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Old 05.04.2015, 03:41
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International school near Thun

Hi, we are currently living in Australia but are considering to move to Switzerland. As a family we are now trying to understand how we will land this with our oldest son who is soon turning 10. As it looks we will probably start up in Thun and our first thought was that maybe there is an international school in the vicinity where he can proceed in English while picking up the official languages? Surely some of you would have been through something similar, what is the right way to go here? Your advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 05.04.2015, 05:09
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Re: International school near Thun

There is this http://www.isberne.ch
It is in Gümligen, 20 minutes from Thun by train. However, if you move is going to be permanent, you could just put him straight into the normal school system here. At first, he would be put into an integration/assessment class and, at that age, they pick the language up very quickly.
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Old 05.04.2015, 08:54
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Re: International school near Thun

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There is this http://www.isberne.ch
It is in Gümligen, 20 minutes from Thun by train. However, if you move is going to be permanent, you could just put him straight into the normal school system here. At first, he would be put into an integration/assessment class and, at that age, they pick the language up very quickly.


Thanks for this, yes the move will be permanent and I guess that we just want to make sure that the transition to the local official languages is smooth and that the schooling can continue. From what you are saying however, it sounds like the normal school system already has a certain preparedness for a case like this - which is great to our mind.
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Old 05.04.2015, 13:27
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Re: International school near Thun

Just to sound a note of caution. Yes the local Swiss schools are excellent. The international schools are good too. However it does take children a while to reach language fluency. And even then they will never be mother tongue. Investigate how the streaming happens in the Swiss education system. It affects the qualification your child can achieve. In my experience it is possible age 10 to go into the Swiss system and succeed. But they will have a to work a lot harder than all their peer. Think carefully about the temperament of your child. The attitude towards the move, how important friendships are to them.
Yes in an international school they are in a bit more of a bubble. But it can be a happy bubble with a good social life for your child and less social adjustments to be made for a child.
Just my opinions!
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Old 05.04.2015, 15:27
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Re: International school near Thun

If it helps at all, I visited ISBerne a few months ago and after putting 3 kids through international schools in Germany and Belgium, I was impressed. It was small but friendly and they seemed to be keen to adapt to the needs of each child. They are also starting the build on a brand new site.

International vs local is always a tricky debate, much must be according to your family circumstances. Language skill will always be better in a local school but most try hard for their students.

The integration of the incoming family is another factor and with an international school this is often a little easier as they have welcome committees, buddy families etc - ( i have no idea of the help in this regard from Swiss schools)

I will be moving over to Bern in July, although with my husband already there lots of stuff is already set up ( house , permits etc)

Pm me if I could help
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Old 05.04.2015, 21:43
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International school near Thun

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Just to sound a note of caution. Yes the local Swiss schools are excellent. The international schools are good too. However it does take children a while to reach language fluency. And even then they will never be mother tongue. Investigate how the streaming happens in the Swiss education system. It affects the qualification your child can achieve. In my experience it is possible age 10 to go into the Swiss system and succeed. But they will have a to work a lot harder than all their peer. Think carefully about the temperament of your child. The attitude towards the move, how important friendships are to them.
Yes in an international school they are in a bit more of a bubble. But it can be a happy bubble with a good social life for your child and less social adjustments to be made for a child.
Just my opinions!

I had to log in and post my total disagreement with the language aspect. Obviously every child is different but my daughter made the jump from international to local and after a period of catchup now scores top of the class in French, German and she elected to study Italian too. That's on top of English and Russian at home.

Children have marvellous facility with languages and this is an amazing opportunity! She has plenty of friends and enjoys school. Other expat children I know have made the move with ease too, some have struggled initially too. But when they leave school they will have recognised fluency in one or more of the Swiss languages. That's not always the case elsewhere.

As I said there is a clear period of adjustment but the school and teachers were very good at helping her along. She had special extra French classes and when her classmates had English she had even more French! They absolutely cater to non-Swiss children.

The issue with international schools is that a) they cost a fortune and b) sometimes have unusual self-created curriculums that might land your child in limbo thinking about university and c) there is a high turnover of children, which means friendships are broken apart when parents move away!

There are pluses and minuses but the Swiss system is really very good, don't discount it! It's a hard choice to make - we've been there.
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Old 05.04.2015, 21:59
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Re: International school near Thun

The main problem is adults thinks kids learn at the same speed as they do, which is not the case !

