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International schools in Zurich and Zug

(15 Posts)
loosfriend Tue 08-Feb-11 18:42:47

Anyone know advantages/disadvantages of either schools? Whole family is due to move at end April this year with dh's new company. We want to live in Zug (tax reasons) but Zurich international school looks better for music (band and orchestra) and sports (softball in high school). Also, is it major disadvantage to live 30 minutes away from the kids' school from social point of view? 1 dd is 15 this month, other dd is nearly 13.

LIZS Tue 08-Feb-11 21:30:27

30 min is a fair distance but would n't be that unusual. Where were you considering living ? tbh the tax advantage is not that great as accommodation costs and travelling tends to even things out. We left the area 5 years ago and have heard since that the international schools are oversubscribed, depsite expansion, with waiting lists so you may not have too much choice. ISZL(was ISOZ) used to stop at aged about 12/13 and many would transfer to ZIS rather than Riverside. However it is a fair trek from Zug to Kilchberg/Adliswil by road (and no direct train iirc and middle/high school sites are a good walk from the station )Kids tend to be very independent by that age, although there may be school buses. Zurich is certainly livelier than Zug for them to go out too.

loosfriend Wed 09-Feb-11 12:51:14

Thanks LIZS, sounds like a nightmare situation with schools - reminds me of England! Situation can only get worse if more companies relocate to that area, which is what's happening, isn't it? Just heard that both schools have space for younger one (by August at least) but not for older one. What do we do if no place for her by the time we get out there at end of April? Also, would we be going with traffic driving from Zug to Zurich or against at school run times?

LIZS Wed 09-Feb-11 14:20:50

Sounds tricky. Traffic isn't really an issue tbh, more would go towards ZH in the mornings but businesses start early so the commute (such as it is) is fairly well staggered. Zurich itself is a nightmare throughout the day ! I think you'd be unusual driving kids that age to school though, check there isn't a school bus route nearby. HE rules are very restrictive so you'd possibly have to go for a local option. There was a private bilingual shcool in Horgen(TAZ?) but it was still newish when we left, with mixed reviews, and may not have gone up to your dd's age. English is being taught in Zurich canton schools now and they should provide extra High German for an auslander(not sure about Zug). You'd need to check with whichever Gemeide(town council) of where you live but I'm not sure you can arrange much until you have an address.

giddybiddy Wed 09-Feb-11 18:06:09

I have kids currently at ISZL and I think there are pros and cons of both schools. Can't work out what grades your kids would be going into but the High School in Zug is the other side of Zug from the Middle School so you would need to bear that in mind if you went that route. Also, there is
no direct train route, nor school buses to the High School, only public buses. I know one family who commute from Zurich out to Zug High School and find it really hard socially as most kids live more locally, but have no experience of the other way around.
If you prefer ZIS then why don't you ask them what their school bus routes are from Canton Zug as you could maybe live on the side nearest to Zurich and still benefit from the tax but just not be quite so far away? Also, if the ZIS buses run somewhere you know there are other children attending the school from that area. Re places, the schools haven't sent out their re-enrollment forms yet so I wouldn't panic about there not being a space just yet...

kreecherlivesupstairs Thu 10-Feb-11 10:27:42

FWIW, children are much more independant in Switzerland. They will be sorting their own transport out for social occasions.
our DD was thrilled to find out that she could legally drive and own a moffa from 14.
Luckily we moved when she was just over 9.

loosfriend Thu 10-Feb-11 14:47:03

As I've just found out there currently are no places available for either of my dds in both schools to start in May, I'm wondering whether to let dh go out first (in May) then my dds and I wait until August to go out in the hope that by then places will become available. Even though re-enrollmen forms aren't out yet, I'm told that parents don't inform schools of their child/ren leaving the school until nearer the end of the school year which means we won't know of potential places starting August until June. Is this right?
I shall contact ZIS to find out what bussing they have available.
I'm relieved to hear that teenagers are more independent in Switzerland. Here in the States, or at least where we live, it's typical for teenagers to be driven to their social gatherings by parents. It's a pain in.....

LIZS Thu 10-Feb-11 15:49:48

iirc we were asked our intent at about this time of year, which wasnlt bindign but gave theman idea for plannign ahead. The problem is that most families are subsidised by companies so aren't under financial pressure to give notice yet and often won't until after Easter. International School breaks up mid June anyway, so you get a turnover in July/August. Have you joined any online expat forums as you may find out more anecdotally and find other families with similar aged children?

loosfriend Thu 10-Feb-11 17:01:38

Yes, thanks for the suggestion LIZS, I've just joined the yahoo group Expats in Zug. It looks like we have to sit it out for August start date though.
I'm told that many international school kids leave the area over summer. Makes sense I guess, so apart from sightseeing with me over the summer(whilst dh works), are we likely to be able to meet up with similar aged kids and mums so my dds can enjoy the couple of months before starting school?

kreecherlivesupstairs Fri 11-Feb-11 03:50:00

Have a look at englishforum.ch too - it can be a bit childish sometimes, but it is a good source of info.

loosfriend Mon 28-Feb-11 18:38:06

Did this. You're dead right. Very useful information gathering website although a nice cup of tea and biscuits is also recommended as there's a lot to read through!
Anyone have dc at the IBA school in Zug? I'm told it's a state school for children minimum age 14 y.o which provides intensive German learning classes for those kids whose native language isn't German. However, I'd be concerned about the other curriculum subjects. Can anyone confirm this is not a good idea for my 15 y.o? or maybe would allowances be made for non-fluent German speakers. I would only really consider IBA school as it would help in learning German quickly by full immersion.

Waedigirl Tue 01-Mar-11 22:08:09

Apparently InternationalSchool of Winterthur has places currently. Don't know whether you are restricted to Zug side of Zurich?

loosfriend Tue 22-Mar-11 11:16:32

Fantastic news! We have been offered places for both girls at ISZL. What a relief. But I do feel for those families who didn't manage to get in. We were also told that ZIS couldn't offer us places. No matter as ISZL was our first choice. Seems more demand than supply this year.

Camarillomom Tue 31-May-11 08:14:25

We, too, are moving to Zug this summer (2011). Out of curiousity, why was ISZL your "first choice." Our 3 girls (ages 15, 14 and 11) have been offered spaces but we haven't travelled to see the school yet. What are your impressions of both ISZL and ZIS?

loosfriend Tue 07-Jun-11 19:20:01

Sorry for the late reply. Been to UK for a wedding. We have only seen ISZL. However, from the very helpful first phone call I had with Admissions there through to the meeting with different members of staff, I can safely say that we're confident the girls are going to the right school. We didn't actually have a choice between the 2 schools. We were so far down the waiting list for ZIS that we didn't go to see it even. This, together with my initial phone call to their Admissions department, made me not want to try further. At the time, we had so many things to sort and decisions to make, that settling on ISZL was relatively easy. Most importantly, ISZL were willing to try to accommodate my older daughter's educational needs(not special needs). The first response from ZIS is that there are no exceptions made. However, if you are considering ZIS,please do not use us as a yardstick. My older daughter played in a tennis tournament recently in which ZIS took part. They do have a strong tennis team and did very well at the tournament without sending their best players. I don't really know much about ISZL's sporting prowess. My younger daughter played travel softball in the States and is looking forward to playing the sport at ISZL in 8th grade; however, that will be the last chance to play as it doesn't continue into high school.
Where are you coming from, Camarillomom? We are Brits but came from New Jersey, USA in April.

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