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  #61  
Old 20.03.2007, 22:59
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Re: kids in swiss school

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Yucks i hope no Americans see the generalisation you made about the violence and fast food mentality in America.

You are definetly not the only family on the move all the time. We have lived in three different countries on two different continents in the past 3 years. I am hoping this is the last stop for us but not entirely sure just yet.

I dont think my boy has suffered any more or less than any other expat kids that I have seen arriving here and all of the other countries we have been too. He is doing really well now and adjusting nicely but it has taken time. There was one expat I knew thats 8 year old daughter actually ran away as she was supposedly trying to get back to her old home town, etc. Thankfully they found her before anything bad happened. It is incredibly tough on kids, alot more than we give it credit, and i think that some display it differently than others. Some keep it in and others let it out first chance they get. I have seen a teenager on here posting and she is finally saying about how hard it hit her when her family moved here years ago. Even the toughest of kids suffer in some way or other.

I wish we could say that we have the ability to afford international schools but sadely we dont so I sat down and made a few decisions. Firstly, the international schools differ in price, with the bilingual schools being that bit more affordable. I am talking a difference in some cases between an international school and a bilingual school of about 15000chf a year. So hence i decided that a bilingual school would be the way to go. The second was to insist that my hubbys company cough up towards the schooling. They kicked and screamed and said their policy is not to assist with schooling, but after a couple of risky pushes in the right direction they coughed towards the schooling. No where near what we need but with adding the child support you get in CH and by cutting back on a few unecessary luxuries we will be able to send him and our other little one to bilingual school. I dont mind making a couple of sacrifices as I was just not willing to go with the flow, throw him in at the deep end and hope he swam.

The great thing about the bilingual schools is that they get lessons in French and English as well and they get loads of support with integrating and learning the language. The other int. schools I went to seemed to keep the kids within there expat community bubbles and they only learn French as a language subject when the are about 8 years old.

By the way, I am also expecting my third How far along are you. Are you staying put until the baby comes. If not let me know as I can give you some info about Gynis, hospitals etc. Also about insurance cover. Alot of the expats seemed to go to some really posh expensive private hospital over here Our insurance would cover the hospital once we have been here a year only and the baby is coming way before then so state hospital it is. Not to worried about that though as it is my third after all. But it is amazing the comments you get. One of the moms over here actually showed me a baby bag and said, if you go to the private clinic you get this baby bag free. Ha, ha, ha, now that is a reason to want to go to the private clinic. Unfortunatly it is hard not to run into many many pretentious expats that are here on the hubbys company money. if you know what i mean.

Anyway i am now writing a book too so I will get a move on but if you need any help or info on areas, blah, blah, blah, dont hesitate to give me a shout.
Hi, I have been following your conversation online and my concerns seem to fit in perfectly... I have visited Int. School (nice campus) and also Montessori but realized that they are way over our budget...wow, it is impressive what fortune they are asking.

We are going to move to Rolle (from Italy) in mid-April and I am getting slowly but surely worried.... there must be decent bilingual schools out there that are affordable?! Would you have some good tips about bilingual schools (I have a 2 year old daughter and a 5 year old son) in the area (also Morges and Lausanne, as they much more convenient than Founex or Geneva).

Your suggestions are greatly appreciated - thanks!
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Old 21.03.2007, 00:23
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Re: kids in swiss school

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Hi, I have been following your conversation online and my concerns seem to fit in perfectly... I have visited Int. School (nice campus) and also Montessori but realized that they are way over our budget...wow, it is impressive what fortune they are asking.

We are going to move to Rolle (from Italy) in mid-April and I am getting slowly but surely worried.... there must be decent bilingual schools out there that are affordable?! Would you have some good tips about bilingual schools (I have a 2 year old daughter and a 5 year old son) in the area (also Morges and Lausanne, as they much more convenient than Founex or Geneva).

Your suggestions are greatly appreciated - thanks!
First of all don't get things out of perspective, what you have read here are a SMALL number of people with problems, this does not mean that the same thing will happen with your kids. There are plenty of foreign kids going to Swiss schools and doing just fine!

