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Old 22.10.2021, 04:46
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Question about ISZL

Hello,

I have a question about International school of Zug and Luzerne. My husband will be hired by a Swiss company soon. The company is based in Luzerne. He will have a B permit. I think this means we can only live in Luzerne Cantone rather than Zug canton?

Our daughter is 8 and is studying at a private school in China. We are not yet sure if my husband can integrate with Swiss culture well and the job can be secured for a long term even though the contract is a long term contract. So we plan to have our daughter finish primary school at the age of 11 and then come to join my husband, she can grasp Chinese and Math better based on our observation of different education system.

I read through the forum and found at the age 11, it is too late to start from public school because at 12, they will have an entrance test which 50% will go to a secondary school which leads to apprenticeship later? We do hope our daughter can pursue the university route. So international school seems to be the only option. I found some bad reviews of ISZL on google that the math are not well taught and the money is not worth it compared with the education quality. Wondering if this is the real case? Also, whether the students at ISZL are very academic oriented? Any school bullying I need to worry about at such international school? Is there any other good international school around Luzerne area we could consider? Thanks!
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Old 22.10.2021, 10:40
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Re: Question about ISZL

I believe if you have a non-EU passport generally you have to be resident in canton of employment on a B permit. To be honest, whatever you lose in tax in Luzern, you'll probably save in lower rents. Zug at the moment is quite a hotspot with rents being driven up significantly over last six months and scarce supply.

To integrate into Swiss public school, the earlier the better. At 8 she will learn German and Swiss German fairly quickly (fluency in a few years). At 11 it will be much more of a struggle. I'm afraid I can't answer re ISZL or private schools in general, as we went the public school route.
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Old 22.10.2021, 11:38
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Re: Question about ISZL

Thank you very much for your kind reply! yes, totally agree with you. I feel comfortable living in Lucerne. Low tax comes with a trade off. besides, we don't really have a choice for the 1st five years if our residency is linked with the canton issuing permit.

I also have another plan is to have my daughter start German class while in China. Then three years later, i guess it will be easier for us to integrate with the Swiss society, albeit Swiss German is quite different with high German. Maybe public school is also an option? not sure.
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Old 22.10.2021, 11:55
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Re: Question about ISZL

You should raise this issue with HR and company lawyers. It is difficult but not impossible for non-EU to get work authorization from one canton and residence permit from another canton. Good luck with your move.
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Old 22.10.2021, 12:09
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Re: Question about ISZL

You daughter is 8 now and you plan to move her over in 3 years when she is 11....


3 years without a parent is a long long time and a LOT can happen in 3 years, both to her and your relationship.


Bring her now is my advice it will be far better for her and less disrupting than this break.


State eductaion is good here, maybe not quite a s good as a private school in Shanghai, but good none the less, and i think she would benefit more by having both parents at her very young age.
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Old 22.10.2021, 12:16
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You should raise this issue with HR and company lawyers. It is difficult but not impossible for non-EU to get work authorization from one canton and residence permit from another canton. Good luck with your move.
Thanks a lot! This information opens a new window for us. It seems we may have more school selection if we are allowed to stay in other cantons. We will check with company lawyers and HR.

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You daughter is 8 now and you plan to move her over in 3 years when she is 11....


3 years without a parent is a long long time and a LOT can happen in 3 years, both to her and your relationship.


Bring her now is my advice it will be far better for her and less disrupting than this break.


State eductaion is good here, maybe not quite a s good as a private school in Shanghai, but good none the less, and i think she would benefit more by having both parents at her very young age.
Thank you! The tricky part also is with my job. I personally have a very good job in Shanghai. I don't speak any German. I am afraid I cannot find a similar job in Switzerland. So I plan to learn German in these three years as well so that I can have more choice when I move to Switzerland, joining my husband. I do appreciate and agree with your comments about the long distance relationship and parental issue. We will adjust our plan if necessary.

Last edited by roegner; 22.10.2021 at 17:39.
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Old 22.10.2021, 12:23
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Re: Question about ISZL

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Thanks a lot! This information opens a new window for us. It seems we may have more school selection if we are allowed to stay in other cantons. We will check with company lawyers and HR.

Dismiss state schools at your own risk, they are very good, your daughter will intergrate very well and she will be able to speak German very quickly.


I assume your language at home is either Chinese and/or English.


Do not compare your abilities to learn a new language with your daughter, kids are like sponges, she'll be fluent in German in no time at all, compared to an adult.
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Old 22.10.2021, 13:31
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Re: Question about ISZL

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Thank you very much for your kind reply! yes, totally agree with you. I feel comfortable living in Lucerne. Low tax comes with a trade off. besides, we don't really have a choice for the 1st five years if our residency is linked with the canton issuing permit.

