We are a family of 4 from the USA who may soon make the move to Venlo for my husband's job. We have 2 daughters, 14 & 8 years old. I'm wondering if anyone knows of a good school - preferably an International School - near Venlo? The closest ones I can find are almost an hour away. Any and all help/suggestions are greatly appreciated!
I think Eindhoven is your only realistic choice, but check the map:. http://www.sio.nl/?page_id=30 The ideal scenario is for you to find a home near to the international school of your choice and get your husband to do the commuting. After all, the country can be crossed in 2 hours by car, and he's an adult (who will be reimbursed his commuting costs in full by his employer as part of his package, as nearly all here do). Your girls will want to live close to their new schoolfriends so they can have some kind of social life too - not possible if they live so far away from their school. So within a 30 min drive, you also have the possibilities of schools (living) in Maastricht or Arnhem. I'm not going to lie to you: at 14, your daughter will be pulling her hair out at having to learn Dutch before she can continue her education, and even then, she will probably be streamed into a lower education band than she deserves just because she won't pick up enough Dutch to pass her highschool certificate within 3-4 years. International school is probably the only way she'll keep herself sane. Your younger daughter will pick it up faster, but might struggle too if she's completely monolingual, and not as fast as someone who moves here at kindergarten age. She will have that important 'streaming' exam (CITO) at the age of 12 when her future schooling level is decided, but she will also make local Dutch friends and learn from them too. Remember on that side of the Netherlands, German will be the 2nd language rather than English. This means that everyone (except your husband) will struggle and will be relying on each other as there will be no other support network. His career, make him travel ;) Choose the town that is right for your and your girls, as you'll be stuck there.
Thanks, Osita! Great information and makes sense for only one of us to commute a little further vs. 3 of us (which incidentally is what we do now). We live in a rural county of Georgia, about 10 minutes from a large city. My girls' schools are about 25 minutes away by car (the county has only 1 middle school and 1 high school) and an hour by school bus. My husband works less than 10 minutes away. I would LOVE to trade roles and be able to walk/bike with my girls to school and let him take the train (which he would be reimbursed for as you said). Eindhoven looks like a nice place to live (I can only go by what I see online, however). We would only be in the Netherlands for 2 years, so it would be essential for our girls to attend an International school as they will not have much time to learn Dutch before we get there. German doesn't scare me as we have hosted 2 German exchange students in the past 2 years and we've all learned a bit of the language and find it very easy to pick up. Thanks again for the great info - big help! :)