When my son started in kindergarten there were about 8 - 10 childern that could speak little or no German and by the end of the first year they could participate fine in group activites.

The same has happened again this year with my daughter, about half of her class do not speak German and the same exercise is being undertaken.

Interestingly enough they spend a lot of time in the kindergarten learning about "how they are all different but the same" and how they must treat each other and so on. In all this time I have never heard any of the kids make racial remarks about each other, so they must be doing something right!

In the case of my own kids they did not speak the local dialect when they started out, so it took them about 6 to 8 weeks to pick it up. They did however speak another dialect although very different to the local one.

Right now both my kids speak two dialects, English and High German. In the case of my son he really does not care which language he uses, but he tends to make a point out of trying to seak to everyone in their own language. My daughter is a lot different, she has picket up High German from watching TV and for some funny reason perfers to use it rather than Swiss German or English.....

Attitude is very important though, both we both praise the kids for their language skills and at home no language takes center stage. The kids themselves are very interested in learning new words and most often they will tell you a book is not up to much if there are few new words in it.

In your case your kids are at an age where picking up a new language should not be a problem. So don't be put off by what you read here, give it a try and see what happens.


Good luck,

Jim.
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Old 21.03.2007, 08:38
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Extra input

I am hesitant to add my input, seeing so much has been provided, buy who knows...

My daughter (then 6, 1 grade done) and myself arrived from the US 5 yrs ago, and she joined public schools. We are both fluent in French (her a little less at the time), I work full time.
I found the integration relatively difficult, and the kids (and parents) very discriminatory toward outsiders. My car still had US plates, and I know that we were tagged "the americans" (Irak war was then starting...). Go figure, given that we are italians, and I lived in Switzerland most of my life!!! HAHAHA. Also, like in your case, kids did not invite my daughter along, not even to return b-day parties invites, and actually would even just NOT SHOW UP for a party, without answering, or the parents would simply never RSVP. Plain rude, if you ask me.

It mellowed out once I found among the moms a school mate of mine at university - I guess that made everybody see us as less "foreigners" - but that made me balk at the disparity. Still, the fact I work always played a role against - we are not a "normal" family, I don't bake cookies

As others have suggested, I found other parents at work, and have planned play dates and get together with their kids - with the added advantage of keeping up the other languages.

As for the school level, it is quite good. I was totally unhappy with the teachers' involvement and quality in primary school, but since transition cycle I am finding it brilliant, they have lots of languages, activities, ski trips... better than private schools, and all free!!!

We live in Lausanne area. Send me a PM if you want to connect....

Last edited by lilith; 21.07.2008 at 20:13.
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Old 21.03.2007, 12:15
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hi there sfsailing, I think you can see from all the posts that everyone has different experiences. It is up to you, like i have said in a previous post, whether you are in a position to throw your children in at the deep end and hope that they swim. Jim you are from the Swiss German side which I do believe is quite different from the Swiss French side, especially when it comes to schooling. Lilith, I dont think that people choice private schools for the ski trips etc and I am not sure you can say that public schools trips are better than private schools, although I am not going to even start going down the route of comparing extramurals. That is just plain silly.

You cannot say that it is a SMALL group of expat children only that experience problems just like I cant say it is a BIG group. That said, i doubt that if there were no problems in integration etc than there would not be as many international schools around and they would not feel they could charge a fortune. Lets face it it is HARD HARD HARD even for an adult to integrate and learn a new language so NOBODY can deny that a little child having to face a new language to study in, in a new country, new school, new friends, etc must find it REALLY PAINFUL and HARD all along side children who dont understand there language, culture etc.

sfsailing, there are very few bilingual schools around. There are more in Geneva but I these are the ones in Vaud that you should look at. www.ensr.ch, www.haut-lac.ch, www.champittet.ch. I also mentioned above in a post about Cedars school which is also more affordable, www.cedarsschool.ch. All the schools list there fees on the site. Good luck and shout if you need any further info.
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Old 21.03.2007, 15:06
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Re: kids in swiss school

This discussion is just getting more and more interesting.

