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Old 09.12.2012, 17:36
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moving family to Lausanne

Hello everybody
I am planning to move to Lausanne, taking a job in the biomedical research field. My family will join me next summer at the end of the school calender. I have 2 questions:
1-My wife is expecting baby and would like to know about your experience about caring for a new born in CH, the cost of the pedestrian, immunization requirements, etc compared to the US.
2-Although I speak french fluently, my daughters (9 and 7 years old) only speak English. Should I think about private schooling. I heard it is quite expensive and I don't know if I will be able to afford. Will public school be Ok for English speaking kids at 9 years of age.
Thank you
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Old 09.12.2012, 20:37
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Re: moving family to Lausanne

Hi, and welcome!

I can't say anything about having a baby here - many of the answers may depend on the particular health insurance plan you end up with and whether your wife and child get a supplemental insurance policy.

Yes, most private schools here are quite expensive, but your children are young enough that they are theoretically good candidates to transition smoothly to the local school system. They should have time to learn French before the academics in a local school get very rigorous and before academic streaming decisions are made.

If you do a search here on English Forum - my preference is using Google as in this link, you'll find many discussions about the pros and cons of going the local school vs. the international school route. Once you are familiar with the basics trade-offs, you'll probably have more questions to ask here about the specifics of your situation. Most schooling questions are posted in the Family matters/health section of EF.

I also suggest you get a copy of Margaret Oertig's book on the Swiss local schools, Going Local, as a start. It will give you a good background on local schools in general and on programs for new students who do not know the language of instruction.

If you decide to try the local route, you may want to find an after school French class for your daughters as soon as you can, and try to continue French classes during the summer, so that they get a jump start on the language.

Hope this helps, and best of luck.
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Old 09.12.2012, 21:43
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Re: moving family to Lausanne

Thank you very much for the very useful answers
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Old 10.12.2012, 06:58
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Re: moving family to Lausanne

Is this something your company is asking you to do or just a dream that you have to come here? Is it a temporary move just for a few years or are you thinking of moving here permanently? I ask because you should know that the FATCA tax laws brought in by the US are coming into force soon. Not only will you have to continue filing in US tax forms - which can cost you money for a tax attorney to do them for you, even if you don't actually owe the US any money - but most banks here don't want to have Americans as customers so getting a bank account isn't easy. At present only the two major banks here, UBS and Credit Suisse, are still taking on US citizens. PostFinance do at present, but they are changing their financial status next year and will also then have the option to drop Americans.

If this is just a dream, then I seriously advise you to read up on FATCA and the problems it has been causing worldwide, not just in Switzerland. There are several threads here on the subject and you could also have a look at www.isaacbrocksociety.ca for a different country's view on the subject.
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Old 10.12.2012, 08:26
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Re: moving family to Lausanne

As for schooling, have a look at some of the threads here on that. You may also want to consider bilingual education, often cheaper than pure international (english) schooling. It also a lot depends on how long you intend to stay. For the 7 year old, it should be ok, but be aware that for a 9 year old, it is just right at the edge of the streaming decision, so if they have ambitions on continuing onto university, they would have to get their french up to perfect level very fast, in addition to german (these 2 subjects are core subjects for the streaming decision in Vaud). More than likely the public school would place them back a year to help with the french.
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Old 10.12.2012, 11:00
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Re: moving family to Lausanne

Hi. We are a British family exactly in the same position as you. My husband is moving to Fribourg on the 7th January 2013, and myself and my girls are joining him in August. For our eldest daughter who is 14, we think we will put her into a bilingual school (Gruyere) but our 8 year old will go in the state system. I feel very confident about our decision for our 14 year old, but slightly dubious about the younger one (she's my baby!and currently being educated in the Uk at a lovely private school, so very protected). However, from living abroad before and putting my two eldest children through a french speaking school (they are both bi-lingual now), the fears and concerns where mine and not the kids......I remember on their first day, I was a blubbling wreck but they sailed through it............Does anybody know of a decent bilingual/private school in the Fribourg area which covers primary. ps. not keen on the international school systems. Many thanks
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Old 10.12.2012, 23:49
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Re: moving family to Lausanne

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Is this something your company is asking you to do or just a dream that you have to come here? Is it a temporary move just for a few years or are you thinking of moving here permanently? I ask because you should know that the FATCA tax laws brought in by the US are coming into force soon. Not only will you have to continue filing in US tax forms - which can cost you money for a tax attorney to do them for you, even if you don't actually owe the US any money - but most banks here don't want to have Americans as customers so getting a bank account isn't easy. At present only the two major banks here, UBS and Credit Suisse, are still taking on US citizens. PostFinance do at present, but they are changing their financial status next year and will also then have the option to drop Americans.
If this is just a dream, then I seriously advise you to read up on FATCA and the problems it has been causing worldwide, not just in Switzerland. There are several threads here on the subject and you could also have a look at www.isaacbrocksociety.ca for a different country's view on the subject.
Thank you for the info. To answer your questions, I am taking a permanent position, so I plan to be here long term, I will be working for a big multinational company. My employer has already scheduled an appointment for me to open an bank account with UBS. As for the US tax I don't know how that will work but I will figure it out but next year.
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Old 10.12.2012, 23:50
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Re: moving family to Lausanne

Thank you Madea Fleecestealer
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Old 10.12.2012, 23:57
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Re: moving family to Lausanne

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As for schooling, have a look at some of the threads here on that. You may also want to consider bilingual education, often cheaper than pure international (english) schooling. It also a lot depends on how long you intend to stay. For the 7 year old, it should be ok, but be aware that for a 9 year old, it is just right at the edge of the streaming decision, so if they have ambitions on continuing onto university, they would have to get their french up to perfect level very fast, in addition to german (these 2 subjects are core subjects for the streaming decision in Vaud). More than likely the public school would place them back a year to help with the french.
Thanks RunningDeer, I did look at some of the threads about schooling, but I would like my daughters to be bilingual (English/French). I am more concerned about my 9 years old. She will come to CH next summer and at the beginning of the school year 2013/2014, she will be 10, I am hesitating between a bilingual or the local school. My wife (a homemaker) speaks french and will be able to help them.
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Old 11.12.2012, 00:04
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Re: moving family to Lausanne

Thanks Haidie for this encouraging reply. I believe that after a couple of years they will be just fine. Does anyone know of any good bilingual school around Lausanne
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Old 11.12.2012, 07:44
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Re: moving family to Lausanne

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Thank you for the info. To answer your questions, I am taking a permanent position, so I plan to be here long term, I will be working for a big multinational company. My employer has already scheduled an appointment for me to open an bank account with UBS. As for the US tax I don't know how that will work but I will figure it out but next year.
You should be okay with them then.

Just thinking of your children, as yhou both speak French then some fun home schooling for both of them in the language before they move over will help. Even if it's just the basics it'll help without the pressure of a new school to cope with too. There's a book here called "Ticking Along with Swiss Kids" which might be of interest to them too. Full of info on Switzerland and has some language cards as well. You can order it via Amazon.com. Other books which might be useful for you are "Living and Working in Switzerland" and "Buying and Renting in Switzerland", again available through Amazon.
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Old 11.12.2012, 13:48
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Re: moving family to Lausanne

To answer your first question:

My wife was expecting when we arrived in Lausanne. The basic care are covered by the mandatory health insurance, which was more than adequate. You don't have to pay anything extra as it's covered by the insurance. The public hospital in Lausanne (CHUV) is one of the best in Europe.
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