10 February, 2015

University for our son

This is another couple of questions that we're repeatedly answering:
"What is your eldest son going to do after he finishes school?" "If he goes to uni, will it be in Japan?"
I took this at our alma mater back in August
at their Open Day, when we spent time
investigating the answers to some of the
questions about "what next" for our boys.
So glad you asked. Our working plan is as follows:

  • 28 June 2015 Return to Japan
  • August 2015 School (Christian Academy in Japan or CAJ) starts for everyone, barring me :-)
  • June 2017 Our eldest son graduates from CAJ
  • July 2017-Jan 2018 He gets some kind of employment in Japan
  • Feb 2018 Our eldest son starts uni in Brisbane (he's interested in engineering and maths), probably boarding with someone.
  • June 2018 The rest of us return to Brisbane for a year. Our son may or may not live with us at this time.
  • June 2019 We return to Japan and repeat a similar pattern, with our middle son graduating two years later and then our youngest graduating in 2023. (All the boys want to graduate from CAJ.)

I hesitate to write this out in black and white like this because it makes it seem all set in concrete. Of course anything could change, but we've found that it helps us (and others who ask about these things), if we can at least have a sketch of a plan in our heads to work with. It especially helps our boys' stability if they know the general plan of what's likely to be coming up in the longer term.

So people who are shocked that we're already talking to them about dates in May this year might be floored by such long-term thinking. But it really is just a part of life for us now. We've been encouraged from early on by our organisation to think ahead, especially with regards to schooling.

We regularly pray about our future, about all the above and more. Our future is in God's hands and we pray we'll be submissive to whatever He calls us to do, whether it fits the above or not. At the same time we're mindful of being wise and planning ahead.


The chief confusion for people is about the location of further education for our boys. Yes, we intend to send our boys back to Australia for higher education. 

Reason one is that it is the cheapest option. Anywhere else in the world and they are considered International Students. Here they will be Australians and can benefit from lower fees. Not to mention that they won't have visa problems here.

Reason two is that we have networks here. Finding accommodation will be easier. They have some knowledge of the area. They'll even have a home church, if they wish to worship there, where they won't have to start from Ground Zero in terms of making relationships.

The inevitable question following that is about how difficult it will be for non-Australian educated children to apply to uni. We've investigated this too, and as far as we can see it will not be too challenging an issue. Queensland universities have lots of students coming from other educational systems. They will take the marks of our boys, along with their SAT scores (standardised test scores, something like OPs) and come up with an equivalent value that will allow them to apply. A little bit more complex than if they'd grown up here, but not too bad. Much easier than applying to US colleges, that each require individual applications including essays!

This conversation, which we've had multiple times, is getting a little tired. But that is part of the job too. We have a lot of conversations multiple times during our year of home assignment. By the end we'll be very glad to return to doing the work we've spent a year talking about.

If I can just keep remembering that it's great that people are interested in our lives and the lives of our boys, I can keep a positive attitude towards answering the same questions over and over. But I do treasure the times when we get a unique question, or one that makes me think harder than usual.

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