Suzhou Singapore International School, Celebrating Achievement.

Suzhou Singapore international school (SSSIS), located in Suzhou industrial park, is a fully authorized IB World School offering continuity of education from Pre-Nursery (2 year olds) to grade 12. SSSIS students represent more than 40 nationalities with a total enrolment of over 1,300. The experienced and qualified staffs from more than 20 countries provide a caring environment to help students learn, grow and succeed.

SSSIS is open to all non-Chinese nationals and is non-selective. The school offers the IB Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme along with a German curriculum for Grade 1 to 4 students and North American style High School Diploma for Grades 9 to 12. SSIS also offers a half-day program for 2-3 year olds with the Little Dragons class.

Chinese is offered throughout the school with a wide variety of other second language and subject options. English language support is provided to students through a comprehensive ESL program. Grades 5-12 participate in an Apple 1-1 laptop program.

Students enjoy a wide range of co-curricular opportunities in a positive environment with outstanding facilities and resources. The excellent facilities include two libraries, 650-seat theatre, several computer suites and technology labs, two gymnasiums, a swimming pool, football fields and a 400-meter running track. SSIS participates in several sports organizations (ACAMIS), SISAC, CISSA, and JISSA) and hosts a wide range of sport and other school activities.

Preparing students for an increasingly interconnected globalized world is one of the main goals at SSIS. The school’s excellent academic results are consistently above world average. By helping students reach their full academic potential, SSIS graduates have been accepted by prestigious colleges and universities across the globe including London School of Economics, University of Cambridge, University of California (UCLA), Boston University and the University of Hong Kong.

In 2013, SSIS became one of the fist schools in the world to successfully undertake a joint reaccreditation and evaluation process with International Baccalaureate Organization, Council of International Schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the National Centre for Curriculum and Textbooks simultaneously. At the end of this process, the school received 34 commendations and was described by the accreditation team as “a relective institution committed to promoting internationalism and quality education experiences, which has made impressive progress and meets the needs of its students body while building trust, communication and support with faculty and parents.

Recently the Suzhou Singapore International School (SSSIS) community celebrated the achievements of the Class of 2013.

The Class of 2013 was SSIS’s largest ever-graduating class. As a group they achieved outstanding results including receiving an average score of 34 out of 45 (the world average was 29). Fifteen Percent received a grade of 40 and above and half of the class obtained a bilingual diploma. Shimmona Chen and Yong Ho Kim both received the Class of 2013’s highest score of 43. The community and the students themselves were justifiably proud of their achievements.

However, a student should not be judged on their academic results alone. The SSIS vision is to enable students to be self-motivated, lifelong learners, who value other cultures and are responsible, meaningful participants in the international community.

One student who exemplifies this is Yong Suk Yoon. Yong Suk joined the SSIS community from Korea in 2009. He is currently in Grade 12 undertaking the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP). Earlier this year Yong Suk won a Global Citizenship Community Award. This award is presented to a student who embraces the qualities of a global citizen by the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS), an organization of 136 member schools in East Asia. Young Suk received the award for two projects; Brain Box and Bo Ai, which he undertook as part of the IBDP Community, Action and Service requirements.

The Brain Box project linked younger students struggling with mathematics and science with IBDP students as mentors. It was greatly successful scheme that connected students of different ages and nationalities, enhancing a sense of community within the school.

“This was the first time I had actually organized and planned something like this” said Young Suk. “I like to help other students with math and science as I like these subjects. It also helped to relieve my academic stress as it gave me something to focus on.”

“The students could get help with their homework or prepare for a test but they could also do logic puzzles and other Mensa games. They could also use their creativity and have fun with math and science.

“Of course. I don’t know everything in either math or science but I wanted to teach other students. I knew this would help me a lot as well because basically if I teach students, I learn as well.”

Young Suk also led a group of SSIS students to the local children’s home, Bo Ai. Young Suk regularly gave up part of each weekend to spend time with the children who don’t have families. Both the students, and the children they visited, were greatly touched by this experience of sharing.

