10 years on.
This is the second of a short series of case studies we publish to celebrate our ten year anniversary.
We want to showcase a few families who joined in our very first year and what became of them.
Karla and Jonathan have an older sister, Vera (18). Their parents, Marie and Chris, are organic farmers and freelance journalists. Ten years ago, when Vera had just turned eight, Marie and Chris joined the newly founded Global Natives community to give their little girl the opportunity to learn English early enough in life. What's more, they wanted to connect with organic farmers in other countries, exchange views and knowledge and pay mutual visits. They've been Global Natives ever since. Today, Vera is fluent in four languages and will be off to university soon.
Summer 2019: Karla and Jonathan are playing with Li Na (8) and Li Wei (7) who moved from Chengdu to Munich in December 2018. Their parents work for the Chinese "Generalkonsulat", they thoroughly enjoy living in Germany and are confident that their kids will soon feel at home here too.
The two families first met in March 2019, a week after their first online contact. They became friends straight away. Even the most open minded people cannot help some preconceptions: "We had no idea they have such a cool sense of humour!" is what each couples say about the other.
All the plants and animals on the farm now have both a German and a Chinese name and whenever communication gets stuck the kids will try and help each other out with the English word. Karla can even name most lunchtime dishes in three languages and is immensely proud of that. Chris and Marie give the kids plenty of time, there is no pressure and there are no set goals, just play and fun. It took them a while to convince the Chans to go easy too with their learning ambitions and now their kids are a lot more relaxed and truly enjoy their visits.
How will they continue?
Well, we'll see, they say. Right now, Li Na and Li Wei attend an international school in Munich and are doing well. Their motivation to learn German has improved considerably through their friendship with Karla and Jonathan. The Chans are now confident that by 2021 both will be fluent enough to change into a standard German school. The two families will certainly keep up the friendship and their regular visits; they will continue to teach each other their languages, exchange cultural and historic knowledge and of course give a profound insight into growing food without herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.
Chinese language partners are highly sought after all over Europe. This is a trend that directly reflects - as all our trends have done for the last ten years - the current state of world politics. EU families increasingly see the future of their children involving China as a partner for education, science, arts and all economic aspects.