We spoke to Mr Narcis S., one of our parents at One World International School, who along with his family, moved to Singapore from Romania last year. His family has been part of the OWIS community for just over a year. They have two children – Bianca, age 13 and Ramona age 8. This is the first time that they are living outside of Romania and the children are really enjoying studying at OWIS. Here’s what Mr Narcis had to say about his family’s experience at OWIS.
Q. What were some of the factors that you looked at when choosing a school in Singapore?
A. In Romania, schools push a lot of information on children. There’s a lot of stress on students, and they sometimes stay up until midnight doing homework. We wanted to give our daughters a new opportunity and show them that there can be other types of schools.
As a family, we looked at various schools on the internet, and after selecting our favourites, I reached out to 4-5 schools. OWIS was the first school to get back to me, and they were quite open. They sent me a nice video of the school and explained about the school’s philosophy and programmes. They even helped out with suggestions on nearby neighbourhoods that we could stay in. I showed my daughters the school video, and they were happy to see that there were children from many different countries. This was what we had wanted as a family.
OWIS was also within our budget. Money wasn’t the only criteria for me as my company pays for the tuition fees, and I would have been happy to pay more if there was a need; however, it was definitely a benefit.
I was also worried about the fact that my daughters were not fluent in English, but the admissions team at OWIS told me not to worry. I told them that my older daughter has more experience with English but not my younger one. Ms Sherry from the Admissions team told me that once we arrive in Singapore, the OWIS team will evaluate their language skills and tell us whether they need to attend additional English lessons or not. I didn’t initially know that there was the option of English as an Additional Language (EAL) class, but since OWIS had this programme, it was an interesting option that we wanted to try out. We decided to put our younger girl Ramona in the EAL programme as she could only speak very limited English.
Q. Did the EAL programme help your daughter develop her English Language skills?
A. Within four months, there was a huge improvement in Ramona’s understanding and speaking skills. She was able to understand her classmates and teacher almost fully and speak with some fluency. The EAL programme helped a lot with her English skills and gaining confidence to speak. She also started to read her books on her own in a few months. She now enjoys interacting and talking with her friends at school in English.
Q. What are some of your family’s highlights of OWIS?
A. Promoting kindness! This is something which is actually new for them. One of the benefits of leaving Romania was for us to be able to show our daughters a different type of school experience and they found this immediately here. The other children were kind, and they were coming over to ask questions and help as much as they could. They would show kindness by hugging you if you could not say goodbye in English and would say “Can I hug you?” “Yes”. Okay, that’s goodbye for us until you learn how to say goodbye. It was lovely to see.
My daughters were amazed when they saw this type of school, especially my eldest daughter. She told me once that if they ever have a boarding school, she would love to live there if it was possible!
The school is also very careful about what they do, and they are very communicative. We get regular communication from the teachers on how our children are getting on in school. This was very different from our previous experiences with other schools where we would only get information if we asked. We would have to contact teachers directly to find out things such as how our daughters were getting on, what they were studying in class and how they were behaving.
At OWIS, we get a lot of this information directly every week, with videos taken in class. My wife enjoys these updates. She is able to see how Bianca is having a lot of knowledge that she’s relating to other topics. For example, how mathematics links with physics and chemistry. She also says that when she’s doing biology, she can understand how she is also doing chemistry. My wife said that this is a really good way to teach a child because you are showing her the connections. Children understand that when they are learning mathematics, some things will link to physics or when they are learning something in chemistry that will also help in biology. My wife was a high school teacher in Romania, and she says that it’s a very interesting way to teach children.
Q. Would you say you’re happy with OWIS?
A. Yes, we are! The children are quite happy, especially Bianca, who was worried about making friends in school when she came to Singapore. Now she’s telling me, “I have many friends here. I have a friend from the UK, another one from China and I’m speaking Chinese with another girl at my school which would never happen in Romania.” It was tough for her initially to make the move to Singapore and leave her friends in our country, but we saw it as an opportunity. My wife was the first one to want a change from the school system that the children were used to. She wanted a school that would not make the children scared and stressed, so OWIS was the perfect school for us. We are happy that the children have settled in well.
Thank you Mr Narcis S. for your kind words and we’re happy that you are at OWIS too!