Meet The Rodriguez family

See how the Rodriguez family from France have coped with their move to Shunyi

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 Rodriguez family

Parents - Liz and Paul Rodriguez
Children - Tristan (17), Matt (14), Tom (8)
From - France

Where do you and your family live?
We live at the River Garden Compound in Shunyi.

What are the family-friendly perks in the area?
The compound itself is fantastic and has almost anything you might need! It has two outdoor pools, an indoor pool, saunas, jacuzzi, gym facilities, tennis courts, basketball nets, a skate park, a cafe, Jenny Lou’s supermarket, restaurants and an excellent management office. It’s really close to Pinnacle Plaza which is five minutes on foot, and Euro Plaza which is a ten minute walk away. It’s also close to the International School of Beijing and British School of Beijing. Tom has found it really easy to make friends, as all the kids cycle around the compound on their bikes after school.

Is there anything you don’t like about your neighbourhood?
The neighbourhood is a bit far from the boys’ school in Sanlitun. However, the school does provide a bus service to and from the school, so that helps.

What’s the best thing you have discovered about bringing up your family in Beijing?
The best thing about being here is that the boys have the opportunity to grow up in an international environment. They are also exposed to Chinese culture and are able to learn Chinese as another language apart from English and French.

Where do your children go to school and why did you send them there?
Paul’s company only pays for Lycée Français International de Pékin, which is the main reason why we sent Matt and Tom there. Personally, I would have preferred to send them to an international school as there are a few just up the road from the River Garden compound. Travelling to Sanlitun and back again during the week is really tiring for the boys, especially if there are traffic jams. But the good thing is that they’ve always been in the French education system, so they will find it much easier and quicker to adapt. Luckily for Tom, there’s a bilingual section in the primary school, so he does his classes half in English and half in French. Unfortunately there’s no bilingual section in middle school, which is a real shame for Matt.

What issues did you face as a family moving over to Beijing?
The most formidable issue is the language barrier since we don’t speak any Chinese.Then of course there are the vast cultural differences and we might commit unwilling faux pas. However the most heart wrenching is the distance and time difference from France as we have left our oldest son, Tristan, who’s attending a boarding school and it’s difficult to communicate with him. He’s in his final year of high school and we thought it best not to move him just for one year.

And how did you resolve them?
We are resolving these issues by taking Chinese language lessons and we also have Skype to talk to Tristan. I think that as we spend more time here, we’ll eventually get used to the different culture here.

What advice do you have for newbies?
You should definitely try to live in a compound as it’s the easiest way to meet people. Also, you might want to have your kids do sports activities outside of school, for example, Sports Beijing at the International School of Beijing (ISB), allows them to make friends with other teenagers outside of school.

Honestly, I was worried before moving here about whether we could settle down well here but even after one week, I was happy we’re here. The people I have met in this past two weeks alone have all been so enthusiastic about living here that their enthusiasm has rubbed off on me. I’m really looking forward to the next four years!

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