The Gehle family has been a part of the WISS community since 2013 yet have called Xujing their home since 2011. Bernward and Guo Yan are the owners of a deli and two restaurants located in the Xujing community. Their son Felix is in Grade 2 and daughter Fiona is in Grade 1.
How many years has your family been a part of the WISS Community?
Our son Felix joined WISS in Kindergarten in Jan/Feb 2013 and our daughter Fiona in Jan/Feb 2015. So quite a long time….
Tell us how you came to WISS. Where did you move from, did you live anywhere before that?
We know Christina Decu very well and some friends recommend the WISS for an international education with a good IB curriculum. So we went there and Christina introduced us to the WISS and convinced us to move from the Angel’s Kindergarten to the WISS. I’m living since Oct 2004 in China and together with my Chinese wife we moved to Shanghai in Mai 2007. Since April 2011 we are inhabitants in the nice Xujing vicinity.
Where were you born? Where would you call “home”?
Felix was born in October 2008 and Fiona in January 2010 both in the same hospital in Pudong. So both are original Shanghainese with a German passport.
Lu GuoYan was born in Guding, Guizhou province. She holds a Chinese passport
Bernward was born in Germany.
It’s not easy what we call “home”. We call our home Shanghai/China but also my hometown Braunschweig/Germany our homes as we go regular to see our kids Grandma to Germany.
Why did you choose WISS for your family?
WISS is well known for a fantastic curriculum both in the primary but also in the secondary. We believe in education that will help raise our kids to be a thinker and risk taker. As the IB program allows students to have the German language as subject – which will be then equal to the German “Abitur” – they also can go later to a German university.
What do you like most about WISS? What makes WISS unique?
Felix: I like the extra activities a lot. It’s really fun. I like to be in a small class and that the teachers are taking care so much about everyone. Also I like the diversity of people which broaden my horizon. The diversity makes the WISS unique for me.
Fiona: The small classes and the enthusiastic teacher are very inspiring. I like the sports activities and my classmates. The teachers really taking care about us. I like most that everybody is respecting each other.
Parent: We believe in the core values of WISS and that always the kids are the most important thing. Not only in teaching but also understanding why and how the kids should learn. We like that the kids are learning at an early age to be independent and are able to give a speech or presentation. It’s very interesting to see how the teachers are translating the embedded learning. Overall it’s very nice to see that the teachers are very enthusiastic and motivated to teach and to see every day our kids coming happy home.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What are your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? What do you enjoy doing as a family? How do you create your family time in Shanghai?
As we are running a Deli shop and a Restaurant Lamesa on Gao Jing Lu and also a Pizzeria Il Cielo we don’t have so much time at the weekends to do a family workout. So we are concentrating more on the vacation time especially in summer. Then we are travelling in China or we go to Germany to see our relatives. We also plan our next trips in autumn to Disney World/Orlando and also a skiing time during the next winter holiday.
We like to go out biking together. Felix and Fiona are also drawing on the weekends and if they have spare time they like to meet friends to go swimming or roller blading.
We like to cook together and watch some English or German DVD together. Furthermore we enjoy to go outside for a walk or visit with some friends.
Please tell us about any special involvement that you have at WISS. Do you volunteer? Are you a part of the parent committee group? Do you support the parent social functions? Why have you chosen to give your time to this project and how do you feel it complements the WISS community?
We are an active player for the International Day. We always cater this great event with sausages, bread and beer. Also we participate during the Winter Bazaar where we also offer a lot of different things especially German specialties.
What is your favourite subject at WISS, and why?
Felix: Math and German because my father is from Germany and Math is so logical
Fiona: PE and Chinese because I’m very good in sport and Chinese is my mother language
What do you think of life in Shanghai?
GuoYan and Bernward: As we have our business in Xujing area we are not going to often downtown. As Bernward was working before in Pudong we were exploring the diversity of International food and together with our kids we went to different attractions e.g. Disney resort or Happy Valley. Life in Shanghai is every day a nice experience and we are proud to be in this vibrant city during the transition to an international hub
Felix: I have my friends in our compound and also nearby. So I can play with them and can enjoy a good life. I also like the Chinese food but also the German food.
Fiona: I like to go WISS – to meet my friends and also I can learn every day something new. On the weekend I can play together with my brother and friends in a safe environment.
How has living abroad, and in Shanghai, changed you?
Well Felix and Fiona were born in Shanghai and therefore they never lived abroad. My wife was also born in China and moved from the Guizhou province to Shanghai.
I lived after my High school diploma in Orlando and worked for Disney before I was studying in Germany. As I came to China in 2004 it was challenging but a unique experience which I never would like to miss. After living almost 13 years here – with a short break from 6 month in Seoul – I can call Shanghai as my home.