Beijing, China Report of what it's like to live there - 04/25/18
Personal Experiences from Beijing, China
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
A parent of two high schoolers.
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
10th and 12th
3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
Yes, we choose this school for the AP classes it offered.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
Good, admissions and counselors are great and helpful.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Good, I have always been able to contact teachers and counselors on any issues easily.
2. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?
Field trips range from a few hundred to a thousand. Some are free.
Academics & Resources:
1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?
2. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
Yes, very nice and accessible.
3. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
Mac laptops provided.
4. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
Yes, excellent facilities and new ones to come.
5. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
6. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
it seems to be anywhere from 5 to 20 for a high school class.
7. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?
Very few AP courses and some limited options online. Not every student has to do the full IB.
8. Are students generally challenged appropriately by the curriculum? Please describe any particular strengths or weaknesses in this area. Do you have any thoughts how the curriculum is applied and implemented at this school?
Yes, academically it is sound.
9. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
10. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
Yes but not a large amount of students in the arts.
11. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
12. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
The teachers and counsellors use all options to help students in what they need.
13. What extra-curricular activities (including sports) are available at this school? Have your children participated in these activities? What activities do you feel are missing at the school?
Many sports. Less drama and music. no musical productions.
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
No. This school does not feel international. Most students are duel Chinese passport holders and have spent much of their schooling here. It feels like an expensive private school for the rich. Not many new students coming in that are expats.
2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.
The students that have spent most of their schooling there are pretty tight. Even the PTA is all Chinese and conducts their business in Chinese. The backgrounds of most of the students are quite wealthy, privileged and exclusive. No bullying just a sense of not belonging or having common ground.
1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?
B only because of the lack of an international aspect.
2. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
I would think very carefully before choosing this school. Socially it is difficult even for the most easy-going kids. It is not an international school.