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JIM: First of all don't get things out of perspective, what you have read here are a SMALL number of people with problems, this does not mean that the same thing will happen with your kids. There are plenty of foreign kids going to Swiss schools and doing just fine!
You sound just like my husband and I don´t know why men have to clearafy this point as we (women/the mothers) of course know better than to base our facts on first best comment (being good or bad) from a blog.

This is a part of a big research (at least for me) and I have encouraged people to share their good experiences too as I do find it quite depressing to read so many bad comments about how our children integrate with the Swiss kids and the local school system.

Everyones experience differ from another and I am glad to hear your kids have done great in school so far. I am starting to think that all these different stories that have been shared also has to do with where in CH you will be based. The German side seems pretty different from the French side and so on.

I will continue my investigation and hopefully be able to make a decission that will work out for my kids once we get to CH this summer. I truly believe in simplicity in life and therefor I will probably give my kids a chance to integrate in the public school system before making a big fuss about it. Of course it will be a tough transition no matter what we do but at the age of 3 and 5 (my kids) they are like sponges and pick up languages and makes friends quite easily. I am the one who will end up in trouble.

The say "You can´t teach an old dog to sit" (a Swedish say translated and I am not sure if it makes sence to all you English natives out there...) is very true. I am probably the one who will have to work HARD HARD HARD on integrating in CH, more than my kids will have to.
Wish me luck.
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Old 21.03.2007, 20:02
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Re: Extra input

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Also, like in your case, kids did not invite my daughter along, not even to return b-day parties invites, and actually would even just NOT SHOW UP for a party, without answering, or the parents would simply never RSVP. Plain rude, if you ask me.
Out of interest do you discuss these things at the parent meetings? Where I am most of these issues are more or less agreed at theses meetings. For instance we agreed that we'll give the kids in first class CH1.00 in pocket money each week... Birthday parties! none, instead the parents of the child whose birthday it is brings some thing to school for the kids to eat at snack time... and so on.

Also here it is the tradition that a child having a birthday party is allow to only invite the number of guests equal to his age and that includes his brothers and sisters. Keeps the numbers low and helps the parents stay sane.....


Regards,

Jim.
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Old 22.03.2007, 08:59
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Re: kids in swiss school

Wannabe: never wanted to hint that ppl choose private over public for ski trips??? what a bizarre idea. I find that the quality of teaching since the transition level, the interest of the teachers and the activities (and ski trip are part of it, forgive me for mentioning it), the languages taught are definitely part of the experience of Swiss public schools. During the primary cycle it was not like that, and we experienced really a hard time, mostly because of incompetent teachers...

Jim: no parents meetings here. In primary school there was an introduction evening, to which only half would show up, where moms were voicing their concern over too much homework. At the question of what can be done to help integration, the reply was at the time "if the child cannot integrate he/she should be in special schools".

Anyway. I still believe the public schools are a better choice, especially in this area. there are some bilingual/international schools, but I am not fond of the approach - very "elitist", and extremely expensive - it creates a little expats society out of the reality...
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Old 22.03.2007, 11:58
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Re: kids in swiss school

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Anyway. I still believe the public schools are a better choice, especially in this area. there are some bilingual/international schools, but I am not fond of the approach - very "elitist", and extremely expensive - it creates a little expats society out of the reality...
Wooohoooo, bring on the elitist then. I suppose it is easy for someone on the outide, not ABLE to get in, to critisize the bilingual\international school system. Nowhere in any of my posts have I critisized the public system as I am not at all qualified to and neither do I have any written evidence to support a critisizim of the public system. So unless you are qualified or have written evidence to support your statements about the bilingual\int. system and how the public system is better than i suggest you dont. I think the people on here are looking for constructive opinions not Destructive ones.You say the quality of teaching etc is better in the public schools, how could you possibly have a qualified opinion on this, please inlighten me. I am sorry, i may be hormonal at the moment but I just take exception to this unqualified knocking of the standard of my choice of education for my children.

