Forums  •  Classifieds  •  Events  •  Directory

 
Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

International or Local

  1. #9
    Blee is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    31
    Hi moms out there,

    It is somewhat a relief for me to see other moms having the same dilemma, local or international?? We are also trying to decide whether to send our baby to a local school or international school. And it seems like we have to decide very early, even in the pre-school stage. I heard the kids have to go through interviews to enter kindergarten and they have to be able to understand the language the kindergarten uses. For example, for an international school, they will interview the baby in English and for local school in Cantonese.

    My question is can we still have both option opens once he goes to kindergarten? If we send the kid to a bi-lingual kindergarten like Victoria, will his English be good enough for international primary school (such as the ESF)? If we send the kid to an English only kindergarten, then will he still be able to go back to the local school stream, if everyone at home will speak to him in Chinese?

    Since my husband and I still don't know which stream we want our baby to follow, we now have trouble deciding which language to use at home, English, Chinese or a mix of both??? It seems so ridiculous!

  2. #10
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Sai Kung
    Posts
    6,259
    one of you should speak one language and the other should speak the second language.

    my son is 19 months. my hubby is local, i'm canadian. my husband speaks to my son in cantonese and i speak to him in english (mostly). my helper speaks to him in english and my parents-in-law speak to him in cantonese.

    now he understands both languages equally. he's just starting to speak himself. somethings he says in english and others in chinese.

    as for schooling....i have the same dilemma. i want my son to know both languages. but i WILL NOT have him go to a local school. i have tutored privately for the past 11 years(among other things). i have seen what the local system can do to a child. i do not want to do that to my son. (this is my personal opinion, and i dont judge those who choose otherwise. everyone has their reasons for their choices based on what they think is best for their child). however, we cannot afford an international school.
    the other thing is i have no intention of sending my son to school before he's 4 years old. so, no pre-kindergarten for him.

    i think hubby and i are seriously considering a move back to canada by the time our son is old enough to go to school.

  3. #11
    Blee is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    31
    Hi Carang,

    My husband and I were going to do the 1 language for each person thing but we have come across some difficulties.

    Since we both speak Chinese, it is hard for me to stick to speaking only English to the baby. Even if I speak to him in only English, he will hear me speak in Cantonese to my husband, grandparents, and even the maid. Will it be too confusing for the baby to understand why everyone speaks in Cantonese and mommy speaks to him in a strange language?

    Because of this situation, we are thinking of speaking to him only in Cantonese now and then send him to a 100% English speaking pre-school and kindergarten.

    Do you think it will work?? Would love to hear your opinion.

    My baby is now almost 8 months and I feel like the longer we delay making the decision on the language situation, the harder it will be for him to adapt later.

  4. #12
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Sai Kung
    Posts
    6,259
    it won't be any more confusing than it is for my son.

    i speak english to him(mostly). and a mixture of english & cantonese to my husband (i'm trying hard to learn!)

    hubby speaks cantonese to him (mostly...occasionally he slips in english)

    helper speaks mostly english with a little cantonese & tagalog

    in-laws ONLY speak cantonese.

    the thing is, with so many languages, his verbal skills are only starting to develop. but he understands both languages equally. i don't think that it will confuse him as he will hear cantonese all around him.

    the earlier you introduce languages, the better!

  5. #13
    mrs momo is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    HK
    Posts
    82
    i agree with carang, my brother speaks to my nephew in english and my sister in law speaks in mandarin. my mum would speak in cantonese and he seems to understand all three. however he would normally reply in english and mandarin as he spends more time with his parents and only sees his grandma once or twice a week.

