Extreme Schooling

When The New York Times foreign correspondent Clifford J. Levy was posted to Russia, he and his wife didn't send their kids to international school, which was taught in English and filled with children of other expatriates.

Instead, they sent the kids (who didn't speak a lick of Russian) to a local Russian school. Here's the fascinating story about the family's experience in extreme schooling:

My three children once were among the coddled offspring of Park Slope, Brooklyn. But when I became a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, my wife and I decided that we wanted to immerse them in life abroad. No international schools where the instruction is in English. Ours would go to a local one, with real Russians. When we told friends in Brooklyn of our plans, they tended to say things like, Wow, you’re
so brave. But we knew what they were really thinking: What are you, crazy? It was bad enough that we were abandoning beloved Park Slope, with its brownstones and organic coffee bars, for a country still often seen in the American imagination as callous and forbidding. To throw our kids into a Russian school — that seemed like child abuse.

Don't miss the video clip: Link (Photos: James Hill/NY Times) - via kottke

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Wow. As someone who lives in a nation of a different language than the one I grew up speaking, I understand how difficult it is to transition to a different culture, language, and nation. However, it is not the expats who deal with the hardest hurdles, it is their children, who had no say in the matter. I hope that life for all children of expatriates can end up as well as it did for Mr. Levy's children.
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