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Old 15.03.2014, 23:47
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Re: Should we move our 16 year old to a Swiss school?

Hi - we moved to Zurich last year from the UK with our then 15 year-old (now 16), who had completed the first year of her GCSEs, so can totally empathize with the agony of this transition.

We went to Hulls and the international schools, at the end we settled for ZIS, where she'll be going down the IB path.

As another member said, turnover at these schools is 20-30% per year, so there's far less stigma attached to being 'the new kid' and in fact the schools make a huge effort to accelerate integration and many kids have been moved around so many times that they've been on both sides of the coin more than once.

The start was a bit bumpy for her, the system is quite different to what she had in her old school, but now she's back to equivalent performance to what she achieved in the UK and we're gearing up to start IB in earnest next year, which to most accounts is a very demanding programme.

Best of luck, it's a tough age to transition a child between schools, but we found the support structures (parents, schools, colleagues, students) are very strong.
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  #42  
Old 16.03.2014, 10:00
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Re: Should we move our 16 year old to a Swiss school?

My parents moved over 700 miles in the USA between my junior and senior years of high school. I rented a room/board from a friend's family and lived there my senior year of public high school (I really just became a part of their family). I went on to a good university and all went well for me. For a child with the right personality, this is inexpensive and would likely work well if a UK university is planned.

My sister moved for her last two years of high school and things did not go as well as the social situation was quite difficult.

My father commuted for over a year prior to the move, and that was more or less a non-issue for the children, but hard for my mother.

Good luck, there is no one answer fits all for this question.
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  #43  
Old 18.03.2014, 14:29
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Re: Should we move our 16 year old to a Swiss school?

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It's a really tough decision. Sometimes it is really better for the child to remain at home with one parent and complete their schooling in a familiar environment with friends, familiar culture etc.

Long distance can absolutely work. My partner and I have been doing it for 18 months (Basel - London) we see each other twice a month, SKYPE every night, viber whatsapp etc. In fact somehow, I find the level of communication is higher when you have the daily SKYPE than when we live together and get lost in the TV/own world etc.

So long distance can and does work and can even strengthen relationships.

If your son wants to focus on languages, it may be worth considering Switzerland, simply because the level of immersion in French and German can only help. In particular if he attends a school where Swiss students make up a good percentage of the student body.

Any international school worth their salt should allow a free trial week - so your son can attend, get the feeling of the school, students and teachers and then decide.

I noticed in links and previous responses people talk of smoking pot. It's unfortunately a fact of life, this happens with some students in every school. A school can obviously take tough measures, send kids home and contact parents if this is picked up during school time - but outside school premises it is difficult to police.

I do work at an international school in Basel - feel free to PM if you wish.
THanks for all your positive comments Stephanie, My son has now decided his 4 A levels: English, Spanish, French & ART. We havnt found a school in either Zurich or Basel to accommodate these choices -( if anyone knows of one please let us know). However we are coming to the realisation of a long distance relationship with me and the teenagers living in the UK and hubby in Switzerland (we are not near London so its usually a 2-leg jouney, so weekly commutes are out of the question). Cant see any way round this for the forseeable future, so just getting on with it for now and I hope it turns out to be as positive as your experience
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  #44  
Old 30.09.2014, 19:42
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Re: Should we move our 16 year old to a Swiss school?

We are in a similar situation, we are planning to move to Basel in 2015 my son will be 16 and my daughter 13. They will both do the IB at the International School Basel. Many schools in the UK are now offering the IB along side A Level's and luckily our son is an all rounder. A Levels are a bit of a shock to the system and I am sure the IB will be be too but we could never have left him behind at boarding school that would have been an even greater shock to him having always been part of a close family unit. UK Uni's all accept IB and many value the independent and an well rounded students it produces. We have friends who lecture at top Uni's (one of which is Oxford) and they say that the IB is not a hinderance to applying to any UK Uni! We are 3 months in to a years living with my husband commuting to Basel each week ... Do able but for us not a long term choice. I know how you are feeling a tough decision but we felt that the pros of moving all togetherout weighed the cons. Our school applications are underway now it's just a matter of trying to find somewhwere to live!! Which I think is going to be the tough part ... Good luck with it all!
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Old 30.09.2014, 22:22
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Re: Should we move our 16 year old to a Swiss school?

