Schooling options for 11 & 14 year olds with no German in Heidelberg

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To piggyback on this discussion...my husband and I are hoping to relocate to Germany in the next two years (he is actively applying for jobs that would transfer us over there from the U.S.). Heidelberg and Wiesbaden are our primary targets, and we are coming there this summer to explore neighborhoods and get the feel for daily life in both areas (my husband lived in Worms until he was 5; his mother is German). We visited January 2014 to see if I could tolerate German winters better than Virginia winters (the answer was a surprising yes...thank you, Germany, for not having ridiculous temperature swings every day!). I hadn't been to Heidelberg before but fell in love with it!

 

Our youngest is turning 14 in May and is currently in 8th grade, so he'll be in high school if we do indeed get over there before he graduates. I know the OP said she wasn't interested in the high-tuition schools, so no one has mentioned the Heidelberg International School. But based on my initial research this is the school we would most likely send him to (some job opps would actually cover the tuition, but we do have a way to manage the brutal tuition if needed). My son is going to start taking German next fall but would not be at all prepared to go to a German school; he'll need classes taught in English. IGH sounds like a nightmare. What about HIS? My son is a high achiever with straight As and a strong engineering/science mentality. Any thoughts about whether HIS would be sufficiently challenging for him academically? I know they have AP classes but he is also not sufficiently challenged in middle school, despite most of his classes being honors/advanced. How is the environment there? Friendly? Competitive? (We don't want too competitive -- too much stress for kids!) Easy transition for expats?

 

Thanks!

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... My son is going to start taking German next fall but would not be at all prepared to go to a German school; he'll need classes taught in English...

Then there aren't many alternatives in Heidelberg. HIS it is.

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Any reviews on the school, though? Or the Baden International School? I'm also trying to find out approximately how many students there are in the upper grade levels, but HIS doesn't have that info on their site. I would love to hear from parents or students who have experience with the school. Thanks!

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Any reviews on the school, though? Or the Baden International School? I'm also trying to find out approximately how many students there are in the upper grade levels, but HIS doesn't have that info on their site. I would love to hear from parents or students who have experience with the school. Thanks!

 

From a search: Review of Heidelberg International School

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The classes at the HIS are a bit bigger now compared to the numbers quoted in the 2012 review that Elfenstar just posted. The current 8th grade is approximately 20 students, equally split between boys and girls. My son's best friend attends HIS in the current 9th grade and loves it. This friend reports that atmosphere is very friendly and the kids from different grades hang out together. He goes out every Friday with a big group. The younger grades tend to be full, because (according to the director's view), people are more likely to move to a foreign country when their children are young than when their children are in middle and high school. The staff I have met are very nice and friendly. To confirm prior posts, your only alternatives in Heidelberg for above 5th grade are the three-semester learn-German program at IGH which will get your child a good basis in German, but not enough to continue a high-achieving high school career, or HIS. The European School in Karlsruhe is the only other alternative but it is a 45 minute to 1 hour commute. There are shuttle buses as well as train to street car option for transportation. Above mentioned friend's older brother has attended it for several years and was just admitted to a top Ivy League college in the US. Contrary to the review post, the language of instruction is either English, French or German as a primary language. I've toured it and thought it was excellent. It is not easy to get into, however, because your children would be lowest priority according to their mandated criteria. Their website explains a lot. I suggest you contact the schools directly. Good luck!

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Thanks, quidditchmom! HIS seems like the most appropriate one for my son, as we definitely won't want a long commute for school. I am going to contact them prior to our visit later this year.

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My mother took us on an excahnge to France for a year (my elder sister was 13, my younger sister was 7 and I was 11.) My elder sister went to a lycée and both My younger sister and I went to primary school. I spoke fluent French with regional dialect within 3 months my sisters found it a bit harder, the younger one due to a nasty teacher and the elder one because of what was expected from her. Generally speaking however children do tend to pick up languages more easily.

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