Saga Ringmar

City Weekend Beijing: “Gap Year: Is It Really Worth Your Time?”

When I graduated from high school and embarked on what would become two gap years, I started to call myself “the drifting spinster.” Spinster, because I was single and single people take to exaggeration and self-pity; and drifting—because that’s exactly how it feels when you’re out of high school.

In most parts of the world, the fad has yet to really catch on. According to UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), only five percent of UK-based students took a deferred year in 2015. Numbers in the U.S. vary, but according to PBS, deferred students account for only one percent of American college freshmen. In China, gap years are virtually non-existent since the education system does not give extra points for any creativity outside the classroom. Read the whole article here. 

City Weekend Beijing: “Live Like a Local With These 5 Useful Language Tips”

“The Chinese language can drive you crazy, but learning Chinese is not impossible and can be—dare we say it—a lot of fun. Get the lowdown on how to get your Chinese from mamahuhu tochaojiwudi…” Read the whole article here. 

City Weekend: “When Your Child is Being Bullied by their Chinese Classmates”

“Bullying happens all over the world. Victims are targeted for a variety of reasons, but much of it comes down to perceived differences. If your child attends a local school and is a bullying victim, you’re definitely not alone—many other children have grown up in similar circumstances. Sara (a pseudonym) is a teenager who recalls being bullied at her local elementary school in Shanghai. She agreed to talk about her experience anonymously. ‘[The bullying] was mostly verbal,’ she explains. ‘The students would say mean things to my face and behind my back, sometimes they would talk about me when I was around like I was not even there to hear it. Or they would play tricks on me … sometimes people would even push me.’…” Read the rest of the article here. 

City Weekend Beijing: “How to Tackle the Complex World of Calculus”

Calculus—the name alone is enough to make high school students groan. So what can calculus teachers do to make this demanding subject a little less dull and confusing? We talked to some of the city’s differential buffs to see how they tackle the subject in the classroom.

Damion Walker, IB math teacher from Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing), has experienced his fair share of baffled students. According to him, one of the biggest problems with calculus, as compared to algebra and trigonometry, is that the concepts are very abstract. Walker stresses the importance of learning the concept itself and understanding why you do these calculations. Solving questions in calculus involves a lot of smaller algebraic and trigonometric equations, so if students lose sight of the calculus concept behind the question, they can be overwhelmed by the amount of random steps that lead to seemingly unimportant answers. Read the whole article here. 

City Weekend Beijing: “Education: Public Speaking”

Everybody loves a cool, calm and confident public speaker—they make teachers drool and parents quiver with pride. But the prospect of giving a speech fills a lot of us with paralyzing fear. Jerry Seinfeld once quipped that, according to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking, while death was number two: “This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

Hilarious—but definitely not true. How can you help your child develop this critical life skill and become fearless on the stage? We ask some confident speakers in Beijing about their top tips when it comes to speaking to an audience. Read the whole article here.

City Weekend: “Your Complete Kids’ Summer Camps Guide” review

Be a Survivalist
Beijing can be a tough place to live, but if you thought the countryside was any easier, then think again. Imagine’s Survival Summer Camp sends kids ages 7-14 out into the wilderness by Huairou (that little town close to the Mutianyu Great Wall). Children will have a stab at surviving in the great outdoors, learning to build fires, make shelters and cross rivers with bamboo rafts. Children will also learn about cooking in the wild, navigating without maps and making tools using only a knife—closely supervised, of course, by professionals with first-aid skills. It promises to be a pretty wild summer in the Beijing hinterlands.

Dates: From June 13
Age range: For kids ages 7-14
Contact: info@imagine-china.com, www.imagine-china.com; 5739-4933
Prices: RMB3,500/week Read the whole review here. 

City Weekend Beijing: “Family: Third Culture Kids”

When a stranger asks you where you come from, do you break into a cold sweat? If so, you might be a Third Culture Kid (TCK). The term refers to children who have grown up in a country that is different from the passport they or their parents hold. Symptoms of being a TCK include: not knowing where you come from, accidentally swearing in a language those around you don’t understand and having no clue how to write the date (is it day/month/year or year/day/month or month/day/year … who knows?) Read the whole article here. 

City Weekend Beijing: “Family: Teaching Your Child Manners”

You know that age when kids keep asking why, why, why? Well, we’ve been asking that too—why is it important to be polite? And what is the best way to teach your child manners?

Why learn manners?

It’s hard for a child to be polite if they don’t see a point in all the please-and-thank-you business. So how do you justify your endless nagging? Alison Thompson, academic and communication assistant at 3e International School, says she breaks manners down to her children like this, “[I tell them] that being polite makes people that they interact with feel happy and [willing] to help them. By being rude, they are less likely to get help from someone.” Manners cost nothing, Thompson adds, and it’s never too early to start reinforcing the idea that you should treat others the way you would want to be treated. Read the whole article here. 

City Weekend Beijing: “Memoirs of a Rolling Stone”

Quite honestly, I have no clue where I am from. People want a simple answer; they want to squeeze you into a well-defined box. What people don’t want is the truth: that I have a Swedish father, an American mother, was born in Sweden and before the age of 18 had already lived in the UK, Taiwan, Shanghai and Sweden. Try yelling that to a stranger in a nightclub who has made the terrible mistake of trying to spark a conversation.

My Swedish sounds northern though I lived in the south. My Chinese sounds Taiwanese though I am now living in Beijing and even my English – my mother tongue – is some strange cross-Atlantic blend.

Read the rest of the article here. 

City Weekend: “Six Ways to Improve Concentration”

Get your blood pumping, your brain will love you for it! A study conducted by the British Medical Journal found that the increase in blood flow to the brain during exercise leads to an immediate boost in concentration. According to John Rately, clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, this peak in concentration lasts for about two to three hours after a work out. So if your feeling a bit slow before a big test or deadline, try taking a power walk around the block instead of sitting at your desk in despair.

Read the rest of the article here.