You said in your earlier post;-

I found the integration relatively difficult, and the kids (and parents) very discriminatory toward outsiders. My car still had US plates, and I know that we were tagged "the americans" (Irak war was then starting...). Go figure, given that we are italians, and I lived in Switzerland most of my life!!! HAHAHA. Also, like in your case, kids did not invite my daughter along, not even to return b-day parties invites, and actually would even just NOT SHOW UP for a party, without answering, or the parents would simply never RSVP. Plain rude, if you ask me.

What you wrote is one of the reasons why I am choosing to send my children to bilingual school not because I want them to join your so called expats society. Please dont critisize my choice as I dont want my children to suffer. You also need to remember that your daughter arrived speaking French, mine dont understand a word.

Oh and, your daughter is 11 at the moment, good luck when they begin streaming her soon.

Last edited by wannabe+; 22.03.2007 at 12:19.
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Old 22.03.2007, 12:20
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hi,
I think that both systems have pros and cons, however if we decide to opt for the public system initially, I will have no qualms about pulling her out and putting her in private bilingual school if I think she is not achieving her potential / not streamed VSB or if for any other reason she is having problems. It is a very difficult decision to make especially when it could have such major repurcussions for the children. If we do decide to go private then I will just have to ensure she joins local clubs etc to meet local kids. My concern about the international/bilingual school is that if only offering the Int. Bacc, which is a fairly tough so I believe , if they fail this then they leave with nothing, whereas if they are in the state school system at least they might leave with some other qualification if they follow the VSO?VSG. I say this as my younger daughter is not so academically inclined as the eldest. As we are planning living permanently in switzerland might have to send the two of them to different schools, one private, one state. whatever, I will do what i think is best for my children . On verra!
jo
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Old 22.03.2007, 12:34
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Re: kids in swiss school

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Hi,
I think that both systems have pros and cons, however if we decide to opt for the public system initially, I will have no qualms about pulling her out and putting her in private bilingual school if I think she is not achieving her potential / not streamed VSB or if for any other reason she is having problems. It is a very difficult decision to make especially when it could have such major repurcussions for the children. If we do decide to go private then I will just have to ensure she joins local clubs etc to meet local kids. My concern about the international/bilingual school is that if only offering the Int. Bacc, which is a fairly tough so I believe , if they fail this then they leave with nothing, whereas if they are in the state school system at least they might leave with some other qualification if they follow the VSO?VSG. I say this as my younger daughter is not so academically inclined as the eldest. As we are planning living permanently in switzerland might have to send the two of them to different schools, one private, one state. whatever, I will do what i think is best for my children . On verra!
jo
Jo i would not worry to much about her having to join local clubs etc to meet local kids as in the bilingual schools they have a very high percentage of Swiss French children. Obviously not in the international schools but definetly in the bilingual schools as these Swiss French want there children to study English as well early on instead of later. I can actually quote that ENSR that we spoke about has 70 percent Swiss French children and the other 30 percent is expat of various nationalities. On that point, so much for the unqualified mention above of little expat societies.

ENSR also offers the swiss maturity in addition to the Int. Bacc. In the UK i suppose you would not be offered any alternative if you did not get Uni quality marks too. I cant say that i have studied up on this much though as mine are just little tikes and not at that stage yet so not all the qualified to comment.

Last edited by wannabe+; 22.03.2007 at 13:32.
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Old 22.03.2007, 21:14
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Re: kids in swiss school

jojo- my son is studying for his Maturite in a public lycee in canton Neuchatel, and I would judge the program to be as demanding, if not more so, than the Int'l Bacc. [do i need to state qualifications for my opinion? Experienced teacher and Education researcher and I have a nephew the same age as my son in the Int'l Bacc program]

This probably varies according to canton, though. I know that there have been recent reforms implemented due to the high number of students completing the Maturite program and not passing their exams, therefore leaving with no degree. I believe that Zurich had the worst rate in the country at something like 20% pass rate?? And if I recall correctly, the pass rate at my son's school was only 40% two years ago. [I can't remember the numbers off hand and I'm not sure where that file is right now, sorry, but I'll try to look them up another time.] Anyhow, several of the lycees now have much stricter entry requirements and the programs are more challenging in the first year with hopes of culling students that won't achieve their degree.

