SAS students hosted by SAS teachers

What would you do if your parents suddenly decided to leave Singapore but you wanted to stay here to finish off your high school life? Would you stay here or make the difficult choice of going back with your parents?

Quite a few students face this decision each year at SAS, and some decide to stay in Singapore to live with a host family.

Both Hugo Rubin and Patrick Clifford made that difficult decision and decided to stay in Singapore and live with a teacher. Senior Hugo Rubin looks at this as a great opportunity and an “intro to college life.”

When asked what factors convinced him to choose to live with a teacher, Hugo said, “I didn’t really have a choice because my parents were moving back to the States, and I couldn’t really go with them since I wanted to stay here and finish up senior year and graduate with my friends.” He thought that it would be better to stay with a teacher rather than a friend or anyone else.

Patrick was in a similar situation.

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Senior Patrick Clifford with his family. Photo contributed by Patrick Clifford

“To be able to move back to Singapore, I needed to find a place to stay,” Patrick said. “After mentioning this to Madame Patrick (my former 9th grade French teacher), she almost immediately offered to host me and be my guardian.”

He said he is really glad to stay with her because he gets to live in a nice house and can be driven to school every day.

Although people might assume that living with a teacher would be awkward because you see them both at school and home, Patrick doesn’t see it this way. He described his situation as being “very relaxed and chill at home, which has made living with her especially easy and enjoyable.”

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Senior Patrick Clifford (left) with senior Sanjay Nambiar (right). Photo contributed by Patrick Clifford

Patrick’s host, Madame Patrick, said, “I have not faced any challenges with Patrick. Most nights at the dinner table, we talk about our day and workload. At home, he inquires about each member of my family and we help each other​ through difficulties.”

Hugo also said that he was looking forward to moving in with his dance teacher, Mrs. Van Der Linden. “I don’t think it’s going to be bad because I have always been really close with her.”

He said he’s always felt comfortable hanging out in her classroom and talking to her about his concerns. “I’ve gone to her to talk about my problems and it wasn’t awkward at all, so it will all be the same except that I’ll just be hanging at her house and not in her classroom.”

Even though the teachers may not be the students’ biological parent, both Hugo and Patrick described their views on having a teacher as a parental figure.

Senior Hugo Rubin with his family. Picture contributed by Hugo Rubin

“At school, I see her as a teacher, yet outside of school, I must admit that I really regard her as a parental figure,” said Patrick. Hugo agreed, saying that their strong relationship affected the choice of moving in with his teacher rather than a friend.

Madame Patrick also doesn’t see any conflicts in the situation. “​In class, I have Patrick in my AP French class, and he is treated just like the other students. I care for them and promote their individual success.” She did say that although he treats her as Madame (teacher) in class, at home it is more informal.

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Patrick and his teacher host Madame Patrick. Photo contributed by Madame Patrick

Both Patrick and Hugo explained that this experience has lots of benefits. They both said that living with a teacher rather than your own parents helps prepare you for college life.

You need to be able to “control the use of your money and what [you] buy such as food and transportation,” Hugo said. 

Patrick shared almost the same comments, adding that “probably the most significant thing is that you’ve got someone to help you out with your homework, especially when that person is one of your own teachers.”

Madame Patrick said the benefits go both ways. “We are delighted to learn from him, and I am delighted to help out in my own ways. It makes the school more real and is a great experience for students who need support to develop independence.”

Author: Ashley Hyun

Ashley Hyun is a second year reporter for The Eye. She is a senior and it is her 7th year at SAS. Ashley was born in Korea but has lived in Singapore for 11 years. Her hobbies include listening to music, hanging out with friends and watching movies. She can be contacted at

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