The American Embassy school in New Delhi is located in the heart of the diplomatic area of New Delhi. It is located directly across the street from the American Embassy. It is a 12 acre campus that is a fully enclosed compound with a couple of different gates that are secured with guards that check ID before entering. Only students, parents and faculty are allowed on the campus. It is a beautiful campus and when Tyler and I did our exploratory visit in May, it was when we visited this campus that I said to Tyler, “Ok, we can do this!” It is a sanctuary from the chaos of New Delhi and a place for our children to have an international experience. Over 40 nationalities are represented on campus. It is common to hear multiple languages spoken on campus by parents and students. About 35% of the student body is American but of those Americans, many have lived all over the world. At a new parent orientation I attended, all continents were represented.
We started school on August 12th, one week after arriving in New Delhi. The Saturday prior to the first day of school, we spent all day at school with orientations and tours for elementary, middle and high school. We have a student in each school so it was a full day event for us. It is unique in that each year about 1/4 of the students are new. The school community does so much to help everyone feel welcome and educated in how the school works. There are about 100-125 students per grade and each school (elementary, middle and high school) are separate campuses.
As we are ready to begin the third week of school (yes, it hurts knowing all of you are still on summer vacation!), I thought it best that each of the children share their thoughts on school so far:
Hailey (our 5th grader): Hailey says “the lunches are great, they have good tire swings, NO homework and the aides in the classroom are overprotective.” In elementary school there is no homework. Their philosophy is that students should pursue other interests that develop them as persons outside of school hours. MANY activities are offered after school. Hailey has tried out for the 4/5th grade musical, “Harmony High” and is excited for the small part she will have in it. With teachers and aides, there is a 1 teacher/aide to every 10 children in the classroom. Hailey’s class is found on the 3rd floor and she gets tired of climbing those stairs several times a day. She thinks the library is amazing and says she only has one year to read all those books in the elementary library.
Thomas (our 8th grader): Thomas says, “It’s school!” He doesn’t care what country you are in, it’s still school. He loves the freedom to purchase snacks at the kiosks during break and the many choices of fun electives they have here in middle school. He says there is a heavy Korean population (which is true — they cap each grade at 30% Korean allowed) which makes the table tennis competition fierce! Middle schoolers are given an iPad and are expected to have it in class each day. The school is definitely more progressive in making learning virtual. The school has an amazing swimming pool with diving boards and currently they are doing a swimming unit in PE right now. Middle and high schoolers are on an 8 period block schedule where they attend 4 classes each day.
Conner (our 10th grader): Within the first week, Conner told me “everyone is really nice at school.” As a parent moving a high schooler that was a great thing to hear. Within the first week, Conner had several students approach him wanting to recruit him to their sport. He has already done some soccer scrimmages after school. He said it was much different playing in this heat and humidity for sure! The new high school library, completed last year, is the “place to hang out.” It has great wifi connection and students congregate there frequently. There is also an “Open Hand” café that the high schoolers can hang out during breaks as well. Conner has found the teachers to be much more motivated and happier in seeing their students succeed. The teachers definitely have more resources in this school. I would say that his average class size is about 15 students. The high schoolers all receive a MacBook Air to use for classwork. He tells his dad he is doing “competitive research.”
The school has a bus system that all children will be able to use to/from school once we move to our permanent location. Where we currently live, it is not close enough to a bus stop to use it. For now, the kids get to school about 30 minutes early so the driver can drop them off before he drives Tyler to work. The driver then brings them home after school. Where we have just one car, it will be nice for Tyler when we can use the bus so that he has more freedom to arrive at work when he would like. We love the school and are so grateful that our children could land in such a good place to learn and grow.