian school, its more nominal in nature with no specific religious education included in the curriculum. GIS - South of the city, they are currently building a brand new campus and are temporarily using a local college. This is Christian-school founded by and for missionaries and the religious aspect is much more prominent here than at CMIS. From what I've heard, it's a great school and the kids who attend it love it as well. - Mar 2019
There are many international schools from which to choose:Chiang Mai International School (CMIS)--In existence for more than 50 years, CMIS is the original int'l school in Chiang Mai. It is a Christian school but accepts students of all faiths. The 450 students from K-12 represent more than 30 nationalities, although half the students are half Thai or full Thai. The school uses an American curriculum. Facilities are adequate but not impressive. It is located in the center of town. Grace Int'l School (GIS)--Founded just a few years ago, Grace has grown incredibly quickly. Like CMIS it is a Christian school but, unlike CMIS, most of the students are the kids of evangelical missionaries and religion is a major part of the curriculum. The school uses an American curriculum and occupies a large campus south of town. Prem Tinsulandonda Int'l School (Prem)--Prem is the 5-star hotel of int'l schools in Chiang Mai. It offers an IB curriculum and occupies a sprawling campus north of town in the Mae Jo area, including dorms for boarders. Some Prem families worry that the school's fast-pace growth plan is compromising quality and that the school oversells and underdelivers. That said, for families who want a secular education and/or live north of town, it could be a good option. Other choices: Nakorn Payap Int'l School, Lanna International School, Christian German School, American Pacific Int'l SchoolFor a town this small, Chiang Mai offers a wealth of school choices. Unfortunately, none seems perfect. Most of the U.S. Consulate kids, including mine, go to CMIS.We have been satisfied with the quality of the education, although it less rigorous than our neighborhood public elementary school in the US.I would think twice about bringing high school-age children to Chiang Mai. - May 2007
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