From Russia with Love… And Four Children
With the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, we’ve welcomed hundreds of new members into the YCIS Beijing family. Hailing from more than 40 countries and all corners of the globe, we’ve certainly maintained our reputation as one of the most truly international schools in Beijing.
This week, we’d like to share the story of Irina and Evgeniy Dementyev who have joined us from Russia with their four children. Having lived in China for more than 15 years, the Dementyev family are already well-seasoned expats; they share with us here what they love about Beijing, about YCIS Beijing, as well as stories of their children and what they feel China offers that they couldn’t get back home.
Could you please introduce your family?
Our names are Irina and Evgeniy Dementyev. We’re originally from Irkutsk, Russia, though we’ve been living in China for more than 15 years. We have four children – all of whom were born in China! We’re one big friendly, happy family!
Our oldest child Vladimir is a Year 9 student at YCIS Beijing. Despite being only 13, he’s already a professional dancer. He and his dance partner (and sister) Sophia compete regularly in international competitions and have won more than 35 awards in their young careers.
We’re very proud of our youngest son and daughter, too, of course! Peter and Arina are talented, sweet and caring children. It’s truly a blessing to have such a close and happy family.
Is this your family’s first time in China?
Not at all! We first came to China 15 years ago when my husband and I completed our bachelor’s degrees and postgraduate studies. And aside from holidays and trips, our children have spent their entire lives here, so we feel very at home in our adopted country.
What excites you most about living in Beijing?
Beijing is a wonderful city! There’s so many modern skyscrapers and ancient, traditional Chinese streets. The city also has a lot of green spaces, with many parks full of trees and flowers. I refer to Beijing as the Heart of China – with so many people living here both from other countries and other provinces in China, Beijing offers endless opportunities to meet people of different cultures. We definitely love this city.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you and your family so far?
The biggest challenge has been the pollution. We’ve been very concerned about the air quality, however, we’re hopeful that scientists will find a solution soon. We consider Beijing as our home and don’t want to leave.
What is one thing from your home country that you miss the most?
Of course, we miss our family the most! Our children’s grandmothers, grandfathers and great-grandmother are still in Russia. I think it’s very important for children to have the chance to be around the older members of their family – there’s so much that the older generation can teach them!
We also miss the abundance of nature and clean air in our hometown, as well as the delicious cranberries and blueberries that grow there. That’s why every summer we return for a visit, seeing our family and spending time at Lake Baikal.
What do you feel living in China can offer you that you couldn’t get back home?
Beijing is a city with a lot of opportunities. As I mentioned, Vladimir and Sophia are professional ballroom dancers. Beijing hosts many dancing competitions and is also a convenient place from which to travel abroad for other tournaments.
We also love that our children have the possibility to meet new people from all over the world. Our children have friends from Australia, Serbia, China, Singapore and many other countries. They could never have had this experience back home, and we value the diversity that teaches our children to be open-minded.
How did you learn about YCIS Beijing?
I attended one of the Open Day events. Our family was so impressed with the school that we immediately stopped looking elsewhere.
Could you please share the reason that you chose to become a part of the YCIS Beijing family?
YCIS Beijing has a cozy atmosphere and a warm, family-like feel. The learning community model is also fascinating and innovative, and something that others school aren’t offering. Additionally, the sports and music programmes are very strong, and Vladimir has enjoyed playing in the school orchestra.
As parents, we’re also happy to know that the school is focused on maintaining exceptional air quality through all indoor spaces on campus.
Oh, one more thing! We love the Character Education Programme and are proud that Vladimir will actively participate in numerous charity projects.
(To Vladimir) What school subjects do you like the most?
Vladimir: My favorite subject is math. I like to solve difficult tasks. I think that math is the most interesting, important and needed subject for students because math is the foundation of other areas of learning such as science and engineering.
(To Vladimir) What do you want to be when you grow up?
Vladimir: I would like to be an inventor. My dream is to invent a device for air purification. I also want to invent a robot that will help my mom to do housework.
It’d also be nice to be an archaeologist and search for ancient relics. Being a musician would be fun, too – to be able to play every instrument. I’d also like to continue dancing.
Actually, the most important thing for me when I grow up is to continue being a good person, just like my mom, dad and grandparents.