Founder's Day- The Hastemir Family

Our annual Founder's Day is coming and it’s a time of great excitement for the whole community! To celebrate this wonderful day, we invited one of our parents - Ms Nefis Hastemir to share her family story with us. The Hastemir family have been part of DCSZ since 2018 and has been a great supporter of the school and Friends of Dulwich (FoD) throughout their time with us. This year is their last year in China. Let's read their story! 

We are an expat family who have been living around the world for over 13 years due to my husband's job. We moved from Korea, to Turkey and then finally here to China in 2018.

We had heard of Dulwich College previously but our decision to send our children was made upon to the recommendation of a friend of ours whose daughter was also at DCSZ at that time. After our first visit to the campus, our decision was made already. We wanted an environment that would challenge our daughters academically but also one that had a community that would act as a point of support for them throughout their schooling years.

Our eldest daughter started school here at the beginning of IB and our younger daughter was in Year 9. Despite some of the difficulties they faced leaving their old friends behind and adjusting to a new country, they were able to quickly settle into the school and adapt to the new environment. They felt safe and welcome and received an enormous amount of support from their teachers.

What I value most about the Dulwich community is the open communication between members of staff and parents. The Parent Teacher Conference (PTC) meetings in particular, taught me a lot during the last 5 years. I could witness the development of my children’s confidence, their recognition of areas that needed improvement, and most importantly, their passion for learning. In their own words; “The school supports us, then motivates, invites us onto the stage and applauds us. But behind the curtains, all the teachers and friends are like a family."

The school also provides a plethora of activities for parents to get involved in the community. I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a member of FoD, which organizes many different types of activities. It has helped me to get to know many parents, have fun and explore Suzhou together. I had the opportunity to create the "Let's Cook" group where we cook all kinds of amazing food around the world and share culinary traditions.

Overall, I have enjoyed my time in this community and will definitely miss it dearly. I know both I, and the other members of my family, will cherish the memories we have created at this school.

Thanks Ms Nefis for sharing her DCSZ memories with us. We look forward to her wonderful food at the Turkish booth on 20 May!

Hi Ms Nefis. You were a member of Friends of Dulwich (FoD) before. How many years have you been a FoD? Did you encounter any difficulties when you were part of FoD?  

I was a FoD committee member for 2 years. For me, FoD is like a bridge between the school, teachers and parents. We usually organize lots of events, such as quiz night, let's cook, hiking events, lady’s night, coffee time for new families. During these events, I can see the funny parts of teachers and parents, and see how they enjoy the events. I feel what I have done is worthy.

What’s more, as a member of FoD, I can understand my kids more, too. For teenagers, they usually do not want to talk too much. So, when I heard about my kids from other parents, that was very interesting for me. Sometimes other parents even told me the things I did not know. Being part of FoD is not only to understand your kids more, but also to get involved in Dulwich as a parent. My kids have a good time studying at DCSZ. Education will also affect a family’s life.

About the difficulties, of course, there have been some. As you can see, the Dulwich community is multicultural.With different cultural backgrounds, some families do not truly understand what it means to be a FoD member. The explanation of the true meaning of FoD is very important and it takes time to convey that to some families.

Since our Founder’s Day is coming, how will you prepare for this year’s Founder’s Day? Could you show a sneak peek of Founder’s Day to our community?

For this time, I will be the country booth for Turkey as an ambassador. It will be filled with Turkish food, like döner kebab (It was snapped up within 30 minutes last time.), Turkish coffee, Turkish delight, and also my homemade cooking! Besides, special soap from Turkish and special Turkish jewellery will be there, too. For me, it is my last year in Suzhou and also in China. Hence, I value this chance very much. And we got new Turkish families this year. I want to show them how to present our country- Turkey on Founder’s Day as well. 

What’s your favourite part of Founder’s Day? What does Founder’s Day mean to you?

For me, the country booth is my favourite part!  I really enjoy my time on Founder’s Day. The kids are having fun. Parents can relax and enjoy the day!

Founder’s Day is like you travel around the world in one place and at one time. Dulwich is a diverse community. There are lots of country booths and parents will bring their hometown culture and even perform on stage. For example, the Korean mums did their traditional Korean dance on stage. That’s totally new to me. It is worth giving it a try and to come and join Founder’s Day!