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Navigating the World of International High School Curriculums

7 Min Read
October 23, 2023

Are you a high school student wondering what kind of curriculum you should choose? Have you considered an international curriculum? An international curriculum can provide you with a unique and diverse education experience that can set you apart from others in today's globalized world. Not only can it prepare you for university abroad and a successful career, but it can also enhance your critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. Let’s find out more below!

What is the International Curriculum?

International curriculum is an educational program that incorporates a global perspective into the traditional academic subjects taught in high schools. This curriculum is designed to prepare students for a globalized world, where they will need to interact with people from different cultures and work in diverse environments.

An international curriculum usually includes subjects such as language learning, cultural studies, and global issues. Students are encouraged to develop cross-cultural communication skills, critical thinking abilities, and a deep understanding of global affairs. The curriculum is often taught in an interdisciplinary manner, with various subjects integrated to provide students with a comprehensive education.

What makes it different from National Curriculum?

An international curriculum differs from a national one in several ways. The most obvious is that it is designed to be used in a global context and is intended to prepare students for success in an increasingly interconnected world. International curricula also tend to place a greater emphasis on developing students' critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. 

This is because these skills are essential for success in an international environment, where individuals must be able to adapt to different cultures, work collaboratively with people from different backgrounds, and communicate effectively across linguistic and cultural barriers.

Another key difference is that international curricula often incorporate a range of teaching methods and assessment techniques. These may include project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, and peer review, as well as more traditional methods such as lectures and exams. The aim is to provide students with a more engaging and personalized learning experience that encourages them to take an active role in their own education and develop a lifelong love of learning.

Benefits of an International Curriculum for High School Students

An international curriculum for high school students can offer a range of benefits, both academically and personally. Here are some of the key advantages:

Exposure to different cultures and perspectives

An international curriculum often involves studying subjects from a global perspective, which can broaden your understanding of different cultures and perspectives. This can help you develop a more open-minded and empathetic approach to the world around you.

Preparation for a globalized workforce

In today's global economy, many companies are looking for employees with international experience and cultural awareness. By studying an international curriculum, you can develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a globalized workforce.

Language skills

Many international curriculums require students to learn a second language, which can be a valuable skill in both your personal and professional life. Being bilingual or multilingual can improve your communication skills and increase your employability.

Critical thinking and problem-solving

An international curriculum often focuses on developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which can be useful in any field or career path. By learning how to analyze and evaluate information from different sources and perspectives, you can become a more effective problem solver.

College and career readiness

Many colleges and universities value students who have studied an international curriculum, as it demonstrates their academic preparedness and global perspective. Additionally, employers in a variety of fields may value the skills and experience gained from an international curriculum.

Types of International Curriculums Available for High School Students

IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program is a globally recognized curriculum structure that encompasses four education programs, catering to children aged between 3 to 19 years old in various schools worldwide.

The IB curriculum places great emphasis on cultivating a comprehensive and challenging educational experience that prepares students for the complexities of higher education in terms of social, emotional, and intellectual aspects. This is achieved by not only imparting knowledge but also by nurturing important skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving. By doing so, students who follow the IB curriculum gain a well-rounded education that equips them with the necessary skills to succeed in their future endeavors.

The International Baccalaureate curriculum is made up of three educational programmes:

  • The Primary Years Programme: ( PYP – Kindergarten to Class 5)

  • The Middle Years Programme: (MYP – Class 6 to Class 10)

  • The Diploma Programme: ( DP – Class 11 to Class 12)

AP (Advanced Placement) program

The Advanced Placement (AP) program was established by the College Board and is available to high school students in the United States and Canada. AP offers college-level curricula and exams that are recognized by many colleges and universities, which may grant placement and course credit to students who achieve high scores on the exams. 

Each subject's AP curriculum is developed by a group of experts and college-level educators in that academic discipline. The College Board audits high school courses to ensure they meet the AP curriculum's standards, as outlined in the Course and Examination Description (CED). Once a course is approved, the school can use the AP designation, and the course will be listed on the public AP Course Ledger. By taking AP courses, high school students can challenge themselves academically, gain valuable skills, and potentially earn college credit before even graduating high school.

A-levels program

A-Levels are a subject-based qualification in the United Kingdom for students aged 16 and above. The program typically takes two years to complete and leads to qualifications that are widely accepted for entrance to higher institutions in the UK and many other countries. Most institutes require a minimum of three subjects for admission.

AS Levels are a separate qualification that equates to the first year of study on the full 2-year A Level course. However, most institutions do not consider AS levels to be an adequate qualification for entrance.

Students typically choose three A-Level subjects based on their interests and academic pathway. A wide range of subjects is available, including English Language & Literature, French, Maths, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, History, Geography, Psychology, Economics, Art, Information Technology, and Modern Foreign Languages such as French, German, and Spanish.

How to Choose an International Curriculum for High School

Finding the best and most suitable curriculum can be very hard but with the right approach, you can find the one that fits your needs and goals. One of the most important factors to consider is your future plans - whether you plan to attend college locally or abroad. This will determine the type of curriculum you should pursue and the qualifications you need to meet for admission.

Another key factor is the subjects offered by the curriculum. Look for a curriculum that offers a wide range of subjects that match your interests and career goals. Also, consider whether the curriculum focuses on developing skills beyond academic knowledge such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. These skills will be crucial in your future academic and professional endeavors.

You should also research the reputation of the curriculum and the schools that offer it. Look for a curriculum that is recognized internationally and has a strong reputation for academic excellence. Consider the teaching methods and the support provided to students, including access to resources and extracurricular activities.

It's important to consider your personal preferences and learning style. Look for a curriculum that offers a learning environment that suits you, whether it's a collaborative or independent setting. Also, consider the language of instruction and ensure that you are comfortable with it.


In conclusion, choosing an international curriculum for your high school education can be a transformative experience. The diverse perspectives and global outlook offered by these programs can prepare you for success in today's interconnected world, both in terms of academics and personal growth. If you need help choosing the best curriculum for you, our mentors are very well-experienced to guide you through it.

Get the help you need regarding all aspects on your school performance through our Academic Preparation program