February 12

Summer Programs 2018

It’s that time of year when parents and students start to think about their summer activities. Here are some summer programs that have come across the middle school counselor’s mailbox. These programs are historically well-established and can provide excellent enrichment activities for SIS middle school students. Please click on the links below for more information.

I will periodically add to this list. Should you have any questions or interest in any of these programs, please contact me at ycuenco@sis.org.cn.

Kind regards,

Yvette Cuenco

  • Summer Discovery:Middle school enrichment programs at University of California at Los Angeles, Georgetown University, and Yale University. Due date: rolling admissions through March
  • Oxbridge Academic Programs: Enrichment programs for Grade 7 & 8 students in the US (UCLA) and the UK (Oxford and Cambridge) Due date: rolling admissions
  • ISS-Ulink Bay Area Writing Project: Writing camp geared towards Chinese national students ages 10-18. Due date: TBD
  • Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth: Summer programs in the United States and Hong Kong. Due date: January 17, 2018 and rolling admissions after
  • iD Tech Summer Camp: Technology camp with locations in Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, and the US. Due date: rolling admissions
  • Nike Sports Camps: 2 Week Sport Camps for Soccer/Football, Basketball, Tennis, Volleyball and Field Hockey in the USA and UK. Additional special program for strengthening fluency in English. Due date: rolling admissions
May 24

Transitions and Summer Resources 2017

The end of the school year at every international school brings up a full range of emotions from excitement to sadness. Students are busy finishing up their projects, celebrating achievements, and looking ahead to their summer plans. Some are looking forward to the next grade. While quite a few are preparing to leave SIS for their home countries or a new destination. Part of being a caring community at SIS is recognizing how these transitions impact our students and coming up with plans to best support them. Below are tips and resources for our ‘leavers’ also known as students who are moving on and our students who are staying with us next year.

Our Leavers

The plus side to being a Third Culture Kid (a student who grew up in a culture other than their own) at an international school are the worldly adventures they get to embark on at an early age – meeting different people, experiencing different cultures, learning new languages, etc. The challenge is the task of navigating these changes, learning to make new friends, adjusting to new cultures, and saying goodbye.  At SIS we talk to our leaving students about building their R.A.F.T. as they experience their transition from our school to their next destination. We acknowledge that leaving is not just a simple goodbye on the last day of school, but a whole process and as a counselor, I have been involved in helping your children experience this process. The RAFT consists of the following (from https://raisingtcks.com):

R = Reconciliation 

Reconciliation is just that: reconciling with people, making the relationship right. Just because you leave a place doesn’t mean the problem goes away. It doesn’t – instead it goes with you. Research has been done on health related issues due to unforgiveness. Just google it and see for yourself.

A = Affirmation

Is there anyone you are super thankful for? Anyone who has helped you greatly while living in that city? Tell them. Let them know how much you appreciate them and what they did for you, for your kids, for your family. Awkward? Write a letter to tell them – but just tell them. You have the opportunity to make someone feel appreciated – and you’ll feel great that you did it.

F = Farewell

This is the not so fun part; saying good-bye. You immediately think of all the people you want to tell good-bye. An article I just read on this topic stated to rank your friends, which sounds harsh, but I do think is a good idea. Don’t forget to say “Good-bye” to places and things as well. This may sound strange, but it really helps to bring closure. This one is important for kids as well. Plan these “events” on a calendar so you get them in. I’ll write more on this later this week…so much you can do to help your kids here.

T = Think Destination

It’s just that – think about the next place. How will it be different from where you are now? How will it be the same? Go through this dialogue with your kids as well. It will help them in the process as well. Look up on the internet and read about the new place. Check it out on Google Maps. Reminder: It’s okay to feel excited about the new destination as you say good-bye to all the old things. It’s normal.

For parents of leaving students, I encourage you to discuss the RAFT with your children. In my experience, students who have been given the opportunity to discuss and reflect on the RAFT process are able to experience more positive closure as they leave their current school and move on to the next place.

More TCK resources:


For families moving back to their home countries: http://www.figt.org/repatriating_children/

Recent BBC Article on TCKs

For the Geckos Who are Staying

Experiencing their friends leaving is also a difficult time for our middle school students. They are actively involved in saying goodbye to our ‘leavers’ because it helps them experience saying farewell in a positive way. Part of this process includes the leaving videos and leavers assembly. Moreover, being proactive with helping our students with this process can help through the most difficult moments of the transitions. I recommend parents do the following with their students who are staying:

  • Your children may or may not want to discuss this with you at home, but as parents you might find it helpful to check-in and ask them how they feel about having to say farewell to their peers
  • Encourage them to spend extra time with friends who are leaving
  • Technology is a useful tool in keeping in touch and many past students maintain their friendships with friends from all over the world because of Facebook, iMessage, etc. Scheduling video chats with friends they miss is a great way to maintain contact

Summer Resources and Activities

We strongly encourage our students to continue to read, read, read over the summer. Mr. Yung has informed me that once the Library completes their inventory, students are permitted to check out 3 books from our secondary library. Moreover, our library’s Overdrive account has over 400 digital titles for students to check out.  Please also reach out to your children’s different teachers. They would be happy to share information on summer academic activities that will help your kids keep their skills honed. Lastly, we encourage students to enjoy the summer outdoors, spending time with family and friends, and engaging in opportunities where they can meet new peers.

Here are some resources in the Shenzhen/Hong Kong area that are accessible to our students:


August 25

Hello SIS!

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 8.42.12 AM

I am excited to join the SIS community this year. I have worked previously in Thailand, Uzbekistan, and New York City. This is my 6th year working in international schools and my 11th year as a counselor/therapist. I come here with my dog Milo and we are excited to explore Shenzhen and China.

I truly enjoy working with students, teachers, and parents in developing and maintaining a safe, fun, and collaborative school community. I am looking forward to a great school year!

June 10

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