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bilingual education, Dutch culture, neighborhoods (Penang)


Thank you for accepting me into this group. We are an American family that has been living in Amsterdam for almost 7 years. Our children are 2, 7, and 8 and attend Dutch schools. My husband is considering an offer to relocate to Penang. My husband has been there several times, but me just once Protected content ago - time flies!). I remember my visit fondly. We have traveled to other parts of Asia and welcome the opportunity to have some base there. Our main questions are the following:

1) Are there any bilingual Mandarin/English schools, where some of the lessons are taught entirely in Mandarin and some entirely in English? We would like our children to learn Mandarin and/or Bahasa Malay so that they feel a part of the local community. They speak fluent Dutch and that has given them such a window into Dutch life and really enabled them to integrate into the locally. I know it may be more challenging for the older two, but I am confident they can rise to the occasion in an immersion setting, rather than a daily lesson. I'm also not closed to the idea of complete immersion, but the amount of rote involved with the sheer memorization of Chinese characters seems like it could interfere with other areas of learning.

2) Are there any active Dutch cultural organizations on the island?

3) As far as neighborhoods are concerned, I think that we would prefer to live in a compound with all kinds of amenities (playground, pool, etc) but that is located in a neighborhood that has a bit of local culture. Do places like Pulau Tikus, Tanjung Tokong, and Tanjung Bungah retain this on some level? When I visited so long ago, I enjoyed wandering around Georgetown into foot reflexology places and random shops and a market, so that's what I'm sort of looking for.

Thanks in advance!!!

Penang Forum