Enrolling Children in Local Schools While Traveling
Any experiences would be greatly appreciated!
I did a bit of research a while ago and found that you can enrol kids for up to 12wks on an Australian tourist visa, there was a fee.
I need to find out more.
If you are visiting on a tourist visa, just contact the local schools where ever you are staying. They could probably work something out. It will be a learning experience for both your kids and the kids at the schools.
Hope that helps!
So if you just arrive during the school year, I don't know what you're supposed to do. Find some village school that happens to have a free spot, I guess. You would get preferential treatment for some schools because you don't speak Dutch at home, but if you arrive during the school year, those places would already be long gone.
Secondary schools are less of a problem, I think, but still if you arrive when the school year has already started, it's going to be tough to find a spot. Some schools have special classes for children who've just arrived in Belgium and don't speak Dutch yet, that only focus on learning Dutch to begin with, but I think if you say you will only stay for 3 months and don't intent to stay, that could be frowned upon.
Don't click here.
I think there are places in Spain that might also be more difficult if it is a school area where there are more kids than space available. This probably happens in many countries especially crowded urban areas. I think the schools here are happy to take kids because they get money for each child enrolled, so that type of govt policy might also impact enrollment. I think the US has a similar policy about getting paid for each child, or at least ours was like that in Ca. Northern Europe tends to be a lot more "tighter" with rules than southern Europe or some countries in south America, but I've also known some that had no problem with schools in France and Australia. Each school and country will vary and how they handle the bureaucracy. Often dealing with it in person is easier than on the phone or by mail.
It was very easy for us in Spain, but we are in a very small rural village. We did call ahead and talked to someone at the school many months before arriving the first time. I've known others who have not called ahead and just showed up without a problem, but the language immersion was very important to us , so we wanted that handled BEFORE we arrived.
My daughter has started in school in Spain late the last four years ( usually in Nov or Dec) and leaves very early in the spring as well without a problem. There are a handful of expats that come and go here so the school is use to odd arrangements and the community is a very welcoming and accepting one.
There are kids that come with absolutely none of the local language, but that is a hard adjustment for the child ( and school as most or all will not speak the mother tongue of the child)....especially the first month or two. In 6 months time of total immersion, a child with no language prior, will have adjusted and learned much of the basics. It's best to work on the language/s that you are interested in emerging in before coming and also keep it up after you leave. My daughter spends daily time on all 3 of her dominant languages because kids can lose languages if they are not used.
It is also quite easy, @zh97, to sign up and join in after class or summer or weekend type activities like gymnastics, horseback riding, ceramics, flamenco, handwork etc. We have done a lot of this. If you are going slow on your RTW trip, this is easy, if you have tons of places that you want to see in just a year, it will be much harder.
I will say that is was a LOT harder here because I suppose it is in an area where there are plenty of poor immigrants nearby who would love a good free school, so there is a lot more paper work and rules here. The school year also goes from Jan through Nov which is very different than what we are used to. We are tourists here. It would be easier if we worked here or if we bought a second home here ( then she would be eligible for any school).
Despite the challenges of finding the right school, it's been an amazing experience and we hope to return several winters to allow my child to become as fluent as a native in reading, writing and speaking Mandarin. It's been almost 2 months now and so far so great and meets our needs perfectly!
Recently, I wrote this post about the advantages of learning Mandarin in tropical Asia, Penang.
We're also planning to do a month in a local school in China in a few months.
We're a homeschool/unschool family by nature, but by also combining some dipping into schools, we have found what we think is the very best way to "world school".
lilpigs2001 wrote:Hi! I just came across this topic as I was researching for enrolling kids in schools while traveling. I am currently planning on traveling with my kids age 6 and 4. I would like to enroll them in a school in Spain for 6 months. However, I did come across issues with visas. We are American citizens so we can stay in Spain visa free for 90 days but longer than that requires a visa. I consulted a Spanish embassy and they advised that I would need a non-lucrative visa to stay for longer than 90 days. But they also mentioned that with the current political and economic situation in Europe, visas would be difficult to obtain. Has anyone had issues with this? Any advice?
The general trend in most of Western Europe is that if you can prove that you have quite a bit of financial assets or would like to make a significant investment in the country then they will gladly take you. Now how much is a lot really depends on the country but we are likely still talking a few hundred thousand. Otherwise, it is really getting harder and harder to get an extended visa as many of the visa categories are disappearing outright or receiving quotas. Of course once you can estabish yourself in one EU country you are free to do whatever you want in the others. So, any Irish ancestors?
BUT don't give up hope yet if that is your dream and you can't get a visa. IMHO there are always "workarounds" to solve problems if you are creative and flexible.
Your kids are at a great age to learn languages and that adds sooooo much to travel ( see my 3 part series on how to raise a multilingual child - http://www.soultravelers3.com/2011/06/how-to-raise-a-bilingual-or-multi-lingual-child-2.html ).
As monolingual parents raising a fluent-as-a-native trilingual/triliterate kiddo ( Mandarin/Spanish/English) I don't really see the point of missing out on the language opportunities if one does long term travel with kids. As MIT linguist Pinker says " "One free lunch in the world is to learn another language in early childhood."
My first idea is either split it up or add another 3 months. Do three months in Spain, then go somewhere like Turkey, Jordan or Morocco etc ( maybe pick up another language there..or easy route like UK) then go home or return again to Spain for another 3 months.
Here is how we do it as full time world nomads -http://www.soultravelers3.com/2011/02/kids-friends-travel-on-the-ultimate-family-adventure.html
Try a similar track. I understand that 6 months is better and you'd make great progress with the language that way, but you will still need to keep that up as kids lose languages as quickly as they pick them up. ( I've known kids as old as 12 who then totally lost their mother tongues when they moved to areas where it was not spoken).
My daughter at barely 6 ( when we began schooling her in Spain for 5 months in the winter for 4 years - http://www.soultravelers3.com/2006/11/first-day-of-sc.html was already fluent in Spanish as she had been speaking it and exposed to it from the womb.
Still, we spent 4 winters at that school in Spain ( http://www.soultravelers3.com/2010/07/schools-out-forever-expat-immersion-spanish-in-spain-digital-nomad-education-for-kids-who-travel.html and still continue to work on her Spanish. That is the only reason why she is fluent as a native and is always mistaken by Spaniards as a native speaker and can read and write well in Spanish.
Thus, 6 months is a great start, but it will take more for deep fluency, so not a huge problem that you will have to do it in 3 month increments rather than 6. Don't be afraid to mix languages, especially at your kids age. You will be amazed how much they will pick up in 3 months of total immersion. Commit to returning again and again and those 3 months increments will really add up.
If you do a French school in Morocco, they are related language families, so that would help both.
The other idea is do what some American friends of ours did. The father got a 6th month language visa with a Univ school in Salamanca and just brought the whole family with him and put his two girls in the local school. The Mom continued to work at her company in California via the internet. Voila! The kids ( 6 and 9 I think at the time) made huge step in their Spanish.
I am reading that Spain, Portugal and Ireland are promising full citizenship to home buyers, so something to also ponder for some who want a long term link to Europe.
If there is a will, there is always a way. I am sure you can brain-storm other possibilities. Good luck!
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