Should Students Leave For Boarding School at a Young Age?
Leaving home at any age can be a traumatic experience. Imagine embarking on such an exodus at an early age! Numerous students in Asia are sent to Boarding Schools in foreign countries at the age of fourteen. Are their parents really setting them up for a positive future? First of all, while living and studying in a westernized country students from Asia will lose their Chinese language skills to some degree. Secondly, anxiety resulting from early separation from family can have serious consequences on a student’s overall development. Moreover, too much freedom, too soon can cause unexpected problems. Finally, confusion can result in a lack of identity in later years. Therefore, sending students to boarding school at a young age is a poor choice that can result in serious developmental and social issues.
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English is important, but Chinese is equally critical for the future and should be mastered at an advanced level. In years to come, Mandarin will be critical, since there is a massive shift to Beijing and China and this trend will only grow bigger in the future. Those who are bilingual in English and Chinese will definitely have a serious advantage over those with only one spoken language. To leave Asia too early, before the main foundation of the home language is set, is a mistake since although students will rapidly pick up English they will plateau and even possibly loose a lot of their mother tongue. A solid grounding in Chinese is critical before embarking on a new course of study with respect to language.
Early separation anxiety is another serious issue that hinders the ease of transition to Boarding School, and should therefore be carefully considered when making decisions around pursuing one’s education overseas. Separation from parents at too young an age can result in anxiety, emotional problems and lack of proper communication. These influences can continue to affect a person long after they have returned home. A student may be a top academic, but without emotional intelligence they will not go far in reaching their future life goals.
Too much freedom, combined with a lack of supervision, can be a problem. If students leave home too early, they might not be able to handle certain choices that they are faced with, such as alcohol or drugs. Another problem is students do not always independently set aside enough time to study because they spend too much time partying, resulting in school failure and other problematic behaviors. These problems often appear in the first year of university, but can also show up as early as high school when a student is put in a “boarding” situation. Furthermore, it might prove difficult to catch up with other students because entire lessons were missed due to a lack of guidance and prioritizing.
A students’ identity might become stuck in limbo, since they were born in Hong Kong but spent most of their lives studying in a foreign country, with their initial exposure to the new culture occurring too soon in their young careers. They will be exposed to the different cultural ways of the East and West, such as Chinese traditional festivals and Western festivals. Based on this dualistic upbringing, when they attempt to decide on a place to live permanently the decision will undoubtedly prove challenging.
In conclusion, if students are sent to boarding school too early, they might face several problems. Their Chinese level will drop while they are studying or using a foreign language all the time. Equally, early separation from family will badly affect a student’s physical and moral development. Another serious problem, like school failure, will also likely happen since students living overseas tend to have too much freedom. Finally, they might find it difficult to understand their culture or identity fully with who they are if sent away too early. Although studying overseas is a very interesting experience, students will face many serious problems in the absence of guidance from their parents.