Relocation to Frankfurt kids 16+ and 15+

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Relocating to frankfurt from uk with husband's job. we have 2 very bright kids currently 15 (girl) and 16 (boy). we will have to move separately, son and father this year after his GCSEs and me and daughter next summer after her GCSEs, so they will start their int Baccs in September this year and next year.

 

There seems to be a few International Schools to choose from. Is FIS the best for this 16+ age group? If not what are the other options? (they don't speak German yet)

 

Also, if we send them to FIS, is Oberursel the best place to live so they can make friends quickly and be independent enough not to need lifts everywhere?

 

Does anyone have any experience of moving this age group? Most of the posts seem to be about younger children. We lived in Paris when the kids were kindergarten age and it was hard. Am I mad? What do 40+mothers do who speak o-level german badly? Is there an expat community of mums that do coffee and lunch? I am mad aren't I!

 

Also Is there an equivalent of rightmove.com?

 

any help gratefully received before panic sets in!

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I've PM'd you some more info, but yes I'd say FIS is the strongest option. Only other true english speaking options are ISF in Sindlingen or Strothoff in Dreieich.

 

If you go for FIS stay in Oberursel, Bad Homburg, Koenigstein, Kronberg, Bad Soden etc and near to public transport for teenage social lives!

 

Lots of other mums/wives in your situation, join the British Club of the Taunus and meet some nice people to get you started socially, I met lots of people through it last time I was in Frankfurt area, though it may be quieter now with fewer expats around.

 

No you are not mad, as long as you like a challenge and are up for new experiences!

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ISF might be more compatible with the British school system. I know families who actually have children in both FIS and ISF as they didn't get places for all children in one school and are happy with both schools although each school is very different.

 

Strothoff is a newish school. I am not sure in the higher grades what the student mix is like.

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Just thought of one more you can try, although they might have no space either but no harm in asking! It's the ECB school in Frnakfurt. If you put in European School Frankfurt there page comes up. They have an English section for English native speakers. Children from non-ECB employees can also if there is space, and of course you have to pay for it unlike the ECB employees! The English section is normally pretty full but who knows?

 

Oh and try not to panic you would be suprised how many places will become free in the next couple of months. Families move away unexpectedly, or have a place in 2 schools and of course at some point they have to decide, etc.

 

And you are not mad! Frankfurt is a friendly place for English speaking ex-pats, much better than the average German city. There are lots of English native speakers here. As Scattycat said join the British Women's Club of the Taunus, (or the American Women's Club of the Taunus - a good British friend of mine joined it as she said it had more activites?) In fact look at both their website now, and see what they offer they can offer lots of help with schools etc too. They have an internet forum and lots of activities organised etc.

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Can't believe I forgot that one! They also have a new site opened in Bad Vilbel:

 

Europäische Schule RheinMain GmbH

Theodor-Heuss-Str. 53-63 E/F

61118 Bad Vilbel

Germany

 

Tel.: +49 (6101) 528 411

Fax: +49 (6101) 528 410

E-Mail: info@es-rm.eu

Website: www.es-rm.eu

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Scattycat made good suggestions for locations to stay. All of those places are basically in the Taunus area, which is the hills behind Frankfurt. Technically, it's outside of Frankfurt, but in reality they are suburbs of the city. And possibly Frankfurt's most pleasant "suburbs" as well, what being near or in the forested hills overlooking the city.

 

Generally speaking, they are quite dear places to live though, which is what you would expect for the most pleasant suburbs that surround Frankfurt. Oberursel is possibly the cheapest of the ones Scattycat mentioned. But that doesn't mean it is bad.

 

These places do have rather limited public transport though. Most have at least an S-bahn to Frankfurt, which is sort of like the RER if thinking Paris Transport, i.e. like a metro/subway but for further out suburbs and so less stops and faster trains. But if you don't live close to one of these stations, there could be rather slower multi-connections including buses. That all said, it certainly isn't impossible here for kids of the age mentioned to get around.

