After having been in Australia for three weeks now, we have settled in our new living environment. We are slowly getting adjusted to the winter weather. We have gotten used to our new house, have beds to sleep in and furniture surrounding us. We know where to get our bread and daily groceries. But things are about to change drastically.
Kai and Luka will be thrown into the deep end. As of next week the school holidays will be over and we will have to develop a completely new daily routine. Although they are bilingual, they do not speak English yet. They will be in a school, where everyone speaks English and does not understand Dutch or German. In the past four months they have had an intensive English expat childrens course for two hours a week during school times, through bilingual kids. Will this have given them enough base to survive?
So what do we expect that is going to happen?
Last year, during our vacation they were surrounded by English speaking children. We think we got a bit of a preview of what to expect here.
Kai (9 years old) would just observe what the others were doing and then play along. Not speaking the same language did not seem to bother him at all. He is a very social boy and a quick learner, so we expect that he will pick everything up very quickly. Kai has always been very physical, wanting to be the best at everything. Always competing about everything. Since sport seems to be a big thing in Australia we expect this to be paradise for him.
Luka (7 years old) on the other hand is a lot more verbal. When she plays with her friends it is a lot more about communication. She loves role playing games. She was keeping her distance from the other kids and rather spent her time with us. She is also a very social girl and a quick learner, but is a lot more selfconscience. According to her English teacher she has very large vocabulary and a good pronunciation, she is just lacking the confidence. She does not think she can understand and use the language. Which is true for some part of course, but she can do a lot more then she thinks.
What will happen?
That only time and the experience will tell. Will our expectations be met, or are we going to get completely different experiences? I want to put this down in writing now, since I know how quickly one changes their opinion in the process and forgets about what they thought before. Now I will have something to remind me of how I looked at it before.
I am more then completely standing behind our decision to come here for the experience. But I know that there will be times when I question that decision. Times were that little voice inside my head will ask me ‘What are we doing to our children? Why did we take them out of their safe and comfortable environment, where they had lots of friends and were very open and social?’ And I am afraid that little voice will be very loud on the first day of having to leave them behind all by themselves. Which is very quickly now…… But let the expression on their faces prove me wrong when picking them up.