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Old 05.03.2017, 01:24
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Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

My family is moving from San Francisco to Zurich for a year (possibly 2). We have two children aged 8. I'm very nervous because we've never been to Zurich. We only speak English unfortunately, being typical Americans.

Our job with be in Enge. What neighborhoods do you recommend that would be good for families and have an easy commute? We have two cats that go outdoors. I don't expect we'll get a single family home, but access to a garden will be nice. Is that possible close to Enge?

Schools... I would put them in the local schools, but because we won't be in Zurich for long, it would be least disruptive for them to go to an English-language school (or bilingual). I've read on this forum that the international schools are difficult to get into, with waiting lists. Is this true? What if they can't get in any of the few international schools?

Is there an ideal neighborhood close to center AND an international school with an easy commute? We will not have a car. We want a lifestyle similar to our current, where we walk everywhere and meet lots of people, go to cafes...
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Old 05.03.2017, 05:45
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

I recommend Kilchberg (then Thalwil second)!

Kilchberg is 2 stops (4mins) from the Enge train station. Plus, it has the Zurich International school system which has a a kindergarten, lower, middle and upper school.

I substitute teach at the kindergarten and middle school and can say it felt like i was in the US. In the middle school they follow a block schedule and the teachers are all well educated. The facility is very nice with smart boards, personal laptops, lockers, etc. class size was very good and lessons very interactive. The kindergarten also has great teachers and classroom materials. They go outside everyday rain or shine. What I love is that each class keeps an up to date online blog that parents can login and see pictures of what the kids are up to.

Im not sure of the waitlist or applications process, but it's definitely worth looking in to!
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Old 05.03.2017, 06:24
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

Thank you!

The Zurich International School for elementary aged kids is in Wädenswil right? Is that far from Enge? I'm unsure of distances.
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Old 05.03.2017, 08:32
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

Welcome to the Forum.

If you check out the site, including looking at the maps, it will give you a better idea of things at the ZIS /Zürich International School).

Wädenswil is, as you said, where the ZIS Lower School is situated.
Thalwil lies between Enge and Wädenswil. It is in the opposite direction to the Enge but all three places are on the same railway line. (It is nothing unusual here for children to go to school by train!). Judging by the traffic in Wädenswil at the roundabout turnoff for the ZIS lots of children are taken to the school there by car though. Maybe some by minibus? I'm not sure.

There are many activities run by the school but, as so often, this means that the children have their social contacts there and tend to miss out a bit on the 'Swiss experience'. Children coming to Swiss public schools without the local language are usually helped a lot to pick it up, but of course, going back 'home' means they are then behind with certain aspects of schooling there.

Hope you find a good solution for your children.
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Old 05.03.2017, 10:04
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

Welcome to the forum and soon to Switzerland.

Before making any decision, check the fees page for any international school. ZIS's shows you'll be paying CHF33,500 for each child.

http://www.zis.ch/page.cfm?p=2454

Is your employer going to cover all or part of that?

Fees will be similar for any international school here.

For your cats use the cross border tool you'll find here

https://www.blv.admin.ch/blv/en/home...frettchen.html

so you know what you need to do to bring them with you. Make sure that their microchips are readable by a European reader, not a US one. Otherwise, they may not be allowed entry.

Is your company providing a relocation agent to help you find a place?
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Old 06.03.2017, 04:52
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

[QUOTE=Longbyt;2750544]

Wädenswil is, as you said, where the ZIS Lower School is situated.
Thalwil lies between Enge and Wädenswil. It is in the opposite direction to the Enge but all three places are on the same railway line. (It is nothing unusual here for children to go to school by train!). Judging by the traffic in Wädenswil at the roundabout turnoff for the ZIS lots of children are taken to the school there by car though. Maybe some by minibus? I'm not sure.

QUOTE]

Sorry, I thought all the schools were in Kilchberg, but you're right...the lower school is in Wadenswil. Looks like it's 18-23mins depending on the train you take between Enge and Wadenswil. So, I would also recommend Thalwil too...
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Old 06.03.2017, 05:25
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

SIS has a location in Wollishofen, almost at the border of Enge quartier, that'll be your best bet if you want to walk to work and school. It is a little bit cheaper than ZIS too: "only" 11640 Fr per half year. Frankly, at this prices I'd expect a full walk-in sign-up service with immediate availability

Kilchberg etc. aren't worth it if you're american or another type of US person. You'll pay a good premium on rent in Kilchberg for being a low tax commune, which is totally irrelevant to you, as you'll be taxed to death by the US anyway.
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Old 06.03.2017, 08:53
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

Are you planning to visit before moving over? All this would become instantly more comprehensible if you made a brief advance visit. Enge and Waedenswil are both easily accessible from any town along that side of the lake, from central Zurich down to Lachen. Nothing wrong with Thalwil but every town has its pros and cons. With kids you may be more interested in local lakeside facilities like Badis, and lots of woodland to play in. So Horgen, Richterswil, and Wadi itself, are all nice places in this respect. Every town down here has a lot of English speaking expats and locals, so that's not an issue.

