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Old 16.06.2015, 18:53
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What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

Trying to figure out an education plan for my teenager, in a cross culture/ language setting.

My teenager is 15yrs, been here 3 yrs, now in Sek A, native english speaker. Teacher recommends we consider bilingual gymi because German not likely to be good enough, fast enough for normal gymi.

Concern we have is getting in (entrance exam being in German) and making it through probezeit.

Does anyone have experience/ advice for teenagers who transitioned into the Swiss school system where the gymi option didnt work, not because of intelligence or academic ability, but due to language? whats plan B?

cheers
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Old 16.06.2015, 19:04
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

Really not easy- and not just here in CH- but the whole of continental Europe.

Perhaps consider sending him to a 6th Form in the UK, near an airport for regular visits? Did you know that there are many State boarding schools in the UK, where you only pay for the boarding and not the education? My last school was one of those. And do Year 12 and 13 (4 subjects in year 12, and 3 in Year 13)- where your child could study a limited number os specialised subjects of his choice in English- the apply to Uni there or in CH?

www.sbsa.org.uk

He could even study German at A'Level, as well as his favourite/best subjects, and at the same time take GCSE maths and English (both required for UK uni entrance at C grade or above / thos excams are normally taken at 15- but can be taken concurrently with the Year 12 and 13 course).
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Old 16.06.2015, 19:52
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Immersionsklasse

My son is going to a regular swiss gymi but he is in a bilingual class. It is called "Immersionsklasse", which means many lessons are taught in swiss german language, but some are taught in english.

The Immersionsklasse is designed for extra clever kids who are ready to take extra effort.

If you are a native english speaking family this could be an advantage and a chance. Please google for the word Immersionsklasse.
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Old 16.06.2015, 20:34
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Re: Immersionsklasse

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which means many lessons are taught in swiss german language, .
I hope not, the law states clearly that it has to be in High German. And yes, it's the word Hochdeutsch in the texts from the cantonal education authorities.
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Old 16.06.2015, 21:25
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

1) Have you considered having him apply for a Lehre (traineeship), e.g., as a KV (business) trainee? The Swiss dual educational system is considered to be the "gold standard":

http://www.ncee.org/wp-content/uploa...VETMarch11.pdf

He could also take a "10th year programme" and then apply for a Lehre starting in the summer of 2016.

2) Of course, there are the international schools in Canton Zurich where he would mainly be taught in his native language.
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Old 16.06.2015, 22:06
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

I have heard there are two kinds of bilingual gymi.
- kinds the come out with a certificate that they can speak English a a foreign language
Or
- the kids speak English to a higher level. I guess this is the one you will be looking for.
Could he have some intensive tutoring to get him through the exams?
Maybe get in contact with the gymis you are interested in and speak with the headteacher.
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Old 16.06.2015, 23:18
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

Our daughter would not pass the gymi test because she panics in exam situations with written German, but she managed to pass the test for 'fachmittelschule'...

Reality is that success at gymi, and subsequently at university, is highly dependent on German fluency.

There are many streams and many options...
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Old 16.06.2015, 23:49
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

Hi,
After many trials and tribulations, our daughter did a 2 year IB course at ISZL -her issue was less language and more cultural.
I taught english mother tongue kids in immersion classes (bilingual Matura) for ten years - german was an issue as half the subjects will still be in that language.
However if your son can get accepted into an immersion class at a Swiss Gymi this is the much cheaper solution and languages can be improved with extra tuition
Doing a Lehre is fine if he wants to stay in Switzerland; not so good for getting into tertiary education in the English speaking world.
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Old 17.06.2015, 08:46
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

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1) Have you considered having him apply for a Lehre (traineeship), e.g., as a KV (business) trainee? The Swiss dual educational system is considered to be the "gold standard":

http://www.ncee.org/wp-content/uploa...VETMarch11.pdf

He could also take a "10th year programme" and then apply for a Lehre starting in the summer of 2016.

2) Of course, there are the international schools in Canton Zurich where he would mainly be taught in his native language.
Although I wouldn't mind if the Troll decided to go for apprenticeship as we think it's much better to be a plumber who likes his job and does it well than a bored accountant, I would be very frustrated if he ended up in apprenticeship because of language issues. For me "Lehre" by default wouldn't be an option.

If we ever were to get into that situation and he really showed interest and aptitudes for tertiary education, I would probably send him to boarding school abroad instead, in a language he masters. The same would apply if we were planning to move away from Switzerland, in order to preserve educational mobility.

As someone pointed out, language is not always the only issue for the older kids. I had a friend who moved to Africa with her parents in her teens, she never adapted to the school despite it being in French and was eventually sent back to Canada to finish her high school in a boarding school. The little brother on the other hand adapted beautifully. Both are successful today, but had to thread different paths to get there.
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Old 17.06.2015, 08:56
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

I expect the issue is more the getting into Gymi and not the classes within that is the current problem and it will subsequently become an issue at probezeit again.

