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September 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm #14594brocksMember
New to this site. Looking for advice on relocating to Austria next year with teenagers (13 and 15) who only speak English. Specifically wanting advice on school options for them. What options are there if you know you cannot afford the school fees of the International schools? I am an Austrian citizen (who has never lived in Austria) and the decision to relocate is for family reasons rather than employment.
Thanks!September 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm #2221RoxaneMember
We moved with our almost-13-year-old and 8-year-old to Vienna last year. I’m from Austria and my husband is Irish, kids were both born in and had been raised in Ireland up to then.
They went to the German school in Dublin, so both had good German coming here, so that wasn’t an issue. Your best option apart from the expensive English speaking private schools are Vienna bilingual school (VBS), there are quite a few primary and secondary ones now. They are state schools and therefore free, generally very good, however, students need some prior knowledge of both languages (English and German)- they do offer German as a Foreign language classes, however, so with a bit of pre-knowledge I’m sure it’s doable, if you get them a few lessons beforehand. Places are hard to get at seocndary level (my older daughter didn’t get into the fully bilingual class but is in the Dual Language Programme with a lot of subjects taught bilingually but with no real English speaking natives in her group, but will be able to switch to the bilingual class for the senior classes in two years time).
My almost-13-year-old goes to a bilingual Gymnasium, my 8-year-old to a Volkschule (primary).
Have a look at these sites:
What ages are your children and when are you moving? Which part of Vienna?
Moving with (pre-) teens can be challenging, I found out, but I think ours have settled ok now. Good luck!
RenateSeptember 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm #22224brocksMember
Thanks for your information. My children have summer birthdays so will be 14 and 16 when they start school there next year. In the USA they would be going to 9th and 11th grade next year (or 5de and 7de klasse according to the Austrian system), but I do not have a problem with them repeating a school year to become acclimated. This year my son is taking German 1 as his foreign language class, but unfortunately my daughter (now in 8th grade) can only take Spanish as her foreign language. I will look into a class for her, though.
We would move during the summer (June-July) before the new school year starts. I am not sure where we will move, but Vienna seems to be the most “English-friendly” for schooling purposes. Vienna and NO also seem to have the most job openings for my line of work (Ergotherapeutin). Do you know if other provinces have good bilingual secondary schools, too?
AngelikaSeptember 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm #2231nadeslichMember
We have an international school in Linz, the Linz International School Auhof (LISA): http://www.auhof.eduhi.at/ (click to the far right where it says LISA)
I don’t know if you want to consider that. My daughter just graduated from this school this past June (with her Austrian Matura and the IB) and my son is in his last year (8th class). It’s not a “real” international school but rather what I call a ‘glorified Austrian public school’ however it’s the only one in Linz where classes are offered in English and there are “German as a Second Language” classes as well.
If I were you and had the choice though, I think I would pick Vienna because it’s a more international city. But that’s just me.
Since you’re moving with teens, I don’t know if you’re aware that the legal drinking age here is 16. This may or may not be an issue for you but I thought I’d just mention it. 🙂 The peers in the your soon-to-be 16 yr old’s class will be going out (“fortgehen” – it’s huge here) and barhopping, etc. and no doubt in order to fit in, your teen may want to go as well. I don’t know how you feel about this issue of course but I just want to give you a heads up and let you know it’s going to come up. You can figure out how you want to handle it. Personally, I was very conflicted on the issue (probably because I’m American and I think drinking at age 16 is just too young. While I think age 21 is a bit ridiculously old and should be changed in the US, on the other hand I think 16 is young…) But in Austria when I voiced some concerns, people tended to look at me like I had 2 heads and they didn’t understand what my problem was because it’s normal here… 😉 Socially I couldn’t keep them from barhopping and drinking with friends because it’s legally allowed here and aaaall their friends were going. All of their friends’ 16th birthdays were celebrated by barhopping and drinking. In the end, I just had to educate about alcohol as best I could. On the other hand, because my kids are allowed to drink, drinking doesn’t have that “forbidden fruit” aspect like it does in the US. They’ve even told me just because they can drink doesn’t mean they will…. So just a little side issue you may encounter in Austria with teens and I didn’t know if you knew this or not. 🙂September 14, 2012 at 9:11 pm #2232RoxaneMember
I know of a good bilingual school in Graz, the GIBS, which is the same as the Vienna Bilingual Schools- not sure about other capital cities, ther eis probably something in Salzburg or Innsbruck too, since I know that there are English speaking kindergardens there (English speaking creches and kindergardens have become hugely popular here but there are usually more 100% Austrian kids and children with other first languages going there than native speakers of English.)
I also wanted to come to Vienna only because it’s the most international place in Austria and I didn’t think my Irish husband would enjoy elsewhere as much…it has worked out fine for us so far.
Let me know if you do move to Vienna, we could get our English speaking teens together 🙂
Nadeslich, I don’t know what it’s like in the US, but I lived in a country with a legal drinking age of 18 for fourteen years (Ireland), and I definitely witnessed a lot more teenage binge drinking (with cheap alcohol bought in offlicences by older friends and sibblings) than here in Austria! Of course it also exists here, but I don’t think that an older drinking age makes a difference- or rather, the forbidden aspect makes it more attractive.September 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm #2233nadeslichMember
Oh there’s underage binge drinking everywhere – I’m not saying there isn’t – I’m just telling her that as opposed to America where 16 yr olds cannot go to a bar/restaurant and order and consume in alcohol, here in Austria they can. That’s going to be a cultural aspect that’s different to US and I think something to be aware of when moving here with teens. That’s all I’m saying. 🙂
It is a problem here, though, as international studies show Austrian teens lead the pack in binge drinking and smoking (http://www.krone.at/Oesterreich/Austro-Jugendliche_beim_Komasaufen_Nummer_eins-Studie_schockiert-Story-319696) As the kids like to say here: “Wir trinken Wodka wie Wossa!”
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