Contemplating a year abroad.(16 Posts)
I'm considering moving my daughter and myself to a European country as I would love for her and myself to immerse ourselves into an environment to learn the language for at least a year. My daughter is 8 at the moment in year 4 - yes quite advanced- so would like to know from anyone's experience the best place to live and interact in Europe. I've been interested in Germany, Spain, Italy, France, or any other country really. It would also be great if I could get possible recommendations for schools and how their system accommodates an 8 year old starting year 5 in September- possibly bilingual. I've been mulling over this for a while as you can tell and have very much a scattered brain. All pieces of advice are welcome. If you have connections of accommodation that would also be welcome. Thanks so much.
I live in France and have holiday accommodation here. 3 years ago we had a family rent our gite for a year - the dad had lived here is a student and wanted to come back to give his son & wife a taste of it too. Their son was the same age as DS2 at the time (5/6) and went to school here with him, in the same class. I think he found it quite a challenge, the language and different culture, but did get used to it throughout the year. My advice would be to do some more research, maybe visit some of the places you are considering. I think you need to narrow it down a bit! Am happy to help with the French aspect if that appeals. Certainly here in France schools will not "accommodate an 8 year old" - the child fits in and adapts, there is not afaik, any provision to help with langauge etc, but you'd need to explain the situation to the schools you are considering...
I'm not sure with Brexit looming that I'd choose to this now in case it all gets quite messy regarding visas etc. That said we plan to take our abroad for a year.
Saltyshoes: We possess dual nationality of Dutch and British so Brexit not an issue.
Thanks Jenpetronus for your French insight. Would be great to contact for more information.
A year is a difficult period of time to choose. Our family moved on average every five years and. Y mother always said 'the first year doesn't count' toward knowing whether you like a place.
There are quite a few interesting blogs of families who have done a gap year or years but they mostly seem to home school and move to multiple countries
EIB Monceau, a school in central Paris, has a special language immersion programme that teaches DC French in a year in small classes. Cheap and very effective, in a beautiful setting.
Please don't be put off with the comment about visas, that is simply ridiculous, given the UK will not leave the EU until at least 2020!
I take it you have enough money to get you through a year of renting and other costs.
You definitely need to narrow your country choice down. How about choosing a language first, verify which countries speak it. It's just you mentioned Germany but 2 other countries in the EU have German as an official language - Austria and Belgium - plus Switzerland too.
Your only chance of a school "accommodating" an 8 year old without language skills is to look at the private sector which is not big in Europe. If you are looking at public education, you are best to choose a spot with a middle class multi-national community where the schools will be used to children coming and going and where there will be ample supplies of child interpreters for the rough period of initial immersion. I'm in Brussels, ideal for this aspect, terribly "boring" by reputation, but placed very well for travel during the holidays and even weekends to other countries, languages are Dutch and French.
PS given you are also Dutch, why not look at the public Dutch-English schools in the Netherlands? They do charge top-up fees despite being publicly funded, but offer programs for non Dutch speakers. The fees are small in comparison to the fees at international English schools in the Netherlands.
What about Luxembourg? It's beautiful and has a a very international population. Maybe you could get a place at the European school in the British section. Then she would have loads of exposure to French/German but still have a good chunk of school in English.
Before I read your comment onDutch nationality I was going to suggest Amsterdam. Lovely lovely place. We lived there 5 years. The kids went to the British School because we wanted them to remain in 'the system'. But sounds like you want to be more immersive. Basis scholen have a google.
We moved to Spain for a year 6 months ago and now talking about staying longer! we love it and wish we did it sooner. I volunteer for a charity 3 days a week and because of this made so many friends. There is always one thing or another going on every month normally involving fireworks, music and local food. We rent a 3 bedroom apartment, bills and food and drinks comes less then a bedsit where we were living in the UK. There are even cheaper places , I have seen a 3 bed apartment with plunge pool/roof terrace 450 euros a month and includes bills!!!! Local schools where we live are great.
Note there are 2 European schools in Luxembourg, though only Mamer I think accepts new applications and no idea the likelihood of a category 3 English place for a child aged 8 who I assume would be arriving with no French or German which potential classmates would have been taught in for the past 3/4 years. There is no British section, there is an English section. It would be quite a bubble life with attendance at European school. Given the complications of Luxembourg having 3 languages, not sure I'd go there as first choice.
I'd suggest trying a bigger city where schools are more used to international students. They are more likely to have a half decent provision for your daughter.
There are three schools using the European School curriculum in Luxembourg. The third school is operated by the Luxembourg state and is specifically destined for the children of foreign workers. It has an English section.
I spent three years in Italy and also attended a local Italian high school and I loved it ! I wanted to work for the UN as an interpreter and I found it talion really easy due to the fact that I grew up in Florida and already was able to speak proficient Spanish . If you needed to you could always tutor local students in English or do other small things .
I know plenty of families in southeast Asia who homeschool or send their children to a local international school . Somebody mentioned blocks above . Could I have the names of the blogs as I would be very interested in reading them ?
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