WISS Today Article

The Arevalo family, from the United States, joined WISS in 2016.  Joshua, currently in Grade 5 is an active member of the Primary School and involved in many After School Activities which he loves.  Here they talk more about the impact of WISS and Shanghai and how it has shaped their family.    

How many years has your family been a part of the WISS Community?

We have been part of the WISS community for about 2 years now

Tell us how you came to WISS. Where did you move from, did you live anywhere before that?

We moved to China from Palm Springs, California, U.S.A. in 2013. We stayed in the West Hongqiao when we came to Shanghai and attended the Montessori School of Shanghai during the first three years.  We transferred to WISS in 2016 by recommendation of some friends and have enjoyed it ever since.

Where were you born? What passport do you hold? Where would you call “home”?

All three of us in the family are American Citizens holding U.S passports.  

Mom and Dad:  We are both born in the Philippines and both migrated to the states when we were still young.  We met at a church in Los Angeles and settled in Palm Springs after getting married; California is still the place we call home.

Joshua: I was born and raised in Palm Springs California until moving to China. I spent half my life in China already so China is now my second home.

Why did you choose WISS for your family?

We decided to go to WISS because we wanted our son to have the best education.  We prefer the IB program over local curriculum, so we can prepare our son before heading back home.  WISS came highly recommended by friends who live in the area around the school.

What do you like most about WISS? What makes WISS unique?

Mom and Dad: We like WISS because of its community.  The multi-cultural atmosphere has given everyone, especially our son, the awareness, appreciation, and respect that they need when encountering different kinds of cultures in their lives.  We love the many extra-curricular programs that engage the children to do more in sports, arts, and science during after-schools and spring-break programs.  But the best thing about the school is how their education is integrated with the world and with current events.  What they learn isn’t kept in their books, but it is often applied in their daily lives.  The staff is always nice and friendly.  

Joshua: What I like most about WISS are friends.  The afternoon school activities are also fun.  My favorites are band practice, rock climbing, tiger science, and robotics.  WISS is unique to me because it is way bigger than my other schools.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What are your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? What do you enjoy doing as a family? How do you create your family time in Shanghai?

Mom and Dad: We like reading theological books.  We devote our spare time reading the bible and learning as much as we can about God. When we’re not in our books, we like to explore Shanghai and discover the remote places around the area.  We’re coffee lovers!  We can sit all afternoon and simply enjoy a nice view.  As a family, we like to travel around China and the neighboring countries.  Beijing is one of our favorite places to visit; Xi’an and Hangzhou are also on the list. Japan, Korea, and Philippines are great too.  We have daily bible studies during family time and Friday is movie nights.  

Joshua: I like to create stuff like loom band bracelets, slime, origami, and more – to share them with my friends and enjoy them together.  I also like playing video games like Minecraft and Roblox then record my games to post on my YouTube channel.  On my free time, I like visiting friends at their homes and sometimes having sleepovers.  Family trips are the best!  I like it when we go to beaches in the Philippines.  I learned how to scuba dive in Boracay and dived into the ocean about 10 feet deep. 

Which of the Learner Profile do you feel most connected to and why?  

Joshua: Caring. I always help people when they get hurt, when they have problems, or just needing help. When someone gets hurt, I go to them, ask if they’re okay, and help them go to the nurse.  Since fourth grade, everyone called me the ‘walking calculator’ because I was great in Math. So, when anybody needed help they will come over and ask.  

Choose one or two of the Learner Profile and tell us how you feel your children have developed in this area during your time in Shanghai. 

Risk Taker: Joshua has spent five years of Montessori education before coming to WISS.   It is a very different style of schooling compared to WISS.  It follows the development of the child rather than a standard curriculum, where children are free to walk around the classroom and initiate jobs and learning as they please.  Coming to WISS was a big change for him and he enjoys experiencing new things since the first day of his visit. He strives every day and is determined to complete the tasks that he is assigned.

How has living abroad, and in Shanghai, changed you?

Moving to Shanghai was a big challenge for us. Leaving behind friends and family, and not being with them during holidays and special occasions were some of the things that made it difficult.  But through time, we have learned how to adjust to our new environment. We’ve met new friends, learned how to enjoy our new home, and learned to love China.  We were given the chance to experience different cultures and travel around neighboring countries.  We learned that challenges weren’t as bad and new experiences became an adventure.