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Any experience with children that speaks only Portuguese living in Munich?

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Hello!

 

We are a Brazilian family moving to Munich with two children (7 and 13 years old). Any experience with children that speaks only Portuguese living in Munich?

 

Thanks!

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Boa noite Luiz, I know a couple of Portuguese kids who came to Germany without any German knowledge and about the same age as yours. In general they pick up the language quickly, but your older one will probably have to repeat a year (or two!) at school, especially if he also does not speak English.

 

I would put them on an intensive course ASAP before moving in. With daily lessons, let's say 3h per day, they might get A2 level in 3 months and B1 in 4.5 months.

With B1 level they can have basic conversations and from there they pick up the language quickly.

 

One option is that your wife stays with them in Brazil for 6 months or 1 year, while they learn it there, so they don't lose a school year here.

Another option is for them to go to an international school (expensive!), as English is 100x faster to learn.

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Thanks @MikeMelga

 

International schools are not an option for me because they are expensive. I think repeat one or two year is acceptable but I'm afraid of the German education system at all especially for my elder son. He speaks basic english and is learning fast. Don't be able to go to a "regular" high school and after that to a university, just because he doesn't speaks german isn't acceptable for me.

 

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8 minutes ago, Luiz S said:

I'm afraid of the German education system at all especially for my elder son. He speaks basic english and is learning fast. Don't be able to go to a "regular" high school and after that to a university, just because he doesn't speaks german isn't acceptable for me.

 

Then negotiate international school fees in your employment contract, don't move to Germany, or leave your older son at home.

 

I would highly recommend reading the following threads very carefully:

 

 

 

 

Keep in mind that both of these kids moved here before the mass migration of 2015 and that there are not enough teachers trained in teaching foreign kids to go around.

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It all depends on the individual child.  Thirteen is indeed old to be plunged into a new culture and language.  But there are children and then there are children.  A child who's linguistically gifted can do just fine.  My oldest son and his younger sister picked up German like a house on fire.  He was fourteen and he was put back a year in Gymnasium, where he began learning both French and German.  It was only my middle child who had difficulty, and even she became fluent in German (Realschule), though it took her more time.  My third child, only eleven, became fluent in German, Bayrisch, and French. 

Ask your son's English teacher what s/he thinks of his abilities.

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28 minutes ago, katheliz said:

It all depends on the individual child.  Thirteen is indeed old to be plunged into a new culture and language.  But there are children and then there are children.  A child who's linguistically gifted can do just fine.  My oldest son and his younger sister picked up German like a house on fire.  He was fourteen and he was put back a year in Gymnasium, where he began learning both French and German.  It was only my middle child who had difficulty, and even she became fluent in German (Realschule), though it took her more time.  My third child, only eleven, became fluent in German, Bayrisch, and French. 

Ask your son's English teacher what s/he thinks of his abilities.

 

How many years ago was that?

 

I can't comment on how the Bavarian system has changed over time (perhaps @PandaMunich can comment?), however, Bavaria currently has probably the most difficult Abitur in Germany and the OP's kid doesn't even have the advantage of being a native English speaker. 

 

If the OP will not be earning much, it is probably not worth making the move.

 

https://www.welt.de/print/die_welt/politik/article156291438/41-Prozent-der-Jugendlichen-machen-inzwischen-Abitur.html

 

 

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8 minutes ago, engelchen said:

 

How many years ago was that?

@engelchen, you're very up-to-date on Germany and you have doubleplusgood advice for ex-pats, but I'm going to disagree with your advice this time.

While my older children were in school in the 70s, that doesn't mean things were easier.  In fact, in then provincial Rosenheim, the only foreign children of any significance were ethnic Turks.  They weren't attempting even Realschule yet, much less Gymnasium; my children were exotics because they were foreign but they looked German.  That probably made it easier for the teachers.  

Erstling stayed only four years in Germany, going back to the US when he was eighteen.  @alphadog made her Mittlere Reife at a Realschule for commercial subjects.  @sarabyrdmade her Abitur at age 20 and is equally at home in English and German.

