Expat Life International Families on the move

International Families on the move

Transitions, no matter what kind, are at the best of times challenging. Leaving what you are familiar with and stepping into the unknown can be overwhelming. 

Recognising and responding to the challenges families face when moving from one home to another led the Inter-Community School Zurich to develop a comprehensive Transition Programme for international families. 

This programme was created to make new families part of the school’s community as quickly as possible as a way to optimise academic performance. “This is what we excel at,” says Mrs Campbell, Head of School. “We take a strategic and systematic approach to making the experience of ‘joining and leaving the school’ as successful as possible to ensure a smooth and stress-free transition for both children and their parents.” 


Preparing to welcome a student to a new school is a process of sequential steps that starts well before the child’s first day. The Admissions Department provides parents with resources and crucial information while educational specialists make the appropriate age-level preparations to develop a personalised learning pathway, including specialised support for non-native English speakers. 


School counsellors also get in touch with families to answer questions, discuss Secondary students’ subject choices, or simply to allay any fears or anxieties. Student Ambassadors also reach out to Secondary students, often during the holidays, to answer questions or just be a friend. A Buddy Programme will go into action to support Primary School children from their very first day at school. 


International moves don’t necessarily coincide with school terms. A transition programme that can quickly be put into place makes entry possible throughout the year and, also, helps families to quickly adjust to the new situation. 


When it comes to settling down in the new community, an active and engaged Parents’ Association is crucial to help parents cope with the unique challenges of settling into a new culture. At ICS, in addition to a number of welcome events, parents can sign up for activities and clubs throughout the year and take advantage of a network of country representatives to meet others with similar backgrounds. 


Moving? Then, preparation is the key to success; a well organised Transition Programme plays a role. 

For ICS, the Transition Programme has proven to be vital. It not only helps families cope with the inevitable sense of loss. It also helps them to explore and prepare for a new chapter in their lives. 


The Inter-Community School Zurich (ICS) is the longest established international school in the Zurich area. A private co-educational day school, established in 1960, we provide a world-class international education for students aged 3 to 18. We also welcome applications from prospective students throughout the year. Please contact us at if you have questions or, also, would like to visit our campus. www.icsz.ch

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