An Interview with the Camara Family
The Camara family has three children, two older sons and one girl. The Camara family was the first Filipino family who chose to send their children to the GESM. At the moment, their sons are now studying in Germany and their daughter attends Grade 11 of the IB Diploma Programme.
Why were you interested in a German school in Manila?
Our older sons initially went to a Waldorf Kindergarten, a progressive Kindergarten in Manila. However, in 2002, we wanted to continue this German education and started looking for a primary school that is more academically inclined and yet non-traditional.
How did you hear about the German School in Manila?
We learned about the GESM from Dr. Christian Alexander, a German chiropractor. At that same time, DESM started opening its doors to non-German speaking families.
How was your first contact with GESM?
We had a family interview with the headmaster and to be honest, we were blown away!” Our family’s major concern at that time was the holistic education and development of our children. However, the reality of having them enrolled in a purely German curriculum meant a lot of challenges for us but we remained unfazed.
Did you plan to send your children to Germany for studying?
No, not at the beginning. The opportunity to study at a university in Germany became our goal later.
How could you then help your children with homework for instance?
German language support at home was scarce, if not nil. Science, history, and maths were all taught in German. But I never heard my children complain. Instead, they often came home excited with the things they learned. They discussed issues with knowledge that I, as a student before, never had. As parents we saw how much our children's world expanded and how their confidence grew.
How about the non academic opportunities at GESM?
I can recall how GESM helped the development of our children not just academically. There was particular attention to arts, extra curricular activities, as well as educational opportunities outside the school such as the yearly field trips, the participation in the Kulturfestival of the German Schools in Southeast Asia as well as student exchanges with Germany.
What can you tell us about your engagement in school as a parent?
Many times I found myself volunteering for school projects to be more of a hands on parent, something that I think is different to the local culture. At GESM parents actually show up to every event however big or small it is.
Which specific educational values could you recognise as a parent?
As family we are also amazed at how the school shows their confidence in the students. This is quite evident with the school's headmasters. They always show our children that extra touch of concern and needed motivation.
The school taught our kids to be very independent, responsible, and open minded. They also learned all about mutual respect. No distinctions. They accept that everyone is the same. With the school’s international community, they also learned tolerance.
Which differences to local education can you see?
I appreciate the fact that the German European School Manila does not offer academic awards the way local schools do. I also have to mention that I am quite thankful to have Ethics as a subject in place of Religion as the school is non-sectarian. However, I would have wanted that our kids knew more about Philippine history so they don’t get detached from who they are.
Which advice could you give to other Filipino parents who are thinking about a German or European education for their children ?
Language is a very good gift we can give our children. Trust the educational system even if it is alien to you. When we’ve decided to give international education to our children, we had to let go and trust them that they can do it. We put our trust in their teachers that they will give them the best education that will prepare them for Germany or even Europe.
Let your children discover themselves in school. The environment on the Eurocampus provides the maximum learning experience.