Again, I say it all depends.  It takes a lot of work on the parents' part and even more work on the part of the children, but success is possible.  However, if @Luiz S finds out from his son's current teacher that the boy is struggling or if he sees for himself that the kid doesn't have the stamina, of course he should make different arrangements.  

BTW, Realschule is not a second-class education.  Of the four people we were closest to, none was Gymnasium-educated.  But one was an engineer, one a teacher, one retired as a school principal, and the fourth was a lecturer at LMU and is also a playwright.

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2 hours ago, engelchen said:

 

Then negotiate international school fees in your employment contract, don't move to Germany, or leave your older son at home.

 

I would highly recommend reading the following threads very carefully:

 

 

 

 

Keep in mind that both of these kids moved here before the mass migration of 2015 and that there are not enough teachers trained in teaching foreign kids to go around.

 

The negotiation is over and I didn't get even a "real" relocation package but still thinking it's a good professional opportunity. I'm thinking about stay there during probatory period then get to know how things will work, talk with other families, and after that decide to bring the family or go back home.

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In Germany, each Bundesland decides on its educational system.

 

The Bavarian school system is very traditional and didn't really change over time - after all, we have had an unbroken reign by the CSU since the 1950s, so "modern" theories like the Gesamtschule that was pushed by the SPD didn't have much chance.

 

Yes, we now have more children in the Gymnasium than before, but that didn't come about through a relaxation of standards like in the other Bundesländer, but through parents pushing more and more children who aren't really Gymnasium material into tuition (= Nachhilfe), starting even in Grundschule, just so that they make the 2.33 cut-off average mark in 4th grade in order to be let into the Gymnasium, and then even more tuition to keep them in the Gymnasium.

 

Back in my time (1980s), things were more relaxed - you either had the necessary grade average on your own, or you didn't.

Parents simply let things take their natural course: the naturally bright ones (which, sorry if I offend some egalitarians here, meant nearly all the ones with academic parents, you cannot deny heredity, plus a few who were born bright to not so bright parents) went on to the Gymnasium, the others didn't. 

 

From my elementary class of 30, only 6 including me went on to the Gymnasium, of which I was the only one with two parents with university degrees, two with a father with a degree, the rest from non-academic families but naturally bright. They had no help at all from home and still made the cut. That average was the "standard" average, 20% went on to the Gymnasium in my generation.

Now it's around 38%.

 

********************************************************

 

Of these 6, two later dropped down to the Realschule after a few years in the Gymnasium - yes, one of these two came from an entirely non-academic family, and the other one's dad had a university degree, but she discovered boys fairly early and lost interest in school.

 

Of the six, only one came into school not knowing German, she had a Greek father (a lorry driver) and an Austrian mother (housewife), and they had just moved to Germany in the middle of 1st grade. The girl spoke no German at all at the start (which was strange, considering the native Austrian mother), but she did pick it up, and being intelligent, managed to get the necessary grades to be let into the Gymnasium. She managed to get through the Gymnasium with average marks, but always hankered after Greece, and after finishing the Gymnasium, moved back to Greece, went to university there and there she still is as far as I know.

 

None of the Yugoslaw or Turkish children from my class got into the Gymnasium, but I did have a few Yugoslaws and Hungarians in my Gymnasium, and two Turks in my year who actually got the Abitur (untypical ones, the father of one was an engineer, but he still repeated two years. The other one had an uncle who was a general in the Turkish army - all hell broke loose when that boy went for German citizenship once he was 18, his family disowned him - he went on to study something social in Germany).

Both boys born in Germany.

The Yugoslaws and the Hungarians (again, all born in Germany) went on to do unspectacular Abiture, which meant that they ended up either moving back to their home country to study (one studied tourism in Croatia, a good idea considering her - of course - perfect German and the German's live of the Adria. The other one studied dentistry, also in Croatia, a Hungarian one medicine in Budapest - his Abitur mark was too bad to study medicine in Germany), or they went on to do apprenticeships in offices or banks.

A 100% Greek actually managed to fail the Abitur, but she scraped through the next year - she then apprenticed as a nurse.

