Meet the Partridge family

The UK family share how they're settling in to Beijing life

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.

The Partridge family
Parents - Andy and Alex Partridge
Children - Macie (9) and Jacob (6)
From - UK

Where do you and your family live?
We live in Shunyi at Yosemite’s B-Section

What are the family-friendly perks for kids in the area?
We enjoy the facilities on site; we have an indoor and outdoor pool, sports facilities, playgrounds, a nice park and café all really close to the house. The roads are quiet on the compound, which makes it safe for riding bikes and walking around with the children. There are also places close by for longer bike rides and lots of places to eat at Pinnacle Plaza and Euro Plaza.

Is there anything you don’t like about your neighbourhood?
Generally we really like it; we are a little bit farther away from Pinnacle Plaza than is ideal but it is not a big problem.

What’s the best thing about bringing up your children in Beijing?
One of the best things about our family coming to Beijing is the experience of just how culturally different life is here compared to the UK. We all enjoy getting a better understanding of the local way of life and the children get to learn Mandarin, which is a great opportunity for them both at this age.

Where do your children go to school and why did you send them there?
We send them to the British School of Beijing (BSB). The school teaches the British Curriculum, which will help our children re-enter the school system when they return to the UK. They also benefit from the multicultural mix of children at BSB and inclusion into Chinese life. The school has excellent facilities, teaches values of respect and encourages every child to reach their potential. The whole family has become part of the BSB family not only in school life but outside too, which helps greatly when you first arrive.

What issues did you face as a family moving over to Beijing?
As a family we found the distance from the UK made Beijing feel like a big step. We started missing our relatives more, as the time difference doesn’t make communication easy.The official process to gain entry and get our belongings into the country took a lot of effort. Also, making ourselves understood when many don’t speak English emphasized the big move from home.

And how did you resolve them?
Being patient and just accepting we couldn’t speed up the process and it would all come together eventually. We also tried to resolve any issues as they arose with the same temperament. We took to learning some Mandarin so we could understand and communicate and showed some commitment to the community and country we live in. We also scheduled regular times to Skype and call home and started to share our life via email so nothing was left out.

What advice do you have for newbies?
Acknowledge that life is going to be very different compared to where you’re from, such as the weather, traffic, language, food and culture. Immerse yourself into a new way of life and perspective. Enjoy what is different around you and remember that unfamiliar soon becomes familiar. The expat community is a friendly bunch – we’ve all been there – and the locals are also willing to help, too.

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