Thanks to a revitalized economy, Shanghai has moved to the forefront of the Eastern marketplace, and will soon hold a starring role on the global scene. Not surprisingly, foreign businessmen and businesswomen are being recruited and subsequently relocated to Shanghaiís bustling metro areas.
With many monetary perks attached to relocation, itís not surprising that many new foreign employees bring their families with them. Families with children face a unique set of challenges helping their child(ren) integrate into a new culture and environment. Here are a few tips to make the transition easier:
1. Make the most of your schooling options.
Many employers offer relocating employees financial incentives to help defray the cost of enrolling their child in a private school that caters to foreign families. These schools range from preschool level to 12th grade and can be quite expensive.
Families that donít receive special funding for private schools or that want to give their child the advantage of being bi-lingual often enroll their children in the local Chinese schools or special private schools that teach half the classes in Mandarin and the other in English or French. By attending these schools, young children quickly pick up a second language and they learn about a new culture.
2. Join local expatriate childrenís groups.
There is a large expatriate community with numerous families from various European and English-speaking countries. Within these communities, activities are often organized for children. American and European holiday celebrations are popular and will help children feel more at home in a new country. During the summer months, many expatriate organizations schedule inexpensive child-friendly activities for all age groups.
3. Enjoy low-cost after school and pre-K care.
The cost of a full time nanny is very low in Shanghai, and most families opt for this option instead of daycare. Some of the English speaking schools start preschool at 18 months of age, much earlier than standard American preschool classes. Traditional Chinese schools donít start preschool programs until children are 4 years old.
4. Create new traditions.
The more time you spend in Shanghai, the more your children will naturally integrate themselves into the culture surrounding them. If they attend a Chinese school, you might soon find yourself learning about Chinese culture from your own children. Enjoying the experience of learning about a new culture can bring your family closer and make for good memories.
A guest blog contribution by Alexis Bonari
Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident education blogger and performs research surrounding College Scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.