 

Of the naturally bright ones with non-academic parents, we lost a few along the way, one got drawn into a Marxist group by one of our teachers (who was very happy preaching Marxist values but living a bourgeois life as a Oberstudienrat - a hypocrite who spoiled quite a few young lives) and paid for it by having to repeat a year and losing his belief in himself. He ended up doing an apprenticeship as a bookseller - I came across him by chance in that bookshop. 

I was really sorry about that spoiled life, he was the one with the most raw intelligence in our year - a pity. 

 

Basically, having academic parents helps you in the Gymnasium in situations when you need something explained that you didn't understand from a teacher - but it also helped since these parents took care not to let their children fall into traps like that Marxist teacher.

But yes, the top marks in the Abitur in our year were held by pupils from academic families.

 

********************************************************

 

The situation now is that the heritage of the children is a bit more varied, and there are quite a lot of children in the Gymnasium from Indian blue card holders and Vietnamese ex-GDR-guestworkers - these children hold their own, no tuition needed.

Academic success is important in these families and these children are taught to excel early.

But again - these children were born in Germany, went to a German kindergarten and speak perfect German.

 

We again have the same group of children as before who are in the Gymnasium by their own ability - barring them losing interest along the way, these are the ones who make it to the Abitur and graduate with good marks.

Of course, having academic parents helps, just like it did for the earlier generation.

 

Then we have a big group of children from half-German or 100% German families (often with parents who studied something "soft" like social studies and who are the first academics in their families themselves) who by rights shouldn't be in the Gymnasium, but whose German parents artificially pushed them into it by getting them tuition until they barely made the entry marks. My observation is that it's the German parents that insist on all this tuition, the non-Germans have more of a laissez-faire attitude.

For these children the academically demanding Bavarian Gymnasium is hell, and as they advance in the Gymnasium, things get more and more difficult for them.

They would be much happier in a Realschule, but their parents just won't let them.

Best case, they will go on to a mediocre Abitur and will leave the Gymnasium broken in will - and maybe will go on to study something "soft" themselves (a big favourite is "etwas mit Medien" = something about media), but more often than not, choose an office-type apprenticeship.

 

********************************************************

 

In conclusion: unless a child has a very IQ, and is also diligent and resilient, I would not take a 13 year old to Bavaria.

Best case, that child will take a few extra years to advance from Mittelschule to Realschule to doing the Abitur at an advanced age (think 20). 

And for what? Just to get the permission to attend university, something that child would could have had much more easily by staying in his home country's educational system.

 

Please also read:

and:

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I heard on Telly the other week that Germany needs more youngsters doing vocational training to make up for the lack of Facharbeiter. This pushing for Abitur is foolish as many drop out of Uni anyway. 

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I agree with previous posts...it is very likely that any of the secondary level schools will be extremely difficult for a 13 year old. Of course there are exceptions though the whole german education system is under extreme pressure since 2015. For a child to reach university here having gone through secondary education, fluent german is essential.  I don't know if the Bayern school system is different though here in Hessen, german and English are 2 of the 3 main subjects...maths being the other.  Plus around the age of 13, a second language must be selected.  Of the schools that I know, the choice is French, Latin or Spanish.  It is also difficult for children to change schools if the new school doesn't offer the second language that they have previously studied. 

 

If international school isn't an option then you would need to pay for private tuition. This is likely to be very costly and adds to the overall pressure of education for a child. 

 

Have a look at this recent thread...click the blue title text. 

 

Your suggestion to come here alone at first to assess the situation sounds a very good idea. 

 

Good luck

 

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17 hours ago, katheliz said:

While my older children were in school in the 70s, that doesn't mean things were easier. 

 

I don't think it was necessarily easier, however, the schools were definitely better then.

 

17 hours ago, katheliz said:

 

In fact, in then provincial Rosenheim, the only foreign children of any significance were ethnic Turks. 

 

In other words, there was no one else with whom they could speak English, there was no internet, no facebook, and long distance calls were very expensive. Your kids were forced to immerse themselves in German.

 

Nowadays in some schools native German children are in the minority and you’ll find that many educated German parents shy away from schools with high “Ausländeranteil”, which further exacerbates the problem. The result is that foreign children who can’t speak German very often end up with other foreign children who can’t speak German properly, and locals who also can’t speak German properly. Not surprisingly, many foreign children don’t learn sufficient German to succeed in school.