Sorry to offend you all, .................kids are far smarter when it comes to languages
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Old 05.04.2015, 22:01
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Re: International school near Thun

I agree fully! We agonised over the choice of whether to move her or not. We thought we would would be ruining her life - she adapted with ease and loves it...
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Old 11.04.2015, 16:46
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Just to sound a note of caution. Yes the local Swiss schools are excellent. The international schools are good too. However it does take children a while to reach language fluency. And even then they will never be mother tongue. Investigate how the streaming happens in the Swiss education system. It affects the qualification your child can achieve. In my experience it is possible age 10 to go into the Swiss system and succeed. But they will have a to work a lot harder than all their peer. Think carefully about the temperament of your child. The attitude towards the move, how important friendships are to them.
Yes in an international school they are in a bit more of a bubble. But it can be a happy bubble with a good social life for your child and less social adjustments to be made for a child.
Just my opinions!

Many thanks for this, a well considered approach to my mind. We already had some friction when we moved from Sweden to Australia and whilst our son was then only five, we found that the initial adaptation to the language (even if quite rapid) left him outside the friendship that the other kids had for quite a while. This time we want to make sure that he can make use of his English to transition I think, so maybe the International School is a good start for this reason.

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I had to log in and post my total disagreement with the language aspect. Obviously every child is different but my daughter made the jump from international to local and after a period of catchup now scores top of the class in French, German and she elected to study Italian too. That's on top of English and Russian at home.

Children have marvellous facility with languages and this is an amazing opportunity! She has plenty of friends and enjoys school. Other expat children I know have made the move with ease too, some have struggled initially too. But when they leave school they will have recognised fluency in one or more of the Swiss languages. That's not always the case elsewhere.

As I said there is a clear period of adjustment but the school and teachers were very good at helping her along. She had special extra French classes and when her classmates had English she had even more French! They absolutely cater to non-Swiss children.

The issue with international schools is that a) they cost a fortune and b) sometimes have unusual self-created curriculums that might land your child in limbo thinking about university and c) there is a high turnover of children, which means friendships are broken apart when parents move away!

There are pluses and minuses but the Swiss system is really very good, don't discount it! It's a hard choice to make - we've been there.

Thanks for this very important addition to the discussion, again it sounds like the Swiss schools are doing a great job and you are right, the international school costs a fortune. I think that your child has reached the point where we want our child to be, I'd very much like for my son to pick up French and German.

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The main problem is adults thinks kids learn at the same speed as they do, which is not the case !

Sorry to offend you all, .................kids are far smarter when it comes to languages


You are right, no doubt!

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If it helps at all, I visited ISBerne a few months ago and after putting 3 kids through international schools in Germany and Belgium, I was impressed. It was small but friendly and they seemed to be keen to adapt to the needs of each child. They are also starting the build on a brand new site.

International vs local is always a tricky debate, much must be according to your family circumstances. Language skill will always be better in a local school but most try hard for their students.

The integration of the incoming family is another factor and with an international school this is often a little easier as they have welcome committees, buddy families etc - ( i have no idea of the help in this regard from Swiss schools)

I will be moving over to Bern in July, although with my husband already there lots of stuff is already set up ( house , permits etc)

Pm me if I could help

Thanks I probably will, you will be there right before us and would have just gone through what we are about to by then. I think we will land in Bern in the Sep - Dec time frame.

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Hi, we are currently living in Australia but are considering to move to Switzerland. As a family we are now trying to understand how we will land this with our oldest son who is soon turning 10. As it looks we will probably start up in Thun and our first thought was that maybe there is an international school in the vicinity where he can proceed in English while picking up the official languages? Surely some of you would have been through something similar, what is the right way to go here? Your advice is greatly appreciated.


Thank you very much everyone for your valuable inputs, no doubt we will have plenty of reasons to get back to you all with more questions as the move becomes more imminent.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 11.04.2015 at 17:31. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 11.04.2015, 22:43
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Re: International school near Thun

Does your son speak Swedish? If so, then the jump to German may not be that huge. There are some similarities between the languages. I have a friend that married a Swede and she picked up the language as an adult quite easily coming from Swiss German/German.
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