 

One thing I will add is considering the age of your kids, it may be a good idea to ensure you have UK TV. German TV is, well, rather lame. And that is after you master the language. I know few German's that can get back to German television once they have experienced UK TV. The good in Frankfurt is that it is really cheap and easy to watch UK TV. Either bring your own Sat receiver from the UK, get a FreeSat receiver before you leave, or buy a cheap one here and rent a place where you can either install your own dish, add an extra LNB on the existing one, or move the existing one. There are some pretty clued up people here who know how to set this up, but if you take this into account when choosing an apartment, it could mean the difference between kids that after 3months desperately want to go home, or ones that enjoy living here ;O)

 

It is possible via a VPN service (monthly cost) to watch UK TV on computers or through other internet devices, but it is so far no where near as sofa friendly as via a good old fashioned satellite setup.

 

There are a few other English options in Frankfurt as well. The Metropolis (when it is not closed for breaching fire regulations) is a multiplex cinema in the city that offers a few English language blockbusters. You will also find the odd arthouse cinema that plays less known (and generally better in my opinion) English films.

 

A couple of book shops here also have English sections, so you don't have to rely on Amazon.co.uk, but that said, it is pretty easy to still get things delivered from Britain.

 

Food is about the only problem, and regardless of what you think, most people do soon start to miss some of their favourite foods from back home. Thankfully, the supermarkets have started selling more British foods, though it is still very limited. Good, aged Cheddar cheese is thankfully found in many German supermarkets now, as are a couple of UK brand crisps, and some UK Jams. But for the real stuff there is a small, but wonderfully friendly store in the city called A Taste of Britain, which packs quite a surprising amount of English foods into their shop. There is also an English market stand that does the rounds as well.

 

Frankfurt and the surrounding metropolitan area known as the Rhein Main, once had the largest number of native English speakers of any city in Europe outside of the UK and Ireland (In 1999 there were well over 200,000 and that didn't include military or those working for the government) But I suspect it may be less now. Still, it is a fair number, so you will not be surprised to constantly bump into other English speakers. Most Germans in this region also speak English, and pretty much all of the younger ones. They are also in general pretty tolerant of English speakers who struggle with their language. One place where that will not be the case is in government agencies, which you will have to deal with. For some reason, these places only hire non English speakers who are surly and have no heart beat. It may be prudent to take along a German speaking friend.

 

As for German, I would suggest you try to learn once you are here. Some people can pick up the language easily, for others it is hard. But what better opportunity will you have to learn another language like actually living in that country. See it as a challenge, and how fantastic it will be when you get back to English when you can start shouting at someone in German when they piss you off. Screaming just sounds so much better in German, and can really freak out that person who jumped in on your line in Tesco's.

 

And don't be afraid to ask questions on these here forums. Most people here just love to help out.

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Hello ansel. I myself just went through this same situation. We are a family from the US (Michigan) that just moved to the area. My daughter who is 16 is remaining in the US with my husbands parents so she can finish high school and then she will move here. My son is 12.

 

We looked at FIS in Oberursel first but ended up loving the town of Bad Soden so much and chose to send our son to ISF in Sindlingen. The school is great! The children take a placement test prior to enrolling in order to find out if they are strong/weak in any areas. They also do weekly testing to make sure the students are right where they need to be.

 

My son walks to the bus/bahnhof station from where we live,(very close <4 minutes). We found Bad Soden to be perfect for us. There is plenty around and all within walking. We feel it is bigger than many of the "sleepy", smaller towns but not so busy and congested like Frankfurt. The S-bahn from Bad Soden takes you directly into Frankfurt (to the main shopping/restaurant area) for an added convenience.

 

We are also 40+ and believe me when I say, I understand your frustration ALL TOO WELL. We have only been here a little more than a month but everything is working out just fine. We do not speak German, but will be taking lessons.

 

If you have any other questions, definetly feel free to ask.

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Hello, so glad to find this posting. We are relocating to Frankfurt with my husband's job also; he moved in November 2011 and I have been travelling back and forth from Vancouver, Canada on a monthly basis since. My son (previous marriage) who is 16 years old, wanted to finish his Grade 10 year in Vancouver; he is not keen on moving to Germany and (unfortunately) has the option of staying with his father.

 

I have been to FIS in Oberusel and my son (who is coming to Frankfurt tomorrow - spring break) will be visiting the school next week for 2 days of assessment testing and tour of the school etc. Hoping that he likes it - we have decided to make it his choice.

