Introduction: Sabbatical in Fribourg, Switzerland, 2015-2016

Blogs. They can be awesome, obnoxious, boring… I anticipate this one will be will be all three. I am doing it for the following reasons: 1. I don’t want to be obnoxious and boring on Facebook; 2. people can choose to follow this blog or not (no offense taken!); 3. I hope it will serve as a nice record for our family and the boys; 4. I like to keep a record of recommendations, tips and lessons learned for trips.

As a tenured professor at an urban midwestern university, my husband – hereby referred to as William Hatch – has the opportunity to take a sabbatical approximately every seven years. We have long talked of how to best take advantage – for our family and for him professionally. The lightning bolt struck when a colleague at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland invited him to participate in a meeting there in August 2013. This lovely small city checked all the boxes: it lies in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, thereby allowing our sons – 11 year old “Fritz” and almost-9 year old “Ernest” – to acquire a second language (one that I already know); it has an excellent university where William can actively collaborate with other faculty who do similar work; and it is perfectly situated for us to travel and expose our kids to the cultures and rich history of Europe.

We will enroll the boys in a local “state” school, fully immersed in the Swiss curriculum and French language. One of the first things I did was to figure out the school vacation schedule so we can start planning our travels. William and I had a really fun date night sketching out our plans. The boys will have three two-week school breaks and a one-week one, plus a handful of days off. Here is the plan, as sketched out on napkins with a flight of wine… October break (2 weeks): Italy; Christmas break (2 weeks): England and Scotland; February winter break (1 week): skiing in the French Alps; Easter break (2 weeks): Spain and Portugal; and finally, summer 2016: do as wide a circle as makes sense around Europe, ending with Croatia before returning to Switzerland to get our stuff and heading back home to the U.S. midwest. Sounds pretty cool, right? And a bit exhausting. Luckily…

…one of my favorite things to do is to plan trips. Here’s why:
So I’ve been pretty happy lately 🙂 I will create separate posts for each destination/trip to stay organized, but in summary, it’s only the end of March 2015, and lodging for the following is fully booked: August in Iceland & Paris; October in Italy; Christmas/New Years in London & Edinburgh; and February skiing in Les Arcs, France.

Other things I am doing to prepare that aren’t quite as fun but definitely necessary fall into two categories: leaving the U.S. for a year (renting out our house, etc.) and living in Switzerland (renewing passports, getting documents together for our visas, renting an apartment there, etc.). These are the blog entries that will be boring but (I hope) useful for anyone (and our future selves) who anticipate this type of undertaking. So… with that, welcome to our Hatchventures!


3 responses to “Introduction: Sabbatical in Fribourg, Switzerland, 2015-2016

  1. Hi! Amazing start to your blog!
    Anxiously waiting to see if there will there be a Heidi Hatch? Actually, your name appears to be very popular in Scandinavian countries! 🙂
    Lots of love,


  2. What a fantastic experience and adventure! We have always dreamed of an opportunity to live in another country for a year or so! I will be living vicariously through you 🙂


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