Moving to Brussels with twins teen boys

(14 Posts)
middleagemovingmun Wed 06-Mar-13 17:11:43

Hi.

I am planning a moving to Brussels with my twins teen boys( 16y). Very scared decision, even more because I like London, but not have with the lifestyle for teen in London. They are both very outgoing and i am finding hard keep then focus on school. I am thinking about the Dilbeek and Sint-Pieters Leeuw area. Anybody to help about school options. I really don't thing I can consider the international, private one. More like the french system ( happy for boys to commute). Any opinion about the move itself?????Will they be able to integrate well?? They don't speak the language, so all is very scared. I love Brussels, been there many times, have some friends( without kids), but don't know if will works with teens at that age.

Phosphene Wed 06-Mar-13 18:19:34

I think it is very tricky if they don't speak the language at all. Why do you move to Brussels? I lived in Uccle and most children round there went to the British School or the European Schools. Can give more infos if you want.

aliasPrickleandJones Wed 06-Mar-13 18:27:53

I lived there a good while ago before and just after I had my dc (who is 14 now, so gives you the timeframe!).

It's a much, much smaller town than London so feels quite cosy but also can feel claustrophobic after the vibrancy of London.

Most of the expats speak English but I think would be difficult without some knowledge of Flemish or French as the locals tend not to (unless to their advantage!). I also think 16 is rather old to be transfering to a completely new place and language. I moved to the UK when I was 7 and picked up English quickly without any extra tuition and now speak it as my first language. I think at 16, your first language is very much settled.

Will you be working there? There is a very strong expat community, not just the Commission but also many European HQ of large companies. This community is marmite - you may love it or feel excluded.

Most important of all, what does your boys think?

middleagemovingmun Wed 06-Mar-13 20:09:55

Hi Phosphene/ alias prickleandJones

I know is very trick, but the main reason is really the London lifestyle. I am really scared with the boys out at night, as we had already 3 situations where they were robbed and in one , a broken bottle was used it. We live in a nice area in London, but here is council place everywhere and basically dangerous for teens. I have a sister living in Brussels and although she is childless she speaks the language and I can count with her. The plan is for me to go with the kids first , see if works for then and my husband ( he is French, then more familiar with the belgians lifestyle) will follow us.

aliasPrickleandJones about the boys: there aren't happy at all. They have many friends in London and know Brussels well, having staying with my sister many times. They find it really boring, but of course, they just stay with her and don't know anybody their age. They aren't very academically. Both are doing College, Btec courses. one in Applied Science and the other Midia. I am sure they will falls back at school for a while. But I am more interest in a calm and more family oriented life. Hope I am thinking right.
We move to the Uk when they were 7y, they they have some experience about learning another language ( our first language is portuguese).
I don't think we will able to pay for the private school( search prices at net) and will try the public one first. Don't know either if we still have time for applying for september 2013?
Any schools name where I can find some help with the language. In the Uk they had same help at the beginning and pick up very quickly.
Are there anything similar with the Colleges in UK regarding vocational courses, like Btec?
Thanks so much for your opinions , but I am so worried with the violence here, that I really think works to try it.

Portofino Wed 06-Mar-13 20:18:40

We need Natation here as she is the schools expert for Brussels. My take on it is is that it is a totally mad idea. 16 is a ridiculous age to move children to a country where they don't speak the language.

Portofino Wed 06-Mar-13 20:20:18

Sought after schools will have done their enrolments already. The British school of Brussels costs about 25k a year if your employer is not paying.

aliasPrickleandJones Wed 06-Mar-13 20:51:53

I've got a teenager and we live in London so can understand how you feel about possible dangers that they face living here.

However, for most teenagers who are reasonably sensible (eg not walk in dark places on their own, hand over phones straight away if they are mugged), I think the danger can be less than you think.

I would really worry plucking them out of their world in London and plonking them in Brussels. It could cause serious tensions within your family!

Also Brussels, although smaller than London is still an urban area with places that are not that 'safe'. Going out where they don't understand the language could put them in even greater danger as they won't be able to make judgements about what is going on.

