We are hoping to move to Barcelona (city) at the end of this year for work and family reasons. We have a boy who will be 12, and a girl who will be 10 by the time we move. With older children I feel that an international school may be our only option, although the cost may be prohibitive for us.
Does anyone out there have any experience of sending their older children to a concertado? Ours don't speak Spanish or Catalan, although we have now organised for them to have online Spanish and Catalan lessons on a weekly basis, to try and give them a basic idea before we go. My husband and I both speak Spanish and have just started to learn Catalan.
I am just very concerned that if we send them to a concertado or local school, they will be absolutely miserable with not being able to understand anything, at least for the first year or maybe more, and particularly my older boy will miss out on important education. However, I am also conscious that integration into the local community may take longer if they go to an international school, and we want to stay there for the long haul.
Any recommendations, sharing of personal experiences, opinions etc, are very welcome.
I can understand your concern when moving with older children to Barcelona. Still, I wish you all the best for the move as it sounds like an exciting prospect. I think it's great that you are encouraging your children to learn Spanish and Catalan, and starting to learn Catalan too.
International schools are expensive, even prohibitively so, but they serve to help kids integrate into the local community. It can be surprising how well kids settle into their new homes based on an international school where they can meet both Spanish students and those from abroad. That said, it may not be a full immersion into the language as you would wish. Is it possible to negotiate a school fee allowance as part of an employment contract?
One of the best things to do is reach out via social media, such as Facebook pages for families with kids in Barcelona. I'd also recommend you have a look at this page: International Schools in Barcelona. It will direct you to the websites of various schools who you can contact directly and can better inform your decision. It may be possible for you to transfer to a public or local school after a term or so at an international one. Are there any particular schools that you had in mind?