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A Community-Focused Family

March, 2008
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IMG_7074 Like many other kids in international schools, brothers Jasen Tjahjadi and Nathan Tjahjadi came to study in Shanghai when their whole family moved here from Indiana, USA in January 2002.

  Jasen is now in the tenth grade at Concordia International School Shanghai (CISS), while his brother Nathan is now a sixth grader there. Both boys are now very popular at school for their incredible Chinese kung fu skills, and they are asked to perform the martial arts in front of the whole school community during each year’s Chinese New Year celebrations at Concordia.

  “This is my 5th year performing martial arts for Chinese New Year at CISS,” said Jasen, “After living here for such a long time, I am able to learn Chinese culture.” Besides practicing kung fu, Jasen has also learned erhu, a Chinese two string musical instrument.

  Before Shanghai, the brothers were both attending a public school in Indiana. Now they both like the international school life in Shanghai very much. According to Jasen, CISS, like many other schools, provides fantastic opportunities for the students to experience China as well as explore the world. For example, CISS students are able to choose where they want to go for their school trips. They can go as far south as Hainan to scuba dive and as far north as Mongolia for Habitat for Humanity, or to Yunnan where students are able to help provide drinking water or teach local children English.

  “I have been involved with the CISS Yunnan Education Project and have raised $1000 to support poverty-stricken children in the province,” Jasen said proudly.

  His younger brother Nathan also enjoys life in Shanghai and the opportunities to learn more about Chinese history. To remember that the Terracotta Warriors were made 2,000 years ago to protect Chin Shi Huang Di in the after life during his field trip to Xi’an is the mark of an amazing memory.

  “Coming from Chinese heritage with international exposure, my husband and I want our children to learn much about the country in which they are living,” said Elly Tanadi, the boys’ mom. Elly is very pleased to see the two brothers are blessed with such extracurricular opportunities in and out of the school.

  As parents at Concordia are encouraged to participate in school events and are welcomed into the classroom, Elly also finds her own way to channel her energy into helping the community. Though this is the seventh year her boys have attended CISS, the devoted mom still goes to CISS at least once a week. Sometimes it is the school teachers who call on parents for help on campus, more often she is volunteering for different school events or projects. Some big events she has helped organize include CISS Chinese New Year celebrations, book fairs, carnivals, as well as after-school music lessons. Currently, she is also helping prepare for the CISS 2008 Annual Auction in early April, an evening in support of Concordia’s Information Resources and the Yunnan Education Project.

  “Parents should get involved at the Parent Support Organization and be part of it so that they will know what is going on at the school,” said Elly. She is proud to have witnessed the tremendous growth of CISS over the past six years, increasing from a student body of 300 to more than 1,000 students today.

  Outside the school, the veteran expat volunteers at the Community Center of Shanghai and the American Women’s Club Shanghai (AWCS) to welcome newcomers to town as well as support charity projects like AMCS Book Fair organized by the two organizations. Sometimes, she helps expat families with their relocation needs, too.

  “I like to network, meeting and helping people from all over the world,” said Elly. “Parents should know their children’s needs and be involved from the start of their new life in Shanghai. The international community does have something unique to offer, so make the best out of it!”

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