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    A Singaporean Family's Journey through International Education


    29 Nov, 2023

    15 : 58


    Isaac and Nadine LIM are currently Y3 and Y11 students at YCIS Qingdao. Due to their father's job relocation, they will be back in Singapore in the new semester.


    Their family is typically an international education supporter. Both parents work in a multinational corporation. The family has lived in Singapore, Beijing, Japan and Qingdao, and their kids have attended international schools in different countries.


    Before leaving YCIS Qingdao, we had the privilege of interviewing their mother, Cindy, who shared her thoughts about international education, family education and their memorable stories of YCIS.



    Isaac and Nadine joined YCIS Qingdao in March 2023. However, they applied for the school three years ago while in the middle of the pandemic. Their original plan was to join YCIS in January 2021. After completing the admission procedures online, their visas were delayed, and their plan had to be repeatedly postponed.


    "I really appreciate YCIS being so patient with us and waiting for us for almost three years because of COVID. It was tough to wait, knowing that we should already be moving, but we couldn't, and we didn't even know how long the wait was. But I think that became a good thing when we tell the kids they have to make the best use of the time in Japan and get the most out of it to their school, enjoy their friends while they can and get the best results as you could, right while you wait."



    Multi-cultural growing and educational experience


    Before coming to YCIS Qingdao, Lim's family lived in Japan for seven years. Nadine was at a Canadian academy, and Isaac was at a German school.


    "It was a funny story because when Isaac was around two years old, he couldn't talk. Maybe because he didn't have a playdate and we couldn't speak Japanese, it was hard to stimulate his speaking without the language environment. Because of that, I was anxious to put him into a school. Nadine's school does not accept children until three, so I have to put him in the nearest German school.



    Those two schools are very different in terms of size, teacher ratio, and family and parent proximity. The German school is almost like a family school. Everybody knows everybody. The family connection is very close to the school. Whereas in Canadian academy it's one of the largest schools locally. It has two soccer fields and great sports facilities. So, it's a small school versus a very big school. But in honesty, I spent more time at Isaac's school than at Nadine's school. 


    I think in the international school, the elements of education are more well-rounded. It doesn't just focus on academics. It has a balance of academics, sports, extracurriculars and music. And even in terms of the curriculum structure, it's not just focused on grades."



    "The biggest learning and education happen in the family."


    "The school plays a role, but nobody can take your position as a parent when educating your child. So, to me, it's our parenting styles impacted by the different countries and cultures that we are exposed to. But I think by far, the educational background and what we believe in our family education philosophy are the most important.


    I feel that education is really more than just how you bring up a child in terms of what he or she can read, learn or write. Education has to do with character building. That's what I like about YCIS's philosophy: it's about how one person can make a difference. It starts with the element of one."



    Raising two children at different ages is a gift and a challenge for Cindy. Parents play a different role when their kids are at different stages. A twelve-year age gap appears to be a significant milestone. 


    For Isaac, she has to be a disciplinarian when the child needs structure and framework. For Nadine, Cindy became a coach and consultant. She doesn't expect Nadine to agree with everything she says. Most of the time, it's important to be respectful and supportive.


    Cindy used three keywords to describe the characteristics that she wants her children to have: kind, respectful and a big heart. "It doesn't matter what profession they will take on, doctors, engineers, architects. There's no bad job in this world. But to me, you need to be kind, respectful, and have a big heart, which are the critical elements of success."



    "Although it's short, it's a memorable experience.


    Isaac and Nadine spent most of their life in Japan; they are still adjusting to the difference after being nine months at YCIS Qingdao. However, the whole experience at YCIS is extremely positive and memorable for their family.


    "I'd like to thank Ms Zhan, Ms Raath, and Mr Kempka. When Isaac first walked into the school, he barely knew more than just his name in Chinese. Ms Zhan has made Isaac love Chinese. She is always passionate and fun. She makes Chinese learning challenging but also rewarding. Today, he has grown so much in his Chinese capability that you probably will not suspect he is a foreign student. And Ms Raath is the same; I love it when she's strict. Isaac needs discipline and structure sometimes.


    For Nadine, it must be Mr Kempka. She's extremely talented in languages and humanities subjects, but she's not very confident in herself when it comes to math. Mr Kempka makes her believe in herself and makes her like math. It's amazing!"


    The story between YCIS Qingdao and the LIM family is coming to an end, but we believe that this temporary separation is for a better reunion. 


    Every year, many families, like the LIMs, join YCIS Qingdao from all around the world. We provide truly international education and cultivate students to become global-minded, appreciative and caring world citizens. 


    We wish Isaac and Nadine all the best to carry the spirit of YCIS and continue to shine brightly in their futures!