More important than the town you choose is the apartment you find -- closeness to public transport, shops, facilities etc. Almost everyone lives in apartments here so you might need to seek out a ground floor place for your cats.

If you're not making an advance trip you should be talking to your employers to get their assistance, or to an independent relocation agent. Much better than the pot luck of an Internet forum, even one as civilised as EF. Things like local tax rates are also a consideration.
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Old 06.03.2017, 09:04
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

There is a high quality Montessori school right in Enge:

http://rietberg-montessori.ch/en/

It's English and German. It's next to a tram line, so the kids could even go there alone (after a little while, I guess) if you happen to get a flat along it somewhere.

Not sure how pricy it is, but it's probably the best quality education your kids could get when they only speak English to start with.
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Old 06.03.2017, 09:17
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

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Not sure how pricy it is
How does 30k sound? Per head, each year.

Just send them to a public tax-financed school. It'll only hurt in the beginning. Who knows, maybe they'll like it here and with the knowledge of german would come back to study in a swiss university. Saving you or themselves another fortune in tuitions to US colleges.
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Old 06.03.2017, 16:22
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

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My family is moving from San Francisco to Zurich for a year (possibly 2).
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Just send them to a public tax-financed school. It'll only hurt in the beginning. Who knows, maybe they'll like it here and with the knowledge of german would come back to study in a swiss university. Saving you or themselves another fortune in tuitions to US colleges.
Generally I'm not fan of sending children to international schools, as the children make fewer Swiss connections.

However, I'd say that six to nine months is about the time children of that age need to really get to know their classmates and feel more or less at home with the new language. If they go to Swiss schools for a year and then return to the USA they have had the difficult bits but not so much of the fun. And going back to school in the US they'll have holes in their knowledge again. There is a lot more to going to school in a different country than just the different language.

This is something I wrote on the subject on another thread -
our changing school/country experience.
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Old 07.03.2017, 02:02
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

Yeah I would love to send them to the Swiss local schools, and I would in a heartbeat if I could see into the future and know that we were going to stay longer. I want to make this transition on them and ourselves as least stressful as possible, and have to think about the future transition back to the monoglot states. I'm actually not sure it's worth throwing so much money away on education. I would choose the local schools if there were special bilingual instruction, or if even I had a working knowledge of German.
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Old 07.03.2017, 12:05
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

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Yeah I would love to send them to the Swiss local schools, and I would in a heartbeat if I could see into the future and know that we were going to stay longer. I want to make this transition on them and ourselves as least stressful as possible, and have to think about the future transition back to the monoglot states. I'm actually not sure it's worth throwing so much money away on education. I would choose the local schools if there were special bilingual instruction, or if even I had a working knowledge of German.
Here is our personal experience with one kid. We arrived in 2012, for 1-2 years. Our first thought was that he didn't need to learn German for such a short period of time, so we put him at the Lycée français. Good school, but zero integration in the local community at the time we were there. Calendar isn't the same, daily schedule isn't the same, German teaching wasn't too good (supposed to be a lot better now)... During year 2 we made the switch to a Swiss owned bilingual Montessori school in Kreis 7. The Troll has been there since May 2014. They put so much resources and effort in teaching him the languages, that within a few months he could onverse in English and German. He's also very integrated in the local customs and cukture. Now, if you ask him, he'll tell you that he is a Norwegian-Canadian-Zürcher. Next year he's likely to go to local school, and we're not at all worried about his integration.

My advice if you consider staying but don't want to go local right from the beginning would be to choose a real bilingual, Swiss owned school rather than an international school. It will make transition to public school easier the day you're out of kidneys to sell to pay the school fees.
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Old 07.03.2017, 12:34
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

Whatever you decide to do, I think one of the most important things for parents to do is to be supportive of each child. They have different needs and experience things differently, even in the 'same situation'. (Just as adults moving here do too!)

Some children say what bothers them, some of them don't know themselves and others, sorry to break the bad news, are just plain impossible to live with for a while. But however idiotic some of their complaints or worries seem to us, they are real to the child. Ours were considered 'idiots' by the other children in England because they didn't know all the modern pop songs.