However, you have time to decide all of that, and by then you'll be more familiar with the school systems that you are dealing with.
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Old 23.03.2007, 08:28
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Re: kids in swiss school

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Wooohoooo, bring on the elitist then. I suppose it is easy for someone on the outide, not ABLE to get in, to critisize the bilingual\international school system. Nowhere in any of my posts have I critisized the public system as I am not at all qualified to and neither do I have any written evidence to support a critisizim of the public system. So unless you are qualified or have written evidence to support your statements about the bilingual\int. system and how the public system is better than i suggest you dont. I think the people on here are looking for constructive opinions not Destructive ones.You say the quality of teaching etc is better in the public schools, how could you possibly have a qualified opinion on this, please inlighten me. I am sorry, i may be hormonal at the moment but I just take exception to this unqualified knocking of the standard of my choice of education for my children.

You said in your earlier post;-

I found the integration relatively difficult, and the kids (and parents) very discriminatory toward outsiders. My car still had US plates, and I know that we were tagged "the americans" (Irak war was then starting...). Go figure, given that we are italians, and I lived in Switzerland most of my life!!! HAHAHA. Also, like in your case, kids did not invite my daughter along, not even to return b-day parties invites, and actually would even just NOT SHOW UP for a party, without answering, or the parents would simply never RSVP. Plain rude, if you ask me.

What you wrote is one of the reasons why I am choosing to send my children to bilingual school not because I want them to join your so called expats society. Please dont critisize my choice as I dont want my children to suffer. You also need to remember that your daughter arrived speaking French, mine dont understand a word.

Oh and, your daughter is 11 at the moment, good luck when they begin streaming her soon.
Wannabee - I have no idea what makes you think I am in any way criticizing YOUR choice - you are reading in my reply much more than was inferred, perhaps because you feel a bit torn by the decision ... that is totally normal, as it is a hard decision and we all can only do our best. These decisions are totally personal, and have to take roots in the very life experience of each family. Mine is obviously different from yours, I have been in these schools, and I know what universe they build.

I VERY STRONGLY RESENT your hints at my own inability of getting into one or another type of school for my child (as you do in the start of your post). What this has to do with that?

As for my kid's getting into the right stream, many thanks for your concern, but it is all done and taken care of - even with the handicap of multilinguism, she is 2 years in advance, passed in VSB, and the teachers have been excellent in supporting a gifted child while avoiding special schools. To me, that is the sign of a top school system - and something I never found in the international schools (of which I have a personal experience both personally and for my kid) - nor in other schools systems to be honest. I am sure that this positive experience is largely due to the personality of one or two teachers. I am with Jojo when she states that both systems also cohexist depending on the situation - and if tomorrow I move to German speaking areas, I would most likely select an international school, simply because at 11 she would loose years in catching up the mainstream german.
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Old 23.03.2007, 08:32
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Re: Extra input

... and the first thing they did was to abscond to Rio. Kids today eh ?

dave

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For instance we agreed that we'll give the kids in first class CH1.00 in pocket money each week...
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Old 26.03.2007, 17:04
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Re: kids in swiss school

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Wannabee - I have no idea what makes you think I am in any way criticizing YOUR choice - you are reading in my reply much more than was inferred, perhaps because you feel a bit torn by the decision ... that is totally normal, as it is a hard decision and we all can only do our best. These decisions are totally personal, and have to take roots in the very life experience of each family. Mine is obviously different from yours, I have been in these schools, and I know what universe they build.

I VERY STRONGLY RESENT your hints at my own inability of getting into one or another type of school for my child (as you do in the start of your post). What this has to do with that?

