"Nobody prepared us for the fact that almost no English speaking offers were available for young kids & their mums when we relocated to Munich. It was hard to find any activities in English which we wanted attend in order to make sure that our kids keep their English warm. Luckily this has changed in the meantime." (CVM and SBW May 2013)
Susanne and Corinne co-run LULU & TINTIN, Munich´s English-language Activity center for 0-6 year-olds as well as it being a meeting place for pregnant women and new moms looking for a place to get support, share information and make friends. Parenting is always an adventure no matter where you are, but parenting far from family and friends in a different language and culture can present challenges that no parent should endure alone.
What is your name, age, where do you live and how long have you lived in Munich?
Susanne Birkner-Wibbe – I live in Oberhaching since 8 years.
Corinne von Moreau – I live in Hohenbrunn/Riemerling for almost 10 years.
Do you work, and if so what do you do?
We both met 13 years ago in Singapore during stints as expats. On moving back to Munich we were looking for activities in English for our young children and it was through this that the idea for LULU & TINTIN was born.
Can you tell us about the organisation Lulu and Tintin, which you are involved in, and how it helps Expats in your area of Germany?
The idea of LULU & TINTIN was in our mind for a long time. 1½ years ago we decided to concretize the idea. First step was to find a name and it didn’t take long and our two youngest children Lucy and Quentin (nick names: Lulu and Tintin) became the eponyms for our company. Our goal was to offer English language activities for the expat community in Munich.
Today LULU & TINTIN aims to provide support and a network for both expectant and current English-speaking mothers in Munich. We offer classes for pregnant women, families with infants, toddlers and children up to six years. Our customers are from every corner of the globe. Joining a class at LULU & TINTIN is a wonderful chance to participate in English-language activities and meet other mothers and their children.
How do people find you?
Classes take place in central Munich - opposite the Munich Ostbahnhof (U/ S-Bahn)!
What nationality are you and your partner?
We are all German.
How many children do you have and what are their names and ages?
We have 3 kids each:
Emily (13), Henry (11), Lucy (7)
Ruben (13), Louisa (10), Quentin (8)
How did you find the process of relocating to Munich with your children (if relevant)?
Easy as we are both Germans.
How well integrated would you say you and your children are?
We are both German so integration was never an issue for us.
What language do you speak to your children?
What has your impression been of childcare and education in Munich so far? Have you any advice for anyone moving here in regards to education? How did you choose the school the children are at now? Are you happy with it and what was the process of applying?
10 years ago it was difficult to find bilingual or foreign-language daycares or pre-schools in Munich. This has improved in the meantime and there are several private associations in Munich already. If moving here with schoolchildren it is important to decide if you want to send your child to a German school or an international one. If choosing one of the international schools it is important to try to move in the area of the respective school in order to avoid long commuting for your children. If you plan on staying in Munich or Germany for a longer time you can consider choosing a German school. From our own experience we know that children pick up a foreign language incredibly fast if they are exposed to it every day. The public education system in Munich is free. Check if the local school you are interested in offers full day service. The Bavarian government is going to raise the number of all-day state schools in the next few years.
Check out also the private schools in Munich, which are mostly all-day and offer quality education with more energetic and flexible teachers etc.
How do you rate the amenities available for parents and children in Munich?
There is a pretty good range of German language amenities in and around Munich. Looking for offers in other languages can be more difficult but Munich is improving.
Where you live, how good are facilities for children (shops, restaurants, activities etc)?
We both live in the southern outskirts of Munich. In these suburbs the facilities like shops, sports clubs, music schools etc. are very good. If we’re looking for more fancy activities we can use Munich’s big range of children activities.
What do you wish you had been told before you came to Munich?
Nobody prepared us for the fact that almost no English speaking offers were available for young kids & their mums when we relocated to Munich. It was hard to find any activities in English which we wanted attend in order to make sure that our kids keep their English warm. Luckily this has changed in the meantime.
What advice would you give for anyone thinking of relocating to Munich?
Already a couple of months before you move to Munich you should get in touch through social networks with families who already live in Munich. Most of these moms are very happy to give advice. Think about what you need for your children and yourself (babysitter, daycare, kindergarten, schools, doctors, music classes….) and be aware that many facilities are fully booked. This means to register in time!
What couldn´t you live without in Munich?
The mountains, the lakes and the ‘Biergarten’.
What could you live without?!
Winter is often too long.