At Wellington College International Hangzhou, we aspire to create a caring, international community that develops well-rounded individuals with strong values and the skills and identity to thrive within an ever-changing world. In fact, this is our vision statement. Community is at the centre of all we do at Wellington, and we continuously strive to work together with our parents, staff and pupils to develop that strong sense of community that makes international schools unique. In this series of ‘We Are Wellington’ articles, we aim to tell the stories of those families and highlight the special contributions they make to our community.
This week's article in the series was written by Mrs. Minjung Cho, the mother of our first South Korean family to join the Wellington College Hangzhou community last September. Her two elder children, Ellie (Year 3) and Daniel (Year 1), are currently enrolled in Wellington College International Hangzhou, while her youngest, Fay, is studying at Huili Nursery Hangzhou. In this article, Mrs. Cho shares her feelings about the Wellington community and her reflections on her children’s growth this academic year.
From Jeju Island to Hangzhou
We first arrived in Hangzhou in July 2019 after my husband was transferred to a subsidiary company from Korea. It was an unexpected transition, so we were not prepared for our relocation to Hangzhou and were especially worried about how our children would adapt to such a new environment. Although they each took English lessons at school, they did not have many opportunities to use English in their daily life. My husband and I were concerned that their English levels would hold them back, adding to the challenges we would face as a family in a new country.
When we were choosing a school in Hangzhou for our three children, we selected Wellington College International Hangzhou because we knew it would be the right place for them where they could access everything they needed. We were impressed by the state-of-the art facilities, including the classrooms, gym, sports fields, science labs, ICT rooms and Performing Arts Centre. We were confident that these facilities would supplement our children's learning of broad theoretical concepts along with a deeper exploration of practical skills through hands-on activities. We were also deeply impressed by the staff services, beginning with the campus tour and the admissions process. The staff at Wellington College International Hangzhou invested great effort in making sure that communicating with us was smooth, even arranging a teacher who speaks Korean to overcome any language barriers. Members of the academic team assumed responsibility for making our children feel comfortable and adapt to their new environment, assuring us that the school would be able to take good care of our children.
With such great help from teachers and staff at Wellington College International Hangzhou, as well as our kind neighbors, we feel grateful to have settled down in Hangzhou and call this city our new home.
From classroom learning to eLearning
2020 has been a challenging year, and due to travel restrictions our children are taking eLearning classes since we are still in South Korea at this time. When they first started, it was hard for us as we were not familiar with eLearning and experienced some technical difficulties while figuring out this new system. As of now, though, we feel much more comfortable with eLearning and are happy to see how much our children have continued to learn while in South Korea.
One of the things that has impressed me the most about Wellington College International Hangzhou's eLearning programme is how the live classes ensure my children are concentrating while learning. This form of learning, as opposed to pre-recorded classes, allows the homeroom teachers and pupils to see each other on-screen and communicate at the same time. Even though it might be difficult at times for teachers to operate, we can see how the teachers are working hard to achieve their goals and support their pupils who are still abroad as best they can. We really appreciate the efforts these teachers have made.
From a national to global mindset
Looking back on this academic year, we believe our children have grown remarkably. When we first moved to Hangzhou, it was difficult for them to use English and Chinese in their daily lives because of the limited opportunities they had to study foreign languages in South Korea. Within a year of study at Wellington College International Hangzhou, however, our children have made great improvements in their English thanks to the support from their teachers. We have also found that the children are building the Wellington Identity of 'Inclusive' in their daily school lives with their increased opportunities to interact with other national cultures, languages and different ways of thinking. They have also developed new skills, abilities and interests, with Ellie and Daniel especially fond of soccer and swimming.
During the first half of the school year, it was a great pleasure for us to watch our children participate in school events and demonstrate their courage. Out of all the community events in which we participated, I particularly enjoyed the Welcome Back BBQ and Christmas tree lighting ceremonies.
The Welcome Back BBQ was held at the beginning of the school year, which was a great opportunity for us to meet many teachers and staff. It made us feel comfortable as we began adapting to life in Hangzhou. Ellie and Daniel were very excited to practice singings songs for their Christmas tree lighting ceremonies. When the days came for the events, all of the children held each other’s hands, singing carols in one voice like angels. I was touched to see Ellie and Daniel standing on stage with their friends, singing the songs they had learned together. I believe that the school has given my children many opportunities to foster the Wellington value of courage, allowing my children to become more confident in embracing any challenges they may face in the future.
If you would like to join the Wellington community, no matter whether you are planning on moving to Hangzhou or you are already living here, you can arrange an individual on-site visit by scanning the QR code below. Our Admissions team are on stand-by to host you for a personalised campus tour to help you discover what makes Wellington special.
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