I also have another plan is to have my daughter start German class while in China. Then three years later, i guess it will be easier for us to integrate with the Swiss society, albeit Swiss German is quite different with high German. Maybe public school is also an option? not sure.
Swiss German isn't just quite different; it's more or less a different language. Even if you speak high German as a native, you'll spend some years until you understand it fully.

We moved our son when 8, and I wish it had been possible earlier. The integration is harder than one thinks, and every year makes a big difference. At 11 I'd certainly give preferential consideration to the private route, unless your daughter is very fast-learning and robust to change. It's not impossible; some immigrants enter Swiss public school at this age and flourish. But it's not easy.

There are of course lots of foreign kids here who go to local private schools and don't speak Swiss German or mix much with local kids. I'm guessing most of them will not stay in Switzerland long term. It's unfortunate that one has to make the choice so early, but that seems to me the reality.
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Old 22.10.2021, 14:04
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Re: Question about ISZL

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Thank you! The tricky part also is with my job. I personally have a very good job in Shanghai. I don't speak any German. I am afraid I cannot find a similar job in Switzerland. So I plan to learn German in these three years as well so that I can have more choice when I move to Switzerland, joining my husband. I do appreciate and agree with your comments about the long distance relationship and parental issue. We will adjust our plan if necessary.
Sorry to pour more cold water, but learning German won’t necessarily help unless I guess you’re in healthcare. If you are in finance you may find a job here without German. If not it will be tricky to find a job here.
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Old 22.10.2021, 14:09
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Re: Question about ISZL

You will also learn German much quicker if you are actually in a German speaking environment and with CoVid, it may not be possible to meet etc.

I would strongly encourage you not to separate the family and take the leap all together. At 8 your child has a really good chance at integration without issues, at 11 it gets really really hard.

I understand about your career and indeed it will be difficult to continue without setbacks but not sure that will change in 3 years. The trailing spouse always finds this part difficult - I do not have a solution but would encourage you to weigh all pros and cons carefully.
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Old 22.10.2021, 14:45
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Re: Question about ISZL

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I read through the forum and found at the age 11, it is too late to start from public school because at 12, they will have an entrance test which 50% will go to a secondary school which leads to apprenticeship later? We do hope our daughter can pursue the university route.
I can't comment on the rest, although there were some good suggestions from a couple of people, but as for university ...

There are many routes to university, not just Gymnasium. Many people go to the standard secondary school and then, through a range of different options, get to study at university.
My daughter is one example, she went to secondary school, then the "Fachmittelschule", and is now studying a Bachelor of Science.
I know other young people who did secondary school, apprenticeship, and then further study (including university).

It is a common misapprehension that the only route to university is Gymnasium. Every now and then Swiss media try to counter this false impression with articles of financially successful people who never went to Gymnasium (for example, the head of one of the big Swiss banks was an example they used a few years back).
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Old 22.10.2021, 16:21
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Re: Question about ISZL

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So I plan to learn German in these three years as well so that I can have more choice when I move to Switzerland, joining my husband.
Are you saying that your plan is for the mother(you) and the child to remain in China for three years? Not just the daughter alone?

I may be wrong, but I believe that would require family reunion later on. Would that work, after living separate for three years?
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Old 22.10.2021, 16:49
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Are you saying that your plan is for the mother(you) and the child to remain in China for three years? Not just the daughter alone?

I may be wrong, but I believe that would require family reunion later on. Would that work, after living separate for three years?

Yes, my daughter and I will stay in China for three years then join my husband. Not sure if the reunion visa works. A good question to check with his company lawyer, thanks!

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You will also learn German much quicker if you are actually in a German speaking environment and with CoVid, it may not be possible to meet etc.

I would strongly encourage you not to separate the family and take the leap all together. At 8 your child has a really good chance at integration without issues, at 11 it gets really really hard.

I understand about your career and indeed it will be difficult to continue without setbacks but not sure that will change in 3 years. The trailing spouse always finds this part difficult - I do not have a solution but would encourage you to weigh all pros and cons carefully.
Thanks. I understand it will be very challenging for my daughter to catch up in local school at the age of 11. that’s why I prefer International school like ISZL in our case.

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Sorry to pour more cold water, but learning German won’t necessarily help unless I guess you’re in healthcare. If you are in finance you may find a job here without German. If not it will be tricky to find a job here.
I am in finance sector. Understand it is difficult yo land a job in Switzerland. Thanks.

