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  #21  
Old 19.12.2010, 11:50
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

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If you don't do this then your children will be forever outsiders.

OUtside of what? There are countless social groups - it is perfectly posisble to be Swiss born and bred, but still feel like an outsider. On the otherhand, I feel quite happily settled and involved in my life here - a mixture of "local", expat and mixed sports and social communiites.

Final word, do not proxy yourself in your daughter's position - us adults find this stuff way more scary than the children .
I agree, totally.
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  #22  
Old 19.12.2010, 11:50
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

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Final word, do not proxy yourself in your daughter's position - us adults find this stuff way more scary than the children .

My better half just told me I made up a verb. Switzerland is getting to me .
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  #23  
Old 19.12.2010, 15:13
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

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Then put your children in the state school system. Our twins were 10. The first 6 months are a struggle but stick with it. Now at 17 they are both doing really well, one in the Kantonschule and the other going the apprenticeship route. They both speak fluent Gemran and Swiss German and their French is way better than UK standards for their age.

If you don't do this then your children will be forever outsiders.
Unfortunately many relocation firms work with families where it is assumed the children will be sent to international schools and these firms do not look at local options for schooling. For short term assignments, international school is usually the best option. For an 11 year old, I would look at local schools. Most of my clients send their children to local schools, but not all schools offer the same support for non German speakers so you must choose carefully.

In the beginning, all children may feel like outsiders. How well they integrate very much depends on the willingness of parents to do so as well.
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  #24  
Old 20.12.2010, 01:37
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

Thanks for all the responses and good advice.

I'm sorry that I haven't replied to all the pm, I do really appreciate them.

My husband is away on a quick round the world trip before Christmas and I will wait until he gets back to show him this thread, as he is the one who has issues with state school for our eldest, not for the younger ones, the plan was always that they would attend local state schools.

His company have agreed to pay for an international school, so by not sending her to one we would not be saving money ourselves (apart from lunches/minibussing etc). My husband negotiated strongly for this. I hope that he will compromise so that we can live together.

He would actually save money if she started a state school because he would not be liable for two households...

I'm really grateful for the positive stories by the way.
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  #25  
Old 20.12.2010, 07:17
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

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His company have agreed to pay for an international school, so by not sending her to one we would not be saving money ourselves (apart from lunches/minibussing etc).
In Switzerland this is seen as a benefit and will be taxed so you would save the tax. Having an extra 25 to 30K on your taxable income would push you into higher tax rates so the saving could be considerable.
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  #26  
Old 04.01.2011, 18:15
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

Hi there,

Having had to switch countries (and languages) at age 10 and doing the same to my children (then age 5 and 7) I feel slightly qualified to answer this questions. The Swiss system is great if your child doesn't fall in either end of the spectrum, either really advanced, intellectually curious or somewhat dreamy and a bit behind emotionally and academically. Compared to the Anglo system, I feel Swiss schools have a bit of the cookie cutter mentality. They try to help but I don't think its their forte. But I think 11 isn't too late if your child falls within the norm. She may absolutely hate it for a year and will curse you daily but if you can hack it, the rewards are really great. Most schools have great facilities and they have good resources for non-German speaking kids.

A note of caution. One of you will have to learn German to a fairly high standard and if you are not prepared to do this don't even think about putting your daughter in Swiss school. It's just not fair and you will always feel at a disadvantage.

good luck
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  #27  
Old 04.01.2011, 18:21
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

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...

A note of caution. One of you will have to learn German to a fairly high standard and if you are not prepared to do this don't even think about putting your daughter in Swiss school. It's just not fair and you will always feel at a disadvantage...
Why's that then? For the first five years or so, neither myself nor my wife spoke German to even a middling standard, and we got on fine - never felt at a disadvantage.

Of course, now my wife speaks and understands really well, our youngest children are in secondary, and have teachers who are quite happy to communicate with us in English.
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  #28  
Old 04.01.2011, 18:41
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

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Why's that then? For the first five years or so, neither myself nor my wife spoke German to even a middling standard, and we got on fine - never felt at a disadvantage.

Of course, now my wife speaks and understands really well, our youngest children are in secondary, and have teachers who are quite happy to communicate with us in English.
All three of the teachers that my son has had did not speak English.

But, I agree with putting them in the state school system - it's amazing how quickly they pick up the language and make friends.

(You'll find that after a few months, they'll be chattering away in German with their siblings).
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  #29  
Old 05.01.2011, 18:57
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

Don't come here very much! - but we had a similiar experience, our daughter was 10 when we came, similiar dilemma - in the end we put her into the local school, we have absolutely no regrets; I was about to say that the positives far outweigh the negatives, but I can't think of any negatives. It has been a thoroughly positive experience.

IMHO if you intend to stay then live by the mantra 'When in Rome do as the Romans' - by integrating your children in the local school, they will become fluent in German & Swiss German far quicker than at IS, all their mates will live within a 5min walk/bike ride, you'll get invited to coffee mornings by the local mums (when they realise you're human!) above all else for us we realised that we were not dependant on the transient IS expat bubble for a social life. Nor do I run a taxi service.

