Online tutoring for expat children – is it right for you?

Online tutoring for expat children: pros, cons and choices

For expat students, online tutoring offers flexibility and the  comfort of learning from your own home. With a recent increase in popularity, online education allows expat students to take their pick from a huge choice of international qualifications (such as British/ UK International GCSE and International A-levels).

Expat families often hire online tutors to complement school learning with one-to-one support, wherever they are in the world.

Here we look at the pros and cons of hiring an online tutor for your children, and how to find the right tutor for you. I hope to give you the benefit of my experience as an online tutor and consultant specialising in science and maths tutoring for expats.

Pros of online tutoring for expat children
Convenience and Flexibility

Being online, students can log-on for lessons from wherever they are in the world. Expat families are often on the move, and online tutors can fit in around your schedule. You can arrange sessions while traveling, or from different cities, or public places, even from a boat (Wi-Fi permitting!).

Consistency in a changing world

Many of my online tutees lead exciting but sometimes unpredictable lives. I believe the biggest value I provide for my students is consistency. For an expat child who travels frequently or has recently relocated, establishing a routine with a friendly tutor means the minimum disruption to their studies and a consistent, reliable presence in their changing lives.

Resources on the go

Online tutoring via platforms like Skype and Zoom allows the tutor to share notes and files from lessons directly with the student. They may also provide web pages and exam papers, helping to prepare expat children from international exams like IGCSEs and IALs.

Access to Expertise

Expat families can choose from a wide range of tutors who are specialists in their fields. (See how below). There are many online tutors who specialise in different subjects and qualifications, so the choice is yours!

Rapport is everything!

One-to-one tutoring for expat children provides a relationship that focuses on their individual way of learning. Building trust and honesty is important to getting the best out of your child’s education and a good tutor will try to establish this rapport as quickly as possible. From a tutor’s perspective it’s always nice to provide a link back to the UK for UK expat students who are studying towards UK exams.

Cons of online tutoring for expat children
Online tutoring may not be for everyone

Online tutoring lacks personal contact of sitting in the same room as a teacher or fellow classmates. Rapport can take longer to establish. But online tutoring also brings fewer distractions, making it easier to work, and to relax, after a session. Speaking as a qualified personal development coach as well as a tutor, often one-to-one online tutoring gives me the chance to help students more generally with their outlook and wellbeing.

Online learning requires discipline

The relationship between online tutor and expat tutee is an equal commitment. The student is responsible for their own work in-between sessions (and for ignoring the many distractions of the internet during a session!) There’s an element of trust required, and online tutoring works best with students who know what they want to get out of the sessions and are willing to work.

Online tutoring can be expensive

Often online tutoring can be expensive, but it’s certainly true that you get what you pay for. This is why, as outlined above, it’s important to take each tutor’s merits into consideration when making a choice for you and your child.

Online tutoring is a crowded marketplace

With the rise in popularity of online tutoring for expat children, the marketplace for tutors is increasingly crowded and difficult to navigate. Sometimes tutors are less honest about their experience or skills. The best advice is to be specific about your requirements before you start your search. When you are ready, follow our guide below!

How do I pick an online tutor for my expat child?
Decide what you’re looking for. Be specific.

Are you an expat student working towards an A-level? Or maybe aiming to continue schooling in-between exams in a particular subject. Make sure you have a goal in mind before you start looking.

Where do I look?

Often tutoring agencies like ‘firsttutors’ or ‘tutorhunt’ list a wide range of tutors. They may be a great place to look, but don’t restrict yourself to these sites. Some agencies don’t release a tutor’s contact details initially making it harder to have the conversation you need to make your decision. Look on Google (again, be specific in your search terms – what subject are you looking for? “online A-level biology tutor” is more specific than “online tutor”). Many tutors have profiles on social media sites like Facebook too.

Look for qualifications and experience

The marketplace for online tutors is busy, but use that to your advantage. Where possible, look for a tutor who specialises in your chosen subject. Keep an eye out for useful complementary skills. Make a shortlist based on qualifications and experience. I have a PhD in biology and maths, and specialise in A-level biology tutoring, but I’m also a qualified coach so I can support student wellbeing and confidence building too.

Look for reviews and personal recommendations

Most importantly, look for other people’s recommendations – not just star ratings which are easy to mimic, but actual heartfelt reviews from real people. Often a tutor can become an important person in an expat student’s life and this is reflected in personal stories and reviews. Many online tutors operate locally in their own cities as well as online, so Google’s local reviews are a good place for research.

Try them out!

Most online tutors offer a free introduction call, giving you and your child the chance to meet them and ask questions about their approach. Look for someone calm, with the right manner for you and your child. Be honest with the tutor about your child’s needs and expectations – rapport is essential to the tutoring relationship.

Ask for advice on picking a tutor

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have on online tutoring for expat children. Just write your question below or get in touch with me a

All the best,


Dr John Ankers is a specialist online A-level biology tutor, coach and writer.


Author: Dr John Ankers

Dr John Ankers is a tutor, coach and writer. For writing and consultancy work, please contact me at

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