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"YingHua in Beijing" Honors Program FAQ

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1: What are the objectives for sending students studying in China?

Posted on 2011-01-20 by

1) Expanding students' horizon and perspectives;
Students growing up in this country need to learn what's going on in other cultures and countries. They need to learn to be more tolerant of people who are different from them in real life - not just in schools and in role-plays.
2) Learning to live independently and self-management;
Good academic achievements could be a result of parent's commitment and less of a student's commitment. Could a student manage his/her own time and resources and learn to focus on the important tasks without parents around?
3) Improving Chinese.
In a program where students are immersed with local Chinese students, their Chinese language proficiency gets a tremendous boost.

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2: What about the student's study in the U.S. once he returns to the U.S.?

Posted on 2011-01-20 by

First of all, we only encourage students who have found studying in their regular schools in the U.S. to be very easy. Students with As and high Bs are in this category in general.
For these students, during the Grades 4-8, leaving the schools for one or two semesters usually does not constitute any serious problems - based on our experience.
Many students immigrated from China have little problems to catch up with students studying in regular schools in the U.S., except for language-related subjects. Our students would not have the language challenge once they return to the U.S. Their math is usually more advanced.
While students in Grades 7-9 are in Bejing, we encourage them bring English books such as required readings from their regular schools to study during the English class periods.

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3: When would be a good time for sending students to study in China?

Posted on 2011-01-20 by

We recommend that students in Grades 4-6 go in the spring semester, as they would not miss their favorite Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the holiday season. They will also enjoy the Red May Music and Cultural Festival as well as the June 1 International Children's Day in China.
Students in Grades 7-9 should consider going in the fall semester as many schools have Tracks and other activities or exams in the spring. During spring, teachers usually go over what the students have learned in the fall so that they would master the material. YiB Honor students usually can catch up during this period with ease.

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4: What's the minimum age for going to study abroad?

Posted on 2011-01-20 by

We believe that the fourth grade should be the lowest grade. Younger children need to build strong foundation in English as well as the emotional bond with their parents.

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5: What is the oldest age for going to study abroad?

Posted on 2011-01-20 by

We suggest that the 8th grade, or in some special cases, the 9th grade, be the highest grade for studying in China. Students do get much more busier in the U.S. once they are in high schools. At the same time, education in Chinese high schools is more exam-focused, which would be less of value for our students.

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6: Why not send students to the so-called international schools?

Posted on 2011-01-20 by

The so-called international schools are where students are taught in English by American teachers using American curricula. By Chinese government's regulation, such schools are not allowed to admit any students with Chinese passports as the government does not have any control over what the schools teach. These schools charge a LOT of money and they are mostly for students who are in China for a few years before returning to the states to continue their education. All courses are taught in English, except for Chinese language courses. We believe these schools would not meet our YiB Honor Program's objectives.

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7: What if we don't have any relatives or friends in Beijing to take care of our child?

Posted on 2011-01-20 by

There is one YiB Honor Program representative in Beijing. We have a contract with Beijing Yanjing Professional Cultural School, which designates the representative and oversees his/her responsibilities.
The representative can act as the student's legal guardian and be responsible for taking the student out on weekends as needed.
Overall, the representative oversees all the students in YiB Honor Program and maintains communications with the school as well as with the parents through the principal of YingHua Language School.
The representative is also the students' counselor and advocate helping students with their needs.

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8: What are the responsibilities of the YiB Honor Program Representative in Beijing?

Posted on 2011-01-20 by

We have a contract with Beijing Yanjing Professional Cultural School, which designates the representative and oversees his/her responsibilities.
1) The representative can be the legal guardian for those students who do not have any relatives or friends in Beijing. The representative may take students out on weekends for shopping or sightseeing as needed.
2) Overall, the representative oversees all the students in YiB Honor Program and maintains communications with the school as well as with the parents through the principal of YingHua Language School.
3) The representative is also the students' counselor and advocate helping students with their various needs.

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9: Where is Limai?

Posted on 2011-01-20 by

Beijing Limai School is located near the Beijing International Airport.

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10: Is Beijing Limai School a traditional Chinese school or an international school?

Posted on 0000-00-00 by

It is neither. It has about 800 students from Kindergarten to high school. The tuition for a domestic student is 36,000 yuan a year (and $6,800 for international students). So you could imagine that the students are not your traditional students from traditional families.

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11: Bonnie, what's the motivation that you sent your own children to this program?