 

We rented a furnished place in the Norend of Frankfurt and have decided to stay in this area. If my son does move, I would either drive him to school or he could take the S1 train directly. Our family is used to living in the city and enjoy the benefits of it. I could not possibly think of being in a small town suburb - Oberusel was not appealing to me. I am not sure of other areas north of Frankfurt.

 

The TV and X-Box are a big issue. I have learned that our extensive X-Box library of games are not compatible with the German X-Box OMG...WHAT DO WE DO? Also, I was interested to see the posting on TV's. Does this work for Canadian/American Television also? ie - could we get a satellite setup that works on a German TV or would we have to bring ours from here - we did not ship any electronics due to the voltage change. Any info on TV and X-Box would be much appreciated.

 

Finally...any ideas on what to with a lovely and smart, but kind of moody, 16 year old boy who is into Basket Ball, Computer and X-Box games in Frankfurt...to help have him like it?

 

HELP!

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Correction...we are going to ISF:

 

Internationale Schule Frankfurt - Rhein - Main

Strasse zur Internationalen Schule 33

65931 Frankfurt

 

Good job I double checked!

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Hello there.

 

It is frustrating isnt it? Oh, I how still feel it somedays. Your 16 yr old and my 16 yr old would make a great team. There was a war going on between her and us about moving vs. staying. She was here a few months ago and visited with us before we made the move and actually liked it. But, didn't want to move. So, because grandma and grandpa were available to take care of our house in Michigan, they moved in and are letting her finish school. (I wanted here to come!)

 

I too wasn't impressed by FIS (Oberursel). Well, it was very nice and all but seemed much like a "prep" school to me. It wouldn't have mattered anyway since it was booked full. My son didn't need that pressure on top moving to a different country. He is very happy at ISF and so are we. We bring the S3 into Frankfurt often to shop and eat. It's a great time!

 

As for us (well, my son) he is a PS3 boy. So, we brought it and use a step up/down transformer. We brought several with us that we ordered from Amazon before we left the states. We use these for such things that require the power. We brought a TV that a German friend gave us but it's an old one and so we decided to buy a new flat screen. This way, we won't be too outdated here...LOL! Where we live, the satellite tv 400+ channels is provided as long as we get a receiver. We still have to figure out the phone/internet. Think we are going to go with Deutsche Telecom (T-mobile). They have a flatrate for international calling. This means alot since my daughter and other family still reside in the states.

 

If you can think of anything else that I might be able to help you with, please ask. I still ask questions all the time...so much to learn!

 

Take care,

Stacie

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Think we are going to go with Deutsche Telecom (T-mobile). They have a flatrate for international calling. This means alot since my daughter and other family still reside in the states.

 

Just a quick tip there, Skype. It's free, it's video phone, so great especially for your daughter to see as well as here her family and so much better for catching up with friends and family rather than a POT (Plain Old Telephone)

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Also, I was interested to see the posting on TV's. Does this work for Canadian/American Television also? ie - could we get a satellite setup that works on a German TV or would we have to bring ours from here - we did not ship any electronics due to the voltage change. Any info on TV and X-Box would be much appreciated.

HELP!

 

Ok, you certainly can not watch US or Canadian Satellite TV. The problem is the curvature of the Earth, and we are just too far away. If you want to watch English TV, you can very easily point a Satellite dish to the correct part of the sky and get the full services from the UK. They have a great free system called FreeSat which in my opinion is the best TV out there and has no monthly subscriptions fees. I used to have Sky which is the main subscription service in the UK and after realizing 95% of what I watched was on the free service I switched to that.

 

It is different to American TV, although they do have many US shows, they are broadcasted a bit later than in the US naturally. This isn't a problem for me since for some reason (and no offense to our American friends here) I just prefer the UK productions anyway - and no, I'm not British. But I can imagine it may not be the taste for many Americans more used to their louder, more sensationalized television, especially the younger folk.

