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Old 07.09.2011, 19:43
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Moving to Geneva

My family are scheduled to relocate to Geneva at the end of the month. The agreement is that we'll stay at a serviced apartment in Geneva for upto 3 months while we search somewhere permanent. Because it is a permanent move, we want the girls to be educated in the public school.

I'm worried. My employer has not secured an apartment yet and are having difficulty finding something suitable. And, I'm not sure anywhere will be found by the time we move.

If a place cannot be found soon, I've been given 3 other options.

1. We've been offered a place in France; however it means the girls cannot register and start school for upto 3 months. I have said no.

2. We stay in the UK and I commute short term. This is doable, although I'm worried about the tax consequences (My employer also offered to settle UK tax) and we have almost closed life in the UK. For example, we have arranged to let our home, my partner has given notice at work etc.

3. I relocate and stay in a hotel. When the company find an apartment or a hotel then my family can relocate. Again, doable - but not easy. And, I am emotional just thinking about the separation from my girls. It is also very different to what I signed upto as a job offer.

So, I'm worried. Insights, experiences, comments or suggestions you have (hopefully constructive) will be welcome.

Thanks, HIAO
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Old 07.09.2011, 20:23
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Re: Moving to Geneva

Googling 'service apartment Geneva' gets lots of hits - I expect your employer promised this before researching just how screamingly expensive it would be for 3 months. Three months seems staggeringly generous given that you're only coming from the UK, from where you could have been easily popping over for house hunting trips in advance. Never mind, what's done is done.

Would you really want to start them in school anyway whilst in the temp accommodation? They'd perhaps only have 4-6 weeks there (2 week hol in October) before having to move schools when you re-register for your permanent rental once you've found it. Seems hugely disruptive for them, and the school will be very disinclined to kick off things like the extra French lessons that are standard for incoming kids. It could be a really hairy start.

If it was me (my kids were 4 and 8 when we moved) I'd take the place in France, but ask your employer (who will be saving a fortune compared to Geneva) to pay for a French tutor several times a week for your kids, and perhaps your wife. Explain that they'll be delayed starting school because of this, so you need to be able to get them used to the language as much as possible beforehand.

And, depending on where the French place is, get travel for your family (public or extra hire car) so that they can come into Geneva and start socialising a little, building their future life. There are no end of groups and events which could make this a very happy ease in to their life here.

Good luck sorting it out, it's disappointing when things aren't quite as promised.
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