Finally, there is a great difference between living and visiting somewhere, no matter how often. My advice is that if you do decide to move, you need to decide to move for good. Otherwise you and your family will never feel rooted there.

In your place, I would find courses/youth clubs/self defence lessons that your dss could go to to teach them about how to avoid conflict and how to get out of a tricky situation and stay in London.

Good luck!

Phosphene Wed 06-Mar-13 21:05:31

You want to move out of Londn because you think it is safer to live in Brussels? Think again. I lived in Brussels for quite a bit and I personally would not want to raise my children there. I say that as somebody who lived in a very safe area (Uccle).

I personally would not move. Schools are different in Brussels and it won't be easy to adapt into a new school system. I would go much more into details but I am on my iPad and really tired.

basildonbond Wed 06-Mar-13 21:42:11

Sorry but it sounds like a completely bonkers idea!! And one which is pretty much guaranteed to cause you much more worry and upset than staying in London

Moving at 7 is completely different from moving against your will at 16

You can't take two teenagers out of college half way through their BTECs/studies and expect them to pick up in an another country, that would be silly and rather cruel for them. I understand the worry about London, I live here and have 18 yo dd, most youngsters are streetwise and know which areas to stay away from, but it's harder for us as parents, our imaginations wander when their out, which has caused me some grey hairs. I think rather than make a rash move maybe talk to your dcs about your concerns, when dd out, I know where she is, who's she's with, how's she getting home etc and we communicate throughout the eve by text.

Copthallresident Thu 07-Mar-13 00:13:08

I have been an expat and have friends who have moved teens between international schools, and moved pre teens into local French schools. Both are hard. Fitting in and not being different are so important to teenagers, my family moved back here when DD was 11 and we all desperately miss where we lived and our friends there, yet when we had a chance to go back when DD was a teen she didn't want to go, it had been so difficult fitting in here that she could not face having to adjust to the yet another set of norms that would have developed amongst her old friends, what to wear, music etc. etc. And that would have been in an International School. I know from friends moving younger children that moving into the French speaking system is very hard, very rigid syllabus, little pastoral care or support, and teenagers are much less adaptable than younger children. I really think that try and do the two together and you are asking too much, and you risk entirely alienating them. I do know expats who have ended up with fractured relationships with their teens with far more necessary and humane moves.

I sympathise with your worries, I share them but have you talked to them about it, negotiated some new rules for where they go, what they do, how they do it that will keep them safer, and about schoolwork. I am the "world's strictest mother" apparently but we have just had to agree between us a set of rules for their social lives that we all could live with. I know agreeing boundaries with teens, especially boys is hard but upping sticks and forcing them into French system schools is a horrible threat that is probably best to use as a way of making life bearable for you here.

slipshodsibyl Thu 07-Mar-13 10:07:28

We too are expat. There is literature available about moving children but most of us do not do it without what we perceive to be good reason and planning. It doesn't sound to me as if the benefits are going to outweigh the negatives for you. If they find Brussels boring they will hate you for moving them. They will not focus more on their work though I do understand your security concerns.

Please don't underestimate the difficulties of moving teenagers. My husband's employer arranged a talk by a psychologist about the esperiences of expatriate teenagers. She had several well-adjusted and successful young people on stage talking about their experiences of moving as adolescents. There were a lot of watery eyes in the audience.

Bonsoir Thu 07-Mar-13 12:17:42

You just cannot put your 16 year old boys in a French-speaking school unless they are geniuses.

middleagemovingmun Thu 07-Mar-13 21:47:07

Oh my God. I am soooo happy I did this post. I completely could see everybody points. You are all talking by experience, and is EVERYBODY saying the same thing. And you are right.My boys are not geniuses ( unfortunately) then I can see I really have few changes to succeed . Maybe my husband is been a bit egoist to think we could make it work, because he is very keen to go, but this has been putting me completely off. Really scared.Thanks so much for everybody input

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