“When I was in grade 8 and 9 I went to Tiger Hill Orphanage to take care of children who have physical and mental disabilities” Young Suk recalled. “Once I tried this I was really happy because I like to help children and play with them. I decided to join the Bo Ai visits because I knew these children were lonely because of their disabilities.”

“Initially I was kind of afraid and felt awkward. The children were hard to manage and it was tiring. However, after a while it became fun. They were no longer strangers. They were friends.

“When we visit Bo Ai we prepare different activities for the children such as drawing, dancing, making masks and origami, it is great to help make the Bo Ai children really happy.

“Through my involvement in this group I realized that disabled people in the world should not be discriminated against. They are people. They can work. They can be your friends too.”

EARCOS made a small grant in recognition of Young Suk’s award. This money was donated to Bo Ai to help buy equipment and undertake necessary maintenance work. Young Suk went back with a group of students to help distribute these resources.

Young Suk’s projects exemplify the spirit of active community engagement that SSIS prizes as a school; one enriching the school community, the other strengthening the school’s place in the local community.

For SSIS students, achievement can come in many forms, weather it is through achieving academic excellence or by becoming responsible, meaningful participants in the international community. Both are equally important. SSIS is achieving its mission of providing an excellent international education.

Address: 208 Zhong Nan Jie, SIP
Tel: 0512 6258 0388
Email: [email protected]

Dulwich College Suzhou, A friendly and student-centred learning environment.

Dulwich College Suzhou offers a friendly and student-centered learning environment. Your child is placed at the very centre of the learning process and receives a broad and balanced education. The Dulwich College educational philosophy is to inspire the children of today to take a leading role in tomorrow’s world. Dulwich College achieves this through placing equal emphasis on its pupils’ intellectual and personal development, by encouraging them to learn from everything they do; to embark on a journey to discovery to find where their individual skills lie. The College shows pupils how to think and learn independently and uses their extensive experience to shape their approach to the different interests and learning styles of the pupils.

Its link to Dulwich College London allows Dulwich College Suzhou to draw on over 400 years of experience in education and they provide expertise, resources and a rigorous set of academic standards to which must adhere. In addition it’s close to their sister schools in Shanghai, Beijing, and Seoul provides Dulwich College Suzhou with further access to resources and experience here in China and North Asia.

The new Senior School at Dulwich College Suzhou opened in August 2013 marking state of the art world class facilities available to all of the students with 2 additional theatres, gymnasium, indoor swimming pool, Media and IB centre. This is all in addition to the already existing excellent facilities. Each class is equipped with a digital projector and interactive smart board. Specialist rooms include ICT suites, 2 large fully stocked libraries, a 720 all seat theatre, Science Laboratories, an Art and Design Technology workshop and a self-contained suite of Music rooms. In addition, the College enjoys 20,000 square meters of playing fields, an all-weather surface, an International quality 400m running track and a large indoor gymnasium.

Address: 360 Gang Tian Lu, SIP.
Tel: 0512-6295 9500

A Heavenly Retreat at Olaysha Spa.

I recently has the absolute pleasure to visit the new Olaysha Spa in Suzhou Industrial Park. Entering the confines of the elegantly appointed interior, I immediately felt the effects of Suzhou’s noise, traffic and hustle and bustle melting away as the subdued and sophisticated decor allowed my mind to centre itself on the present moment.

The foyer of Olaysha is dimly lit by diffuse light that permeates the space with a sense of peace. A stone wall of recessed shelves, artfully lit, confronted me from the entrance, next to which sat intricate white porcelain sculpture reminiscent of a roaring fire frozen in time.

Gentle music at low volume added to the calming influences and, sitting in a plush and comfortable couch, I was able to peruse the Spa’s offerings at my leisure as helpful attendants waited patiently for my choice.

