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Author Topic: Coming to China with a teenager  (Read 6517 times)

chocodog

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Coming to China with a teenager
« on: February 20, 2013, 07:33:44 PM »
Hi folks,
 I'm new here and I have been playing with the idea of coming to China for a while now.My question today is about bringing dependents. My daughter is in the 11th grade at present and is 17 years old. By the time I get there, she will probably be 18 and in the 12th grade. I know it sounds more reasonable to wait an extra year, but the problem is that we live in Israel (I'm American) and my daughter has to do the army after high school which would be another 2 years. One of her dreams was always to be an exchange student. She really doesn't care that she won't understand squat. She is also interested in learning Chinese. So I guess my questions are will she still be considered a dependent at age 18 and would she have the option of attending a high school and/or language school? As far as her final exams here she can just make them up when she is in the army, so it is not a problem.

mlaeux

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2013, 09:27:11 PM »
Welcome chocodog,

I brought my son with me to China at the same age, but unlike your daughter, he really didn't want to be here. However he did agree tp stay for two years and could have gone home at any point after the initial first year, but he did chose to stay per the original two year agreement. With that being said, here's how I managed it:
1) He flew over with me on a tourist visa.
2) I enrolled him in a Chinese language program at one of the local universities. That enabled him to get a student visa which led to a residence permit.
3) He lived off campus with me for the first year.
4) When we moved to another city, I enrolled him in another Chinese language program and he stayed on campus his second year.

Quote
...would she have the option of attending a high school and/or language school?

If your daughter is still a senior, then you could enroll her in an International school, which may be costly, unless you are an employee there. In which case, in addition to negotiating your salary and benefits, you'll have to negotiate her tuition, bus fee, lunch costs, book fees, lab fees, extra uniforms and such (so you don't get socked with a huge financial burden for a bunch of little extra charges that add up really quick.) I would NOT recommend that you enroll her in a Chinese high school. I can't think of one case where that turned out to be a good idea.

Another way around it, is to homeschool her. Sign her up with an umbrella homeschool organization. They will counsel you on which credits she needs in order to graduate and in the meantime, you can enroll her in the local university's Chinese language program and add any courses she takes to her transcripts, as well as, qualify her for a student visa.

Quote
...will she still be considered a dependent at age 18...
Nope. Sorry, I tried to go that route too, but it was a no go.


chocodog

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2013, 10:09:23 PM »
Thanks for the reply. I had a feeling that she wouldn't be considered a dependent at age 18. As far as the tourist visa is concerned that makes me a little nervous. What would happen if they would not give her the student visa once there and I'd be under contract? Additionally, why would a Chinese high school be disastrous, she wants to do it for the experience even though she knows she will learn and understand nothing.( I'm asking this for her) I think a few school visits could suffice + language school.BTW, what is the cost for a language program?

psd4fan

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2013, 11:14:26 PM »
From what I've seen Chinese schools are a black hole of creativity and she's learn next to nothing. 12 hours a day of rote memorizing things that are only slightly useful for the next test is not something she ever wants to experience. She'd be a sideshow and a target as a foreigner.

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTExOTk2ODI4.html?full=true

gonzo

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2013, 11:23:21 PM »
Would it be obtrusive to ask where you intend to be in China, and your job there? This is relevant to the information you get from members.
Your daughter would probably find the novelty of "learning squat" wearing thin very quickly, to be replaced by boredom at best; severe culture shock at worst. A Chinese language program at any one of many unis would be much more useful. Additionally, a Western 17/18 year old girl is going to be years ahead in social maturity compared to her Chinese high school contemporaries. I live in Australia [after several years in China], and have been teaching, as well as providing home stay, to senior Chinese high school kids. They are here specifically to escape the experience your daughter seems keen to get into! An exception-and I'm sure there are others-is somewhere like Shanghai High School which ran joint Chinese/English classes when I was in that city, as well as enrolling non-local students. However, all are locked into a rigorous and tedious system totally aimed at exam success. No fun whatsoever!

But university programs for foreigners aren't expensive, and entry into one would make getting a student visa straightforward-at least, as straightforward as anything can be in China.
RIP Phil Stephens.
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chocodog

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2013, 11:42:27 PM »
"Studying for the test" sounds like Israeli schools. We are in the planning stages still, so I really don't know what and where I will aim for. I suspect either university or middle school/high school. I'm not keen on entertaining little kids. Back to the language program, any idea what that runs? When I gogole it I get prices all over the spectrum.


The Local Dialect

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 12:49:42 AM »
Don't worry about the student visa. I have never, ever heard of someone being rejected for a student visa, and unlike the work visa, it is very routine to come over on a tourist visa and get that converted to a student visa.

