Beijing’s League of Legendary Educators: John McBryde and Caroline Chen talk about where it’s all going

Educators are the backbone of every school and Beijing’s international school community is no different. However, the expat community is also transient by nature, which means teachers come and go all the time. But every once in a while, we’re lucky to meet an educator with long-term vision who transcends traditional ideas about what education should be. This issue, we talk to two veteran Beijing educators, John McBryde and Caroline Chen, about how they wound up here and where education in China is headed in the future.

Starting Fresh: Air pollution policies at international schools


If you thought air pollution was the only thing to worry about in Beijing, think again. Indoor pollutants, it turns out, may also be having an effect on your health.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies from the US found that the levels of indoor pollutants may be up to 100 times higher than outdoor levels depending on the design and age of the building, location (urban or rural), outdoor AQI, and building materials used. These studies are used as a baseline by environmentalists worldwide, as the EPA sets out healthy limits for commercial and private spaces. Other studies have ranked indoor air pollution among the top four public environmental health risks.

Family Travels: The Rising Sun - The Stewarts Nippon over to Japan

Travelers: Robyn and Leonard Stewart and their sons Hamilton (age 6) and Isaiah (5), who attend the International Montessori School of Beijing (MSB).
Destinations: Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan
Travel dates: August 2014
Travel plans: The Stewart family flew from Beijing to Tokyo Narita Airpot with JAL (Japan Airlines). They stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Station in Tokyo and the New
Miyako Hotel in Kyoto. They used BCD travel agency to book their airline tickets and hotel.
Cost: Flights cost RMB 17,000 and tickets on the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto were RMB 4,000. Hotel rooms came to
RMB 8,400, tours were RMB 3,600, and food was RMB 4,800.

How Do I Choose a School for My Child? Taking your first steps towards answering the million-dollar question

One of the perennial questions we get from readers and families moving to Beijing is "How do I choose a school for my kids?" It's a huge, tangled, and often emotional topic, provoking heated debate on parenting forums like Beijing Mamas. If there's one thing we learned while researching this article, it's that the reasons are varied, complex, and deeply personal.

Playing Inside: Core Values - Isofit Beijing introduces Pilates program for kids and teens

On the surface, Isofit Beijing looks much like any other fancy Pilates studio in Beijing. It’s outfitted in soothing shades of cream and avocado green, with pots of white and purple orchids peppering the rooms and hallways. I’m here to sit in on a Pilates class with members of the International School of Beijing’s swim team, one of the first groups to take Isofit’s newly-launched Pilates program for kids and teens.

Founder and Head Instructor Lili Schloss, 51, is a petite woman with a warm smile, short hair, and flawless posture. Within a few minutes of our conversation, it’s clear that she is very passionate about Pilates and helping her students achieve their health goals. Schloss never strays too far from teacher mode, even as we have lunch at the LMPlus around the corner.

Indulge: Pink Lady - Samantha Corset’s coming up roses

This month’s Indulge mom is Australian Samantha Corset, an admissions and marketing executive at Beijing International Bilingual Academy (BIBA). That’s also where her husband Ben teaches PE and her oldest daughter Cléa (age 5) is enrolled in Grade 1. Youngest daughter Charlie (20 months) will start at BIBA next year, but for now she stays home with Ayi. Before relocating to Beijing two years ago, the Corsets lived in Switzerland for nine years.

Birthday Bash: Oh Snap! Let your personality shine at Aotuzipai

On any given Sunday in Beijing, a walk around town is sure to turn up a photographer, an assistant, and a muse (or several) taking pictures in the park or at the mall. But client and photographer are usually strangers; getting an accurate self-representation can be awkward and difficult.

Talking Shop: So Fresh and So Clean Clean - Introducing US air purifier company Oransi

Winter days in Beijing can be dreadful when it comes to air quality, as the city’s numerous coal plants work overtime to warm up homes in subzero temperatures. A must-have household accessory is an air purifier (or several). Luckily, access has gotten better and better, with the introduction of new players in the past couple of years. One of these is Oransi, an air purifier manufacturer from the US that just opened an office in Beijing.

Features: It's All Chinese To Me - Useful phrases and vocabulary

Upon Arrival

Listen for:

Do you have a reservation?
You yuding ma?

What name (is the reservation under)?
Zenme chenghu?

What time is it for?
Ji dian de?

How many people?
Ji wei?

Smoking or non-smoking?
Yao zuo xiyan qu haishi wuyan qu?


We have a reservation*.
You yuding.

* If you’re responding to a question, you can just say “you” (yes) or “mei you” (no).

We are [three, four, five…] people.
[San, si, wu…] wei.

Do you have highchairs?
You ertong canyi ma?

Restaurant Review: In and Out (Yunnan) - Diverse cuisine with an authentic ethnic flair

This is part two of a seven part series. Part one featured Cantonese food, check the review and recommended dishes here.

In and Out has two branches in Sanlitun: Sanlitun Beixiaojie and Gongti. We visited the first location during the lively lunch rush. The wait staff dress in colorful Yunnan minority clothes, which kids will love, and the restaurant is full of artefacts and scented aromas from the region. Spanning three floors, it has a number of private rooms, which would make a good venue for a party. The staff are friendly and efficient, and the restaurant is nicely done out with very comfy seating. As soon as we were shown to our table, we were given water and a big bowl of delicious rice crackers. On Mondays, the restaurant has a unique promotion where customers can get 50 percent off the bill – provided they seal their mobile phones into a box that remains untouched for the duration of the meal.

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