After WWII, American soldiers serving their country were deployed overseas with their families. In 1946, 43 American overseas schools were created for the children of these military families. There were nearly 1,300 students and 116 overseas teachers in these original 43 educational institutions that started it all and continues to the present day.

From this point onward, service members moved overseas to numerous locations with their families and each location required the development of schools for these students. Eventually, the Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) was a governmental organization established to orchestrate this educational endeavor.

The term “BRAT” is a status standing for British Regiment Attached Traveler, and it was assigned to families who were able to travel abroad with a British soldier. Eventually, it just referred to military children and was adopted by places around the world, including the U.S.

The movement of our military services has always required the changing of various locations.  This would often leave behind some empty schools that had served the students that are now referred to as “BRATs”. With the military’s departure from different countries and the re-positioning of military installations throughout the world, the closure of many schools during the past seventy years has created a need to capture this history.

The transition of time and the aging population of those who attended and served in these schools has made it imperative that all efforts are worked by the American Overseas Schools Historical Society and others to secure this information for our archives before it drifts away. More than four million Americans have been educated overseas in these schools to date.

The founding of the American Overseas Schools Archives in 1989 (AOSA), that later became American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) in 1995, addressed this dilemma. AOSHS is a non-profit organization that collects, records, preserves, and exhibits memorabilia for closed, current, or newly opened schools. Members of the Society promote global knowledge and understanding of this unique endeavor, as well as provide the opportunity to research a significant chapter in the history of American education.

AOSHS needs help to keep these crucial memories alive. The Society has partnered with the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) and is dedicated to preserving the history of DoDEA’s previous, current, and future educators, administrators, students, and staff for overseas schools. Importantly, our memberships and donations still need to provide funding and are essential to continue the organization’s mission to preserve overseas educational history.

It is imperative that AOSHS increase paid memberships and receive donations from all who have a vested interest in our mission.

This is crucial in maintaining and strengthening our efforts for AOSHS as we continue to collect school memorabilia and artifacts and make them conveniently available to our worldwide audience. Resources are critical for enabling AOSHS to pass this legacy on to the next generation(s).


Whether you're a past or current overseas teacher, administrator, historian, BRAT or student - we need your support! Joining AOSHS helps us continue our mission of preserving overseas schools’ history. Your help is imperative for school legacies to live on!

Find Out How to Join
Share This: