Teaching and Living in China
Originally I came to Qingdao to set up an education company, working with the Education Bureau and the New Zealand Embassy to generate interest for the city's institutions amongst New Zealand high schools and tertiaries. It gave me a great overview of the education field here and I developed a good sense of its impressive variety and quality. The experience inspired me to settle long term in what is a wonderful city.
This is a unique city, principally because it developed an international character early. Claimed initially by the Germans in the late 19th century it went on to have Japanese and British occupations, albeit briefly. Today the city is characterized by its contrasting European architecture and soaring skyscrapers, all nestled along a series of beaches that run the length of its lovely seaside. The wider environs offer all kinds of sights to see; hot springs, mountain climbing, river rafting, vineyards and of course the ocean and all its sailing facilities can offer (it was the 2008 Olympic Sailing Centre). Little wonder the area welcomes 28 million tourists per year.
Qingdao's cultural wealth is impressive. The world of the Arts is alive and well, with something in the way of rock music, opera, pantomime or full theatre going on weekly in one of the city’s many impressive venues. It's not a highly centralized city; there are several 'social locales' each of which has more of a village atmosphere and so friends are easily made; Badaguan, Taidong, Shinan, Shilaroen are just some of those areas.
Being a seaside city you might imagine the wealth of sea food on offer, and at extraordinarily reasonable prices. The city has China’s largest Korean population and also a community of 20,000 Japanese so these ethnic foods abound. We also enjoy Indian, Thai, German and Russian fare.
Its education scene is fertile indeed, with several international schools delivering a wide range of courses e.g. IB, AP and ‘A’ levels. All but one of these schools’ main focus is on catering for the large local Korean student population. The one exception is Qingdao Oxford International College (QDOIC) which caters solely for the top end of the Chinese market, teaching IGCSE and ‘A’ levels to students committed to overseas tertiary study.
Conceiving this Oxford International model in China was courageous indeed and making it work has been one of the most rewarding challenges I have experienced in 17 years of international education. The school has grown from 44 students in 2009 to a projected 300 in September and we are delighted with the progress made to date. 29 of our students earned 100% marks in the most recent ‘A’ level exams; something for them to be proud of considering they’re studying in a foreign language… It's such a pleasure to watch them grow.
A very pleasant city, a fine maritime climate and a great place to work.
The welcome is warm and the lifestyle marvelous!
The school is unique in that it attempts to blend a British-style boarding school with Chinese influences. For example, our uniform for boys is a traditional school uniform with tails, or school mandarin jackets. All of our students are Chinese from all over China.
The school is located in the beautiful Lao Shan area of Qingdao, which is the edge of a national park, about 15 minutes to the sea, and only 25 to 30 minutes to downtown.
We have 4 generations of student ranging from Grades 9 and 10 (who do IGCSE's), to Grades 11 and 12 (who do A-levels). We do a combination of Edexcel and Cambridge qualifications in order to provide students with the certificates that they will need to study abroad, but the deeper purpose of the school is to develop leadership and personal strengths and interests beyond exams. We run a varied daily Extra-curricular Activity programme to try and support students develop non-academic skills.
Currently we have a teaching staff of 25 made up of British, Australian, American, and Chinese teachers, and a student body that should be around 250 students at the start of next semester.
Deputy Headmaster, English Teacher
Qingdao Oxford International School is unique in that it succeeds in blending a British-style boarding school with Chinese influences. For example, our uniform for boys is a traditional school uniform with tails, or school mandarin jackets. Our students are Chinese from all over China. We have a Confucian Centre which focuses on culture, language and philosophy as well as a range of British-style Extra-curricular activities aimed at extending and developing non-academic interests. A really interesting mix.
The beautiful, modern campus is located in the Lao Shan area of Qingdao, which is at the edge of a national park, about 15 minutes to the sea, and only 25 to 30 minutes to downtown. Its nearest, famed, main geographical feature is Laoshan Mountain, approachable from three sides and breathtaking in its beauty.
We have 4 generations of students ranging from Grades 9 and 10 (who do IGCSEs), to Grades 11 and 12 (who do A-levels). We deliver a combination of Edexcel and Cambridge qualifications in order to provide students with the certificates they will need to study abroad and complement that by developing leadership and personal strengths and interests. Teachers are mentored and trained to improve their delivery skills just as students are coached to developing school initiatives and their powers of delegation strongly emphasized.
Currently we have a teaching staff of 25 made up of British, Australian, American, and Chinese teachers, and a student body that will be around 250 students at the start of next semester. The growth of the school has been dramatic and maintaining and improving standards has been the challenge faced and met during the last 9 months.
In due course we will accept students from other countries. Indeed next semester we are welcoming our first German students and one Korean student and we hope to see our first British enrolments shortly.
The mix of Western and Chinese elements, the academic 'A' level task, the fact that the school is full boarding and the international flavour of the campus generally, combine to make this an intriguing school. It is actually the only one of its kind in China. A most interesting and inspiring place to work.
Head of the Economics Department, Accounting and Economics Teacher