As I said before, going to school abroad taught our children a lot more than another language. Probably Trollemor's solution is the 'easiest' if you can get it sorted, but there is really no wrong or right. It depends so much on the child, the other children they meet and the teachers of their class. And even in retrospect you cannot always say for sure that taking a different path would have worked out better.
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Old 07.03.2017, 12:59
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

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My family is moving from San Francisco to Zurich for a year (possibly 2). We have two children aged 8. I'm very nervous because we've never been to Zurich. We only speak English unfortunately, being typical Americans.

Our job with be in Enge. What neighborhoods do you recommend that would be good for families and have an easy commute? We have two cats that go outdoors. I don't expect we'll get a single family home, but access to a garden will be nice. Is that possible close to Enge?

Schools... I would put them in the local schools, but because we won't be in Zurich for long, it would be least disruptive for them to go to an English-language school (or bilingual). I've read on this forum that the international schools are difficult to get into, with waiting lists. Is this true? What if they can't get in any of the few international schools?

Is there an ideal neighborhood close to center AND an international school with an easy commute? We will not have a car. We want a lifestyle similar to our current, where we walk everywhere and meet lots of people, go to cafes...
Hi Boodee, welcome to the forum and soon in Switzerland. I have been in Switzerland for almost 9 years (in and out, with a year in Palo Alto) and in Zurich for almost 3 years. I live in Wollishofen, which is about a 10min walk from Enge on the lake. We live in an apartment but we only need to cross two roads to reach the Landiwise park which is on the lake. We have a 2yr and a 3mo old and are very happy here. It´s a an area where you will either find old people and more recently international stroller moms. I hear two or three different languages on the tram every morning.
Regarding schools, depending on their age, there are a lot of private (non international) school options which you may want to consider. A few of them in this same area. I grew up moving around a lot and with my mother having to deal with school admin in different countries. Never missed a year, enjoyed each location, made friends from many different places and (not to toot my own horn) finished a PhD before 30. My younger brother would agree as well. Each kid is different of course, but I think it is more a matter of seeing the parents adapt and be positive. PhD is not in children psychology, so I will keep my parenting advice to that. Nobody ever really appreciates parenting advice anyway.
Feel free to send me a private message if there are any specifics I can help you with. But overall, you´re moving to a wonderful place and I can assure you it will be a great adventure for the whole family.
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Old 07.06.2017, 10:20
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

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Here is our personal experience with one kid. We arrived in 2012, for 1-2 years. Our first thought was that he didn't need to learn German for such a short period of time, so we put him at the Lycée français. Good school, but zero integration in the local community at the time we were there. Calendar isn't the same, daily schedule isn't the same, German teaching wasn't too good (supposed to be a lot better now)... During year 2 we made the switch to a Swiss owned bilingual Montessori school in Kreis 7. The Troll has been there since May 2014. They put so much resources and effort in teaching him the languages, that within a few months he could onverse in English and German. He's also very integrated in the local customs and cukture. Now, if you ask him, he'll tell you that he is a Norwegian-Canadian-Zürcher. Next year he's likely to go to local school, and we're not at all worried about his integration.

My advice if you consider staying but don't want to go local right from the beginning would be to choose a real bilingual, Swiss owned school rather than an international school. It will make transition to public school easier the day you're out of kidneys to sell to pay the school fees.
Hi Trollemot,
What you wrote it's exactly my plan. We're moving to Zurich in August and our 9 year old's main language of instruction has been english, she speaks fluent Spanish and understands some german. I don't want to throw her straight in the public school as she gets frustrated easily but thought of giving her a year in bilingual school and then in the local system.

Looking for truly bilingual schools I found:
Tandem
Terranova
Lakeside
SIS

Are there other bilingual schools that I'm missing near Zurich?
Thanks in advance
P
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Old 07.06.2017, 12:17
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

Obersee Bilingual School is another one...
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Old 08.06.2017, 10:58
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Re: Moving to Zurich: where to live with kids, and intl schools

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Hi Trollemot,
What you wrote it's exactly my plan. We're moving to Zurich in August and our 9 year old's main language of instruction has been english, she speaks fluent Spanish and understands some german. I don't want to throw her straight in the public school as she gets frustrated easily but thought of giving her a year in bilingual school and then in the local system.

Looking for truly bilingual schools I found:
Tandem
Terranova
Lakeside
SIS

Are there other bilingual schools that I'm missing near Zurich?
Thanks in advance
P
Hi!

I'm not very active on EF nowadays, in the middle of moving flats and life is a bit chaotic.

We are super happy with Sprungbrett, but given your daughter's age she would probably be better off at its sister school d'Insle, in the same neighbourhood. It's a bigger school, also following Montessori pedagogy.
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