 

Still, if this interests you, and you can set up a dish on your apartment or house, ask around here. It's not hard to setup and not expensive for the more basic of setups, but you will need some guidance from the good folk here, and there are plenty that know more about the technical aspects than I do. Just one bit of advise. Ask other expats or this forum about English language TV - Never any German installer or any German shop. They only know their German system and seem to believe that the only English channels you can pick up (and ever need) is CNN. Seriously, don't make the mistake of taking their word for it - they will sell you German Sky or something and you will end up quite disappointed.

 

To actually watch US TV is not difficult either, but you need to do this through the Internet. Generally speaking, as far as I know, there are very few options, if any, for US live streams on the Internet, only catchup TV (unlike the UK where the BBC or ITV stream live as well as catchup). The quality I believe is stellar in the US, but quite pixelated here because of the greater distance and bandwidth. None of this comes free though, as you need a VPN service and the free ones are generally unstable. VPN services are not expensive though, but it is usually a monthly fee. Again, the quality of BBC's iPlayer is also great, and you can download HD versions of most shows.

 

For many years, I went the Satellite route and bought a Humax receiver from the UK. You don't need to do this, as a cheap digital receiver bought in Germany will work, but the Humax is made especially for FreeSat, so works seamlessly with the UK channels, including a proper EPG for a true PVR (Personal Video Recorder). It was like living in Britain. Beautiful quality and excellent programs. Unfortunately, the new apartment we moved to does not have the opportunity to have a UK Satellite setup as we use a communal dish and one then needs an additional LNB installed with cabling, something which can not be done here.

 

So, we have moved to the Internet to watch English language shows. I now use a VPN service that allows us to watch pretty much most major countries TV catchup services (and the US or UK channels without even needing to VPN). This includes of course the US, Canada, and the UK, but also Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and pretty much everywhere else. The amazing thing is, after looking at TV from almost everywhere in the world, the best for me is still the UK, and mainly the BBC and Channel 4. Those Brits claim they have the best TV in the world, and quite frankly I won't disagree with them. Anyway, Internet TV can be a hassle as it is usually restricted to a computer or laptop, such a pity since most of us want to watch on the big TV, in the living room, on the sofa. After quite a while looking, I have found a few solutions to this, but it's a bit too long to go on about it here, so if you are interested, just PM me.

 

Anyway, gonna watch the new BBC comedy/detective show, Dirk Gently (from Douglas Adams) now...

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Ha - my son is also at that moody 16 year old stage (well moody with us, he is apparently wonderfully congenial with others!!!), fortunately happy to be moving back though - in fact he can't wait, but he has the advantage that he speaks good German and has lived here before. He's staying at his boarding school in the UK for the final 2 years of UK schooling.

 

I know some of you on this thread are not British, but re TV - speak to Bavaria Satellite - they advertise on TT - re getting UK satellite TV sorted out. Sad/embarrassed to admit that this time I'm not leaving my Sky subscription behind, even though I am moving permanently to Germany. I tell my husband it is so my parents won't get bored when they visit ...

 

My teenagers are looking forward to NOT being stuck deep in the English countryside.

 

You will likely end up with 2 X-boxes ... one for the German games too (groan). How I hate the X-box ... maybe I can arrange for the movers to lose it ...

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tickets booked to come and check out schools this friday and check out the area over the weekend. everyone is very excited here and now i have started to tell a few friends, everyone tells me how great it is going to be living in germany!

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We are currently enrolled with Strothoff International in Dreieich. I think they have a very strong program and their grade 11-12 IB Program must adhere to strict guidelines in order for them to remain open. The teachers are fantastic and we like the location too.

Hope that helps when trying to make a decision.

K

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We checked out the schools and have decided on FIS. We loved Frankfurt!! We are now looking for somewhere to live in frankfurt itself but on the U3 line so that it is easy for the kids to get to school. Does anyone have any ideas on which areas to look in for a 3 r 4 bedroom flat? obviously its a double edged sword having a spare bedroom! also which are the areas to avoid.

thanks for all the help so far!

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Hi there. So, you did decide on the school in Oberursel, FIS? Did you have an issue with enrollment occupancy? I know many people find that they get booked up and it's hard to get in...

 

As for living in Frankfurt..I can't help with that, sorry. I love Frankfurt but don't know anything about living there. We chose to live outside the big city.

 

Good luck with everything!

Stacie

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