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How this school in Aberdeen encourages students to have a global mindset

International School Aberdeen (ISA) is focused on nurturing global citizens – here’s why.

Students and teacher at International School Aberdeen.
A global outlook will help set your child up for success, says ISA.

The only IB (International Baccalaureate) school in the north of Scotland, ISA is all about encouraging a global mindset to help its students succeed in the ever-changing world. But what exactly does this mean and why is it so important to create global citizens?

A global citizen can be defined as ‘someone who is aware of and understands the wider world – and their place in it.’

As the region’s only international school, ISA is well placed to offer the kind of education our children need to become confident global citizens to succeed in a fast-changing world.

After all, to be able to thrive in an increasingly complex world, children need to develop a broad range of academic skills as well as social and emotional awareness.

What it means to be an international school

Students at International School Aberdeen
ISA is the only International Baccalaureate school in the north of Scotland.

Since opening its doors as Scotland’s first international school in 1972, ISA has adopted a global outlook for its students.

It embodies the essence of an international school as a gateway to the wider world, while retaining a sense of pride in its homegrown roots in the north east. Indeed, ISA is a truly multi-cultural school community, with half of its 530 students coming from the UK and the other half from 45 different countries.

Plus, ISA is the only IB school in the north of Scotland, meaning senior students (Grades 11 and 12) study the International Baccalaureate Diploma, the fastest growing qualification worldwide and the most highly regarded amongst university admissions officers.

The school community celebrated full marks in the 2023 exams with students receiving a 100% IB pass rate.

How else does ISA encourage a global mindset?

Young nursery students at ISA
Students at ISA explore local and global issues involving active learning from peers.

While important, it’s not all just about the IB qualification.

From middle school, for example, students work with an advisor every week on the topic of citizenship. Grades 9 and 10 study Global Perspectives looking at the history, geography and culture of countries around the world.

This theme continues into high school where students keep a broad range of subjects to develop a rounded understanding of the world around them.

Celebrating diversity in Aberdeen

Recent research has shown that IB Diploma students demonstrate higher levels of global mindedness than other young adults.

This mindset is nurtured right on the school’s doorstep, with the students reminded visually every day by the many national flags flying at the campus entrance, and by the many events to celebrate diversity and inclusion.

Other examples of global citizenship at ISA

  • Students explore local and global issues involving active learning from peers
  • Children are encouraged to connect with the world and find their place in it
  • A creative and flexible approach to education inspires children to find new ways of working
  • The student voice is vital – children are confident they will be listened to and respected
  • ISA students are compassionate individuals, accepting of all people from all backgrounds
  • Collaborative skills are encouraged with lessons that inspire discussion, debate and engagement with a wider world

A gateway to the rest of the world

Parents today recognise that today’s global economy means their children could go on to pursue careers with companies located all over the world.

“Scotland is very much open to the rest of the world and Aberdeen has long been a global hub for industry,” says Nick Little, head of school at ISA.

“An international education gives students a far broader perspective. While it is important to learn about Scotland and the UK, it is becoming increasingly important for young people to understand and learn about the many different cultures that make the world go round in business and in all aspects of life.

“At ISA, we teach our students to take the initiative and adopt a can-do attitude to help prepare them for life in a fast-moving and changing world. Our students become technologically minded, multi-cultural and self-aware, hungry for knowledge – all skills and aptitudes they can use in the real world.”

Finding the right next step for each child

Student at International School Aberdeen working at desk.
Each child is treated as an individual at ISA.

In a safe and caring environment, no child is given up on and every child is challenged to progress and develop their strengths. ISA is equally as proud of its students who achieve full marks in the IB Diploma and go on to university as it is of those who choose alternative pathways.

Because the reality is that universities and employers today don’t see a global outlook as an optional extra. It is a key aptitude for all.

With respect and community at the heart of the school, ISA welcomes children aged three to 18 with the opportunity to learn in an internationally diverse environment. All will be given the support they need to prepare them to thrive in a globalised world.

Find out more about how ISA nurtures a global mindset and prepares all students for the world after education.