Swiss School

Discuss various International School options for your children here.
Misek
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Swiss School

Post by Misek » Tue, 22 Jun 2021 5:42 am

Hello,

I am considering a relocation to Singapore in 2022. We are currenly living in Santiago, Chile, with my wife and 2 kids (3 and 6 years old in 2022), who are currently attending a local school.
The local Chilean school is not so great, but I can easily walk my children to the school in the morning, it's a pleasant 15 mn walk, and in Santiago the temperatures are never extreme and it almost never rains.

Relocating to Singapore would mean to find an International School, at least for my 6 years-old ; my company will provide an expat package covering a reasonable cost of housing and the education fees equivalent to those applied by the International French School (IFS).

I know that school busing is very common in Singapore and in other countries such as the US, but in Europe most of the time the parents leave at walking distance from the school, and we were very please to be able to replicate this in Chile. One of our concers with school bus is also safety and the lack of child restraint systems for small children.

However, it looks like it won´t be that simple in Singapore... I find the location of the IFS not that attractive, given the poor connectivity with the CDB where I will supposed to work, and even more so since my wife will also look for a job : both of us will be bound to rather long commutes if we decide to leave nearby the IFS.

A good alternative would be the Swiss School, located in the Swiss Club, which has a lot of appeal to me: French & English language, nice environment, small scale, similar tuition fees as the IFS, and located in a seemingly nice neighborhood (Bukit Timah). I have looked at several real estate websites, and there seems to be quite a lot of condos available between Sixth Avenue and Albert Park MRT stations, with the appropriate amenities close by (shops, restaurants, parks...).

I am just wondering about the key "walking distance" parameter : on Google Map it says between 20-25 mn. Which would be fine to me and my kid (she could even use a scooter to go faster), but I am wondering about Singapore weather : if it is really that sweltering, hot and/or raining, is it realistic to walk 20/25 mn back and forth to school, just to avoid the school bus?

I also have considered to join the Swiss Club (apart from its own merits of course), to be able to use the shuttle bus with my daugther, at least one way. The frequency is manageable in the morning (every 30 mn, you can't afford being late for sure), but less so in the afternoon (every hour).

But maybe I am just being too demanding, and should merely accept the school bus as the best option to organize the family life whithout being too complicated...

Any thoughts on the issue from locals would be greatly appreciated!

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PNGMK
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Re: Swiss School

Post by PNGMK » Tue, 22 Jun 2021 7:01 am

I walk 20 min to my MRT. It's not a big deal unless you're in a hurry
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

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malcontent
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Re: Swiss School

Post by malcontent » Tue, 22 Jun 2021 11:10 pm

One of the best ways to become acclimatized to the weather here is to walk around - that is exactly what my father did when he spent a month here… walked all over the island, hours at a time. He fared way better than my mother who stayed inside and just about fainted every time she got out in the heat. That said, you really can’t walk more than 5 minutes here without sweating. It comes with the territory.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Re: Swiss School

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 23 Jun 2021 1:08 pm

I live about a 10 minute easy walk from the IFS on AMK Ave 3. For a direct MRT link to the CBD you would need to take a bus (about four or five direct buses to the AMK MRT with bus stop right near the IFS). In another year possibly (not sure of the time table for completion but there is a new MRT station being built at Serangoon North @ AMK Ave 3, only 5 minute walk from IFS. Little research there may give you some more options to consider.
Life isn't about avoiding the bruises. It's about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it!

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Re: Swiss School

Post by Misek » Wed, 23 Jun 2021 2:30 pm

Thank you for all these answers, very useful.

The MRT station at North Serangoon is slated to open in 2030.
But I get your point, I shouldn't discard the IFS too quickly.

Serangoon looks not so green and a bit isolated from more "trendy" happening. Is it really that residential and suburban compared to Sixth Avenue for instance?

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Re: Swiss School

Post by Lisafuller » Wed, 23 Jun 2021 3:16 pm

Misek wrote:
Tue, 22 Jun 2021 5:42 am
Hello,

I am considering a relocation to Singapore in 2022. We are currenly living in Santiago, Chile, with my wife and 2 kids (3 and 6 years old in 2022), who are currently attending a local school.
The local Chilean school is not so great, but I can easily walk my children to the school in the morning, it's a pleasant 15 mn walk, and in Santiago the temperatures are never extreme and it almost never rains.

Relocating to Singapore would mean to find an International School, at least for my 6 years-old ; my company will provide an expat package covering a reasonable cost of housing and the education fees equivalent to those applied by the International French School (IFS).

I know that school busing is very common in Singapore and in other countries such as the US, but in Europe most of the time the parents leave at walking distance from the school, and we were very please to be able to replicate this in Chile. One of our concers with school bus is also safety and the lack of child restraint systems for small children.

However, it looks like it won´t be that simple in Singapore... I find the location of the IFS not that attractive, given the poor connectivity with the CDB where I will supposed to work, and even more so since my wife will also look for a job : both of us will be bound to rather long commutes if we decide to leave nearby the IFS.

A good alternative would be the Swiss School, located in the Swiss Club, which has a lot of appeal to me: French & English language, nice environment, small scale, similar tuition fees as the IFS, and located in a seemingly nice neighborhood (Bukit Timah). I have looked at several real estate websites, and there seems to be quite a lot of condos available between Sixth Avenue and Albert Park MRT stations, with the appropriate amenities close by (shops, restaurants, parks...).

I am just wondering about the key "walking distance" parameter : on Google Map it says between 20-25 mn. Which would be fine to me and my kid (she could even use a scooter to go faster), but I am wondering about Singapore weather : if it is really that sweltering, hot and/or raining, is it realistic to walk 20/25 mn back and forth to school, just to avoid the school bus?