I opted for the New Zealand Hot Stone caress, an internationally renowned hot stone therapy using heated stones from the Pacific-Island nation, that are combined with special massage techniques and aromatic oils to stimulate the mind and bring the body into equilibrium. This particular therapy is meant to benefit the lymphatic system detoxifying the body and disintegrating muscle tension to being about a feeling of total relaxation and well-being. While this is the treatment I felt would be most beneficial to me, it should be pointed out that Olaysha offers many dozens of diverse treatments tailored to the desires of each customer and carefully explained in the menu in both English and Mandarin.

From water therapies and Tibetan Ayurvedic treatments to ‘Chinese Five Elements’ options that target specific organs and parts of the body for clients who come to Olaysha with specific problems, there is something for everyone. There is also a full range of facials, eye treatments, body toning and contouring therapies, and his and her procedures for beautification and battling the signs of ageing and stress.

There are also a range of fine rooms available, including couple’s rooms, VIP rooms, and other options. Olaysha has a room the likes of which I have never encountered, as well: a room in which one sits surrounded by lodestones radiating magnetism, in which salt lamps emit negative ions continuously.

These combined atmospheric aspects make the room ideal for passively increasing ones health while sitting, talking, and drinking tea.

After choosing my preferred treatment I was lead to another couch, where my shoes were exchanged for plush sandals. Thus shod, I followed the gracious staff member through more of the beautiful interior of Olaysha, which included a small bubbling pool set into the stone floor, in which scores of flower petals fitted about across the surface of the water.

The backdrop of this soothing vision consisted of a towering wall of shelves rising up thirty feet into the air, sectioned off into rows with each row holding a number of porcelain vases suffused with a gentle glow from the reflected light. The upper level of the spa had an opening to allow this patterned wall to rise up to the ceiling of the second story, and railing framed this inner courtyard giving the space a cathedral-like feeling.

Though already impressed by the soothing ambience of this interior, upon arriving at the VIP room in which my treatment was scheduled I felt myself smile at the increased pleasure my body and mind experienced when observing the room.

I was seated on a comfortable couch and served a soothing blend of herbal tea. While imbibing this delicious concoction I took in the room, which consisted of two massage tables in the central section, around which numerous aromatic candles glowed. The area was dimly lit, and the same gentle music tinkled in the background.

A vaulted ceiling added vertical dimension to the space. Finishing off the luxurious chamber where a shower room, a large circular bathtub, and a toilet in the back.

The masseuse gave me a brief introduction to the room before telling me to relax and freshen up, and then to buzz her when I was ready to begin the treatment. She left, and I was undressed and washed in the glorious rainfall-like shower, helping myself to the fine plant-based cleansing products. Once dried and dressed in the spa-provided disposable boxer shorts, I buzzed the attendant and the treatment began.

I lay on my belly, with my face firmly ensconced in the hole that massage tables have for such a purpose. I was delighted to find a beautiful flower in a dish of water directly beneath my face, emitting a subtle perfume and making even this view of the floor soothing.

No detail is missed at Olaysha, as I was quickly coming to understand. I began with my entire body draped in a towel, but as each section was worked on, It was uncovered, only to be recovered when the masseuse moved on.

The masseuse began by rubbing my back with warm oil in circular motions, working tension out of my muscles. After my back had been well-lubed, she took ovular black rocks from a pot of hot water and, after cooling them a bit, began to work my back with these. The sensation was truly amazing, the combination of heat and pressure making me melt into a state of bliss.

This continued for an unknown quantity of time, as I was suddenly incapable of keeping track. It must have been about thirty minutes for my back alone.

Following the rock rub, she sponged off the excess oil and scrubbed my skin briskly with a soft towel. Then she placed new hot rocks at precise intervals along my spine and covered my back with a towel to retain the heat.

Following this, she repeated the process for the backs of my legs and feet, in which much of my tension was stored. When she began with each set of stones, she always checked to make sure they were not too hot – something for which I was grateful. Once she had finished with my back, I rolled over and she began working on the fronts of my legs, which were equally tight.

Whenever she found a place where a lot of tension was stored, she noticed immediately and worked it out with expertise.

