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Old 29.03.2007, 19:39
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Help with schools! [Geneva]

Hi All

My family is moving from Las Vegas to Geneva area in the summer. I am trying to pick a school and think I have narrowed it down to a bilingual program. We will be living in Switzerland for a long time but I don't feel ready to put my son (just turned 7) into a French only program. My french is not very good and it seems a bit much for all of us!

Does anyone have any experience with the International Schools of either Geneva or Lausanne or Haut-Lac International School? I feel I don't know enough about the Swiss schooling system yet to judge if it is the right choice for my son. He is also very keen on sports so I'm trying to find a school that has some sport activities. My only problem with Haut-Lac is that my husband will need to get to Geneva airport very regularly and this might be a bit far if we live near Lausanne. Any advice is much appreciated!

Karen
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Old 30.03.2007, 01:00
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Re: Help with schools!

Hi Karen,

I live in the German speaking area, so I can't comment on the system in the French speaking part. However one thing to note is that kids pick up a foreign language much easier than adults. Were I live kids who join the local school system without being able to speak the language get speical lessons until they can speak the language.

In the case of my daughter, when she started kindergarten last summer a little under half the class could not speak German, but by now they have picked up very well and are talking part in all the class activities.

Good luck,

Jim
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Old 31.03.2007, 21:31
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

The International School of Geneva is a very large organisation 4000 students spread on 4 different campuses.
The IS of Lausanne is much smaller (550 students) in a single campus north of Lausanne.
Haut-Lac is about the same size but on 2 campuses (primary and secondary) both near Vevey. The secondary school campus is brand new, with good facilities. They have a great movie section for the international baccalaureat, if you are interested. Haut-Lac is also a bilingual school (French and English) so you can mix with the locals. Geneva and Lausanne are 95% expats, a whole different atmosphere.
It is better to decide which school you want to go to, before you try to find a house. The Geneva area is overcrowded, Lausanne is a little better, Vevey is still easy.
Go on the schools' web sites.
www.ecolint.ch www.isl.ch www.haut-lac.ch

Good luck,

Dub
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Old 31.03.2007, 23:22
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

Hi,
there is also a bilingual school in Lausanne,
Ecole Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande
www.ensr.ch/
However as Jim says kids do pick up the language very quickly but if not interested in local schools tghen i guess bilingual are a good option. Look at trhe private school website. just do a google search
Jo
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Old 02.04.2007, 09:00
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

The Ecole Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande advertises itself as a bilingual school, but the facts show that they teach English as a foreign language.
Haut-Lac in the primary school offer 60% in one language and 40% in the other one. You can either do French in the morning and English in the afternoon, or the other way round. The main subjects are taught in the morning and the others in the afternoon in the second language. ENSR is a 80% French speaking school doing the Swiss schooling system, Haut-Lac is a real international school certified by the IBO. Personally I prefer Champittet as a French speaking school, better reputation with good discipline.
Also the other point, ENSR does not have a good reputation with the discipline; they are not strict with students.
You can contact the AVDEP (www.avdep.ch) about Swiss schools to get a complete view of the offer, but they won’t say anything against one school or another.
I wish you a good trip to Switzerland.
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Old 02.04.2007, 09:10
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

Hi,
the ENSR also offers the IB, not just the Swiss mat. Have you personal experience of the lack of discipline at ENSR ,Dub? I have had mixed reports about this school, but it is still one I am considering looking at.Some peolpe I have spoken to seem very pleased with it.
jo
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Old 02.04.2007, 09:23
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

ENSR does offer the IB but not the Middle Year Programme (MYP). MYP is the best step toward good results with the IB. The MYP certificate is a good rehearsal for the IB. Students who do well in the MYP have no problem with the IB.
ENSR always did the Swiss Maturité, they introduce the IB quite recently. But I would go there to do the IB in English may be in French.
Regarding the discipline, I know some kids who were in different schools in Primary and MYP and went to ENSR for the Swiss maturité. They told me they were stunned by the lack of discipline within the school; they were all coming from very strict schools but still it confirms that all we talk about in the Swiss Federation of the Private Schools meetings.
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Old 02.04.2007, 09:33
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

Hi Dub,
thanks for the info.
Jo
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Old 03.04.2007, 01:06
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

Thanks everyone for all your advice. I was recommended champittet but am still feeling that either International school in Lausanne or Haut lac are the way to go in the beginning. I'm worried that his English will be bad if he goes only to a french speaking school. Because my husband has to get to Geneva airport a lot we are thinking of living somewhere between Lausanne and Geneva. Is Haut Lac a long drive if we did this? Thanks!
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Old 03.04.2007, 03:36
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

Hi and welcome!

I used to study at Collège Du Léman a few years ago and I can say that it's become complete rubbish. If you want your child to do the bilingual course, then stick to the Ecolint Organisation schools. These include, LGB and La Chat. They're top notch schools and in fact the first ones in the world to implement the IB program.
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Old 03.04.2007, 09:02
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

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I'm worried that his English will be bad if he goes only to a french speaking school.
Just for information, my son, who is 8 years old, goes to an all German speaking school and has no lessons in English. When I compare him to his English speaking friends I would say that his command of the English language is far higher than most of them. This is because I have taken the time over the years to read to him for an hour each night in English and provided him with lots of videos, tapes and DVDs in English.

