Five stages of ambivalence – our personal experiences of the Luxembourgish school system

The school system is probably the area of Luxembourgish society that has had the greatest impact on us, so I thought I’d share a few reflections on our experiences of it. I’d like to be very clear that they are just one family’s very subjective impressions though – our children have only been in three school classes between the two of them, so we’re hardly experts.  Our Luxembourgish school experience has been a bit of a rollercoaster – my feelings have evolved through five (sometimes overlapping) stages:
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Some thoughts on integration

For several months now I’ve been planning to write something about how far it’s possible to integrate into Luxembourgish society as an incomer, but it’s a big topic, and new experiences keep changing my opinions on it.  However, now that we’re focusing on planning our Seattle move, I suppose I’ve understood it as well as I ever will, so here goes…

Before arriving in Luxembourg I rather smugly assumed that even though our stay might be temporary, our family was going to ‘integrate’ here rather than living in an ‘expat bubble’ – our children would attend local schools, we would learn the language(s), and our social circles would be effortlessly multinational and multilingual.  The more that I’ve learned about Luxembourg (and about living overseas generally) I’ve realised that I was both naively optimistic and overly simplistic in my thinking – but I haven’t given up on the idea of integration altogether. Here are my thoughts after nearly two years here.

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Language update #2

Almost as soon as I publicly declared that I was going to avoid talking too much about the children on this blog, I found something I’m happy to share. I recently had conversations with both of them that got me thinking about a positive topic that interests me without being too personal: their growing language skills.  So here’s another update on our family’s experiences with the multilingual side of Luxembourg.

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First impressions #4 – I’ll never need to visit the tip

When moving house in the UK, one of my first questions has always been, “which day is rubbish day?” Here in Luxembourg, a better question would be, “what do I put in all these bins?”

Bins

Back in the UK, we had a pretty good kerbside collection scheme for paper, cans, & plastic bottles, but glass & Tetrapaks had to be taken to a supermarket collection point, and you had to pay extra for garden waste. Here, it all just goes! Continue reading

First impressions #3 – hills and valleys, steps and stairs

One of the first things that struck us on our first visit to Luxembourg was that it is even more beautiful when you see it for real. Looking at a guidebook I’d imagined a few scenic spots; in reality, views like this are everywhere. Of course, the dramatic valley running through the centre of the city also leads to some steep slopes and long flights of steps – and Luxembourg is the only city I’ve ever been to with a public lift to take commuters between the upper & lower levels. Continue reading