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Raising a child in Kunming

sanfranciscoguy888 (26 posts) • 0

Any of you foreigners raised a child in Kunming at least up to junior high or high school level? Was your intention to later go to university in China, or back to the USA (or other foreign country)? How'd it turn out?

michael2015 (720 posts) • 0

Terrible experience - your milage may vary. Teachers - morons that they are - took every opportunity to point out my kids are NOT Chinese and are foreigners, causing them to be singled out EVERY year for bullying.

Their friends and classmates - mostly hopeless lazy peasants or hopelessly lazy spoiled brats of wealthy parents, with zero aspirations for higher education either way.

Classrooms packed like sardines - typically 60--70 students per classroom despite the Beijing mandate of 35-40-ish.

The city is broke and isn't building new schools - which they pawn off to developers who build the schools - but when it comes time to pay for teachers and handover the schools to the city - nothing.

It MAY change in 5-10 years...

So...sent my kids OUT of the province with the wife - should've done that 10 years ago.

In summary - terrible terrible terrible experience. University - they can't even get into high school in China - and then there's the issue of their school records, taking the zhongkao (middle school entrance exam for high school) and the subsequent gaokao (university entrance exams).

All in all a miserable experience for my older kids...who are Chinese native speakers and pure Chinese ancestry. Teachers generally behave like circus monkeys.

But in the teachers' defense - they're in overcrowded and underfunded and underpaid undertrained positions.

Liumingke1234 (3297 posts) • 0

Wow! Sorry to hear it was so horrible. Where are they now? Are they still in school here or abroad?

JanJal (1089 posts) • 0


You've probably menton this in other threads, but were your older kids born in Kunming?

I'm thinking (hoping really), that children born and grown up here may have a different kind of social network (of their own, and via parents) by the time they enter school system, than ones coming into it as "fresh meat".

At least in our neighbourhood we have both kindergarten and elementary school right beside our house, and our son will probably befriend lot of the neighbourhood kids well before becoming school age.

Provided of course that we stay here and he gets to go to the specific school.

michael2015 (720 posts) • 0

JanJal - They both attended public schools in Beijing - primary and preschool. Kunming was a massive shock for them - especially meeting petty nasty bullying classmates. One of my other friends had the same developmental problems with her child.

Both my children are chinese ancestry and putonghua is their native tongue - although they've long since and sadly lost that elegant Beijing twang...

Having good friends before entering school...with the same friends can be helpful, but we had no such advantages.

I place ALL of the blame on their idiot teachers whom I specifically instructed to NOT reveal their nationality, as I knew it would expose them to bullying. The teachers felt it was some kind of badge of honor instead of potluck to have foreign students in their class and EVERY <verbose expletives> would make it a point to out my kids at the beginning of school. Same as planting a flashing blue light on their heads with a loudspeaker blaring, "Bully me!"

Many teachers are possible mediocre - just my manure luck to get stuck with these morons and imbeciles...which are usually the same head teachers for the kids as they progress through the grades.

The curses of the seniority vs merit system.

JanJal (1089 posts) • 0

@michael2015: "my children are chinese ancestry and putonghua is their native tongue"

China is indeed a developing country in many aspects, and while I come from a highly developed European country, I recognize the possible difficulties of transfering a kid to new school both from my own childhood there, and any random school movie from USA and elsewhere.

I don't think that it's ever easy, and if by chance it sometime is, I suspect that there is always a flip side - a price to pay.

If nothing else, having nobody bully your kid may just mean that the bullies are busy picking someone else.

I also wonder if appearing ethnic Chinese without being Chinese by nationality, compared to foreigner by appearance, changes the picture.

What I mean, that in case of your children it could have been somehow subconsciously "necessary" to pick them out from the crowd by their teachers and their peers, because they wouldn't stand out otherwise?

A blond kid with blue eyes might be safer from that, due to being sufficiently different by his or her own merits.

michael2015 (720 posts) • 0

They blend. If the teacher hadn't outed them, nobody would've known...every <expletives> year..

But again, your mileage may vary.

Trumpster (84 posts) • -1


To put things into perspective, you were born as a Chinese national but YOU CHOSE to abandon it in favor of what you believed to be a better nationality.

Knowing first hand how economically "regressive" and culturally "immature" China is, you still CHOSE to raise and educate your children here.

You emphasize your children's, and by extension, your "pure Chinese ancestry" but CHOSE to not renounce your and their American citizenship and reclaim your Chinese citizenship, as is allowed by law.

So who should your children complain about in their therapy sessions, their moronic teachers for alienating them or their moronic parents for put them in that situation in the first place?

cloudtrapezer (756 posts) • +2

Good grief. A lot of anger around here. "Lazy peasants, moronic teachers, parents" etc. Let's just recognise kids' education is stressful for parents wherever you are.

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