Family Transitions: Adapting to School and Social Life


With summer time is in full swing, many families are in the midst of relocating to new and exciting destinations abroad. While the journey is no doubt exhilarating, moving an entire family to an unfamiliar country presents a unique host of challenges, not least of which is cultural adaptation for both yourself and your children.

In an effort to support new families in comfortably settling into their new homes in Beijing, Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s Head of Student Support Services Ron Drisner, drawing on over 10 years of student counseling experience abroad, has offered a variety of useful advice and suggestions for newly relocated parents and their children.

The second of a three part series, this piece will explore social and school adjustment abroad and how the Yew Chung International School helps to ease this transition.


Social Adjustment

 One of the most common areas of concern for children is, “Will I be able to make friends?” In the long run, the easy answer is, ‘Yes!’ However, this can come easier to some than others, depending on the environment the child is in as well as their personality and how adaptable they are. Parents can facilitate opportunities for their children to connect with other children by encouraging connections through common interests and in areas they feel a sense of “competency.” If your child regularly participated in an activity like a sport or art classes in your previous country, continue that involvement in your new host country. This not only facilitates opportunities for your child to make friends but also develops a sense of the familiar and continues to build their own self-esteem.


Academic Adjustment

 Transitioning between schools from one country to another can also be a challenge due to the differences between school systems, such as start date, age, grade level, language, and curriculum. For a newly-arrived child, all these changes can be overwhelming and can create significant anxiety. High quality international schools are aware of these reactions and take steps to help students to make the transition as smoothly as possible. As a parent, it is important that you seek out and select an appropriate school that will take the necessary steps to help your child.


Creating a Caring Community

BJ_02_IMG_0469Yew Chung International School of Beijing in particular has comprehensive measures in place to ensure each new student is able to adjust as quickly and smoothly as possible into their new learning community.

New students who arrive at the Yew Chung International School of Beijing are partnered with a ‘buddy’ who serves as their friendly guide. Usually a student in the same class or who shares the same schedule, they will assist their new student buddy in finding their way around the school, meeting new friends, and basically answering any questions the new student might have!

Support at Yew Chung International School of Beijing is not just for students but for parents as well. The school offers a wide range of regular workshops and parenting courses for parents across the greater Beijing community to connect.

We realise that Beijing can be overwhelming and isolating. Being so far from home without the assistance of family or friends, a school can be a safe place that creates a sense of community for newly arrived families and old Beijing hands alike!


Stay tuned for our final article on transition and how to handle the reverse culture shock that comes with the move back home!


Contribution from Greg Eiselt, 施睿嘉, Marketing Officer @ Yew Chung International School of Beijing, 北京耀中国际学校

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I am living in China since 2007. I am sharing my experiences for other expatriates to make their stay in Beijing more enjoyable. As I am writing this blog for SCOUT Real Estate agency, I am also computing updates about the Real Estate market in Beijing, not only on residential properties, but as well on commercial locals and offices. Hope you enjoy your reading!