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Taking kids to China?
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kce



Joined: 08 Aug 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:00 pm    Post subject: Taking kids to China? Reply with quote

My family traveled to Nanjing this past May to adopt our little girl. We so enjoyed our experience that we love the thought of returning and living for a few years. I have searched the archives and havenít found too much on how people with school aged kids manage. Is my only real option an international school where my kids can attend? I have spent hours looking at international schools all over China, and it is very overwhelming!! The only cities we are familiar with are Beijing, Nanjing, and Guangzhou, and we really donít have much desire to live in a large city. (Although we liked Nanjing) Iím really not sure where to start, and I have to be so careful about my decisions with three kids in tow.
Anyone out there with any experience teaching at an international school? Anyone with teenagers doing this?

Thanks,
K.C.
I have a B.Ed with 2 years teaching experience.
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kev7161



Joined: 06 Feb 2004
Posts: 5776
Location: Suzhou, China

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO, I think it is unfair for parents to bring teenaged children to China. Why? Because the kids are being forced to live out their parent's dreams and fantasies of living in "exotic" China. They are being forced to leave their own social lives and familiar world behind to come to this strange country. Unless you have a troubled teen who you want to get out of a bad situation, then I advise to wait until your kids have left home for college or whatever or make living arrangements with relatives while you have your "adventure" here in China.

On the other hand, if yuo have very small children, they may more easily be able to integrate into the system here, but please make sure they are getting good Chinese lessons from day one so they can actually talk and play with their Chinese classmates! Nothing worse than to see a lonely white kid on the playground!
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Ruth



Joined: 02 Feb 2004
Posts: 105
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm an empty nester so can't respond pertaining to my own kids, except Kev is probably right about the social aspect. Can't see my kids over here as teens and being happy about it.

That said, I know of a woman who's here with her teenaged daughter and they've just decided to extend the contract and stay longer. Her daughter is keeping up with school 'back home' via the internet AND attending school here in China. PM me if you want more details.

I know of another couple with a three-year-old adopted Chinese daughter. They've got a Chinese ayi to teach the little girl Chinese. They work at an international school.

If I were bringing kids here, and wanted a small town experience (versus big city with international school), I'd home school via the internet. My current working hours would allow sufficient time for this. You can find a situation where yours will also. Ditto what Kev said on the Chinese lessons - whether via a school program or a tutor or an ayi who doesn't speak English (gotta learn to communicate with her somehow!) You know your own children. The experience would truly be one in a lifetime. A year away from their 'real lives' likely won't warp them and just might broaden their horizons.

Outside of major cities in China, foreigners are an oddity. Many adults who come here have difficulty adapting to the staring and extra attention we inevitably receive. Make sure you are ready to deal with this, too.
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poopsicola



Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 111
Location: World travelling

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:45 pm    Post subject: Dicey Reply with quote

This is a very risky business. I've read of some who have lived here with their children for some years and everything has gone well. About the location of their education I do not know though I guess you'd need a packet if you needed to pay international school fees. And then there are those who have trumpeted their intention of coming here with teenager in tow "to have a ball" - and have been gone within months never to be heard of again, "urgent family business at home" being the face-saving formula. I'd think about this one very, very carefully. A brief, euphoric trip to China to finalize an adoption may not be the best introduction to the trials of real life in China. I once read that adopting parents are "guided" into 5-star hotels during their stay. Such places would not be the best for getting the feel of ordinary life in China - if you were so "guided".
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kce



Joined: 08 Aug 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin,

Thanks for your response. All of my kids have been to China and look forward to returning so ol' mom can live out her life long dream of teaching in an exotic land!
I wonder why you think I'm trying to live out some dream or fantasy? Is it because I'm a female and a mom? What brought you to China?

I'm fortunate that my kids (even of the teenage variety) look forward to new and different experiences, and it's my hope that through this experience (and the countless others they've had living with a crazy woman) they learn that there is life beyond the mall!

kce
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william wallace



Joined: 14 May 2003
Posts: 2869
Location: in between

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:51 pm    Post subject: Dear OP........ Reply with quote

nil

Last edited by william wallace on Sat Nov 24, 2007 8:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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China.Pete



Joined: 27 Apr 2006
Posts: 547

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:02 am    Post subject: Culture Shock--With Teens Reply with quote

With a BEd and teaching experience, you might try to find a job in an international school. Perhaps you could work something out with your school regarding educatating your own children. Otherwise, you are likely to find international schooling unaffordable on most teachers' salaries. You could also try homeschooling (having textbooks shipped from North America), although that wouild add significantly to your teaching load. As for local schooling, even those Chinese students who have been habituated to Chinese education often have little good to say about it. In a word, it is just about the antithesis of what you would have been taught to expect for your children in your BEd program.

So much for the practical matters...

"All of my kids have been to China and look forward to returning so ol' mom can live out her life long dream of teaching in an exotic land! ...I wonder why you think I'm trying to live out some dream or fantasy?" --Kce

Could it be because you just said so yourself? My concern here is that there is a really big difference between what you experience during a relatively brief visit, and actually living in a country. In psychological terms, it is the difference between "honeymoon" and "culture shock"--"adaptation" comes much later. That you will experience this with teenagers is apt to make the process even more dramatic.

