Moving home to Germany

(10 Posts)
Kayleigh100 Sun 31-Oct-10 09:22:55

Dear all,

I moved to the UK from Germany when I was 18 to start college, I ended up staying here (been here 8 years now). I have a job with the Council, my DD (4 years old) has just started school and life seems ok!

I now have the possibiliy of moving home which I never thought I could do! My parents still live in Germany in a little village which is where I would move back to (in my own house though!)

It is a big big decision to make as I would be leaving all my friends and the rest of the family again. BUT I have been home sick for a few years now, so think it would be a good idea to move back. I am bilingual, in german and english, but my DD doesn't speak German.

So my questions are, I would want to make sure my DD learns as much German as possible before we would move, which would most likely be in 2012 to incorpate DD starting school in Germany at the age of six. It would also give me enough time to sort finances etc out.

Has anyone done this before and could offer me any advice at all?

It is all quite scary but a definite option now.

Hope this makes sense and sorry for it being so long


OP’s posts: |
ZZZenAgain Sun 31-Oct-10 10:55:26

I haven't done it but why not if you have t he possibility and have been feeling homesick for quite some time? Maybe you just need to know atm where your place is - Gemany or an English speaking country.

Is there any possibility of moving a year earlier so dd could attend German kindergarten for a year to pick up German faster before she starts school? However, if that isn't realistic, your dd will have acquired some skills at school due to the earlier starting age which will mean that although she will struggle with the language of instruction at school in German, she will already have learnt to read and to do some maths so her first year in German school may not be too stressful. Either way primary should be ok. She is still very young and will no doubt adapt.

Is there a man to consider in this or will it be just you and dd? Reason I am asking is if it is a small village, might be good if your partner was learning German too now.

Kayleigh100 Sun 31-Oct-10 11:30:36

Hello, thank you for replying. I obviously have my parents over there and a small set of friends who speak english, as well as german friends.
I think moving a year earlier wouldn't be feasible as I need to sort finances out, and also I would need to move by July next year, which I don't think gives me or DD enough time to organise everything inlcuding her maybe having german lessons over here. I do believe she will pick it up quickly once she is over there.

No there isn't a partner, just me and DD )

OP’s posts: |
ZZZenAgain Sun 31-Oct-10 11:41:33

one less thing to worry about then Kayleigh!

It'll be quite different to the way it was living there 8 years ago in your parents home of course, you've changed, the place may have changed and you are a mum now so it'll be quite an adventure.

HOpe it works out, just prepare yourself as best as you can I suppose so you know what to expect/ feel you can tackle things as they come up. If you are alone with dd, it might make things easier on you to be near your parents.

diddl Mon 01-Nov-10 12:06:30

When are you thinking of moving?

Wouldn´t she be able to go to Kindergarten for long enough to pick up good enough German for school?

We left UK just before our oldest was 4, mainly so that he wouldn´t have to start school so young!

Kayleigh100 Tue 02-Nov-10 07:50:30


I am thinking about next year between July - December which gives me enough time to sort house out, sell etc. I also have a dog which I need to get a passport for, so a lot to organise ( It is all very very scary!

Where did you move to if I may ask?


OP’s posts: |
diddl Tue 02-Nov-10 08:00:13

We´re near Hamburg.


MotherMountainGoat Tue 02-Nov-10 08:39:51

It doesn't apply to our family directly because the DC were born in Germany and have grown up as bilinguals, but we know a lot of families at their school who have moved back, or over here for the first time, when their kids were about that age.

The degree to which the kids have settled in well at school varies enormously. I imagine it's dependent on a number of factors:

- Is the child happy about the move and willing to take on this 'new' culture? I imagine in your case your DD will find that easier because you are German yourself. However, I do know of one family at the moment who moved back when the DD was 6 (both parents German) and the girl has found it incredibly difficult to leave her old life, even though she speaks great German. She's doing well academically though.

- Will DD be one of the older or younger ones in the school year? Makes a huge difference. All three of the kids from DD2's class who are repeating last year are the youngest of the compulsory intake. You also need to double-check that the dates for entry have not changed in the last decade in your Bundesland. They've been brought forward several times in Berlin and now there are kids of 5.8 being eingeschult.

- Natural academic aptitude. There's one family where they came to Germany when the youngest was 6 and the eldest 9, neither speaking German. It's been the elder girl who has coped best with the language and at school, surprisingly.

The transition for these families was made easier because it's an international school where only half the subjects are taught in German, and all the teachers are aware of the difficulties that bilingual families go through. Monolingual teachers in a village primary might have less awareness of this.

How does your DD talk to her grandparents if she doesn't speak German? Just out of interest, why did you decide not to speak German to your DD? One parent one language etc? Is it too late to start now?

Other things to get your DD used to German before you move:

- There are a number of German Samstagsschulen in Britain, held once a month. Maybe you could join your local school.

- There's a kids' radio station based in Berlin called Radio Teddy. it's available on the Astra satellite or online as well.

- Perhaps your parents could record some programmes from KiKa and send them to you. Some of the programmes are also streamed on the KiKa website - DD2 loves PurPlus and Wissen Macht Ah!, but they might be a bit old for your DD.

- If you can't move to Germany early enough to put her in Kita before school starts, maybe she could go to your parents for a few weeks' holiday. Ideally she could join some sort of holiday club to talk to other children - maybe a riding holiday or circus project. The main thing is that she learns she has to talk German to communicate to family and friends, BEFORE the pressure of school starts.

Viel Erfolg damit!

MmeLindt Tue 02-Nov-10 12:44:02

If you are going to do it, then I would try and do it as soon as possible, even if it feels rushed. We moved down to Geneva from Germany with just a few months notice. It is stressful but possible.

If your DD has the chance of a year at kindergarten before going into school, it will make the transition much easier.

My DC were 4yo and 6yo when we moved to French speaking Switzerland. DS was 4yo and found learning French much easier and had less stress with actual school work than DD.

As to learning German, start chatting a bit in German to her, translating to begin with then not translating. Does she speak German with her parents? If so, could your parents come over to stay, or send DD for a long holiday there to get some intensive German practice.

DVDs are good for learning German.

poppydopolous Fri 05-Nov-10 13:55:59

I think it depends on the school system in the area you will be going to. We looked at a move to the German school system for our 11 year old son who spoke German but had been educated in English. We were advised that, although he was bright academically, he would probably fail his first year in a Gymnasium because his written German would not be good enough - and that no allowance would be made for his background. They advised us that if he scored very high marks in English (sitting in the English class and following the same classes as non native speakers !)and maths these might balance out a low mark in German but that the liklihood was that he would have to move to a Realschule or a Hauptschule after one year. These schools,in the area we were looking at, all had a high proportion of non native German speakers and more than their fair share of social problems. We were actuallz a bit shocked by this ...but all the schools gave us the same message. I guess it is not the same in areas with comprehensive schools. In the end we stuck with international schools.

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