Moving to Hamburg with young children

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Hi all,

 

we are planning to move to Hamburg from Ireland next spring when our children will be 3 and 5 years old. They have no German.

 

We are very worried in particular for our 5 years old daughter, we are worried that she will feel isolated in the creche as she does not understand the language and the other children will not understand her when she talks.

We don't have any German neither therefore will not be able to help her in any ways unfortunately. We' are currently looking for a German tutor here in Ireland to introduce them to the new language gradually, we think this might help.

Also, she will loose her best friends, she loves having her friends over to our house for playdates and we imagine we won't be able to arrange any playdates once in Hamburg at least until we are in somehow fluent in German. Are we going to ruin her childhood? is she going to be traumatized? We are so concerned. We mentioned her a couple of times what could happen in spring and she was not happy, she said I want to stay here with my friends, I want to  stay in Ireland forever, I don't want to go to a new creche, and things like that.

We won't be able, at least for the first months, to get to know other parents neither with no German!!!

 

Other concerns are: we will arrive in Hamburg around April 2021, will the children be accepted in the creche at this time of the year? Will our daughter be accepted in the vorschule in September/August 2021 with very little German? We are worried she will be 1 year behind if they will not let her start the vorschule.

We know there are long waiting lists so I will try to enroll them in advance: can I have my children down in the waiting list even though still living in Ireland?

 

We would love to hear from other parents that have gone through similar situations.

 

Thank you in advance!

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I’d firstly say not to worry too much about your daughter.  The school and social difficulties usually arise when moving with older children.
 

Do you know where you will live? Are you moving here for a job? Do you have friends, family or colleagues here? Great idea to find a German tutor before you leave Ireland.  Are you planning a visit before moving? 
 

Maybe @Gambatte has some advice? If I recall correctly, he is Italian and moved to Hamburg from the UK with his wife and young children.

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Thanks a million for your reply!!!

 

My husband is getting transferred to Hamburg with his current job.

 

I will not have a job straight away and that's obviously is another concern: I am a Senior Engineer in medical devices industry and I hope I will be able to find a job in English otherwise I will be in trouble. (Any advice on this wiil also be greatly appreciated)

I am currently taking an additional degree, in Jan 2021, that's why we won't be able to move before that time, otherwise we understand how crucial would be for the kids to get there as soon as possible.

 

My brother lives in Hamburg since 5 years, we visited her a few times and enjoyed very much the city it seems it has so much to offer. 

 

As soon as my husband's new contract is finalized we will start looking for a house. My idea was to enroll my children in random creches around the city and hopefully be lucky enough to find a house in the catchment area of one of the creches I've put their name down. Do you think this is feasible? Any other suggestions?

Also, if creches have 12 months waiting lists and I enroll them now, where will my children go when we arrive in April??

I don't even know if they will accept requests from a family still living abroad - as soon as my husband is sorted I'll dig into that. 

 

Thanks a million.

 

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I noticed that your profile says you are Italian. Do your children speak English and Italian? If so, then the children learning a third language could be even easier for them than someone who is monolingual. I would see that as an advantage.

 

There are other threads on having a Tagesmutter (daycare in a private home), if you can't get placement in April. I am sure there are other options, too. 

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Hi, you'll notice there is not a lot going on in the Hamburg section. I recommend posting on the German life and news family section...you might get a few more responces. 

 

T

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7 minutes ago, tor said:

Hi, you'll notice there is not a lot going on in the Hamburg section. I recommend posting on the German life and news family section...you might get a few more responces. 

 

T

Nor much in the Schleswig-Holstein section ! Not too many of us up here!

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It's been a while since I lived in Hamburg and I can't help you with the daycare aspect, but you should know that there are six elementary schools in Hamburg that have "Immersionsklassen" - in which all subjects are taught in English (except for German).

 

The schools (and the boroughs where they are located):

• Vizelinstraße (Eimsbüttel)
• Schule An der Gartenstadt (Wandsbek)
• Anton-Rée-Schule (Allermöhe)

• Elbinselschule (Wilhelmsburg)
• Schule Max-Eichholz-Ring (Lohbrügge)
• Rudolf-Roß-Grundschule (Neustadt)

 

More information: https://www.hamburg.com/welcome/living/school/11864786/bilingual-classes/

 

Hope that helps.

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38 minutes ago, RedMidge said:

Nor much in the Schleswig-Holstein section ! Not too many of us up here!

I reckon we just quietly get on with our lives.

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3 hours ago, Simonette said:

Thanks a million for your reply!!!

 

My husband is getting transferred to Hamburg with his current job.

 

I will not have a job straight away and that's obviously is another concern: I am a Senior Engineer in medical devices industry and I hope I will be able to find a job in English otherwise I will be in trouble. (Any advice on this wiil also be greatly appreciated)

I am currently taking an additional degree, in Jan 2021, that's why we won't be able to move before that time, otherwise we understand how crucial would be for the kids to get there as soon as possible.

 

My brother lives in Hamburg since 5 years, we visited her a few times and enjoyed very much the city it seems it has so much to offer. 

 

As soon as my husband's new contract is finalized we will start looking for a house. My idea was to enroll my children in random creches around the city and hopefully be lucky enough to find a house in the catchment area of one of the creches I've put their name down. Do you think this is feasible? Any other suggestions?