After the front of my legs, she moved on to my belly, which was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The hot rocks on my abdomen almost made me go to sleep instantaneously. Finally, she wrapped up the massage with a soothing head rub that was once deeply relaxing and invigorating: she pushed pressure points and shifted sections of my scalp, then finished by briskly mussing the area.

When she had finished, my body and mind were truly at peace. My mother is a massage therapist of great skill, and I have never encountered anyone who could compare to her expertise in creating such an overall feeling of well-being – until now.

To top it all off, after the massage I was served a lovely peanut and bean soup that somehow served to refresh my mind and ready me for reentry into the outside world. My experience at Olaysha was truly wonderful, serene, and bliss-inducing – exactly what I needed to counteract the effects of my busy city life in Suzhou.

Suzhou Expat Health Insurance: Typical Premiums & Fees

Medical insurance for expat families living in Suzhou can get very expensive very fast. Let’s look at a few numbers.

Let’s say you are a family of 4 living in Suzhou, and you are in the market for comprehensive medical insurance that covers both inpatient and outpatient services. One international insurance provider offers coverage to China expats at 3 levels of service. The mid-priced package provides hospitalization, outpatient services, health checks, emergency medical evacuation, and a variety of other features that expat families in China would care about. It does NOT cover the US, except for emergencies.

How much can you expect to pay for this kind of coverage?

If you were a single 34 year old living in Suzhou, your annual premiums would be just a bit over US $1500 (as of November 2007). You first child would cost you an extra $700 or so, and your second child would add another $ 550. So for the whole family, you can expect to shell out around US$ 4,250 for a year’s worth of comprehensive medical insurance in China. (Being in China will cost you around 10% more.) It’s worth it to have piece of mind – but even better if you can get your company to foot at least part of the bill!

BUT, you can lower your premiums significantly by opting for a “deductible” or “excess”. (US providers say deductible, UK and international say excess. Same thing.) If you select a $100 deductible, then the first $100 in medical expenses each year are your responsibility, and you must pay out of your own pocket.

In the case of this fictional company, a $100 excess will save you around 5%, a $400 excess will cut your premium by 15%, and a $1,600 excess will save you 30%.

Every company is different, and you will have to sit down with an advisor to get the facts for your unique situation. But expats and international Chinese in China can expect to see these kinds of premiums for high-quality comprehensive medical insurance.

Get a quote for Suzhou expat health insurance.

A Summary of Suzhou Education

It is good tradition in Suzhou to respect teachers and value education. More than 2000 scholars (ZhuangYuan, JinShi) appeared in the history of Suzhou and at present the number of native academicians has reached more than 80. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, especially since the reform and opening-up, Suzhou has been focusing on “Flourishing the City through Science and Education” as one of the main strategies of its modern economic and social development. Historically, educational practices in the City have advanced to a new level every ten years or so.

From the year 2000, Suzhou has continued to promote the rapid development of its education as a first priority. Throughout the city, the gross enrollment of senior high school students has reached 95.6% of those eligible, and participation in higher education exceeds 50%. A system of universal basic education has been established. On several measures, the current level of instruction being offered in Suzhou is equivalent to that offered in developed Western countries in the late 1990’s

Educational resources have been further put in order. The structural adjustment of institutions of higher learning, basic education and vocational education witness a major progress. Personal quality education has been promoted in a full scale; basic education’s level has been raised up constantly. Senior high school and college and university’s enrollment rate reaches 96.3% and 88.3% respectively.

Higher education’s popularization level has been improved with a gross enrollment rate of 45%. In the year 2003, there are 381,500 pupils, 251,700 junior high school students, 115,800 senior high school students and 21,100 vocational school students, 22,100 technician training school students with 3000 graduates, 63,600 senior vocational school students with 8,600 graduates.

Cost of Living in Suzhou

Depending on which country you come from, the comparison of cost of living may vary. So take our article only as reference to estimate cost of rent, electric, water etc.

Renting an apartment runs between 5,000 RMB to 50000 RMB for expats. For example a 170 square meter three bedroom apartment costs around 5900 RMB per month and includes management fees, furnishings, DVD player, Chinese cable TV (setup), microwave, toaster oven, washer, dryer, 2 TVs.

