Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 4 in Shanghai - 13th March 2012

I realise it has been days since I posted Day 3 in Shanghai. I have been so busy the last one week that I could not find time to blog. This shall be remedied now.

Day 4 was an adventurous day for me. I did not expect to be on my own so much, travelling on my own. The initial plan was for LM to drive me to YCIS Pudong campus in the morning and then I make my way to the other places and back to her place. Instead, because she had other plans on her own, I had to travel to the first campus on my own.
Well, the first place I went to, by taxi, was YCIS Pudong campus on Dongxiu road. It is the senior school campus, for Year 5 onwards. If my children were to study in YCIS, Jeremy and Jonathan will be here. Back to the school : I was met by the admissions officer, Mr Abass, an African from Niger. He was very friendly and very accommodating. He took me on a tour round the school and showed me pretty much all I needed to see, as well as bought me a cup of latte. While going on a tour of the campus, I saw an interesting block of apartments. I asked him about the apartments and he said he lived there, as did some of the teachers. It's called Shanghai Greentown. I was very interested. As I went round the school, I found myself very attracted to the school, it's classes, the way classes were conducted. I did not feel the snobbery I felt the day before. I was genuinely happy to be there.
Then after the tour there, he took me on the school's shuttle bus and we went to the junior campus on Huamu Road. This campus is for the "little people", the children in Year 4 and below. Basically the children are 8 years old and below, including the kindies and pre-schoolers. I was able to see how the parents also help out there, and spoke to some of them. I also met with a teacher, Elizabeth, who takes care of children with special needs. Spoke to her about my concerns and found her very warm and friendly. She gave me some very helpful suggestions on how to get Joel into Year 2 instead of 3.

Pudong campus

I had a good time getting to know the school. I was sure this was where I wanted my children to be. I felt that there was a genuine interest in the children, instead of just keeping the school's name up there.
I was done with the Pudong campuses by 1. And I decided to go to their Puxi campuses immediately. I had an appointment for 2pm. So off I went, in a taxi. It was rather funny initially as I tried to communicate with the taxi driver. He didn't know where the school was. And he asked if he could stop somewhere later and ask. The journey was quite long, so I had a bit of a chat with him. I asked him where he thought would be a better place to live in, esp for a family with young children. Without any hesitation, he said Pudong. It rather confirmed my gut feeling about Pudong.
Anyway, we made it to YCIS in Gubei. That is also their senior school. I met up with Julia, the admissions officer there. She is a young lady from Shanghai itself. She explained to me that the two campuses basically practise the same things. Only the location and the climate of the school is different. So off we went to tour the campus in Gubei. I noticed that the school was not as spacious as the Pudong campus. But it still felt welcoming. I was even shown the Design & Technology lab, where the students were doing woodwork. It was very interesting.
After we were done with Gubei, Julia took me to the junior campus in Hongqiao. Again, because it is situated in an older part of Shanghai, it lacks the space that the Pudong campuses have. But I noticed the children were happy and well taken care of.
After the tour, Julia sat down with me and explained some other things Abass did not tell me, like admissions procedure, and dealings with relocation companies etc. It was very helpful of her. She also got for me a map of Shanghai and the Metro routes. That would help me along as I made my way around on my own.
I bade her adieu. I was starving, so I walked into a restaurant and ordered myself a bowl of pork chop noodles and a cup of soy bean drink. I was very proud of myself and also thanked God for seeing me through the whole exploration. After eating, I walked to the nearest subway station and took the train on my own for the first time. I took the train right till East Nanjing station and changed to Line 2 and made my way to Dongchang Road station. From there, I walked back to LM's apartment. I made it! I was really happy, and I knew God was seeing me through all the way. It was indeed an adventure for me.

YCIS Puxi campus
Pictures all related to YCIS

Back at LM's place, I told her she was right about YCIS being a better school for my children. I enjoyed the the tours on the campuses. I also told her, although the Puxi campus was supposed to be more popular, I preferred the Pudong campus. Told her also about Shanghai Greentown, and also another apartment I passed by, Xiangmei Garden. She was of the opinion those places were good, and inexpensive.
Well, the day went well, indeed, for me. I was happy I got to visit on my own, not influenced by someone else. And I know I have no regrets getting to Shanghai on my own for this trip.
Well, the rest of the day was spent in LM's apartment, playing with her daughter while she cooked. After dinner, it was time to just relax and not worry over too many things.

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