Expat children and local languages

I don’t have children myself, but I’d like to think that if I did, I would expose them to as many learning opportunities as possible.  I was speaking to an expat teacher the other day and she said that at one British school in Shanghai (which her children are no longer attending), children only receive Chinese instruction for two hours a week.  Apparently most parents don’t anticipate their kids being in China for long enough for it to be of value.

Do you agree with this?  I can sort of see why parents would think something like that (especially if they were going to send their kids back to the UK to boarding school), but if the language education isn’t going to encroach too much on their core education, I can’t see how it is a bad thing.  Kids will learn more about the local language and culture, which has obvious social and educational value.

I am a big fan of actually living in the country you’re living in, rather than locking yourself and your family away in a mini version of your home country.  Of course, everyone needs certain home comforts, but I think children should be given more experiences and opportunities, not less.  If they are about to be sent home to experience western culture anyway, why not let them experience the place they’re living in in the meantime?

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