Have you tried looking this one in Zurich
http://www.international-school.ch/iszn/en/index.php

or this one in Bern
http://www.isberne.ch/en/school/about

or (just an idea)
if your partner works in Basel, maybe try a school in Lausanne. Good for your son's French & Basel is only 2 hours away, no changes...Hubby rents a room for a few nights during the week to ease off the commute or live halfway together.
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Old 30.09.2014, 23:05
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Re: Should we move our 16 year old to a Swiss school?

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We are in a similar situation, we are planning to move to Basel in 2015 my son will be 16 and my daughter 13. They will both do the IB at the International School Basel. Many schools in the UK are now offering the IB along side A Level's and luckily our son is an all rounder. A Levels are a bit of a shock to the system and I am sure the IB will be be too but we could never have left him behind at boarding school that would have been an even greater shock to him having always been part of a close family unit. UK Uni's all accept IB and many value the independent and an well rounded students it produces. We have friends who lecture at top Uni's (one of which is Oxford) and they say that the IB is not a hinderance to applying to any UK Uni! We are 3 months in to a years living with my husband commuting to Basel each week ... Do able but for us not a long term choice. I know how you are feeling a tough decision but we felt that the pros of moving all togetherout weighed the cons. Our school applications are underway now it's just a matter of trying to find somewhwere to live!! Which I think is going to be the tough part ... Good luck with it all!
Seems a long time ago I posted the original message...result was me and the 'kids' didn't move! My son wanted to do particular A Levels and we couldn't find any one school that could accommodate his choices in Switzerland...and when he's doing so well and loves his current school, we couldn't move him when he didn't want to leave. So for now hubby commutes monthly/or we travel to see him in Switzerland...and skype is a wonderful thing (when it behaves). Strange kind of lifestyle to have, but we make the best of it. So good luck with your decisions, I'm afraid I cant give you any special insight or benefit of our experience as we haven't made that big move .... hope it works out for you
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  #47  
Old 17.01.2015, 18:51
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Re: Should we move our 16 year old to a Swiss school?

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Seems a long time ago I posted the original message...result was me and the 'kids' didn't move! My son wanted to do particular A Levels and we couldn't find any one school that could accommodate his choices in Switzerland...and when he's doing so well and loves his current school, we couldn't move him when he didn't want to leave. So for now hubby commutes monthly/or we travel to see him in Switzerland...and skype is a wonderful thing (when it behaves). Strange kind of lifestyle to have, but we make the best of it. So good luck with your decisions, I'm afraid I cant give you any special insight or benefit of our experience as we haven't made that big move .... hope it works out for you
sorry I seem to have missed your reply, thank you so much for getting back to me. Hope it's all still working out for you! We have decided to take the plunge fingers crossed it all works out as we hope! Only time will tell x
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Old 18.01.2015, 07:12
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Re: Should we move our 16 year old to a Swiss school?

I did the reverse moved a child from Swiss School to US High School, but they had finished CH high school, did APs in US. I gave them the choice and they decided to come with us. They did very well in the US. I think that a lot depends on how strong the child is, both academically and psychologically; where their strongest support system is. We are a very, very (maybe too close) close family, so not moving with family have been too traumatic. If it were my son I would prefer him to stay in the UK. If I had to move him then the ZIS is the only school that is academically OK. Otherwise I would try to restart with the BAC, expect him to have to redo 1-2 years, but know that he will have the opportunity of becoming multilingual and perhaps some great friendships. High School friendships sometimes last for life-ours have, despite moving continents multiple times.
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