Housing for the locals is below 5000 RMB and usually has no lifts (elevators). If your Mandarin is good and you enjoy the experience living among locals, there are plenty of choices to choose from.

Electricity

You should pay your electric bill at local banks every other month. In China, everything is prepaid. There is no invoice system. In order not to have the services interrupted, you must pay attention to paying bills. For two months around 2000 RMB. Now, this is an outrageous amount of expense to the locals because that may represent their entire month’s salary. But the expenses of air condition for head and cool is high.

Water

For two months around 100 RMB for water bills. It’s for 2-3 people pretty good. There don’t have water heaters like those in the US. Instead, the water line goes through a heating unit and the water gets really hot fast.

Water is not drinkable in Suzhou. Even the locals don’t drink them. Normally you subscribe to bottled water. This will mostly out a hot and cold water dispenser. The normal size use bottle have 18,9 liter an cost between 10-28 RMB each. Normally the water will delivered and install by the water provider company.

Gas

There is a card similar to a credit card inserted into the gas unit in our kitchen. It has a meter on the unit. You have to prepaid the gas bill, the monthly cost for 2-3 person around 200 RMB.

Chinese Cable TV

This is the Chinese TV networks from many regions outside of Suzhou. There are about 30+ channels. It has one English Channel, CCTV 9. CCTV 5 is the sports channel. Although it’s in Mandarin, you can watch many kind of sports on CCTV 5. The cost is 72 RMB for 6 months.

Satellite TV

When you let install one dish incl. a receiver you can received many of the USA, England, German and Asian TV English programs (about 40-50 channels). It costs 1500 RMB for the installation and 2 years fees. Mostly this price is illegal (pirate) installation. The original legal price is between 3500 – 6500 RMB. The signals are good but very often the weather disturb the signal and the network is down. Illegal installation can be down for several days and then you get a new smart card.

The Drunken Chef, Suzhou’s English Pub

The Drunken Chef, Suzhou’s English Pub and Sports Restaurant. The Drunken Chef is a unique combination of the British Pub and a Sports Restaurant set, would you believe, in the historic city of Suzhou, China.

With well over 100 different Western dishes on the menu, imported materials and traditional draft beer, the Drunken Chef is the real home from home you need when you visit Suzhou.

The Drunken Chef is the premier Formula 1 promotion outlet in China, with huge crowds of F1 fans coming for the traditional Sunday roast, and settling down to watch the race on our big screen TV and live race timing system direct from Formula 1 itself.

From April to November cooking outside on the open fire BBQ every weekend, serving up the best USDA steaks in town, roast leg of pork, or a side of beef … simply the best you will find in Suzhou.

The Drunken Chef first opened its doors in 2004. Formally called the Scenic Café, it was purchased by Clive and Dee Greenwood with the clear objective of bringing much needed real Western home-cooked food to the visiting and expat community of Suzhou.

Clive, originally from Yorkshire, had spent over 16 years working in China as a sales and marketing director and fully understood what was needed in terms of real Western food for the expats working in China. He first addressed the big question: how do we get the real ingredients? The answer was to find a supplier with the same goals. We have achieved this through our long-standing relationship with Euro Foods.

Other outlets have tried to copy Western dishes, but never truly understood the principle of better raw materials = better finished product. That is why all of our raw materials are imported, unlike other restaurants in Suzhou. We believe in value for money. If you are paying top dollar for a steak you expect to have a top flight steak, not a copy, and not made from low quality beef, right!

The mission is to better customer expectations each and every time, to provide quality first, with open and friendly front of house staff in a truly English pub atmosphere. To achieve this through constant improvement of all aspects of the business, customer feedback and owner hands on. Unlike almost all other “Western” outlets in Suzhou you will always find the owners in house. Clive or Dee are in the bar every night, talking to customers, playing pool with customers or simply managing the night. They are always happy to help visitors to find new places of interest in Suzhou, or simply help in the ‘where to shop’ questions.