I also have considered to join the Swiss Club (apart from its own merits of course), to be able to use the shuttle bus with my daugther, at least one way. The frequency is manageable in the morning (every 30 mn, you can't afford being late for sure), but less so in the afternoon (every hour).

But maybe I am just being too demanding, and should merely accept the school bus as the best option to organize the family life whithout being too complicated...

Any thoughts on the issue from locals would be greatly appreciated!
Swiss school seems like a nice option, I live in the Bukit Timah area, great place to raise a family. On the other hand quite a number of French families stay in the Serangoon Gardens neighborhood; their kids go to IFS and they cycle to school in the morning, just as they would back home. Try not to be thrown off so quickly by the commute, plenty of kids in the Serangoon area walk and cycle to school.

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Re: Swiss School

Post by Lisafuller » Wed, 23 Jun 2021 3:23 pm

Misek wrote:
Wed, 23 Jun 2021 2:30 pm
Thank you for all these answers, very useful.

The MRT station at North Serangoon is slated to open in 2030.
But I get your point, I shouldn't discard the IFS too quickly.

Serangoon looks not so green and a bit isolated from more "trendy" happening. Is it really that residential and suburban compared to Sixth Avenue for instance?
Don’t count on the MRT. It probably won’t make too big of a difference in the commute. If you decide to go with Serangoon, do as the locals do and have your kids walk or cycle to school. It’s a nice way to wake up in the morning and get some exercise.

My personal preference is the neighborhoods in Bukit Timah. Sixth Avenue is a very nice area, plenty of expats, good food, and plenty of parks and gardens (Botanic Gardens is a notable one) nearby.

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Re: Swiss School

Post by Lisafuller » Wed, 23 Jun 2021 3:28 pm

malcontent wrote:
Tue, 22 Jun 2021 11:10 pm
One of the best ways to become acclimatized to the weather here is to walk around - that is exactly what my father did when he spent a month here… walked all over the island, hours at a time. He fared way better than my mother who stayed inside and just about fainted every time she got out in the heat. That said, you really can’t walk more than 5 minutes here without sweating. It comes with the territory.
That’s exactly how my father got used to the heat here. He would go for early morning walks all around Bukit Timah. Climbed the Bukit Timah hill every weekend, took many trips around the nature reserve. He never did get completely used to it, but my mother had it way worse. All that time spent indoors in the aircon meant that she needed to carry around one of those water bottles with a fan that sprays water attached to it, like the ones you would get at USS.

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Re: Swiss School

Post by Lisafuller » Wed, 23 Jun 2021 3:30 pm

PNGMK wrote:
Tue, 22 Jun 2021 7:01 am
I walk 20 min to my MRT. It's not a big deal unless you're in a hurry
Luckily, I live about 8 minutes away from the closest MRT. I used to hate the walk and would avoid it at all costs, but with all the sheltered walkways built by the government recently, the walk is now such a breeze.

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PNGMK
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Re: Swiss School

Post by PNGMK » Wed, 23 Jun 2021 4:18 pm

Misek wrote:
Wed, 23 Jun 2021 2:30 pm
Thank you for all these answers, very useful.

The MRT station at North Serangoon is slated to open in 2030.
But I get your point, I shouldn't discard the IFS too quickly.

Serangoon looks not so green and a bit isolated from more "trendy" happening. Is it really that residential and suburban compared to Sixth Avenue for instance?
If you can afford anywhere along that area (say Holland Rd to Upper Bukit Timah on the roads that branch off Dunearn / Bukit Timah) I would go there over Serangoon.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

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Re: Swiss School

Post by Lisafuller » Wed, 23 Jun 2021 6:14 pm

PNGMK wrote:
Wed, 23 Jun 2021 4:18 pm
Misek wrote:
Wed, 23 Jun 2021 2:30 pm
Thank you for all these answers, very useful.

The MRT station at North Serangoon is slated to open in 2030.
But I get your point, I shouldn't discard the IFS too quickly.

Serangoon looks not so green and a bit isolated from more "trendy" happening. Is it really that residential and suburban compared to Sixth Avenue for instance?
If you can afford anywhere along that area (say Holland Rd to Upper Bukit Timah on the roads that branch off Dunearn / Bukit Timah) I would go there over Serangoon.
Same here. Although, the Serangoon Gardens neighborhood specifically seems pretty nice.

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Re: Swiss School

Post by PNGMK » Wed, 23 Jun 2021 6:51 pm

Its full of filthy Aussies.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

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Re: Swiss School

Post by Lisafuller » Wed, 23 Jun 2021 6:59 pm

PNGMK wrote:
Wed, 23 Jun 2021 6:51 pm
Its full of filthy Aussies.
I thought it was mostly the French that live in the area, is that no longer the case?

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Re: Swiss School

Post by PNGMK » Wed, 23 Jun 2021 8:10 pm

Lisafuller wrote:
Wed, 23 Jun 2021 6:59 pm
PNGMK wrote:
Wed, 23 Jun 2021 6:51 pm
Its full of filthy Aussies.
I thought it was mostly the French that live in the area, is that no longer the case?
It maybe both. The Aussie school is close which attracts the Aussies. P
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

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sundaymorningstaple
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Re: Swiss School

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 23 Jun 2021 9:57 pm

You can walk from the Gardens to the IFS via Tavistock Park short cut. and yeah the gardens is a more trendy place than my side of it (I'm actually on Serangoon North Ave 2). Nice big park in my backyard. though with basketball court.
Life isn't about avoiding the bruises. It's about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it!

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