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Expats in Luxembourg: How to prepare your child for the shock?

You have just arrived in Luxembourg or are planning to move there with your kids, the particular linguistic situation of Luxembourg would certainly create a language barrier. Luxembourgish? French? German? English? The linguistic plurality leads sometimes to confusion among newscomers, who do not really know which language to use.

However, several advices and institutions would make this step less traumatic for your children. Integrating children in a new environment is very important, which is why Just Arrived offers the five following advices to prepare them for this great change!

1. LISTEN TO THEIR FEARS AND REASSURE THEM

Arriving in a new country and being unable to speak the native language(s) can be very stressful for children. Although they often show a quick adaptation and learning ability, it remains important to inform and reassure them about the language situation of their host country and to prepare them for the various situations they will encounter upon arrival (cultural shock, being unable to understand the teacher, etc.).

2. CAREFULLY CHOOSE THEIR NEW SCHOOL

The school is an important place for the socialization of expatriated children. It is therefore important that they like it and interact well with their new classmates and teachers despite the language barrier. For this, it is recommended to be well informed on the selection of schools proposed in Luxembourg, in order to choose the most suitable one for your children. The country has, for example, a wide range of private and international schools as well as childcare support systems, which are often adapted to the newcomers’ cultural diversity. Get information beforehand on the latter (places are often limited) in order to make the best choice for your children and to facilitate their social and linguistic integration. 

3. MAKE THEM PARTICIPATE TO RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES

Art, music or sports make an ideal occasion for children to socialize, share and express their emotions with few words. Recreational activities are therefore essential to enable them to socialize outside their school and to learn the language at their own pace with friends, in a pleasant and relaxed environment. Click here to view the recreational activities available in Luxembourg.

4. INTRODUCE THEM TO THE LANGUAGE USING APPROPRIATE MATERIALS

Leaning its host country’s language(s) should not become a chore for your children. For this, introduce them gently to the language by using educational games or age-appropriate materials such as comics, magazines or cartoons in foreign language(s). Children learn faster when it’s fun ! For example, think of youth magazines available in bookstores or try to find Luxembourgish or German versions of your children’s favorite DVDs.

5. TURN TO THE RIGHT ASSOCIATIONS

With its high proportion of foreign residents, Luxembourg is well-provided as regard community associations and integration assistance institutions. If your children are experiencing a linguistic, social or cultural integration issue, we therefore advise you to turn to organizations such as CASNA, Passages.lu, CLAE or Luxembourg Support Group. Help, advice and experience sharing are also available from the associations of the different communities present in Luxembourg.

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