Last edited by roegner; 22.10.2021 at 17:38.
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Old 22.10.2021, 17:31
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Re: Question about ISZL

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I am in finance sector. Understand it is difficult yo land a job in Switzerland. Thanks.
If you're in finance then you have good chances of landing a job here relatively easily. A high proportion of finance jobs here require only English. There are also jobs in Chinese banks in Zurich, which is commutable from Luzern.
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Old 22.10.2021, 18:06
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Re: Question about ISZL

Off topic for your schooling question - apologies - but nonetheless these two comments jumped out at me:

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We are not yet sure if my husband can integrate with Swiss culture well and the job can be secured for a long term even though the contract is a long term contract.

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The tricky part also is with my job. I personally have a very good job in Shanghai. I don't speak any German. I am afraid I cannot find a similar job in Switzerland.

If you are uncertain about the stability of your husband's new job, I think you are right not to move the family immediately. Were it me, I'd wait to move with your daughter until your husband had a better understanding of his new company and his longer term prospects, as well as how easy/difficult it might be to adjust to living in Switzerland.

Are you all EU or non-EU citizens?

Life as a non-EU citizen on an L permit leaves one more vulnerable than many of the EU posters here might realize. It's all well and good for EU citizens to take a leap; it's not is not such a gamble as they have a right to stay here if things go south with whatever brought them here initially.

We non-EU folks do not have that luxury; I know several people who, having ditched fulfilling careers and disrupted their childrens' education, found themselves in quite a pickle when the job didn't work out. They lost their permits with the job and had to leave within a short time, often at quite a financial disadvantage.

---

As a side note, if there is scope for negotiation in your husband's job offer, try to work repatriation compensation into the contract. This is common in secondment assignments, less so when one is brought here on a local contract.

Also, if you are serious about international school, do try to negotiate in an allowance for that, at least for a transitional period

---

That said:

I likely wouldn't wait three years for you and your daughter to join your husband. A family separation of that length will be difficult for you all, in so many ways, and that could have far reaching ramifications. ( BTDT and survived - but it was just two adults, without the added responsibility of a child's wellbeing.)

Would there be a sensible compromise waiting period, perhaps end of this school year? A separation of 6-9 months or so is generally do-able, and would give your husband time to better assess the viability of his job and whether or not Switzerland is a good fit.

---

Another thing I aways caution dual career families who are contemplating a move driven by one partner's job:

Assume that the trailing partner won't have a job for quite some time, possibly ever, when weighing up the move. That is, the job driving the move should pay well enough to allow you all to live here as you do now there, without that second income. Because that is a risk you run. Then, if you find a good job here - and I hope you do - you will be pleasantly well ahead.

Also, any chance you can do your current job remotely from Switzerland, at least in the short term?

---

All the best to you, and your whole family, with the many decisions you face.
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Old 22.10.2021, 18:29
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Re: Question about ISZL

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Off topic for your schooling question - apologies - but nonetheless these two comments jumped out at me:


Are you all EU or non-EU citizens?


We non-EU folks do not have that luxury; I know several people who, having ditched fulfilling careers and disrupted their childrens' education, found themselves in quite a pickle when the job didn't work out. They lost their permits with the job and had to leave within a short time, often at quite a financial disadvantage.

---

As a side note, if there is scope for negotiation in your husband's job offer, try to work repatriation compensation into the contract. This is common in secondment assignments, less so when one is brought here on a local contract.

Also, if you are serious about international school, do try to negotiate in an allowance for that, at least for a transitional period

---

That said:

I likely wouldn't wait three years for you and your daughter to join your husband. A family separation of that length will be difficult for you all, in so many ways, and that could have far reaching ramifications. ( BTDT and survived - but it was just two adults, without the added responsibility of a child's wellbeing.)

Would there be a sensible compromise waiting period, perhaps end of this school year? A separation of 6-9 months or so is generally do-able, and would give your husband time to better assess the viability of his job and whether or not Switzerland is a good fit.

---

Another thing I aways caution dual career families who are contemplating a move driven by one partner's job:

Assume that the trailing partner won't have a job for quite some time, possibly ever, when weighing up the move. That is, the job driving the move should pay well enough to allow you all to live here as you do now there, without that second income. Because that is a risk you run. Then, if you find a good job here - and I hope you do - you will be pleasantly well ahead.

Also, any chance you can do your current job remotely from Switzerland, at least in the short term?

---
Thank you so much!! You spot on the “non EU citizen” worry I have. I am not sure if the job can really lead to a long term career for my husband in Switzerland. The last thing I want to see is my daughter’s study future is screwed by our wrong decision. And that’s why I prefer international school. They are in IB system. If his job does not work out, we can still put our daughter back to an IB school in Shanghai.

He will have a B permit not L. We will check if I can also get a B which allows me to work. My boss currently agree to let me spend three or four months every year remotely in Switzerland. So our plan is to bring daughter in summer for two months. Thanks for your kind reminder about secondment.yes we will negotiate that part too to see if they can pay for the school cost.
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