Life in Beijing
Beijing, the capital of China, is one of the world’s most engaging cities, with a 3,000-year history and more than 20 million people. Covering an area of about 16,800 square kilometers, it is the political, cultural and educational center of China. There are four distinct seasons in Beijing, marked by changes in wind, temperature, humidity and colors of flowers and leaves.
Today’s Beijing is an intriguing place that is packed full of unparalleled exhilarating contrasts: futuristic architecture and ancient temples, an extensive highway system and a mysterious maze of “hutongs” (alleyways), older generations maintaining an austere manner and flashy and bold youth, thriving urban development and captivating rural landscapes. The colorful present and rich history of Beijing present a seemingly limitless wealth of discovery for everyone to explore and experience, and Keystone’s proximity to the Beijing subway allows you convenient access to all the city has to offer.
Keystone is nestled into a growing, suburban neighborhood northeast of Beijing within the Shunyi District. Teachers who live on campus and those who elect to live near the school will find a quieter pace of life here away from the crowded Beijing streets. Life for those who choose to live in the residential areas of Beijing proper is more fast-paced and reflects city living. They commute to school with the Keystone bus, by metro, taxi or personal car.
Shunyi offers many of the amenities expected of living in the nation’s capital. There are several shopping malls, supermarkets selling local and imported products, and restaurants within walking and biking distance from the school. Some faculty drive electric scooters or tuk-tuks in the nearby vicinity while others use private drivers, taxi apps or the nearby metro to move around the area and city. On weekends, Keystone organizes weekly shuttles to shopping and entertainment.
On campus, faculty members enjoy a close-knit home away from home during family dinners in the dining hall, socials, special events and celebrations. Children enjoy full use of the recreational areas on campus and faculty with toddlers gather and socialize during playgroup in a specially designed toddler play area on campus. Many of our colleagues enjoy multi-generational homes where also grandparents live with our teachers and their family.
For the many expatriates who live here, Beijing is a land of opportunity, adventure and enlightenment, though the Chinese language presents a significant challenge to all non-native speakers. And expats can certainly expect to experience culture shock in the forms of foods, traffic, communication, and customs, where everything is unfamiliar. Very quickly, though, the unfamiliar becomes normal, and Beijing blooms in the mind and heart.
The best way to ensure that relocation to Beijing is a success is to prepare mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically. Prior research, being open-mined and patient, and having a positive attitude are essential and will help you go through an adjustment period and enjoy your new home. Certainly, the potential breadth, depth, and richness of your experience living in Beijing depends on your desire to engage and understand the people of China, who are as varied and individual as the country they live in.
We invite you to engage Beijing and the community of Keystone Academy.