Welcome to another edition of Dear Frau. It’s kind of like Dear Abby, except with an international twist. Remember, if you’ve got a question about living in Switzerland or moving to Switzerland, don’t hesitate to contact The Frau. She’s not all knowing, but she likes to pretend to be.
We’re moving to Switzerland and I don’t know if I should put my kids in the local school system or at one of the international schools. What do you think? Thanks.
Is Calculus Better in English or German
Dear Is Calculus Better in English or German,
Baby M, The Frau’s Swiss-born American baby, is just that, a baby. The way she says “I do” also sounds a lot like “Achtung.” Therefore, it is still too early to tell what language she’ll prefer her algebraic equations in.
But The Frau has considered the school issue many times since M was born and also discussed the problem with many mothers of school-aged kids. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of the Swiss school options. And please leave a comment below, fellow yodelers, if you have experience with any of these or disagree in any way. A big merci vielmal to all in advance!
Swiss School Advantages:
Most likely close by/local
Swiss friends/less transient group of children
Swiss School Disadvantages:
English reading/writing skills will be lacking
Schedule (coming home for lunches/different starting and ending times depending on days of week, etc.)
May need to hire a Tagesmutter if both parents plan on working
If there is a Tageschule (day school) available, the cost is typically high (CHF 10,000)
Difficult to move to another country (or canton!) for the child after starting
Foreign parents may find it difficult to help their children with homework
International School Advantages:
Native English/International curriculum
Easy to change countries
International environment/mix with children from all around the globe
Higher comfort level for foreign parents
International School Disadvantages:
Cost (CHF 30,000 a year is typical—but look on the bright side, that’s how much an average full-time day care costs in Switzerland too...)
Assimilation (your child will stay in an expat bubble)
Local language learning (your child will miss out, although bi-lingual international schools are also an option in Switzerland)
Transient students AND teachers
May have to travel further to the school every day
Things to ask yourself when making a decision:
1. Are you going to be in Switzerland long-term or not?
2. Is your company paying for your child’s schooling?
3. How important is it to you that your children read and write in English to the level expected of a native speaker?
Anyone else want to chime in with their Swiss school experiences?