Beijing, previously known as Peking, is the capital of People’s Republic of China. It is an amazing city with a long history of 3000 years. Beijing is the most populated capital city in the world with an estimated 22 million habitants, but interestingly it is only the fourth most populated city in China, with Guangzhou being the first with 44 million people.
Beijing, together with China, has gone through a deep process of modernisation during the last decades. It has developed as a modern city with new infrastructures, some of them specifically built for the Summer Olympics in 2008, such as the National Stadium and the Olympic Park. The city is now preparing for the next Winter Olympics in 2022.
However, Beijing is much more than this. Thanks to its long history, its traditions and culture are deeply impressed in every aspect of life in Beijing and in the collection of architecture, arts and cuisine, amongst other cultural facets. To name a few: the fabulous Forbidden City complex, the Imperial Palace, the massive Tiananmen Square pedestrian plaza, and the narrow Hutong lanes with traditional courtyard houses and typical cuisines of roast duck and dumplings, its dances and operas, the markets, and so much more. Not forgetting the Great Wall, the longest wall in the world and one of the UNECO World Heritage Sites in Beijing.
This extraordinary offer of possibilities, together with the hustle and bustle, the pollution and the language barrier, makes daily life in Beijing a complicated task. It can make you feel both overwhelmed and fascinated.
The expat population in Beijing is large and growing. However, due to the language barrier, expats may find it difficult to fully integrate into the local culture. The city offers a good selection of international schools to accommodate the need of this growing expat community. These schools offer the most popular international curriculum, such as the British Curriculum or the IB (International Baccalaureate), but also other curricula, such as the Canadian or the Montessori Curriculum.
When looking for an international school in Beijing, remember to check the location. It is a critical factor to avoid excessive commuting time for both children and parents.