With families increasingly upping sticks to follow employment opportunities around the globe, international schools can provide foreign children with an education that resembles the one they left behind. And though there may be an expectation that English-speaking, U.S.-curriculum-based international schools are the same across borders, they can in fact vary greatly.

International schools are not hermetically sealed off from their surroundings. The local culture can have a huge impact on everything from the schools' academic approach and parental involvement to community outreach. In particular, how the international school represents and interacts with the local culture plays a large role in its own overall culture.

"There are similarities between international schools all over the world, but you can certainly tell a difference depending on the region of the world, and then the country itself, and then the city that it's in — and even the neighborhood, if in a big city," says Erin Robinson, middle school principal at Tokyo's Nishimachi International School and previously middle school associate principal at the Hong Kong International School.