My daughters school has been fantastic with her, her German teacher is the bee knees, her class teacher is demanding but fair, out of a class of 19 children 5 of them do not speak german at home - this was a concern for us as initially we thought she'd be the odd one out, but not so.

One thing you MUST find out is how your chosen cantons educations system works, each Cantons education system is slightly different, here in Thurgau everyone goes to Primary School until 12, then everyone goes to the Oberstufe School where they are streamed according to ability. Whereas in Schaffhausen they are streamed at 12 & sent to the according school.

Additionally, we did not take our kids to look around the schools, because as parents I feel that this is our decision & a very important one, & one not to influenced by the fact that junior liked the playground or the look of the art room.

At the start we had a choice but in the end there was no choice - we just couldn't think of a reason for our kids to go to the IS.
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  #30  
Old 19.01.2011, 02:00
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

Wow can I just say thanks for all the input.

I'm sorry I haven't answered all the private messages but I have read and taken them all on board.

My husband does not like living on his own and is keen for us all to join him. When we manage to rent a big enough place. [smiley] [gulp]

So if we get a flat in April the plan is that we all move over. I still don't mind my daughter going to the local state school (I mean this is Switzerland, not Afganistan) can't be that bad.

My husband is more we will keep her off school until her school place comes up, which is like her having a four month summer holiday.

But will we get into trouble if we try to do this?

Believe me I can see the advantages of local schools, my husband is against them.

Can I just keep her at home, not like Josef Fritzl....?

And thanks again, you have all been fabby.
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  #31  
Old 19.01.2011, 02:16
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

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Wow can I just say thanks for all the input.

I'm sorry I haven't answered all the private messages but I have read and taken them all on board.

My husband does not like living on his own and is keen for us all to join him. When we manage to rent a big enough place. [smiley] [gulp]

So if we get a flat in April the plan is that we all move over. I still don't mind my daughter going to the local state school (I mean this is Switzerland, not Afganistan) can't be that bad.

My husband is more we will keep her off school until her school place comes up, which is like her having a four month summer holiday.

But will we get into trouble if we try to do this?

Believe me I can see the advantages of local schools, my husband is against them.

Can I just keep her at home, not like Josef Fritzl....?

And thanks again, you have all been fabby.
You cannot keep your daughter at home, not to mention how bored and lonely she will be. What on earth is your husband thinking?
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  #32  
Old 19.01.2011, 02:51
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

Oh my husband is just thinking that if we are all living together it will be better.
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  #33  
Old 19.01.2011, 05:03
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

I think she means: But why on earth would your husband be against the state school system.
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  #34  
Old 23.04.2011, 21:37
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

Hi--Came across this & was wondering what the final outcome is?

I'm facing the same issue but with my 11 year old son. Just curious how it all worked out for you???

Thanks
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  #35  
Old 25.05.2011, 00:31
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

Hi I wanted to update everybody who helped me to think this out.

We all moved over, our eldest daughter began German classes today, in a group of six, until November when she will start local state school.

She was offered a place at the international school we preferred, but we have declined it.

The advantages to us are that she is attending classes, she will learn the same language as her sister and brother, and hopefully her parents too, and that by having intensive German she will be able to integrate into the state school and have local friends.

That's the idea anyway.

Thank you all for your help and advice.
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  #36  
Old 25.05.2011, 01:02
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

November?! Will she only be learning German for the next 6 months?!!
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  #37  
Old 25.05.2011, 16:57
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November?! Will she only be learning German for the next 6 months?!!
6 months for an 11 year old is plenty. They soak it up, not like us olduns .

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Hi I wanted to update everybody who helped me to think this out.
As you know, definitely the right move imho. Don't get worried if it's a struggle at first, children are way better at this stuff than we think.

Last edited by MusicChick; 25.05.2011 at 20:50. Reason: Consecutive posts.
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Old 25.05.2011, 17:26
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

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Hi I wanted to update everybody who helped me to think this out.

We all moved over, our eldest daughter began German classes today, in a group of six, until November when she will start local state school.

She was offered a place at the international school we preferred, but we have declined it.

The advantages to us are that she is attending classes, she will learn the same language as her sister and brother, and hopefully her parents too, and that by having intensive German she will be able to integrate into the state school and have local friends.

That's the idea anyway.

Thank you all for your help and advice.
Don't forget to come back to tell us how it's going, what a wonderful example to others...
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  #39  
Old 31.01.2012, 18:50
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

I'd love to see an update to this, as my 11 year old son may be facing a similar situation this year. He's completing sixth grade in the US now and is tops in his class in most subjects (esp. math), but knows very little German, Swiss or otherwise (only what he picked up from a month in Zurich when he was nine.)

For those who moved and enrolled their kids in local schools, how did things go?
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  #40  
Old 31.01.2012, 19:04
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Re: Waiting for International School place, husband commuting back to UK

Firstly, his birthdate might mean that he does year 5 for the rest of the current school year, and then 'grade 6' from August 2012... he won't be 'repeating' - he will just have a chance to get up to speed before the end of primary school. That's not a bad idea.
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