Posted on 0000-00-00 by Bonnie

We wanted to raise independent and confident children who know who they are and would not judge themselves by what other people think of them. To that end, we believe spending significant amount of time in China would be the best way. Other than character development, being completely bilingual and having a broader horizon (kai1kuo4 shi4 ye3) about another culture should also benefit them for the rest of their life - we think.
We plan to encourage our children to spend their spring semesters in China, for as long as they are willing to do so, through the 8th grade. What university in the U.S. they will be able to go to is a less critical issue, we believe. We think, if they were truly good college materials, they would still be able to make it to the top during their high-school years. There have been plenty of China-educated students, who only studied in high schools in the U.S., ending up in ivy-league schools. (At YingHua, we have met such a high school girl as a volunteer - VERY mature, motivated, and intelligent. I would not be surprised if she ended up in her dream college in a couple of years.)
We believe that, if our children were not good enough to go to a top university, their experience in China would be even more valuable because it would be better for them to spend that much time in China than wasting it in trying to squeeze into a top university.

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12: Bonnie, do your children have any problem with the language and environment?

Posted on 0000-00-00 by Bonnie

I don't think so. My kids speak Chinese at home with us since they were born. Since they attended YingHua Language School in 2002, they have accumulated over 1000 Chinese characters (though not enough). They have also been back to China every summer (except for the summer where there's the SARS) for up to 10 weeks at a time since 1998. So it was easier for them to adjust.
Attending a Chinese boarding school is quite different from attending a traditional British boarding school. Everybody in the school is so nice and accommodating. All their new friend are so friendly. The food is terrific. My daughter would never eat a boiled egg at home without whining. Now she claims that she has found boiled eggs taste good because she is REQUIRED to eat one every morning so that her group would not have any points deducted. (I'm sure, if your child is allergic to eggs, that would be a different story.) She now eats not only the veggies but also the mushrooms, which she used to throw out, also because she would not want her group to lose a point because of her. The meals are served buffet style so nothing is allowed to be wasted. My kids like this kind of discipline because they are old enough to understand the reasons but were not mature enough to do it. Now they are happy to be consistent with the help of some positive peer pressure.
I know a friend's son went to a boarding school in fall of 2003 at the age of 11. He was quite spoiled according to her mom, which was the reason for her wanting to send him to China. He literately cried for a month before settling down and starting to enjoy the experience. After spending spring 2004 in the U.S., he spent the 2004-05 school year in China!

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13: Should we send our children back to China?

Posted on 0000-00-00 by

This is a question for the parents. Every family's answer is different. Most of the American-born friends would frown upon the idea, but I think that's why most of the American youth are so narrow-minded and culturally arrogant. Most of the foreign-born friends including Europeans, Indians, etc., would think it's a great idea.
It has to do with your own motivation, your family atmosphere, and your relationship and communication style with your child. In many cases, I have found that the kids would have no problem adjusting to the environment, but it is the parents who suffer a great deal from not having their children around. In some families, I was told that there'd be no life without the children. For some parents, this would be considered a tremendous sacrifice for them to make for their children's sake, if they chose to do it. So the parents have to weigh the pros and cons themselves.

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14: Why Beijing Limai School?

Posted on 0000-00-00 by

We have investigated many schools. For our program, we need to select a school with both elementary and middle school facilities. This requirement narrows our search to mostly private schools.
Among private schools, Limai is one of the best for its quality. It has one of the best facilities and is most flexible in accepting international students. Some other schools would require students studying Chinese separately from local students for a long period. Some require a minimum stay of two years.
Since we started piloting the program in Spring 2005, the Limai administrators have been cooperative and supportive to the YiB Honors Program initiative.
There are other reasons for having chosen Limai. We like a school that is not too big so that our kids can get the attention they deserve and need. The school is very secure, safe, clean, health-conscious, etc., providing all the perks that traditional schools may not be able to afford. For instance, the school has 20 full-time security guards constantly in training to stay fit (every time we were there, they'd be in some kind of training, if not on duty, swimming or jumping over each other's back...). The school also has its own food inspection lab checking the condition of incoming food such as yogurt, milk, etc. Another example is that we paid an extra of about $125 for half year for each kid so that they can have private piano lessons once a week (45 minutes) as well as four practicing sessions under the teacher's supervision. The school has dozens of private piano rooms. When the weather is warmer, the students take the swimming lessons twice a week.
Students from the U.S. do not have to attend all regular English classes. They spend that time to play piano, wei2 qi2, using email, or taking an advanced English lesson from a Canadian English teacher (wai4 jiao4).
There are quite a few students from Korean, Mongolia, Canada, and the U.S. as well as students from outside of Beijing. Most of these students do not go home on weekends. So the school takes them out on trips every other weekend.
We did not choose an international school because the students only get western-style education there. Those students were there because their parents are expatriates or diplomatic officials. The tuition usually runs in the $20K-40K range and is usually paid for by the companies or the governments.

