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Old 04.12.2012, 22:04
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Re: School for foreign kids - international/private/public?

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Thanks, drmom. If we can live near enough to the school, I would be comfortable with him coming home for a pre-prepared lunch sandwich, etc. He's 10 and fairly mature on these things, so I have confidence he could make the walk alone. I will also have about 2-3 months to practice the walk to/from school before he starts. I would make sure he was comfortable with it before I did that. Of course, if they offer lunch, even better. As for afternoons, the schools I've researched don't have classes on Wednesday afternoons, at which point he could come home those days. I want to find a good school and then determine where to live, while being cognizant that my job would be in Lachen and making sure it's fairly close to there, too.

As for me, I don't know any German at this point, either. Once again, hoping for both he and I to take classes between now and then. Neither of us will be fluent by the time he starts school, but perhaps know enough to get by? I have some more research to do on good German classes here in the States. Yes, the 20k-30k is very expensive. I will require 100k minimum salary for this move, however. From what I've found out there, I could make it work at this salary, even with the school fees. Maybe you could provide further feedback on this? Am I wrong?

What will I face placing a 10-year-old in a public school? Are there any that help with integrating a mostly non-German speaking child? Would getting a tutor be an option to help?

Thanks again!
I think that your plan to first find a school and then decide where to live is good. It will be quite a shock for him, at the start. Everything would be very different for him, and it is important that he will get the support from his school. Not all schools can give it.
We've sent our young boy to a public school, and as he was moving to Grade 1 - he did not have good German yet, so they offered to send him to a "slow" class - to have Grade 1 for 2 years. This was probably because they did not have the mechanism of supporting foreign students, and was not realistic solution for us. At the end - we moved him to the international school, where he feels better.
I am not saying it is impossible, just make sure he will get the support he needs at school.
If you plan to stay for long - this might be a good idea.

If you plan to stay 2 years or so - I think international school is better decision.
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Old 04.12.2012, 23:04
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Re: School for foreign kids - international/private/public?

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I will require 100k minimum salary for this move, however. From what I've found out there, I could make it work at this salary, even with the school fees. Maybe you could provide further feedback on this? Am I wrong?
That`s not a great salary (but not horrible). I would not think you could afford 30k in school fees. Or maybe you could but you would have to make sacrifices in other areas.

Without financial constraint I would think a bilingual school where you are taught half in English and half in German would be a good option.

Switzerland is more expensive than New York if that gives you some reference. Taxes are lower but rents are expensive depending upon where you live and food (especially meat and dining out) are a lot more expensive.
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Old 05.12.2012, 00:19
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Re: School for foreign kids - international/private/public?

Hi we moved to fribourg 17 months ago and made the very difficult decision to put our teenagers (14 and 11) into local schools. It's been tough for them and still is to a certain extent but they are reaping the benefits. They were very anti for quite a while but I think this was more about us taking them away from everything they knew, friends etc. My eldest boy is much more confident and loves living in Switzerland with the opportunities it presents. The one thing we did learn was that we worried about the 14 year old because of his age, thinking the youngest would adapt easier. In hindsight the eldest was more mature and better able to to deal with the change.
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Old 05.12.2012, 09:15
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Re: School for foreign kids - international/private/public?

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My son has even shown enthusiasm in learning different languages and even wants to begin German now so that he's prepared when/if we do make the move. He's an extremely intelligent boy who picks up on new things quickly and is open to trying new things.

With that said, we would most likely be living in Canton Schwyz. I've been trying to research school choice but what I'm finding seems to be encouraging me to put him in an international school. I really want him (and myself) to integrate as quickly as possible so that we can build healthy relationships there, but don't want to "kill" my son and his learning ambitions in the process (scared a local school teaching classes in full German could do that if he can't understand them!). I haven't found too many options in or around Lachen for international schools, either, which is where my job would be located. There was a Bilingual school in Pfaffikon, but that seems to be the closest private school. I should be able to afford private schooling, if necessary.
Just a few things for you to consider:

The school fees cover the education, if they need to take the school bus or public transport then there is that cost. Lunches can really add up unless they bring lunch from home each day. The international schools have much longer holidays and don't always have holiday care so although your son is older you need to factor in some care.

There is Obersee bilingual school in Pfaffikon which I assume is the one you are referring to. They recently opened up a middle school and are going on to build a high school. It is gaining a very good reputation and people I know who have kids there are very happy with it.
For information about children's workshops or tutoring in English click here.
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Old 06.12.2012, 16:25
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Re: School for foreign kids - international/private/public?

We are moving to Zurich from the U.S. next month and will have to figure all this out soon as well. Following this thread with interest...
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