“An international family will not choose Twente if there is no good education”

The international community in Twente is growing steadily. The region’s only public international school is noticing this, too. International School Twente (IST) has welcomed more international families with children in both primary and secondary education in recent years. “A family will not choose Twente if there is no good education”, says Chris Bonke, who manages the secondary school.

In het kort

  • Twente is attracting more and more international workers. International School Twente sees an increase in the number of students.
  • The only international school in the region wants to have a more connecting role in the lives of international workers and their families. The school also wants to help Twente companies attract these workers.

Global Goal

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Twente is becoming more international. International School Twente currently educates 220 pupils at two locations in Enschede. They represent a total of 53 nationalities. “We focus on expats (usually highly skilled workers who grew up in another country, ed.) who temporarily come to the Netherlands with their families. But we also see children who lived abroad temporarily and want to continue international education when they return or children of Dutch families who plan to go abroad", Bonke explains. “Dutch pupils are also allowed to join our secondary school for the last two years. However, not many use this opportunity at the moment.”

Global Citizens

Personal development is central within the IST. “We pay great attention to planning, research, critical thinking and working together. Dealing with other cultures and ways of thinking is important in our school. Thinking and acting as a global citizen: you take your culture with you, but your nationality only plays a small role. Our pupils and their parents live in and love an international world. There are many links between different subjects at our school. Our students develop skills they need in HBO or at university”, he explains.

Living and going to school abroad is not always easy for children. "Parents choose to work in another country, and the children move with them. But that also creates a bond between our pupils; they are all in the same boat.” The school already plays a significant role in the social life of the families by organising events and connecting businesses and workers. This must, however, become even more so. Chris: “This group pulls together a lot. Our school wants to be even more at the centre of this by offering connecting activities for the families and the companies where they work. International workers are in high demand, and we can help companies find them. The first major activity is planned for next summer; we will organise a networking meeting for expats and companies from Twente."


Our country also plays a role in the students’ lives. “We focus on the entire world at school, but children pick up a lot from our country. We celebrate Sinterklaas and Prinsjesdag and organise Koningsspelen. Our pupils also volunteer at social organisations in the neighbourhood. Caring for others is also an important theme in our school. Our youngsters learn a lot from this. We often hear that Dutch people are friendly and open, and our pupils feel welcome here. They appreciate the freedom, good education, being well-organised and caring for others very much."

The international school in Twente is one of the primary schools accredited by the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) worldwide. IST primary education offers Primary Years Programme (PYP) International Baccalaureate, and its secondary education offers Cambridge IGCSE and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) education. “Students who choose our school are often highly motivated, set high standards and work very hard. They can enter any HBO or University in the world with their diploma. I love seeing how hard they work and help each other in the process. Nationalities or cultural differences never get in the way as a result. I am proud of that. Connection is always the solution, which is very clear here.”

More information: chris.bonke@istwente.org

Date: 21 December 2022 |

Source of tekst: Chris Bonke, IST |

Author: Marloes Neeskens

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