As for my kid's getting into the right stream, many thanks for your concern, but it is all done and taken care of - even with the handicap of multilinguism, she is 2 years in advance, passed in VSB, and the teachers have been excellent in supporting a gifted child while avoiding special schools. To me, that is the sign of a top school system - and something I never found in the international schools (of which I have a personal experience both personally and for my kid) - nor in other schools systems to be honest. I am sure that this positive experience is largely due to the personality of one or two teachers. I am with Jojo when she states that both systems also cohexist depending on the situation - and if tomorrow I move to German speaking areas, I would most likely select an international school, simply because at 11 she would loose years in catching up the mainstream german.
I think you are reading WAY too much into my post dear, firstly I said SOMEONE, not YOUR inability to get into those schools so no need to be sensitive about that, unless of course it is true. Second of all I am definetly NOT torn at all about my decision as I have spent months researching it and am very comfortable with my choice thank you VERY much. And YES you did directly critisize my choice by saying the public school system was better in many ways.

You are talking about international schools in your post to me and I have made it quite clear that my children are going to a bilingual school. VERY DIFFERENT. I am glad you say that your daughters streaming is taken care of as I saw in a previous post of yours on another thread that you where concerned about this not to long ago. I also think it is a big pity that you regard your daughters multilingualism as a handicap. Very big pity indeed.

Anyway enough said as this thread is not to be turned into a battle ground but for people to voice there VALID concerns and get VALID input. If you have anything further to say to me personally please do so via a PM and not in this thread. I am sure it would be appreciated by the people who are here with serious issues to address.
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Old 20.04.2007, 17:38
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hello, I am original poster of this thread, and I cant believe its been a year since I posted.
So I thought after all the other postings, I would say thankyou to those who shared their stories too, its good to know your not alone.
Since I posted my daughter has moved up to first class. I decided to ask that she went to a local school which was not the same catchment area as the kindergarten. Although we are still living in the same area I thought it might help to make a fresh starts with new kids.

In terms of friendships, they have developed a little but slowly, she does not have the greatest socail life at all and still no invites. But she herself seems a happier child and far more settled now. And although I am not entirely satisfied with the situation, she at least has a good friend out of school who lives next door, they play constantly together. She also occasionaly plays with other kids too, its just not as much as I hoped.

In response to the person who has been here 4 months and finding it tough, I exactly remeber feeling all of those things, and was in tears over my daughters situation many times. It is hard to see their personality erode. But she has re-covered and her personality is bubbly once more. I have enrolled her in a couple of extra activities too, in things she finds fun- which has helped. She is very happy to speak two languages and if we ever mention reutrning to England she says she likes it better over here. She still mentions her friends in England from time to time , I have stayed in touch with the parents and we see them whenever we go back.

Though not perfect, or close to what I would hope for her, the sitaution has definately improved since my original post. It has been hard work, especailly emotionally, but we are getting there.
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Old 20.04.2007, 17:40
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Re: kids in swiss school

Hayley-

Do you live in Zurich itself or one of the surrounding towns? Which town?
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Old 20.04.2007, 23:02
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Re: kids in swiss school

We've just moved to Lausanne this week, but we have decided to home teach for the rest of this school year at least. We will try to make friends in the expat community initially. We will get some intense french lessons too to help with the language before subjecting our kids to the swiss school system.

You have to remember kids are inherently cruel. They are like pack animals and will pick on kids they perceive to be weak, which normally translates into kids that seem different which includes foreigners!

At our local school in England a friend of ours who is french put her son into school age 4, they only spoke french at home naturally. So initially it was a struggle. It didn't help that one of the dinner ladies picked on him for no apparent good reason other than he was foreign! But he picked up English very quickly and is now accepted fully.

