Steeped in a strong history of immigration, Chicago has a large foreign-born population that continues to flourish today. As a result, many international schools have opened in the Chicago area. Expat families, especially those who don't plan on living in Chicago permanently, often prefer sending their children to international schools rather than local ones. These schools teach curricula from around the world, often in the home language of their sponsoring country.

International schools are also ideal for meeting other expat families with similar backgrounds. Although they can be expensive, they usually offer a correspondingly high quality of education.

Below are some of Chicago's most prominent international schools.

International schools in Chicago

Beacon Academy

Beacon Academy is an innovative high school based in Evanston that combines Montessori principles with the challenging International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, empowering students through independent, creative and interdisciplinary studies.

The academy prioritises experiential learning and entrepreneurial thinking, fostering an environment that celebrates intellectual, cultural and socioeconomic diversity whilst ensuring students feel valued and respected. With a distinctive blend of academic achievement and social-emotional learning, the institution seeks to inspire self-motivation and personal challenge.

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Montessori and International Baccalaureate (Grades 11 & 12)
Ages: 14 to 18

British International School of Chicago, South Loop

The British International School of Chicago, South Loop, provides a globally-minded education, shaping successful, creative, and resilient global citizens in an inclusive community. Offering a personalised international curriculum to students aged 3 to 18, the school seamlessly integrates the best of global and local education, reflecting both the city's rich heritage and a broad international perspective.

From humble beginnings in 2001, the school has evolved into one of Chicago's most diverse school communities, boasting impressive academic results and a commitment to nurturing students to become ambitious, empowered, and successful leaders.

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: British (English National Curriculum and Cambridge IGCSE), International Primary Curriculum and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

GEMS World Academy Chicago

GEMS World Academy Chicago offers a unique independent school experience, cultivating open-minded, conscientious global citizens ready to lead a prosperous and connected world. The academy forms part of a worldwide educational community offering unmatched opportunities for collaboration and global thinking. It follows the International Baccalaureate curriculum with a strong emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion, not only in its mission but also in its teaching practices, fostering an environment of critical thinking, risk-taking and social responsibility.

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

German International School of Chicago

German International School Chicago (GISC) offers a rigorous German-English bilingual education for students from Preschool to 8th Grade, preparing them to become well-rounded, creative and responsible global citizens. With a curriculum combining elements of the International Baccalaureate, US Common Core, and the German curriculum framework of Baden-Württemberg, GISC fosters a deep understanding of the world, equipping students with the linguistic and cultural fluency to thrive globally. Emphasising a strong community ethos and individualised learning, GISC prides itself on a low student-teacher ratio and a teaching philosophy that encourages student agency, fostering intrinsically motivated learners ready for a globalised world.

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 14

Lycée Français de Chicago

Lycée Français de Chicago (LFC) offers a distinctive academic journey for students from Pre-K through Grade 12, emphasising academic excellence, language immersion and personalised learning experiences. With a core focus on respect, responsibility and the joy of learning, LFC prepares students for global opportunities, offering French Baccalaureate and International Baccalaureate tracks, and language options that include English, French, German, Latin, Mandarin and Spanish.

Not requiring prior proficiency in French or English for most grades, LFC celebrates a pluricultural community and equips students with the critical thinking skills, cultural understanding and multilingual expertise to thrive confidently as active global citizens.

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: French and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance

Cigna Global Health Insurance.

Moving your family abroad can be intimidating, but learning about medical options such as family health insurance early on can help you settle successfully.

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