International schools: top ten cities
All around the world international schools are experiencing incredible growth. There are lots of reasons for this. Growing expat numbers and local populations keen on the education that international schools offer both help to explain this dramatic trend. Here we take a look at the ten cities that have the highest concentration of English-medium international schools in the world today…
Dubai has emerged as an important global city and commercial hub of the Middle East, as well as a popular tourist destination. Shown here is Madinat Jumeirah, a modern interpretation of a traditional Arab village complete with waterways, souk, hotels, theatres and restaurants. In the background is the Burj Al Arab, the only ‘7 star’ hotel in the world. Dubai is home to more than 250 international schools, the largest number in any city in the world.
Elegant, cultured and lively, Madrid is the major financial capital of southern Europe. It also hosts more than 180 international schools, substantially more than any other European city, placing it second in the world only to Dubai. Gran Via Street in central Madrid is one of the city’s most important shopping areas, also known as the Spanish Broadway.
Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate of the UAE, both in area and population. Its capital, Abu Dhabi (city) is the second most populous in the UAE after Dubai. In common with other Middle East cities, Abu Dhabi is renowned for its spectacular modern architecture. This is the Aldar headquarters in Al Raha, the first circular skyscraper in the world. Abu Dhabi has nearly 150 international schools, serving both its huge expatriate community and domestic families seeking an English-medium education.
Doha is the capital and largest city of Qatar. A major financial centre of the Middle East, Doha is also home to Education City, an area covering 14km2 devoted to education and research, from school age through to university level. There are around 140 international schools in Doha, placing it third in the Middle East (after Dubai and Abu Dhabi), and fourth in the world overall. The Doha Corniche is a waterfront promenade extending several kilometres along Doha Bay.
Chinese students are generally not allowed to attend foreign-owned schools, but increasing domestic demand has led to a rapid increase in Chinese-owned international schools. Overall there are now more than 120 international schools in Beijing alone, placing the Chinese capital fifth in the world. Shown here is Dazhalan, a famous commercial street in Beijing popular with tourists.
Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi is home to more than 120 international schools, placing it equal fifth in the world with Beijing. Karachi is Pakistan’s centre of banking, industry and commerce, hosting the country’s largest corporations, and is also a hub of higher education in South Asia. The Empress Market was built in 1889 and named after Queen Victoria, Empress of India. Today it remains one of the most popular and busy places for shopping in the old city.
Buenos Aires has the largest number of international schools in the Americas (119). As the capital and largest city of Argentina, it is also a popular tourist destination: the most visited city in South America. This panoramic view of Avenida 9 de Julio shows the Obelisk erected in 1936 to commemorate the fourth centenary of the city’s foundation, and in the distance is the face of Eva Perón (Evita) on a tall building.
Shanghai is China’s most populous city as well as the most populous city proper (excluding suburbs) in the world. A major administrative and trade centre, the city is also renowned for its historical landmarks and the modern skyscrapers of the Lujiazui financial district. This is Sky Soho, a futuristic office and retail building complex located near Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. As in Beijing, local demand for international schools has spiralled and Shanghai is now home to 118 in total.
Tourists and traditional vendors jostle through the floating market Damnoen Saduak in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital and largest city. An international transport hub and tourist destination, the Asian investment boom of the 1980s and 1990s led to rapid expansion, with many corporations choosing Bangkok for their regional headquarters. Demand from expatriates, along with a growing and prosperous local middle class, has seen the number of international schools soar to 109 at the last count.
Tokyo is Japan’s largest city and capital, and boasts the largest metropolitan economy in the world. A major international finance centre, Tokyo houses the headquarters of some of the world’s leading investment banks and insurance companies, and is the hub for Japan’s transport, publishing, electronics and broadcasting industries. Busy and cultured, Tokyo is an exciting place to live and work, and, along with its many universities, colleges and schools, there are more than 100 international schools serving local and expatriate families.
All images courtesy iStock.