International Education in Bogotá
Although the public school system in Colombia is considered better than average for South America, by international standards it still comes up short. Thankfully the country is no stranger to international schools - the International Baccalaureate has been taught here since 1977.
The international school scene in Colombia is largely located in the capital, Bogota. However, international schools can also be found in the country’s regional cities including Cartagena, Medellin and Barranquilla.
Schools in Bogota tend to use the word ‘bilingual’ liberally as a selling point. Beware of this - a bilingual school may not be the same as an international one. A school can teach a handful of subjects through English and call themselves a bilingual school.
This does not mean that the curriculum, standards of teaching or accreditation are anything close to what you’ll find in an ‘official’ international school. If in doubt, look for schools affiliated with or accredited by the Council of International Schools, or the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
The school day in a typical international school in Bogota begins at around 7am and finishes up at 3pm. School buses are a fairly common offering and will begin at 6am. Extracurricular activities are also a standard feature and take place in the afternoons once lessons finish up. However, keep in mind that they may not be (and usually aren’t) included in school fees.
The academic year in Bogota’s international schools usually follows one of two calendars. ’Calendar A’ runs from January/February until November/December, with a break for Colombia’s summer months. ‘Calendar B’ begins in September and runs until June, similar to most international schools around the world. In some cases the calendar choice is determined at regional level, but for many schools it’s just a matter of preference.
International schools are in especially high demand in Bogota. It’s best to begin applying to schools as early as possible, well in advance of your move. Make sure all your paperwork, including your child’s previous schools reports, your visas and identification are all prepared.
You’ll find Bogota’s international schools scattered throughout the northern end of this sprawling city. Chapinero, Suba, Usaquen, and La Academia are all well represented by international schools.
As for curricula, the International Baccalaureate dominates in Bogota’s international schools. However you’ll also find a diverse range of other options, from American and British to Swiss, Italian, French and German.
Multilingualism is a common feature of many schools regardless of the curriculum. For IB and British schools, English and Spanish are the usual languages of instruction. Other international schools teach through the language of the country their curriculum is from, but will also commonly offer Spanish and sometimes additional languages too.
Below, we have compiled our top 5 international schools in Bogotá. However, there are another 13 schools to choose from in the city. You can find the best international school for your child by personalising your results. Just fill in your search criteria, and we will calculate a personal score for every international school in Bogotá based on your requirements.