Guadalajara - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Three international schools: American school, Canadian school, Instituto Thomas Jefferson. Our children go to Canadian and it has been a mixed bag. Overall, it has been fine and the teachers care for our children, but, in my opinion, there have been some problems with the administration. Our first year had significant COVID restrictions that made school life worse, but those have gone away. ITJ has recently become the most popular with new families. - Jan 2023

There are three main international schools: the Institute of Thomas Jefferson, the American School, and the Canadian School. My kids go to the Canadian school. We have been really happy with it. It seems really well run; the administrators are top-notch. The teachers are caring, but tend to be young. They have a great team of experienced teachers who do teacher training and mentoring. They have a great extracurricular program with a lot of different options.

They only offer up through 7th grade this year, but, each year they expand. The biggest challenge for any of the schools here is for expat kids to integrate. My kids are the only or 1 of 2 or 3 in there class that are not local Mexicans. It is great for language acquisition. My kids are basically bilingual now. It can be hard in the social department. My kids have been fine. We have been proactive to make friends outside of school and so they still seem to be happy. In all the schools be prepared for major parent involvement. I have heard from several friends whose kids attend the American school that integration and bullying might be more of a concern. - Aug 2018

American School and Canadian School. - Feb 2017

I have one child in 2nd grade. There are many international schools, an American school, a Canadian school, etc. My experience has been that communication in English, even at an English dominant school is not as common as one would hope. The curriculum can be excellent and many opportunities exist for after school activities, clubs, gifted student programs, etc. The teachers are generally very engaged and the administration works hard to include the international community. - Feb 2015

There are a number of options and the vast majority of expats I've talked to are happy with them. - Jan 2015

There are several options here with many more choices for younger children than older children. As in many places in Latin America, there really aren't international schools, but high-quality private schools. The Canadian School goes through third grade right now and is adding a grade each year (so it will include 4th grade in 2015-16 and 5th grade the year after, etc.). It's an excellent school, as is the American School, and both are easy to get to from the area many expats live. The Lincoln School is a Christian school that is less expensive, but further out for many expats. There are many, many bilingual schools around the city. We aren't very satisfied with the high school choices here, but between the American School, the Lincoln School, and homeschooling the families with teens have been able to make things work. I wouldn't avoid Guadalajara simply because of the schools. - Oct 2014

There are a few international schools. Our chidren, one in the lower school and one in middle school had a horrible time at ASFG and we curtailed (ended our assignment) because of it. The school consists mostly of Mexican children who are referred to as legacy students and make up the bulk of the student body. The school will tell you a higher international presence but I did not see that. Especially, in the middle school, the international students amounted to 3 in my son's grade. The children are not necessarily bad kids. The Mexican children have known each other since the early age and have formed strong friendships and bonds. For the first time in six schools in Latin America, our children felt isolated and pretty much ignored by the local children. The worse part of the school was the double first grade. Children go to first grade twice so by the time your child needs to go to the "real third grade" you are hearing crazy talk like "our third grade is really fourth grade." So the children in 3rd grade are what we would expect in fourth grade in the U.S. The problem is that many of the books in third grade ("but it's really fourth grade") say third grade level on them. It's very crazy. This poses a dilemma for parents. Potentially keep your children back a year or move them forward a year (especially children who are older and more mature). It's absolutely a horrible system and made for the local children to have another year of English. In the end the children will graduate having 13 years of school at ASFG. - May 2014

Not available. The one "American School" that is considered adequate is not even close to a typical International school. It is made up of 95% wealthy Mexicans and then the rest are American expats, Japanese and Koreans. With so few international students, the school has a hard time integrating into the fold. Academically there are problems as well. The school has a P1 year between kindergarten and first grade to allow native Spanish speakers to learn English. This causes international students transferring in great trouble because the acadmeics do not line up. The math curriculum is ahead and the language arts is behind based on grade level and the peer group age is older. So when you place your child, s/he will either be with his/her same age peers but the academics will be a year behind, or s/he can be with older kids to align better academically. Another problem is that non-native students are spread out over the grade level (2-4) per class, then pulled from class for half of the day to attend a "special Spanish" class. They are not given the opportunity to learn Spanish through inclusion, the segregation causes social difficulties and students waste a lot of time without a real curriculum. Communication is another issue. The school is not good about passing information to families. Information usually came late, if at all, through the room parent and only in Spanish, so if you don't speak Spanish, it is difficult to know what is happening. Other options for schools are very limited. There is the Lincoln school which is religious, weaker academically and small with few extra curricular activities. The Canadian school is growing, but only had classes up to 2nd grade. No schools offer special needs services. - Apr 2014

The American school gets good reviews, but we chose to send our kids to the bilingual Lincoln school, which has smaller class sizes, and we have been very happy in our first year there. - Jan 2011

We don't have any kids in schools here, but we hear good things, mostly, about the American School. The only complaints we have heard are that there's not much mixing between the Americans and the Mexicans at the school, and that they start the kids in kindergarten a year later than in the U.S. - Jun 2010

I don't have personal experience, however, my colleagues tell me that the American Foundation School, which started by a former Consul General, has a good reputation. That said, it has very few American or international students and the Mexican kids can be very unfriendly and flaunt their wealth. Some have opted for other options: Vancouver or American Academy. - Feb 2008

ASFG is the only accredited U.S. school. Academically, it is excellent, but like most Latino schools, it is basically a school attended by wealthy Mexicans with only a few expatriates and there is a large problem of bullying by the Mexican kids. The director has been here for years and is very tight with the Mexican community, which I believe clouds her judgment a bit as the consulate officers are only here a few years. - Jan 2008

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