Speaking of the exotic, why China? Surely there are other Asian countries--Thailand and Malaysia come to mind--that are more amenable to dreamy Westerners than China would be. From my own experience, China is actually one of the more challenging places to adapt to. I'd be concerned that the Chinese may have come to represent in your mind what the "noble savages" of the South Seas represented in the 18th-Century European imagination.

But, that's probably not what you posted on the China Board to hear, was it? If I were you, I would tend to focus on the practicalities of making and maintaining a viable life somewhere for my family, and just hope that it might be possible to cling to a few of my dreams in the process.
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Steppenwolf



Joined: 30 Jul 2006
Posts: 1769

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nanjing has at least one international school too and I would think they have a large enough expat population to run perhaps two or more. There are a lot of European expats (FIAT cooperates with a local car maker, the Germans run a number of engineering businesses), so I would assume there is one school that offers their kids schooling; however you must perhaps acquaint yourself with the thought that an international school that caters to Europeans offers a different education - it may lead to the International Baccalaureate (much harder to earn than a Bachelor's at a college or uni because it comprises more subjects).

Apart from that, you will have to consider the very high costs - they exceed the income you can make as an FT!

And this is just a philosophical question: what do you think expatriation brings to your kids? It is potentially traumatising for them! THey need stability and a social network, less the thrill of living in a supposedly exotic environment.
If you cannot afford international schooling, the Chinese education system will do lasting damage to your kids!
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cj750



Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Posts: 3081
Location: Beijing

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Usually , if you work in an international school..they allow one child to attend for free..and the one thing to remember is the accreditation...is it?

Another thing to look out for is religious based schools..such as the Bahai also christian and Jewish ..schools operating in china...
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kce



Joined: 08 Aug 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was being facetious about China being exotic!! My kids want to live in China, and want to go back to our daughter's orphanage and do whatever they can to help those kids!! Even if it's just throwing a ball back and forth, or holding a bottle for a baby. Even if it's just for a year or two, it WILL still make a difference in someone's life!!! (I know it sounds so dang corny) I love the idea, but I know I have to work and put a roof over our heads in order to do so! I have amazing kids who understand hardship and the bigger things in life!

Thanks for the responses!

kce


Last edited by kce on Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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jeffinflorida



Joined: 22 Dec 2004
Posts: 2024
Location: "I'm too proud to beg and too lazy to work" Uncle Fester, The Addams Family season two

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked at a school where a Brit family had their son and daughter with them. the kids were 10 and 12 and they did not appear to be having a good time. i think their mom home schooled them but they did never appear to get much education.

They also didn't make many friends their own age as it was a university campus.

I think maybe bringing kids for a summer but be ok, but bringing them up away from their friends is not in their best interest.
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vikdk



Joined: 25 Jun 2003
Posts: 1676

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
My kids want to live in China, and want to go back to our daughter's orphanage and do whatever they can to help those kids!!

My wife and I tried to do this at a certain SOS childrenís home - at first we we're greeted with open arms, they thought we were interested in adopting children - but when we explained that we would like to volunteer in helping at the home, attitudes changed immediately! After a lot of phone calls we were told that we could (and did) walk around the grounds accompanied by a guard and a representative of the home, but could not enter any of the houses - and that they never allowed volunteers to work there.
We learnt afterwards that the former director had been sacked for embezzling funds - and of course so many stories of Children being sold Exclamation
Traveling to China - come with an open mind - maybe that kids home was acting out of security grounds with the interests of the kids at mind (after all, in your case, you probably already have contact with the home you mention and they will welcome you without reserve). But don't come to China with a naive mind Ė this is China Ė so hard to explain when youíre actually standing here (which indeed often makes it so exciting Ė but sometimes also a pain in the olí butt) - I'm still wondering, 2 years on - why those smiles so quickly turned to concerned frowns Question
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Malsol



Joined: 06 Mar 2006
Posts: 1976
Location: Lanzhou

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Best advice: Just DON'T do it!
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kev7161



Joined: 06 Feb 2004
Posts: 5776
Location: Suzhou, China

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In your first post, you asked for advice. I responded with my OPINION/ADVICE. You can take it or leave it. However, there may be other parents out there prospecting for jobs in China so they may be able to see both sides of the coin with my (and other) advice. If your kids are mentally stable (in other words, mature and can easily handle a VAST change in lifestyle), then by all means bring them along. My ADVICE is to make double sure before booking all those plane tickets though.

And an aside to anyone asking for advice here or on any internet message board: Please take any replies with a grain of salt. Everyone is different, everyone has their own outlook on life, everyone will tell you how they feel. If you don't want negative or opposite-of-what-you're-thinking advice, then please don't ask the questions in the first place!
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vikdk



Joined: 25 Jun 2003
Posts: 1676

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If your kids are mentally stable (in other words, mature and can easily handle a VAST change in lifestyle),

Id like to pad this one out with the concept of - being mentally versatile while also being able to display a large degree of tolerance - something us so-called adults sometimes find a strain in the best of conditions - but for teenagers with their need to socially experiment Exclamation
Remember in any process of gaining adult maturity - then the experimenting teenager is essentially experimenting with social norms in their own quest to establish their own personal ones. In the case of China - where apparent social norms seem very different, and can occasionally even leave the most hardened China-vet open-mouthed and flabbergasted - then all I can say is that, I believe the caring parent has a lot of complicated support work to do if they bring teenage kids out here.
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