Depending on where you are, you might find that there are local Chinese schools with international programs for overseas students. There are a lot of these in big cities in particular like Beijing and Shanghai. The programs will probably have a lot of Korean, Malaysian and Indonesian students, but in some places there are also a smattering of Western students. The focus will be on Chinese language learning but the difference between doing this and a university language program will be that she will be enrolled in high school and the credits should transfer. Schools like Fang Cao Di in Beijing are local schools that are known for accepting and accomodating Western students very well. These tend to be pricy, but not as expensive as regular international schools -- usually in the range of 20k rmb - 50k rmb a year.

A university language program would be your cheapest option, but you do want to make sure she ends up with a high school diploma so I'd be wary of signing her up for this and nothing elese. Uni programs tend to be about 3k-5k a semester, so they are not particularly expensive.

mlaeux

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 02:09:09 AM »
chocodog,

Have you landed a position yet? and if not, do you know which cites you want to target? Once you know where you are going, you can investigate the Chinese language programs at the local university(s).

What is your degree in? Do you have teaching credentials? Ideally, you should target your job search for International schools that offer an ib diploma.

Also, Gonzo and TLD are right. Shanghai and Beijing are probably the best places to meet your daughter's educational needs, but don't rule out the homeschool umbrella option just yet.

chocodog

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2013, 05:49:13 AM »
We will probably go for the university option.As I said before, she would have to return to Israel in a years time to do the army and she can do her bagrut (final high school examinations there). Tons of Israeli students take the external examinations. In fact, many slack their way through high school knowing that they can do the tests later. As far as my degree is concerned I have a BS in Secondary English Language Education and Communication and have been teaching English in Israel for about 16 years.

gonzo

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2013, 01:02:49 AM »
Start doing some research. Your quals and experience should see you land a uni job. I'd suggest finding one that will also take your daughter as a student. Email some international depts outlining your situation: getting a 2bedroom apartment on campus would make your lives quite convenient. Choose a city that is appealing to you though, as many Chinese unis are out in the boonies and/or industrial armpits.
Like I said, research and ask location specific questions on here.
RIP Phil Stephens.
No static at all.

chocodog

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2013, 02:05:27 PM »
That's what I'm doing at the moment a lot of research. The boonies would be a horrible place to be trapped with a bored teenager though a smaller place a train ride away from a larger more happening center would be fine. For myself, I'm more concerned about the air quality, sometimes the dust storms we have here in Israel can set me wheezing. Salary is also a major consideration. A teacher could starve to death here in Israel. Couple that with the outrageous rents we pay and you are pretty much left with nothing at the end of the month, that is if you make it to the end of the month. That's why I'm not to concerned about tossing just about everything I own away or storing it at a friend's place and giving China a go. Nevertheless, I am trying to do my research well, so any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated.

gonzo

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2013, 08:53:27 PM »
You may not save a lot in China, but you won't starve. Uni jobs will include housing and a meal allowance for on campus. There are generally many cheap but decent eateries close by. Air quality? China?  kkkkkkkkkk To avoid dust storms, don't go to the capital. The whole country has bad air, with a few exceptions. I actually found the SW outskirts of Shanghai to be OK. Most of the industry was modern and fairly clean. Travel downtown and you could literally see the deterioration in the air.
RIP Phil Stephens.
No static at all.

chocodog

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2013, 09:33:46 PM »
I never really thought I would save tons of money, but I figured it was the most affordable place to bring a dependent and the least expensive place for a language program for my daughter.

Papillon

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2013, 03:45:44 AM »

As mleaux mentioned you could look in to the international school options. Practically all Int'l school have scholarship programs. I'd recommend aiming for the smaller/recently opened Int'l school as they will be eager to attract western students to off-set their Asian enrollments. You could be entitled to a 100% academic fee scholarship but more than likely you would have to cover catering, transport, uniform, book fees (which can add up).

Hope it works out for you both.
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chocodog

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Re: Coming to China with a teenager
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2013, 01:14:23 PM »
As I said before the ability to finish school is not a top priority due to the fact that my daughter would need to return in a year to do the army. Many students do their finally examinations in the army and they tend to do much better than if they had taken them in high school. The universities here only look at your final exams, what grades you received in high school don't matter.I'm not against an International school,just a bit worried that the subject matter might be so vastly different.What is important, however, would be an inexpensive language program to keep her occupied if an International school is not an option.

BTW, mlaeux, I'd be very interested in hearing about your experiences in China with a teenager.