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How bad is Beijing (with kids) ?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by hellothisismyusername, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. hellothisismyusername

    hellothisismyusername New commenter

    My subject is pretty rare
    There is potential in Beijing with a bow and 'arrow school
    How bad is it? (with kids)
     
  2. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    What do you mean by how bad is it? Do you mean the pollution? The quality of the school in terms of your children’s education? Day to day life?

    If pollution then just have a look at this website for up to date info on levels - http://aqicn.org/city/beijing/
     
  3. pizza15

    pizza15 New commenter

    The school is good, not the best in Beijing but by no means the worst. The location is family friendly, near the subway, taxis are plentiful and there is quite a bit to do in the local area. Granted you are not downtown but as a family your visits to bars will be the exception rather than the rule.

    Pollution is a worry despite what people say. Often they will say "we have had 8 clear days" , "the AQI is only 200 today" etc etc. This is a concern as there are times it is so bad you will just stay at home and depending on the age of the kids it may have longer lasting effects. You can make money and it is a good experience however, for some (quite understandably) the pollution is just too much.
     
  4. the hippo

    the hippo Established commenter Community helper

    The pollution is bad in Beijing, very bad. Yes, you can buy expensive air filters for your apartment, at a hundred quid a time for a replacement filter. The air in your apartment will be clean, if you don't mind a noise like the engine room of an aircraft carrier. But sensible parents just won't take their children to Beijing.

    As readers of my blog, www.bulgariawithnoodles.blogspot.com, will know well, I am a fan of China and Mr and Mrs Hippopotamus are now in their fifth year in the Middle Kingdom. But Beijing is not sensible if you have children and our Chinese friends have said much the same thing.

    Here in Shenzhen, an overweight pachyderm took his wife to the park yesterday and every day I walk to school and back. A Merry Christmas to all international teachers!
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2017
  5. StrangePanda

    StrangePanda New commenter

    Honestly, the air alone is a reason not to go. We moved after we had a child. If you have other options, give them serious consideration.

    It’s a shame because schools in Beijing can be great places to work and offer good education for teacher offspring.
     
  6. the hippo

    the hippo Established commenter Community helper

    Oops! I did not mean for a herd of hippos to appear. Perhaps those TES Moderators can delete two of the photos.
     
  7. hellothisismyusername

    hellothisismyusername New commenter

    Thanks all - think i just needed a reality check - not for us...
    Seasons greetings to all indeed - do hippos eat mince pies ?
     
  8. the hippo

    the hippo Established commenter Community helper

    Yes, this hippo eats lots of mince pies - until Mrs H stops me!
     
  9. karel

    karel Occasional commenter

    I have a friend an ex colleague who works at probably the best school in Beijing, or China for that matter I believe. He has 2 young children. He says the pollution hasn’t been as bad since he first arrived 2 years ago. They haven’t worn masks since March or had to use the filters in their apartment. They live close up the school, which is outside the city, and don’t go into the city much. I had asked him to tell my honestly how it was. In general he said it hadn’t been as bad as he expected it to be.
     
  10. rouxx

    rouxx Senior commenter

  11. peakdj

    peakdj New commenter

    I haven't lived in Beijing, but did spend a year not so long (3 years) ago in a 2nd tier city just South of Shanghai. At the time our daughter was less than one year old. We broke contract after one year as we found the pollution to be terrible. Yes, one can wear a mask or just stay indoors, but we decided that life is too short. My wife and I both suffered horrible coughs and other respiratory symptoms a few times, and there were days where the we couldn't even see the river 100 metres from our apartment, as it was cloaked in a yellow smog.

    The AQI readings sometimes didn't look too bad, but bear in mind that they panic in Paris or London when it hits 100. It rarely dipped below that during the winter where we lived and there were days where PM 2.5 reading were over 400.
     
  12. Fer888

    Fer888 Occasional commenter

    I rarely wear a mask in Shanghai - AQI is generally pretty good but there are still a few days when it gets to 150-180. Of course it also depends on which figures you look at- the government of the American consulate ;)
     
  13. peakdj

    peakdj New commenter

    It sounds like they are getting their act together and that the pollution situation is improving a lot. That's very good to hear! Impressive if the AQI figures are now so much better than they were a few years ago. If that is really the case, China really must be leading the way in improving air quality and switching to renewables...good for them.
     
  14. Fer888

    Fer888 Occasional commenter

    There has been a really observable push in terms of cleaning up the environment. Many companies have been fined in Shanghai because of their waste disposal and government officials have also been taken to task for not properly monitoring the situation and holding companies to account.

    I'm seeing a lot more adverts on the tv about recycling and there is also a big push with electric cars. Of course they have their own problems when it comes to the manufacturing and disposal of car batteries but things are definitely improving. There's also a big push re moving from coal to gas heating in the north although they have had to delay that a bit as not all residences and companies were converted in time. led to many people without heating and so there has been a relaxation of the targets this year.

    It's definitely not perfect but not as bad as I thought it was going to be and things are getting better
     
  15. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Occasional commenter Forum guide

    Not with kids.
     
  16. the hippo

    the hippo Established commenter Community helper

    Regular readers of the pachyderm's online ramblings will know that I have been a great fan of China and of Shenzhen in particular. Recently Mrs Hippopotamus has been unwell: swellings on her forehead and face, sore throat and chest pains. At first we thought that it was some sort of food allergy, but after a lot of tests the results came back. It's air pollution. We were gobsmacked by this, as it is now our fifth year here in SZ. The doctor said that the pollution can build up in your body over time and often the symptoms only appear later. While the medication she was given has helped to reduce the symptoms, the cause has not gone away. Although I have never had any health problems here in Shenzhen, I suppose it must be the case that it affects different people in different ways. I would have to agree with roamingteacher that bringing your children to a large city in China might not be a sensible idea.
     
  17. hellothisismyusername

    hellothisismyusername New commenter

    Really really sorry to hear this hippo

    Am I write in thinking you can escape in August ?

    Best wishes from many on the community you’ve helped


     
  18. the hippo

    the hippo Established commenter Community helper

    Thank you for your sympathy and kind words, hellothisismyusername. The medication Mrs H is taking now seems to help a bit.

    To be honest, I cannot say that we were not warned in advance. I had read some things on the Internet that said that the air pollution is bad here in China, but I thought that maybe Shenzhen was the exception to the rule. It is a beautiful city, in many ways, with amazing modern architecture, a great public transport system and some lovely parks. Yes, the government is trying to tackle the problem and you hear on the news about electric cars, more trees being planted, cleaner energy and factories being fined for releasing too much pollution. My hunch is that it is a problem that is not going to disappear overnight. In SZ, as in other cities, the PM level does go up and down a lot, depending on where you live, the wind direction and so on. However, the truth is that there is a lot of muck in the air, from time to time, and sooner or later that dirt is going to accumulate in the tissues of your lungs. Mrs H and I are quite old hippos, but I would not recommend coming to China if you have young children. That is a pity, in many ways, because it is a fascinating country and teaching Chinese students is a pleasure, especially if (like me) you have had the misfortune to teach some rather less charming students in the Middle East.
     
  19. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Hippo, I really think you should get a second opinion, if you haven't aldready.
     

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