Picture yourself in 4th grade with a sibling in 3rd. You knew your parents were “recruiting” to teach in a foreign country, but never quite understood the impact this move could have on you ….. until now. You’re moving to Tokyo.
Always trying to save money, your mom and dad are talking about enrolling you and your younger sister in a local Japanese school. The International School they’ll be teaching at offers free tuition for kids of foreign educators, but since tuition is considered taxable income they want to avoid what could be a “hefty tax.” All you hear is: You and your sister won’t be at the same school with them!
You wonder if other American kids will be at this local school. You learn that the fact is, you’ll be the only American kids and probably the only native English speakers since Japanese is, of course, the language of instruction. And, from the photos you’ve seen, the kids all wear uniforms. Argh! You’re feeling, all at the same time, excited, apprehensive and a bit angry at mom and dad! You’ll be leaving a lot behind…
ISR Asks: What’s your reaction to this real-life scenario that appeared on the ISR Open Forum? Do young, expat kids become bilingual and assimilate into host-country school culture, or do they suffer academically and experience a sense of social isolation? What are the pros, and what are the cons?
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