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Old 11.02.2012, 12:18
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Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

Hello All,

I am an Irish/American mother of four living in the San Francisco Bay Area. My Swiss husband just received a job offer back in Switzerland. We just moved back from Germany 16 months ago. Now we must make the big decision to sell or rent out our house and move permanently back to Switzerland or forget the idea until the kids are grown. Our kids are 10, 9, 7 and 4. They speak German, but are not as fluent as they were back in Germany. They attend German classes here.

In making this huge decision, by biggest concern is the schools and where to live within 20 minutes from Schaffhausen. I know that in Germany we had to forgo living in a big city if we wanted our children to go to a good school.

Does anyone have advice? What town is the most family friendly? Where are the best elementary and secondary schools? What is the going rate for a house in the area?

I know I am rambling, but we only have till Monday to make this huge decision. I lived and worked in Switzerland for 4 1/2 years before I ever met my husband in San Francisco. I love Switzerland. In America, I only love and could only ever live in San Francisco. I am torn, but want the best for my children and family.

Any help would be so appreciated!

Thank you in advance for your time and patience in reading this post.
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Old 11.02.2012, 13:39
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Re: Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

You are a worried mother. Fine. No problem with that.
But worrying about primary school quality in southern Baden-Württemberg, that's really very unreasonnable. At their age, your children will have no problem to boost up their German up to local standard in Germany. 16 months language change is nothing for kids. The older one, 10 years, might need special attention as it is a crucial cross path between different school types, the goal being to follow the normal path he was on before the move. But nothing to be afraid of. A good Germany-forum will help you with these details.
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Old 11.02.2012, 13:51
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Re: Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

if you are looking for a friendly, family orientated town then you must look at schaffhausen itself.

we have a large (and growing) number of expats and lots of american families too over the last year. it is a small but beautiful city with all the amenties a family could want without being too big to make it impersonal.

i have no school aged children here in CH but my friends send their children to both the International schools and local schools too. if your kids can speak some german already then they have a huge head start on all the other ex pat families and i would definitely send them to local schools, as they will integrate quickely into the local communities and friendship groups with children who live nearby.

as far as housing goes, like other places houses are difficult to come by and are quite expensive........but there are many villages around so you may be lucky. it really is a case of checking the housing websites like comparis.ch and homegate.ch frequently.
maybe your husbands company will assist you with a relocation agent, they can be invaluable as they hear about property that is not yet on the general market.

i moved from the Uk to Ch 3 years ago, the first year was tough but now i love the place and do not want to return.....i think when you have children with you then you become involved much quicker too in the local community and this helps the settling down process.

good luck in your decision, you only live once, dont regret not trying !!
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Old 11.02.2012, 13:53
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Re: Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

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Now we must make the big decision to sell or rent out our house and move permanently back to Switzerland or forget the idea until the kids are grown. Our kids are 10, 9, 7 and 4.
... by biggest concern is the schools and where to live within 20 minutes from Schaffhausen...
...In America, I only love and could only ever live in San Francisco.
Seems that Faltrad thinks you want to live in Germany. I'm not sure what you mean. I cannot help much with Schaffhausen area anyway but I can see that this is a very big decision for you to have to make at short notice.
However, your post (in particular the three quotes above) bothers me a bit because it seems you are putting 'fences' up before you start.
These days 'permanent' doesn't really exist any more.
You say 20 minutes from Schaffhausen - two minutes walking, by car, by train, by bike... and why twenty minutes?
'In America, I could only ever live... ' If you ever make this sort of specification about anything, I have a nasty feeling you'll run into trouble when you run into disadvantages here you hadn't even though of.

I hope someone will be along who can perhaps help you - writing this will bring your thread back to the top of the page...

In the meantime - welcome to the forum.
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Old 11.02.2012, 13:54
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Re: Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

Hello Faltrad,

Thank you for your reply, but I guess my original email was confusing. My kids already went to a great public school in Germany. But, we are now in the U.S. after having left Germany 16 months ago. Now, we are deciding whether or not to move permanently to the Shaffhausen area in Switzerland. I just don't know anything about the best places and schools in that region.

If you, or anyone else can provide some leads I would be very grateful.

Thanks again.
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Old 11.02.2012, 14:19
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Re: Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

Hello Longbyt,

I am brand new to this site, so I apologize if I come off as rigid and judgemental. I am just stressed out after having moved our family to Germany--presumably for five years, but in reality only 20 months--and then after only 16 months back home we are faced with this great, but scary opportunity. I love Switzerland. We just can't afford to keep our home here and pay double taxes in both countries. We must sell our home here and take a huge loss. Additionally, we must cash out our 401K (pension) money and take a huge hit.

