Meet the Baker family

We check in with the Baker family, originally from Australia

It’s not easy moving to a country with a culture vastly different to your own. In our series on Beijing's personalities and families, Time Out Family checks in on families who have just moved to Beijing, to see how they’re coming along

Parents Nick and Anna Baker, and their children Ethan (9) and Ruby (1)

Where do you live?

Phoenix City in Chaoyang district.

What are the family-friendly perks for kids in the area?
There are wide open spaces where Ethan can ride his bike and play football with his new friends. There is also a great playground right below our apartment which Ruby loves.

Is there anything you don’t like about your neighbourhood?
Not at all. We’re close to everything we need: the third ring road, restaurants, the subway and the airport. Expats are commonplace in our area so we’re not so much of a novelty, which is nice.

Where do your children go to school and why did you send them there?
Ethan is in Grade 3 at Beijing BISS International School, and Ruby will be starting there in August. Anna was also appointed as the school’s first ever nursery teacher. In his own words, Ethan is ‘loving BISS’! It has a nurturing environment with a global focus. Ethan is enjoying the enquiry-based learning and now has a burning passion to visit Kashgar.

What issues did you face as a family moving over to Beijing?

The main dilemma was making the choice to embark on this journey. We had to prepare for missing friends and our old schools, making new friends, riding the bus to school, learning a new language, trying new food and not having a backyard.

And how did you resolve them?

We get out and about, trying new things and going away with friends at the weekend. Anna is going to night school to get a hold on the language, and even Ethan and Ruby are speaking a lot of Chinese after only three months. On the other hand, we try to keep alive much of what we loved about Australia, and we follow Australian-rules football!

What advice do you have for newbies who have just arrived?

Don’t go it alone – hook up with others who have done what you are doing. Get busy with work, school and travel and go out of your way to get to know people. We come home exhausted at the end of every day, but it’s better than being isolated and lonely. Keep your family rituals alive. Work out how to get those ingredients you love. Anna’s brother-in-law just posted us three packets of Australian gravy because we were missing our Sunday roasts!

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