Also, if creches have 12 months waiting lists and I enroll them now, where will my children go when we arrive in April??

I don't even know if they will accept requests from a family still living abroad - as soon as my husband is sorted I'll dig into that. 

 

Thanks a million.

 

Sorry to just ask questions though may help to advise...

 

Does your husband's job move include moving and family support ie German learning etc?

Can your family be supported by only your husband’s income?

 

Is your move to Germany intended to be long term?


I personally don’t  know Hamburg or the surrounding area though can’t imagine wanting to travel far and wide in order to take a young child to a crèche.  Can you yet reduce the ‘random around the city‘?

 

Regarding finding a house....rent or buy? Both can be equally difficult to find.  Any support from your husband’s employer?

 

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We used google translate to write a note for our daughter to take to school and give to friends asking if anyone wanted to come and play. I shudder in horror now, having absolutely no idea what we actually said...:lol:

 

I think it will work out fine - your kids are young enough to make the transition - just maybe don't make a big deal of it it again until nearer the time - apart from needing language lessons - they find this kind of stress difficult, and knowing for months is not an advantage - maybe 2 or three weeks before, enough to play with friends and see family or whatever, have some 'last time' experiences.

Friends of ours are off next week back to the UK and their 4 year old is struggling - it will pass.

 

Language wise - if you are stuck, online is more effective than you would think.

Kindergarten wise, certainly in our area your older kid would be shoehorned in wherever possible, to give her every chance of gaining the language before school. Possibly the Jugendamt is the place to enquire. Hopefully someone else will know for sure.

 

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@Simonette,

Davvero sei italiana anche tu? Anche io. Btw I was in Ireland looooong ago and I loved it.

 

You are overly concerned. Not because being very concerned is not healthy (it isn't), but because really things with young children and language and friends will turn out amazingly easier than you are expecting. Being there seen that.

 

We moved from the UK when our daughter was 3.5. within a week she was in Kita. We were lucky and had zero waiting time. During the first month other kids excluded her because of language. She also look half asian. But after that she was one of them. No difference. After ONE week she was already answering to us at home in German. We had 3 languages at home and German was not one of them.

Don't bother trying to make the kids learning German before moving.

 

Relax, for your children integrating will be much much easier than you expect. You will be positively surprised.

 

Where will you work and in what type of area you want to live in?

We were/are North-west of Hamburg, Pinneberg Kreis, it can be more rural and slow and boring, which also means better x children and less expensive and easy to get a Kita place. But also less "vibrant", and possibly longer commute.

 

In the city a house will cost much more than a flat, both rent and buy of course. Outside also, but more choices and the cost difference between house and flat is not as dramatic.

 

Playdates. We never bothered organising, no need to, the children themselves are already taking of playdates by themselves. Maybe even too much 😳.

 

Yes you better learn German, and it will be hard. And of course x us adults there is no silver bullet for it.

Having said that, one can always "manage" things even with zero, or very limited, German. Not good but can do.

 

If you would like to pm me you are of course welcome.

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It is also important to note that, children born before July in a calendar year, start going to school (Vorschule/Grundschule) a year earlier than the children born in the second half of the year in Hamburg. Also, Vorschule is not compulsory, so you could choose to stay in the Kita for that year if you like. In this preschool year, children with limited/no German language skills are supported through Sprachförderung (language support) in the afternoons.

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6 hours ago, Gambatte said:

things with young children and language and friends will turn out amazingly easier than you are expecting. Being there seen that.

 

While I completely agree with the above I´m not so sure about

 

6 hours ago, Gambatte said:

Don't bother trying to make the kids learning German before moving.

 

There are fun ways to learn languages for kids. My German kids (8 and 9 yo at the time of the move) had an English tutor for the first 6 months or so in an English speaking country and they loved her lessons (English comics and fairy tale videos helped a lot).

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Thank you all for your replies, it is very helpful. I appreciate your feedback in this difficult time of decisions to be made.

 

We have heard some concerning experiences from a couple of expats (friends of our friends) living in Hamburg where their children are apparently treated differently by the teachers themselves, due to the poor German the kids have. They fall behind and do not receive support: they were sent to kinder neurologist to be assessed and these parents feel there is a general attitude to “judge” young kids.

 

The above does not sound good to us, we wonder if that’s an actual thing or maybe just bad luck??? 
Our eldest will be 5 when we move to Hamburg, very close to the age she’ll start primary school hence little time for a proper catch up of the new language.

After hearing this we are worried she may not receive support and on the contrary feel inadeguate and/or judged. 
 

gambatte, thank you for that I will send you a private message if I can figure out how to do, I am new to this group. 


 

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Maybe your oldest can be in kindergarten for 2 years, if necessary. A German guy I know started school when he was 7. He then went on to successfully complete university and has a job and family. It's not uncommon for children to be different ages in the same grade (class). I'm sure others have mentioned this on Toytown.

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12 hours ago, JN53 said:

Maybe your oldest can be in kindergarten for 2 years, if necessary. A German guy I know started school when he was 7.

I´d be very surprised if that wasn´t an option. In Bavaria it certainly is.

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On 02/08/2020, 16:41:10, Simonette said:

Also, if creches have 12 months waiting lists and I enroll them now, where will my children go when we arrive in April??

I don't even know if they will accept requests from a family still living abroad - as soon as my husband is sorted I'll dig into that. 


Can you take care of your children?

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