I am the parent of a bilingual kid who wanted to do the immersion program but chose not to in the end for a number of reasons (she is taking the regular German gymi stream at Rämibühl):


1. The class level is extremely high and the drop back rate comparatively high, much more so than a non immersion class at the same school

2. The school would rather have non-native children benefit from this program


My daughter had a friend in the same situation as you describe and she took a year out to learn German after trying first year for a few months. This program was costly but she succeeded.

Feel free to PM me for more details and good luck

Last edited by lesCA; 17.06.2015 at 10:19. Reason: clarification
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Old 17.06.2015, 09:02
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

My daughter went to the level below Gym (FMS in BL). Now she's doing a degree through the Open University (which is recognised in CH).
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Old 17.06.2015, 09:13
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

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whats plan B?
Kiwi Family, what is your child's ultimate academic goal? University in Switzerland, or in another county? Or a non-university route, in Switzerland or elsewhere?

Most of my acquaintances who came here too late for their (clearly university-capable) children to gain sufficient fluency for the Swiss system have set university in their home countries or another same-language country as the goal. Towards that end some have done as Odile suggests, sending the child back to the home country for the latter secondary years, some have opted for the IB program here.

I know of one who did Swiss secondary school - not gymi - and applied to UK universities, but his background was insufficient for the schools he was hoping for. Whether that was down to the child, or to the focus of the secondary school curriculum, I have no idea. (And one data point is insignificant.)

What your 'Plan B' should be largely depends on where the child sees his/her future - in Switzerland, or elsewhere.

Hope you find a solution that works for your family.
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Old 17.06.2015, 19:01
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

Thanks for the comments everyone. It kind of confirms what I had just found out.


My daughters ability and aptitude, according to her teachers, is Gymi. Her career goals are ones that will require study at a university, which she says if she does, will NOT be in Switzerland.


For me this means that whilst there are 'many paths' to education here, the fachmatura or lehre system wont work; they are not recognised for university entrance outside Switzerland, and whose style would not be a good fit for her intellectually inquisitive mind.


The bilingual gymi and immersion classes sound interesting, but I take the point; they are hard work, and looking at their stundeplan, only 30% English. So the German proficiency question will not really go away.


It seems that if Gymi entrance or probezeit dosnt work out ... it means leaving Switzerland to finish the last couple of years of schooling /or coughing up the 30K + for a private school here to do IGCSE/ A levels.


This moving teenagers is not easy stuff!


Cheers Steve
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Old 17.06.2015, 19:14
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

Excuse me, I went through the Gymnase/Lycée system in Neuchâtel, since when is there an interest exam to make it to what you're calling Gymni in the state sector upon succesful graduation at the Scientific/Classic level of "Middle School" ?
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Old 17.06.2015, 19:16
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

You could contact this school in Stadelhofen:

http://www.hullschool.ch/de/hulls-school/

Secondly, a lot of university courses at ETH and Zurich University are taught in English.
https://www.ethz.ch/de.html
http://www.uzh.ch/index_en.html

Don't eliminate til you've tried.

Yes, it may be expensive........ but she can pay you back when she's graduated
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Old 17.06.2015, 19:26
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

There is some other possibilities that seem to work well. There is an English school in Zuruch doing GCSE's and A levels. It's a bit of a quicker system the kids then can enter ETH or other Swiss Uni's plus with these certificates they can enter the Universities the UK and the states no problem.
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Old 17.06.2015, 19:30
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

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whilst there are 'many paths' to education here, the fachmatura or lehre system wont work; they are not recognised for university entrance outside Switzerland,
Actually, it is considered the same as a highschool diploma, at least in the US, and one can certainly enter a US university with such, as I know people who have.

Tom
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Old 17.06.2015, 21:16
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

Sorry, meant only that the Maturiatatszeugnis / Certificat de Maturite was accepted by NZ universities for admission. Not the Factmaturitat.


Great that universities in other countries are not so restrictive.
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Old 17.06.2015, 21:28
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Re: What happens when teenager cant make Gymi because of language?

It's going to come down to language, anyway. Even if you were 100 percent fluent in German, you can't just walk into an English-language undergraduate degree. Vice versa, not being able to make the level in German is going to seriously constrict the choices of undergraduate degrees in the German-speaking part of Switzerland or Germany.

In our case, we're fine to allow our daughter to continue on with her studies in German, for at least the next 3-4 years, and she's also particularly good at French, and her English is at a superior fluency (she's already university level in English) - but she is only 15 and she has broad options...

If she transfers back after completing up to age 18/19 then she may need to side-track for a year or two to do an additional study in Australia to get a transfer to her chosen university course. My sister took a year off, got entry to university as a performing artist (dance) and recently completed a PhD in Developmental Psychology and has a permanent research job... sure, she may not have done it the straightforward way, but there are plenty of options if you can stay engaged and develop a passion for what you want to do.

We're hoping our kids will end up with dual Swiss/Australian citizenship...and fluency in English/German/French.
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