Money is not what drives me--it is the happiness and well being of my family. It is such a daunting decision, which I would have no trouble making if I knew that my oldest would be on the right track to secondary school vs. trade school. He is already 10. He speaks German, but not as well as he might need to in order to get accepted to secondary school. I believe the system is quite rigid in CH regarding who is eligible for that track.

I am Irish-American and grew up both in Ireland and America. I have worked in nearly all 50 states and, while I appreciate the differences, I really would not consider living anywhere else but the San Francisco Bay Area if we remain in the U.S. I guess it is because it is so multi-cultural and people are generally well-educated and open-minded.

Regarding where to live in and around Shaffhausen, I should have stated that I would like information about the schools and housing in Shaffhausen or any other town within 20-30 minutes commute. In the U.S. my husband commutes 3-4 hours a day to work. We love the fact that in CH he will not need to drive more than 30 minutes to work.

Thank you for your feedback. I will be more careful in the future when I make strong comments.

All My Best to Everyone,
Mum of Four
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Old 11.02.2012, 14:32
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Re: Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

Another mumoffour here... Although my kids attend the International school I can recommend Beringen and Stetten (neighboring towns of Schaffhausen) and of course Schaffhausen itself. Breite, area in SH is very popular amongst the expat community.

Also google "Wirbelwies, Schaffhausen" , I heard from the grapevine that there will be a couple of houses available this summer.

Good Luck
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Old 11.02.2012, 14:53
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Re: Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

Thanks Swiss Astrid! I would love to pick your brain sometime about your experiences thus far. I really appreciate your leads. I will follow up on them. Take Care, Mum of Four
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Old 11.02.2012, 15:32
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Re: Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

I think my post came over a bit harsh. It wasn't meant to be but it is so sad when folk make the move to Switzerland and then realise that this kind of life is not for them. I certainly had the basic impression that you had moved around and coped with new situations very well which was why these certain phrases in your first post bothered me so much. Forewarned is forearmed.

Weekend is not really a good time for getting answers on here. The guys and gals are out doing things they like doing. In the week they are at work and the temptation to have a look and see what is going on on EF - at frequent intervals - seems to be irresistable to a lot of them. My excuse is that I'm retired and the powers that be tell me to save electricity and water by only doing a load of washing when the machine is full - and it isn't.
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Old 11.02.2012, 15:50
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Re: Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

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Thanks Swiss Astrid! I would love to pick your brain sometime about your experiences thus far. I really appreciate your leads. I will follow up on them. Take Care, Mum of Four
No problem, ask away
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Old 11.02.2012, 20:10
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Re: Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

I don’t think you should worry too much about your ten year old son. Even IF (and that’s a big if) he won’t get into Gymnasium after primary school but will go to Sekundarschule that does not mean that he will not be able to go to university at all. The Swiss system might be different to others but one of its biggest advantages is that it’s possible to go from one school to another one.



So after the second or third year of secondary school he can sit an exam in order to enter the Gymnasium. If (and that’s an even bigger if) he wants to do a Kaufmännische Lehre (apprenticeship) after the Sekundarschule he can do the Berufsmatura at the same time. This diploma will give him entrance to the Universities of Applied Sciences. With a University of Applied Sciences diploma he can then enter university if he wants to. There is also another option the will give him access to university with another exam after the Berufmatura.



So this might not be most direct way to university this option (Kaufmännische Berufsmatura, University of Applied Science and then university) is doable and done. I know because that’s exactly the way that I studied Law!


Just help your children integrate and don’t worry about university. There is a way to get a university diploma if that’s what your child wants. Regardless of Sekundarschule or Gymnasium!


PM me if you need additional information.
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Old 11.02.2012, 22:14
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Re: Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

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Now, we are deciding whether or not to move permanently to the Shaffhausen area in Switzerland.
My suggestion was to live on the German side of the border in order to keep your children in German school.
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Old 12.02.2012, 01:39
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Re: Help with schools / where to live near Schaffhausen

Swiss Astrid was a wealth of information for me as we prepared to move to canton Schaffhausen. While the kids and I won't be in Switzerland for another week, hubby has been living in our rental in Stetten and is smitten with the area and the people. Best of luck to you as you make this decision!
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