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"YingHua in Beijing" Honors Program Journal

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1/22/2006


by Roger on 0000-00-00

Back to China, Back to Basics
As I am gathering documents for the trip, the way to get to this point runs through my mind. It hasn¡¯t been easy on the way to get to this point.
When I first heard of the concept of sending kids back to China for elementary school education, my though was that: ¡°oh, why?¡± I though that was a crazy idea. Everyone in China is going to extremes to send their children out here at whatever cost. As more discussions I have with other parents, reading about it in the papers, talking to parents that actually did sen their children, and drawing on my own experience from being educated there as a youngster, the advantage became apparent.
But bringing the idea up was a total chaos. My wife was dead set against. Families on both sides also voice doubts and say that I am crazy. The primary reason being that he is too young (Ryan will be 11 when he boards the plane on February 12). Also, how can he take care of himself? What if something goes wrong? We have no family or friends there that can help him if he needs. And he is TOO young. Tears run through her eyes and rip through my heart. Am I heartless, sending my son so far away into such a strange world? And he says NO, it is too hot there. Talking to him was easy, because, well, it is not hot there in winter. Still, it took almost four months to have him agree to a trial semester in Beijing for 5 months. He originally only wanted three months because ¡°that is how long I can miss my friends¡± while in summer recess.
Well, for the adults, are all these problems real problems? Swallowing my tears too, we work through the reasons to keep him here: he is close to home being well feed and well taken care, continue being a bright kid in class that feels bored out of his mind and activities, continue to find a motivation point for him to work harder to become better when he says: ¡°I am the best in class¡±. Or we can send him to tutoring classes on weekends to keep him challenged enough. But that is the time for Chinese school. Ryan was practically two grades ahead on his reading ability when he enter 2nd grade, but now he is only barely ahead. He is still ahead, but not by a big margin any more. Not that we want our son to be head and shoulders above the rest, it is just disappointing that he is not growing at a pace that he is able to grow, by that he has become a little ¡°lazy¡±.
On the contrary, by sending him over, it will be a fresh start and new challenges. It is a challenge for him to learn the basic skills. From experience, we know we have a solid basic skills foundation so there must be something done right there. He will be fully submerge to the Chinese learning, which he struggles to learn now on two hours each Sunday, and spending an hour a day hating it. With the advance in technology and thanks to Yinghua Language School, the distant doesn¡¯t seem that far any more with the internet, email, phone calls. Yinghua has put together a program that takes all the guess work out of going back: Is the school reputable? How is the quality of life? Is it safe? Yinghua even has arranged for a legal guardian to take care of the Yinghua children on weekends and emergency if there is one for those of us that don¡¯t have a friend or relative near by. Beijing is only 15 hours plane ride away when situation warrens it. Besides, unlike most of us that came here to study or immigrated here, he can come back. Should things don¡¯t work as planned, the home is always here waiting for him. But he will gain much more than that he will loss by going if it works out the way it is planned.

More on the adults¡¯ level of thinking, we know that the world will turn around China, India and other growing third world countries in the next few decades. By studying in Beijing, it will provide him an early entrance point into the country and see the country bottoms up. He will continue to study the country, hopefully, and that will give him an advantage should he choose to enter the world that deals with the China.
The wife is convinced. ¡°O.K., we will give it a try¡±, she says. I breathe a sight of relief, but also feel the responsibility of making the right choice for us, especially for him, the little guy that we are sending away. Deciding to send him away is not the end. Rather, it is only the beginning of a long and hard working journey for both him and us. As we are getting ready for the trip on February 12, I hope that I have made the right choice for all of us. Only time will tell.
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