I was born in Taiwan and came to the US when I was 4 and have been living in NY for over 30 years. Next summer (2016) I plan to take my two kids who will be 5 and 8 to Taiwan to live for a minimum of 1 year (hopefully 2 years) for them to learn Mandarin. Since they were born, I have been trying to speak to them in Mandarin and they can understand me however cannot communicate back in complete sentences. However, my Mandarin is limited to just conversational and I cannot read and write. As they grow older, it is harder for me to speak to them in Mandarin and I would like them to continue to learn the language. It would be great if they can read and write some words but mostly having a conversation back to their grandparents is ideal. I do not wish to send them to Chinese school in NY because in my opinion these classes just do not work. I want to also add that almost all my family members with the exception of my parents and siblings still live in Taiwan although I am not close to them.
I need some advice for anyone who’s been in my situation.
- How difficult do you think it would be for my 5 and 8 year old to live and attend public school in Taiwan with the knowledge (of me and my kids) I indicated above?
- I do not wish to send them to international schools. How and when do I register for public school?
- Can anyone suggest a good public school that they’ve attended? Or know ones that are open to accept students in my situation?
- Is there an option to leave my 8 year old behind a grade once in Taiwan so it might be an easier process for her?
- What are some “nice” and safe places to live in Taiwan considering I am a mom traveling with 2 young children?
- Do you think there will be a culture shock for us? (I haven’t been back to Taiwan since 2006 and only stayed a week)
Ideally once there and situated, I would like to find a part time job but working is not a priority. I believe I would have enough savings to spend a year or two in Taiwan and any excess income is just supplemental. Being in Taiwan will also give me the opportunity to learn some of the language, connect with my roots and teach my children the culture. Any advice, suggestions, comments and opinions are greatly appreciated. This idea has been floating in my mind since 2012 but several factors held me back. But because it is an idea that hasn’t subsided, I would like to know what I am potentially getting myself into and if I have thought it through since I know my parents and friends may not agree with my decision.