  6. #14
    snow51193 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Sheung Shui
    Posts
    1
    Dear Mrs Momo

    Although many local schools offer English and Mandarin classes, the learning environment is still predominantly in Cantonese which is the dialect only useful in Canton areas, in comparison English and Mandarin are far more useful and thus important. If you send your kids to International school, they will be fluent in both, at least English for sure. Also the learning environment is better as Western education method emphasis on creative thinking and personal development rather than memorise things to pass exams, they don't have to suffer the pain and pressure from local education system. However on the hand, international school has it's own curriculum, which is easier then local curriculum and is not designed for passing the exams to local University. So if you plan to send your kids to overseas for Uni, personally I think international school is a better option.

  7. #15
    run4fun is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    China
    Posts
    66
    Dear Mrs. Momo and all mommies,

    I don’t know whether I have made the right decision by sending my son to the traditional stream of KCS, but here are my reasonings behind:

    (1) Studies from Dr. Montessori reveals that children are most receptive to languages at their age around 2-3. During this window period, they pick up languages without much effort. Everything seems “native” to them. They speak without accent. The window period of language skills end at around the age of 5. Languages acquired after their window periods are their “second languages”. I think children should be placed in an environment where they could be exposed to both Chinese and English before the age of five. After the age of five, they have a stable school environment, but since the schools in HK are either English or Chinese based, the question for me boils down to – whether I am more confident teaching my son Chinese or English at home, while he learns the other at school.

    (2) Now I myself went to the traditional stream of KCS from kindergarten to primary. After that, I attended the ESF for several years before permanently transferred to the US for high school and university. Thanks to my mom, because of this dramatic educational path, I can read and write Mandarin, Cantonese and English fluently. I appreciate my education at KCS because only 6 years of Chinese there last me a lifetime. I can’t write legal contracts in Chinese today but I have no problem reading them. I traveled to the mainland and Taiwan and people think that I am a native Mandarin speaker.

    (3) The most difficult period was the transition from a complete Chinese local school to an English school. I did struggled. But those painful years didn’t last for too long. I still thank my parents tremendously for their decision. Knowing the pitfalls of this path, I now need to make sure that my sons could keep up with his English while he is in a local Chinese school. To me, that’s a zillion times easier than the other way round.

    (4) I really don’t think we should limit ourselves by thinking that choosing either English or Chinese school is making a “point-of-no-return” decision. It is true that it might be a bit difficult to switch, but if there is a will, there is a way. My 2 sisters who went through a similar path as mine both did outstandingly in schools and both went on to Ivy Leagues and landed great jobs. I guess what more important than grades and schools are - strong characters and right attitudes.
    Last edited by run4fun; 09-18-2006 at 12:35 AM.

  8. #16
    bbc mom is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Territories
    Posts
    93
    I had originally planned on taking the international route, but having read all your posts and hearing both sides I seem to be reconsidering my options.

    I would like my son to learn cantonese, after all he is living in HK and even if we did return to the UK he would still have the option to come back to HK to live/work in the future. However my main concern is being unable to help him as he’s not in a cantonese speaking environment at home.

    I also regret that our own parents never taught us cantonese but instead we grew up speaking their rural chinese dialect and english. I picked up cantonese after arriving in HK but it is still quite poor. My husband’s cantonese is a lot better since he converses in it daily at work, but I wouldn’t say it is fluent since there is obviously a lot of vocabulary he is not familiar with. Another concern is proper pronounciation/accent, since the locals usually know that we are from overseas and not native.

    I noted in a few of the posts that at least one parent is native. What if neither parent is completely fluent in cantonese (spoken, reading and written)? Could my son become fluent just by attending a bilingual school?
    Private tuition could also be an option, but how often would he need it?

Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-05-2010, 11:01 AM
  2. HELP! Need advice on local vs. international.
    By Lizabeth in forum Education
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10-13-2007, 07:54 AM
  3. local school AM / International class PM
    By 0ze_Kid in forum Education
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-09-2007, 12:12 PM
  4. local or international?? hurry!!
    By shaz in forum Education
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: 04-04-2007, 08:52 AM
  5. switch international school to local school
    By Histamin in forum Education
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 02-04-2007, 09:42 AM

Tags for this Thread

Scroll to top