From Beijing to Gladstone

NEW HOME: Hai Zing Yao and Sunny Sun with their children Lucas, 5 and Cassandra, 18 months.
NEW HOME: Hai Zing Yao and Sunny Sun with their children Lucas, 5 and Cassandra, 18 months.

As a parent, you will always seek the best for your child and for Sunny Sun and her husband Hai Zing Yao, the best for their only child Lucas, at the time, was not in Beijing, it was in Australia.

In China, education is very highly regarded and the competitiveness to have your child attending the best school begins at the early age of just one year old.

Sunny and Hai Zing Yao were seeking to enroll their son Lucas into a prestigious kindergarten yet, unfortunately even at the age of one, the year for his enrollment was full and there was no other kindergarten which the family wanted to the send their son to. 

Sunny Sun explains that as a mother, she was scared for the future of her son because the education system in China is rigorous and she did not want him to grow up the way she did. 

“After kindy they are forced to go to different classes like dance, English or piano which finishes at 6 or 7 at night and then they have homework, where they finish about 9. So when I heard all the kindys were full, I wanted to have another life, and wanted to change the life for him and not have to do what I did.” 

In early March 2015, after two years of planning, Sunny Sun, her husband and son took the plunge and moved to Australia, choosing to raise their family among the Rocky River Valley, in the Southern Flinders Ranges.

Sunny Sun and husband, Hai Zing Yao had to complete the International English Language Testing System, a standardised test of English language proficiency and because their careers were sought to be filled in Australia, there was little struggle for them to migrate here. 

The family chose Australia because of their ability to communicate easily with other people and it did not take much convincing from Sunny Sun’s mother for them to chose Gladstone to settle down in. 

“My Mum has a friend living in Gladstone and they said it is a pretty little town that is quiet and very friendly. She suggested that maybe it would be easy for us to settle down and raise our children.”

Once the family moved, they decided to buy the Gladstone Post Office which provided an opportunity for Sunny Sun to use her customer service skills, and husband Hai Zing Yao’s IT engineering skills. 

There have been little hurdles for the family to jump over and the community support has been unending, especially when their second child, Cassandra was born. 

“The community were very welcoming. When I had Cassandra, but we had so many people show us support and give us presents for her. Everyone congratulated us.”

From now, Lucas, nearly six-years-old, is thriving in school, growing up as a bilingual child, proficient in English and Mandarin with his parents not speaking English at home. 

“When he was first here he knew nothing about English or being in another country, but now he is very good in school and everyone was very kind to him.”

“He is playing cricket, golf and tennis and making lots of friends.”​