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15: Any drawbacks if my child stays with his grandparents?

Posted on 0000-00-00 by Bonnie

Definitely. All the unsuccessful stories on this are from children staying with the grandparents or relatives while studying in China. I have nothing against these kind people, but they are not professional educators even by Chinese standards. If you could bear to part with your children for that long, send them to a good boarding school and let the grandparents or the relatives take them out for weekends if your child prefers.

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16: Would years of boarding school weaken the bond we have with our children?

Posted on 0000-00-00 by

There are three deciding factors, I believe.
1) The existing relationship between the parents and the children;
2) The parent's ability to express emotions and thoughts with their children;
3) The child's ability to express emotions and thoughts with their parents.
Some parents are thinking about sending their children to China because their current communications are breaking down. The parents wanted to teach the child a lesson by sending them to China. I could imagine that the boarding school experience would have no positive impact on the bond between the parents and the children. It may cause the already fragile bond to collapse, in which case, a child may hate the parents for doing so.
If a parent is used to express their love mostly through doing a lot of things for the children and does not talk to their children often, it can be a problem because you'd need to be able to keep reassuring your children that you love them and you can articulate your emotions and thoughts for them since they would not see your actions or body language.
Some children are painfully shy at certain age. That in itself is not a sign of low self-esteem or low self-confidence. However, it can be frustrating if your children are not telling you anything about their life and their friends while you are thousands of miles away.
Therefore, I believe, if you can be positive on all of these factors, your children would appreciate you and the family life MORE after they're back with you.

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17: Would one or two semesters be sufficient when they are little?

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I think as long as they are not too little, one or two semesters would definitely have some impact. For myself, I would like my children to spend at least three semesters in China - possibly five before they start high school.

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18: Why do you call this program an Honors Program?

Posted on 0000-00-00 by

We wanted to emphasize that students should be academically sound in the U.S. before taking on such an adventure.
Even though the school is very safe and the teachers are very supportive and helpful, it is still a big adjustment for these American students. Most of the adjustments are mental and psychological, which give the students an opportunity to build their characters through this unique experience.
Therefore, if a student had already been having troubles academically in the U.S., the challenges would be so much larger. So we would need to interview the student to make sure he's willing to take the plunge.
This program is clearly not for every student or every parent. However, for those high-achievers, it will be an HONOR for them to be part of it.

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19: What if my child is only a B student?

Posted on 0000-00-00 by

If your child is relatively mature and is determined to take the challenge and we can confirm these after an phone- or in-person- interview, your child will be able to participate.

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20: How will this experience change my child's character?

Posted on 0000-00-00 by Bonnie

Of course, this varies from student to student.
Many students growing up in the U.S. have high self-esteem and self-confidence thanks to the education they have received. However, in many cases, such good feeling about oneself is built on a hollow foundation and the students have no true understanding about themselves.
What is the real substance behind the sense of confidence?
It should be that no matter what challenges or hardship one may face, he believes that he will triumph. This is harder to do than to say - as our children, for the most part, have never experienced any serious challenges or hardship!
When they face new challenges, they generally are lack of that sense of belief in themselves that they would be OK if they put their effort in the right place.
Most of the students have been pursuing one first place after another and always want to be Number One because that is how they see themselves.
However, once they cannot be Number One or there is no Number One to fight for, they are lost. Who am I? What strengths do I really have?
Usually students would experience a semi-melt-down of self-confidence once they started studying at Limai - they are not popular any more and they are not Number One any more. They cannot define themselves with their possessions either - how many expensive pants I have or how many valuables I posses.
They have to seek internally for the answers about themselves.
With proper guidance and support, even the teenagers can come out in 4-6 weeks feeling comfortable about themselves knowing better who they are and be able to realize fuller potentials in their academic and emotional life.
This is part of a character-building process - KNOW YOURSELF.

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21: Should my child bring his music instrument?

Posted on 2002-03-20 by

Yes. Students may take private piano lessons for a fee: once a week with a teacher for 45 minutes and up to four practices sometimes under the teacher's supervision.
For other musical instruments such as band or orchestra instruments, music teachers would help the studnet find time to practice. Everybody's request may be different in that regard. Bring the instruments and music books so that he will be able to keep some practice going.
If a teacher could be found, he may be able to take some lessons as well.

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