Education and Schools in Guangzhou
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Guangzhou has a number of international schools and most expat parents prefer this option over public schools or Chinese private schools.
Chinese parents put a huge emphasis on education and a 60-hour school week is common. This is before even allotting time for any extra-curricular activities and it's just one thing that makes adjusting to the local schooling system difficult for new arrivals. The Chinese approach to education entails hard work, long hours and plenty of learning by rote.
Public schools in Guangzhou
Expat children who are more accustomed to a less rigorous or a more balanced lifestyle may feel pressured in a Chinese public school. For this reason, as well as the difficulties that the language barrier creates, selected private and international schools are usually the best option for the children of expats in Guangzhou.
Private schools in Guangzhou
Some private schools in Guangzhou accept both expat and Chinese students, but parents should make sure that Chinese-run private schools are a good fit for their children.
Some schools provide bilingual education, while others are less focused on international students and follow the Chinese approach to education, which is not always suitable for Western expat children.
International schools in Guangzhou
There are a number of international schools that allow children to continue studying the curriculum from their home country while living in China. Placement is tough; some companies that regularly relocate expats will reserve spots in top schools, and education should be discussed with an employer well before moving to Guangzhou. International schools can also be expensive. Therefore, expats should try to negotiate an allowance to cover the cost of their children's school fees before accepting a job in China.
Those who don't have a reserved spot at an international school in Guangzhou need to begin the application process as early as possible, because waiting lists at some schools are incredibly long. It is best to check the entry requirements for each school and have the necessary documents readily available so the application process can be done as quickly as possible.