 

 

17 hours ago, katheliz said:

BTW, Realschule is not a second-class education.  Of the four people we were closest to, none was Gymnasium-educated.  But one was an engineer, one a teacher, one retired as a school principal, and the fourth was a lecturer at LMU and is also a playwright.

 

That was also over 40 years ago.

 

The school system in Germany has gotten much worse in the past few decades. A Hauptschulabschluss is now next to worthless. From what I hear, 40 years ago even someone with a Hauptschulabschluss was capable of properly reading and writing German as well as had basic math skills. These days (especially in Berlin) a Hauptschulabschluss doesn’t even guarantee that much, which is why many young people who have one cannot find an apprenticeship.

 

https://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/karriere/bildung/article149434953/Azubis-fehlen-aber-Hauptschueler-haben-keine-Chance.html 

 

Apprenticeships that were going to Hauptschule kids 40 years ago are now going to those with a Realschulabschluss and sometimes even an Abitur. In certain apprenticeships you’ll find more kids with an Abi than a Realschulabschluss.

 

The only thing that has remained the same in the past 40 years is that the children of the working class and those of immigrants have significantly fewer opportunities than the kids of university educated Germans.

 

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, engelchen said:

The only thing that has remained the same in the past 40 years is that the children of the working class and those of immigrants have significantly fewer opportunities than the kids of university educated Germans.

One of the reasons on why we chose an international school.

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2 hours ago, engelchen said:

In other words, there was no one else with whom they could speak English, there was no internet, no facebook, and long distance calls were very expensive. Your kids were forced to immerse themselves in German.

And that's why if you want your children to actually learn a language, you immerse them.  My kids learned German in school and among their friends they learned to speak Bayrisch.  Even had an affordable international school been available, with a gentler approach than German schools, my children would never have gained the competence in German that they have still if they hadn't been in the local schools.
I still have to laugh when I remember that at least one Schulrektor (Principal) told us we should speak German at home with the children.  If we had, they'd have spoken Gastarbeiter German and they'd have believed the English teacher who told sarabyrd that piano is pronounced piarrno and that valley is pronounced walley.

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21 minutes ago, katheliz said:

the English teacher who told sarabyrd that piano is pronounced piarrno and that valley is pronounced walley.

 

Add iron (pronounced iRon) and series ( pronounced serious) to the list. I cringe every time, especially when I hear it repeatedly on German telly. Yesterday I had to correct one of my Nachhilfeschüler who was describing - in English - a fantasy serious she had been watching on DVD during the holidays. I explained the difference and asked her to please correct everyone she ever hears mispronouncing that word - even if it 's her teacher. 

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35 minutes ago, katheliz said:

valley is pronounced walley.

If it would be required to pronounce "To fill my vacant wallet, I voluntarily fixed vicar William's Ford Wrangler in Woodenville (West Virginia)" correctly to become an English teacher, there wouldn't be any in Germany. Tough shit.

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That may be one reason why the then-head of the Handelsschule in Rosenheim hired only American-born native English speakers for his English department.  I don't know whether that's still the case.

I don't know whether he ever realized that my ex-, who taught there for forty years, was teaching the kids to mispronounce wash, Illinois, and influence as warsh, Illinoise, and inFLUence.

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53 minutes ago, katheliz said:

And that's why if you want your children to actually learn a language, you immerse them.  My kids learned German in school and among their friends they learned to speak Bayrisch.  

I live in a predominant German neighborhood, middle-upper class. We have 2 children's parks within 100 meters. It is PAINFUL to go there with my kid and watch him being snubbed by the German kids (5-6 years old). He goes around, saying "hallo" to them, asking them to play with him, just to be COMPLETELY IGNORED.

So fuck them.

 

Best decision we've made was to place him at an international school.

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36 minutes ago, bramble said:

 I explained the difference and asked her to please correct everyone she ever hears mispronouncing that word - even if it 's her teacher. 

 

Hmm, good advice in principle though native English speaking kids need to go easy on correcting their English teachers...best to wait for a good rapport between teacher and pupil...teacher will then most likely be happy to ask English kid to assist with pronunciation.  

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