Moving to Freiburg

Family life and schooling advice needed.


Mary Lou
Hi, I would really appreciate some feedback as to the schooling options for our 2 non-German speaking children when we move to Freiburg. The children are 13 and 8 so it'll be tough to just throw them into a German speaking school. It would be great to have them speaking German eventually though. We really cannot afford to pay private either so what would our options be? Many thanks.
rhythmo
Hi Mary Lou,

Thanks for your help (caravans) on my other post. i'd like to help you, too, but don't yet have much info of value to give you. I know there is a Montessori school there but don't know much about it. I also know from my sister, who was a grammer school librarian, that kids who don't speak the local language are generally quite fluent after about 6 months, so if you can't find an international school maybe you can get them some tutoring until they get up to speed. Also, start with German lessons for them now so they are not coming in cold. Maybe they have a GSL (German as a second language) program in the schools.
Good luck!
chinookmama
Hi there

For the 8 years old it should be no plm at all they pick up quite fast.

There is an International School in Hinterzarten not too far from Freiburg. They speak English and German.

The Angel Montessori School says they plan to have Bilingual classes. Both are private.

However kids are all learning English more and more and English is one of the main languages taught in the school especially in the higher grades.

There are also programs with adults mentoring to help Non native speakers children to learn the language.

If you need more tips email me at sled2009 at gmail.com

Steph
flusteredma
Hi Mary Lou...

any joy with finding schools in Freiburg??? Our children are exactly same age 13 going on 14 and (boy) and girl just gone eight!!! We are considering the prospect of work in basel but living in Freiburg...as I know it quite well..have some contacts there...and would love to live there. Of course the only real drawback is schooling!!!
It would be great if you could get back to me and let me know how you are getting on???? Thanks
Momtron
Hello, I am also interested in this topic as we will be moving to Freiburg in June of 2012 with children who will be 8 and 11. Does anyone know of International schools, primary and secondary, in this area who charge little to no tuition and are not religious schools? My husband is a German citizen and we are trying to learn German as much as possible, but are far from fluent.
Marc S
The private school that was mentioned in Hinterzarten is Birklehof. I worked there for a bit and there are scholarships available. It is an international school and both English and German is taught and spoken there. A great place but it can be pricey. As far as you children learning German, they should pick it up quick. My friends Eric and Claire moved to Breitnau (next to Hinterzarten) with their daughters (then 8 and 4) and the girls picked it up VERY quickly with minimal help from a tutor. The primary school there starts teaching English in the 3rd grade so it should be similar in Freiburg. Kids always learn faster than we adults. Sorry I can't help you with any more info than that. Good luck with your move, you will LOVE that area.
Eva27
As the topic is 'Moving to Freiburg' I would really appreciate some more information about this, as I read, beautiful town. For example, what are the average costs of living? We are three-members family. Five years old kid, husband and I - students. So, everything about social life, learning language for kids, system of social security, vorschulen,renting - is important to hear from someone who lives there.

Thanks in advance!
P.S. We will move to Freiburg very soon, this summer, and this site is my only opportunity to learn more about it.
TravellerHH
Hi Eva-

I see that you are in Munich right now so you should be pretty familiar with Germany in general. We moved from Munich a couple of months back and generally speaking, Freiburg is not cheap but cheaper than Munich re living expenses and for example groceries. We made a trip from Munich over here at the time and checked out the different areas - maybe that's something you should be doing as well? Freiburg is fairly small and you can easily see most of the city over a weekend.

T.
kenlive
Hi Eva,
I have lived in Freiburg for 14 years. It is indeed a beautiful city. I can't help you with advice about schools, but I can give hints about finding accommodation. The district Vauban is worth checking out, if you have children. I have posted elsewhere on TT about this. I paid about 11 to 12 Euros per sq. metre per month warm for my two most recent flats.

