In September, Yash from Singapore who is barely nine years old started a new semester at the Singapore School of Guangzhou with his seven-year-old sister Hanaiah and other friends from around the world.
This semester, Yash is going to take a blended curriculum in both Chinese and English, including several Chinese cultural courses such as calligraphy and Chinese painting, as he has in the previous school years.
Yash said he would like to continue his study in Guangzhou when he grows up. His dream is to study science and medicine in the future to help the sick and change the world.
Yash at the Haixinsha Park where the Opening Ceremony of the Guangzhou Asian Games was held in 2010. [Photo: Steven Yuen]
Yash was born in Guangzhou in 2010, right in the middle of the Asian Games. He said he likes his school very much, because he has a lot of friends there, there are many competitive sports for him to do, the teachers gave him a lot of interesting work, he reads a lot of books, and all this has made him a smart child.
During weekends, Yash often goes for dim sum with his family, he likes shrimp dumplings very much. He has also spent a lot of time wandering around the city with his family, the old areas in particular, such as Liwan Park and Yuexiu Park.
For the 70th birthday of the PRC, Yash wants to give a notebook he has filled with his memories to the country as a gift to thank the country for all the happiness and pleasure feels he has here, “I love China and I'm so happy to be in China,” Yash said proudly.
Yash’s mother Lena Gidwani: it’s extremely important to build good foundations for children
Yash’s mother, Lena Gidwani moved to Guangzhou with her family 17 years ago. Though she was initially anxious about the move and thought she would only stay for a short holiday, that short holiday in 2002 turned into 17 years in China. When she first came to Guangzhou, Lena worked as a television anchor, then a hotel director and is now editor in chief of the English magazine Urban Family.
“I'm really glad that I made the decision to come to China. I don't have any regrets whatsoever. And I look back with lots of good memories,” Lena recalled with a smile, “For me the best part about China has been meeting my husband,” Fifteen years ago, Lena met her husband in China. A few years later, they got married and now have two children Yash and Hanaiah. “We found China to be our home, and we think China is our future. We've told our children from day one that, this is home for us.”
Many people find a new life in a new country to be very difficult or challenging, but Lena said her whole family found it quite simple and they adapted quickly to the new culture. “I think wherever you go, you must localize and customize your behavior and way of life. When in Guangzhou, you do as Guangzhouers do.” Therefore, Lena often takes Yash and Hanaiah around the city, where they enjoy local delicacies, and have play dates with the children of her local friends.
Yash views the scenery of Guangzhou by the riverside of the Pearl River. [Photo: Steven Yuen]
This is also why Lena insists that her children should receive an education in both English and Chinese. “I think the future of China is international and very global, so we're bringing them up to be international citizens.” Lena told us that she tells her children every single day that they need to be internationally minded, respecting everyone’s unique cultures.
From Lena’s point of view, education is the foundation of everything in a country like China and Singapore. “I'm grateful that both China and Singapore put a lot of emphasis on education, because with a good education comes good culture, a strong foundation in life and a concrete understanding of what we want a future to look like,” Lena pointed out.
“It’s extremely important to build a good foundation, especially for children.” Lena chose Guangzhou for her children to receive education because she feels that in Guangzhou they are blessed with many options, both in international and local education. With the education resources they have access to in Guangzhou, Lena believes her children will have a bright future in this country.
Author: Monica Liu
Editor: Simon Haywood