Best Regards,

Jim
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Old 04.04.2007, 15:26
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

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The Ecole Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande advertises itself as a bilingual school, but the facts show that they teach English as a foreign language.
Haut-Lac in the primary school offer 60% in one language and 40% in the other one. You can either do French in the morning and English in the afternoon, or the other way round. The main subjects are taught in the morning and the others in the afternoon in the second language. ENSR is a 80% French speaking school doing the Swiss schooling system, Haut-Lac is a real international school certified by the IBO. Personally I prefer Champittet as a French speaking school, better reputation with good discipline.
Also the other point, ENSR does not have a good reputation with the discipline; they are not strict with students.
You can contact the AVDEP (www.avdep.ch) about Swiss schools to get a complete view of the offer, but they won’t say anything against one school or another.
I wish you a good trip to Switzerland.
Dub, I second all you are saying and after quite a bit of digging I have found the same about ENSR that you have regarding discipline. Not that it is too important but the one teacher there has a stud in her tongue whilst in class and I did not think that was appropriate for a teacher during school hours.

Champetitt is a fantastic school and has a good reputation but it is definetly French and only just started going bilingual with a long way to go. So if you want bilingual I would stick with Haut-lac instead of Champetitt which although fantastic is VERY much a French private school with little English.

Karen my husband works near Geneve airport and we are moving to Vevey to be near to Haut-lac which is the school we have choosen. It is an hours train ride to Geneve from Vevey which is not too much more than from Lausanne. The reason being is that you get to take the fast straight through trains from Vevey to Geneve that only have 2 stops the whole way.

PM me if you have any questions at all.
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Old 19.04.2007, 15:16
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

Hi Everyone

I seem to always be behind on reading the thread! My latest is all the schools seem to be full for September! However, may get a place at International School in Geneva and looks like I can get a place at Haut-Lac. Visiting next week so I should get a better perspective!
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Old 19.04.2007, 16:03
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

Hello

just to add a very quick question onto here, if one wishes to put their childrens names down for any of these schools, how far in advance do you need to do so to guarantee a place? Are we talking years etc?
I know for some schools in the UK it seems you need to put children's names down as soon as they are born, surely it's not the same here?

thanks!
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Old 19.04.2007, 16:17
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

Hi Gary

We only decided to move to Geneva a few weeks ago and I started with the enquiries last week. So far I can tell you this is too late for September 07! International School of Geneva has told me they may have a place for me and Haut-Lac has a place. A couple of others put me on their wait lists but I would say the sooner you apply the better and be prepared to be flexible on what you get. You can always change later.

Karen
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Old 19.04.2007, 21:55
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

Gary it all depends on the school and what year you are looking for. If your child is just starting school it is a good idea to put your name down about 2 years before. I know Haut-Lac have people putting there name down for Reception class at least 2 years before. If your child is coming into the school at a different year level it obviously can be a bit difficult finding a place.

Karen has been lucky to get a place at Haut Lac for Year 3. There must have just been an opening from a child leaving or something. I know a mom who has been waiting 2 years for a year 1 position already. It never hurts to put your name down at all the schools you fancy and then you have a good selection to choose from when it is time to decide. There is no fee to put your name down, you only pay once you accept a position.

Last edited by wannabe+; 19.04.2007 at 21:56. Reason: improve response
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Old 22.04.2007, 17:37
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Re: Help with schools! [Geneva]

Hi all,

We are moving to Geneva this summer. My husband's office will be in Geneva. We have three boys, ages 10 1/2, 8 1/2 and 4 1/2. They currently attend a Montessori school in Houston, Texas. They are all good athletes and love sports, so extra-curricular activities are important. We have been accepted to College du Leman and are awaiting word from the International School of Geneva. Can anyone provide information about these two schools? Also, any thoughts regarding living in Geneva as opposed to Versoix, Nyon, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 14.05.2007, 21:28
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Help with school selection round Geneva

Hi Folks,,

We are moving to Geneva or Lausanne in Aug and unsure which school to choose for our twin daughters who are 6 who are English speaking -though we are keen they learn french quickly. We have looked at the Mosaic school, IIL and the Haut Lac school in Vevey. We are not keen on the very expensive international ones and ones that are very large. Can anyone give me any insights good or bad into any of the above 3 schools? I know 2 are bilingual and the other teaches some french.

Also any opinions on where to live. We are likely to be working in Geneva but wondering whether it'd be cheaper to live further out nearer Lausanne. We want to rent a house/villa initially and not an apartment.

Thanks, Ali
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Old 14.05.2007, 21:44
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Re: Help with school selection round Geneva

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Hi Folks,,

Also any opinions on where to live. We are likely to be working in Geneva but wondering whether it'd be cheaper to live further out nearer Lausanne. We want to rent a house/villa initially and not an apartment.

Thanks, Ali
Very difficult to be giving opinions on where to live without knowing what sort lifestyle you prefer.

One thing is for sure - going for a villa it is not going to be cheaper than an appartment either downtown or on the outskirts.

Second, living in the boonies between Geneva and Lausanne - plenty of very picturesque villages and hamlets in which there are a grand total of zero things happening.

In general you find out where you work first, and starting from there you try to choose your dwelling depending on how much time you want to spend commuting (considering commuting can get tricky depending on which bank of the river you work in Geneva for instance), budget and preferential lifestyle.
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