Good luck!
JHZZ
We are also moving to Freiburg in Jan. 2012 but will only be there for 6 months. Our daughters are currently in 5th and 2nd grades. Can you give us any help about what kind of support schools give to non-German speaking students? Are there any schools in Freiburg that are bilingual German/English? Is it worth it to throw them into a German school for such a short time? My back up plan was to homeschool them as I am a teacher, but now we have discovered that homeschooling is illegal. Any advice would be appreciated.
osmachar
I grew up in Freiburg and went to Karlschule Primary which had "internaltional classes" for children with no German. But that was 1981-1985. So best to check with the school itself. My secondary school was the Goethe-Gymnasium and I had a good time there, but again 1985-1994.

Housing is quite dear to rent and buy, but again depending where you want to be.

Freiburg is a lovely place (still miss it!!) and even if you live a wee bit further out the public transport is good and it's also small enough to cycle everywhere.
raf
We are also moving to Freiburg in Jan. 2012 but will only be there for 6 months. Our daughters are currently in 5th and 2nd grades. Can you give us any help about what kind of support schools give to non-German speaking students? Are there any schools in Freiburg that are bilingual German/English? Is it worth it to throw them into a German school for such a short time? My back up plan was to homeschool them as I am a teacher, but now we have discovered that homeschooling is illegal. Any advice would be appreciated.
We are in Freiburg right now with our kids (ages 9 and 12, in grades 4 and 7 respectively) and we like it very much. One thing we discovered is that because of the location, much of the second-language training here concentrates on French. While this is good for our kids (we're Canadian, but don't speak much French), it makes it a bit harder if your kids don't speak German yet. Our older daughter has ended up in a French-German class, which is OK as she likes a challenge. Our younger daughter's Grundschule does a little bit of French and a little bit of English. (Our kids are not native German speakers but have been attending a bilingual German/english school in Canada, plus we spent a year in Germany a little while back, so they did not come in starting from scratch.)

The Kepler-Gymnasium offers bilingual German-English, but it's only 6 hours per week and that's ON TOP of the regular lessons. Their website is here: http://www.kepler.fr.bw.schule.de/joom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=75&Itemid=70

I haven't been able to find any info about Grundschulen that offer bilingual English.

While the teachers at our kids' schools have been generally helpful and interested in their progress, it is a more hands-off system than in North America. We haven't been offered -- nor have we requested -- extra help. Although my younger daughter's teacher did set up a couple of extra sessions to talk 1-on-1 with her to make sure she was understanding things because my daughter didn't say much in her first couple of weeks at school. She also made sure we as parents knew how the math program was set up, etc. and we found that quite helpful. This is at the Paul-Hindemith-Grundschule in the Mooswald area - it has a combined-classes system that has also worked well for our daughter as she is in with grade 3s and 4s so she can tune in to what the grade 3s are doing in case she hadn't covered that already.

Another part of the issue in Freiburg is school location vs. where you live. I don't know exactly how the schools choose who gets to attend, but it is certainly an easier life experience to have the kids go to school in your own neighbourhood. So if you have accommodations already lined up, start with the schools in that area. Letting your kids walk to school is one of the best parts about being here! In my book, the hassle of arranging transport would far outweigh the potential improvement of one school over another. And since accommodation seems to be harder to find here than schools, that might be your starting point.

So generally, we have had and expect to continue to have a positive experience with school here. Much depends on your kids - how they handle new experiences, how good they are at languages, etc. As many have noted, kids do pick up the language quite quickly. In 6 months they'll generally have a good accent and be able to get along pretty well - more so than many adults in that time period. We've definitely found the overall experience of living overseas to be excellent, and well worth the minor educational disruption of moving in and out of schools.

Good luck and sorry for the verbosity.
chalcedonia
There are two international schools in Kandern if you'd be willing to drive and are okay with them being Christian schools. There is Christliche Schule Kandern for grades 1 - 2 that is bilingual (English-German) http://www.fesloe.de/fes/folder/157 and Black Forest Academy (in English) for grade 3 - 12 http://bfacademy.com/about/ .
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