We sit down with the Chen family today. They live in the vibrant city of Shanghai and are active members of the Shanghai French School community. Join us as we delve into their daily life, their favourite activities, and discover what makes Shanghai their chosen home.
Can you briefly introduce your family?
We are the Chen family. My wife and I met at work. I was working in Shanghai, and she was in Guangzhou. She moved to Shanghai after we got married. I currently work as the CEO of a new energy company, while my wife works in a consulting firm.
Why did you choose LFS as a school, and how was Isabelle’s integration process?
I have had a passion for French language and culture for a long time, as I studied and worked in France for several years. I wanted Isabelle to develop a similar interest in France. In addition, Chinese children always learn English, so mastering French will give her the ability to “differentiate” herself from her competitors.
Isabelle settled quickly and did not have any trouble adjusting. I show her photos and videos from Seesaw at home and ask her about her day and how she interacts with her classmates. Isabelle enjoys her school life and is becoming more and more cheerful and happy, which makes us very happy.
What is your favourite family restaurant in Shanghai? How kid-friendly is it?
Xi Bei is a restaurant that specialises in Northwestern Chinese cuisine. They prepare fresh dishes, offer an excellent service, and the food is suitable for children’s taste.
Where do you like to go for a day trip?
We sometimes visit the suburbs of Shanghai, such as Chongming Island. We look for family entertainment centers that are childrn-friendly and explore local attractions, like ancient towns.
What is your favorite place to shop for yourself? What do you shop for?
We often visit larger supermarkets like Sam’s Club or Hema Fresh. It’s an opportunity for us to shop for daily essentials together, such as milk, yogurt, and bread.
Where is the best place to shop for your daughter?
We discuss what to buy with our daughter when we go to the supermarket, and we buy everything together.
What activities do you do on the weekends?
We often travel, visiting cities within a 2-hour high-speed train ride from Shanghai like Hangzhou or Ningbo. If we stay in Shanghai, we take our daughter to museums or arrange playdates with other families.
Do you have any family rituals? (i.e.: every Friday is pizza night)
Special family gatherings are mainly centered around birthdays. We host birthday parties of different scales for each family member, primarily to enjoy cake and experience the joy and warmth of our family.
Do you have any new hangouts or discoveries you would like to share?
Ningbo is a great city for short trips. The main attractions like Dongqian Lake or Siming Mountain are within an hour-drive from the city centre. Plus, Ningbo has a lower population density than Shanghai, and prices are much more affordable, making it ideal for weekend getaways.
What do you do when it rains in Shanghai?
We engage in indoor activities like visiting museums and shopping centers.
Where are the best spots to have fun outdoors and indoors in Shanghai?
BFC (Bund Finance Center) on the Bund combines restaurants, entertainment, family play, an art center, and offers a picturesque view of the Bund along the river.
The Lujiazui area is great, with both indoor dining and a wonderful riverside park. It’s also home to the Shanghai Ocean Terminal, where you can occasionally spot massive ocean liners.
What extracurricular activities do you enjoy for yourself and your daughter?
We enjoy swimming, rollerblading, boxing, hiking, and most importantly, my daughter loves playing with other kids.
What advice do you have for Chinese families who, like you, would like to choose LFS?
Parents need to be prepared and take the time to cooperate with the school. This will help their children to learn and grow better.
Parents who don’t speak French need to learn how to “create French conditions” for their children, such as preparing French songs, videos, picture books at home, so that their children can be exposed to French at home. It would be good if parents could learn some French.
LFS education is very different from the traditional Chinese teaching system, parents should learn their children’s characteristics and nature, and correctly guide their learning process, not “force-feeding” them. The most important is to keep their children’s interest in learning.