The point is that the language is the main difference between your kid and the others - I'd suggest addressing that above all else. As soon as he can be understood he will have a better chance to get on.
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Old 14.05.2007, 13:49
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Re: kids in swiss school

Switzerland again is so not the norm. I am here on exchange for a year, and I come from Australia. Swiss people and their childern are not raised to invite you back to their homes! Honestly it is true. I had read the stories and I am in one and they don't do it.It isn't meant to be mean! Honestly I don't think they realise it. I am positive your daughters school and social will improve. I don't know why they do this. I honestly thought they hated me and go so depressed. It is hard, but it is easier for little kids. Try and take your daughter and a friend from class somewhere else instead of at home...maybe that will make your daughter feel better. I wish you all the best and wish I could help! It is so annoying how they work but thats the swiss and you gotta take the good with the bad.Take careLauren
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Old 14.05.2007, 14:40
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Re: kids in swiss school

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Switzerland again is so not the norm. I am here on exchange for a year, and I come from Australia. Swiss people and their childern are not raised to invite you back to their homes! Honestly it is true. I had read the stories and I am in one and they don't do it.It isn't meant to be mean!
I was born and raised here. My father's from Hungary (I don't speak Hungarian, though - but my father speaks accent-free Swiss-German), my mother is Swiss. I've had friends over at my house pretty much every single day of my childhood. When I didn't have anyone over it was me who played at a friend's house. Saying that Swiss aren't raised to invite others to their homes is silly. It is very common and normal for kids to play at friends' houses. All of our (current) neighbors have kids - they essentially spend every free minute at their friends' homes.

Where I grew up (Lake of Constance area), we never had problems with foreign kids either - my best friend in primary and secondary school was Dutch. We had kids from Kosovo, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Serbia and Croatia in our class - none of them spoke German until after kindergarten but there weren't many integration problems because all the parents I personally knew spoke German or were in the process of learning it.

While I am very sorry to read about the many issues some parents in here have, I also have to say one thing: living in a foreign country - no matter what that country may be - and not making the acquisition of the primary local language an absolute priority, is inexcusable in my opinion.
I know what it means to be a foreigner - I lived in the US for quite a while (in the Bible Belt, where people really aren't used to having foreigners around, except for the occasional immigrant from Mexico, perhaps). I would have been totally lost if I hadn't learned English as quickly as I possibly could. Only when my English improved to a degree that I wasn't easily noticeable as a foreigner anymore did I start making friends.

Many of my co-workers are from the US or the UK and many are from other (mostly European) countries. It has been my observation that English speaking people have a much tougher time to integrating because many of them aren't willing to learn German. That's probably because most people here who spent more than the minimum of 12 years in school speak English well enough to have normal conversations with them.
More than any other language group I know, English speakers form groups and tend to isolate themselves from the locals. Given my background (my experience in the US, the fact that I have an M.A. in English literature and linguistics, my mother-in-law being American etc.) I'm very much interested in interacting with people from the US and the UK - but it is ME who has problems getting into their social networks because most of my co-workers basically live in their own social micro-structures.

So before you start dissecting your kids' groups of peers in the effort of finding the root of their integration problems there, you should examine whether you're not being too inapproachable yourself.

Last edited by dawiz; 14.05.2007 at 15:00.
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Old 14.05.2007, 14:58
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Re: kids in swiss school

Sorry but I resent the message that its just an easy matter of picking up the langugae. I know that having the languge is important and useful thankyou very much.

I know alot of english people who are trying desparetely to learn German. I know they struggle alot, and I do myself. I have been here nearly 3 years and have always been trying to get better in German.
I have had so much negative feedback from german speakers (not ness swiss) and been so discouraged, Yet I keep trying.

I hate it when people think that picking up a language is the same as picking up a cold. It is a skill, and it takes effort and talent. I really admire people who speak two or more languages. I have so much respect for you. But please remeber that some people have a more natural affinity for languages, and others have to work really hard and it takes much longer. Also many people here switch to english, which is very nice of them, but makes it that much harder to keep motivated with the German. Motivation is hard, when you ask to keep speaking in german, and the other person still switches to english.

The english speakers I know who have learnt german quickly are the ones who had the time and money to go very intensive and do 4 hours every week day. For several months. However this is not possible for everyone, and the rest of us have to do what we can.

Sorry this is a rant, but it really really gets on my nerves when people make out the british are lazy and cant be bothered, becuase some of us even cry over our german homework!!! (me that is)
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