To help customers, they are one of only a few restaurants in Suzhou that except all international credit cards, including American Express. Again this demonstrates our commitment to helping the visitor. The always provide real tax receipts, so there can never be any doubt when it comes to claiming your business expenses, either in China or at home.

The Drunken Chef is a little difficult to find the first time, but we have provided a download map in Chinese. Print it off and give it to the taxi driver. If you are staying in one of the main business hotels, just ask the front desk and they will give you directions. If you are just visiting for the day, you will find it on the tourist map.

Bailing Mansion- JASO Serviced Apartment, Suzhou SIP

Near the central business district of the Suzhou Industrial Park, the Five Star serviced apartments are now available for rent, An exclusive community of deluxe sized apartments located in Suzhou’s own world heritage site, come and escape the confines of the city to a place where children can run free in a safe and natural environment.

The Bailing Mansion- JASO Serviced Apartment offers a comprehensive security system, professional services and international standard management to make your long term stay in Suzhou as worry free as possible.

Equipment & Facilities include: Full sets of high-quality furniture & electronics, kitchen utensils, bedclothes, Samsung central air conditioning and A.O Smith hot water system, full floor heating, individual satellite TV, background music, European imported  Fermax visitor visual interphone system.

School buses go to the Singapore International School, Dulwich British International School, EtonHouse International School and Newton kindergarten.

Surrounding environment and facilities include the Suzhou Industrial Park, Auchan, Metro Supermarket and picturesque Jinji lake, Zuo’an business street, neighborhood center, Xinghai square, subway, several banks and the CBD of SIP.

Bailing Mansion- JASO Serviced Apartment
Bailing Mansion- JASO Serviced Apartment

Luoke Ice Cream on Pingjiang Street, Suzhou

Located along Suzhou’s famous Pringjiang Street, the owner of Luoke Ice Cream explains that its a very special shop ! Before 8pm its a Ice-Cream shop and after 8pm it becomes a small bar. The decor of this small shop attracted me very much. The paintings are all from the staff or from friends.

The walls are also covered with various notes. The shop owner has a concept of making his shop a meaningful place for travelers, so he will give travellers a 3RMB discount if they can show their train tickets or scenic spot tickets when they buy any ice cream.

The real highlight is their Biluochen ice cream, Biluochen being a famous green tea originally grown in the Dong Ting mountain of Tai Hu, Jiangsu Province. It is also known as Pi, having a strong sense of Suzhou’s local flavour. This is one of my recommendations. I also suggest you try their chocolate vodka ice cream which is quite popular among foreigners.

 

Citadines Xinghai Suzhou Serviced Apartments

Located in the hub of the Suzhou Industrial Park, the Citadines Xinghai Serviced Apartments are only a few steps away from a multitude of local and international restaurants, entertainment and shopping outlets, The famous gardens of the city, Humble Administrator’s Garden and Master-of-Nets Garden are but a short drive away.

Citadines Suzhou Building Entrance
Citadines Suzhou Building Entrance

Visit the famous Jinji Lake and its surrounding entertainment complexes like the Xinghai Swimming Complex, Suzhou Jinji Lake international Golf centre, the Suzhou Arts & Entertainment Village and Zuo An Commercial Street, as you explore the region nearby the residence. Each modern apartment has a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom with separate toilet, a home entertainment system, a telephone with IDD facility, bed linen, towels and toiletries.

Citadines Suzhou Reception Desk
Citadines Suzhou Reception Desk

Based on your requirements, you can choose from their set of different services available, ranging from daily to weekly cleaning, laundry and dry cleaning services, high speed broadband internet, car park, car hire, meal delivery, fitness corner and business center facilities.

Citadines Suzhou Studio Serviced Apartment
Citadines Suzhou Studio Serviced Apartment

Citadines Xinghai Suzhou absolutely offers you the convenience of being within the metropolitan area while secure and relaxed in your own stylish private apartment.

Citadines Suzhou Serviced Apartment
Citadines Suzhou Serviced Apartment