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Class of 2009, Go!

June, 2009
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Helen Helen Su, Shanghai American School, will be attending the University of Pennsylvania and will major in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

I moved to Shanghai in the middle of fourth grade and I have been studying in Shanghai American School (SAS) ever since. For the past few months I have been both sad about what’s going to end and excited about what’s going to come. To be honest, at this moment I am more sad than excited mostly because it is kind of overwhelming that high school is over and that this truly is the end of an era.

There really isn’t anything I dislike about international school life – now that I think about it, I could not have asked for a better learning environment. We have such diversified opinions and outlooks on the world, and yet we always find a way to express these differences constructively and learn from each other. I think when I look back on my time at SAS ten years from now, it wouldn’t be prom or our senior prank (as memorable as these events are) that jump out at me; rather, it would be the small things that we took for granted every day, like squeezing our way to class through the underclassmen in the hallways and idling in the senior lounge.

Thank you teachers for all the times you graded our insipid papers when you would rather be drinking beer with your friends or playing with your kids. Thank you teachers for your patience, understanding and willingness to teach even when more than half of the class was absent due to “senioritis.” Thank you for reminding us of why we’re here when we thought we knew everything and there was nothing more for us to learn. Thank you, good luck, and please don’t forget the Class of 2009.

Vikram Kulkarni, Shanghai American School, will be attending Northwestern University this fall.Vikram

I don’t know what I’m going to major in yet, but Northwestern has a quarter system and fairly broad distribution requirements which will allow me to explore some more before I have to declare. I do think I will probably minor in Chinese.

I have lived in Shanghai and attended SAS for five years. Although I don’t have many years here to speak of, these five have definitely been the best of my life. I was discussing the bittersweet nature of graduating with my friends a little while ago. We were concerned that come graduation day we would all be emotional wrecks. Much to my delight, when I threw my hat I felt nothing but elation. My time at SAS has been wonderful, but I definitely feel like it’s come to a positive and fulfilling conclusion.

My Habitat for Humanity trip to the Philippines comes to mind as a most memorable experience. Another highlight was competing in athletic events internationally which allowed us to get to know people from other regions of Asia through the home stay experience. I know living overseas will impact my future as it has fundamentally changed the person I am. Having moved so often has left me with a sense of adaptability and (I hope) maturity that I wouldn’t otherwise have. Being exposed to so much diversity in the student body of SAS has also brought me together with so many interesting people with a plethora of experiences, perceptions and beliefs that are different from my own. Interacting with these people has simply made me a more open minded and learned individual. I have an insatiable desire to travel and try new things as my whole life has revolved around those two things. This desire for exploration is so deeply ingrained in me that I can’t even eat ice cream without wanting to try a new flavor. My third culture status has become an inseparable part of me that I will try to continue to foster in university.

Words for fellow students: Do as much as you can. Don’t use IB and AP as an excuse to go home and bog yourself down with work, instead use extracurricular activities as a way to get away from your work for a little bit. Try something new. Find something you love to do with your time because your four years here will fly by. Never take your friends and family for granted as you will miss them when you’re gone. Finally, eat all the local Chinese food you can - there are no four kuai noodles in the US.

Cedric Ancion, Shanghai Community International School, is going to Babson College in Boston.

scis-cedric-3I’ve known for quite some time that I wanted to study business and, after some research, I thought that Babson’s entrepreneurship-focused approach was the best suited for me. And fortunately they accepted me!

As excited as I am, I know all too well that a new life always comes with its share of losses, so this summer I will try and enjoy all that I will miss next year in the USA. Namely, spend as much time as possible with my family and friends and maybe visit Europe a little more before bowing out.

I have spent four wonderful years in Shanghai and I have attended SCIS all along. In retrospect, I feel like I have enjoyed every minute of it and there’s no question it will be very hard to leave everything behind. But then again, another part of me is telling me about all those things that I still have to discover experience and learn. So I guess that all in all, I’m as ready to move on as I will ever be.

Winning the SISAC Volleyball tournament for the first time in SCIS school history (and being its MVP) will definitely stay with me for many years to come. However, it’s the little insignificant moments that really make it hard to turn the page. A laugh, a particularly embarrassing situation, or just a moment of silence shared with a close friend; all tiny experiences that would be desperately boring to relate but together make up the memories I’m taking with me.

For my teachers, thank you, thank you, and thank you! Thank you for your talent and patience, and thank you for not giving up on me for the last 4 years. And a very special thanks to Mr. Schuitman for being the one who turned me into a “math freak” and made me want to succeed in life (or rather: made me realize I had to work to succeed in life). We will never know of course if it was for the better or the worse, but he has changed my life like nobody else has.

Words for fellow students: Work, work, work … and when you’re done, get out and fully enjoy your life in Shanghai, it is most certainly unique. I cannot think (and I have never heard) of another city with that magic mix of exoticism, hyper-modernity, energy, fun and safety. It is an unbelievable opportunity for any teenager willing to learn and experience. Don’t ever forget that! Not for one day!

Arnold Arnaud Cohade, Yew Chung International School of Shanghai, will be at the University of Pennsylvania to study international relations, business and mandarin in the Huntsman Program.

This summer I plan on spending time with friends and finally enjoying my free time after two long years of IB. The highlight of the summer will definitely be the graduation trip my friends and I have planned to Thailand. In August I also plan on conducting some market research for a start-up food business in Shanghai.

I’ve spent the past four years of high school in Shanghai and the past three years at Yew Chung International School of Shanghai (YCIS). Leaving Shanghai will be a really bittersweet moment for me. On one hand there’s the excitement of college but on the other hand I’ll be leaving behind a city I absolutely love and my closest friends. I’m trying to enjoy Shanghai as much as possible before I leave.

International school life has been really memorable. I think some of the best memories I had on campus were during the basketball, football and volleyball seasons. YCIS sports teams have done very well over the years and it has been lots of fun playing for them. I also really enjoyed our IB trip to Thailand as juniors. It was an amazing time; from the water rafting to visiting the Thai bazaar there wasn’t a second we were bored. I think I mainly enjoyed my time on campus because our small year group (around 35 people) was absolutely fantastic. It has been great sharing the toughest couple of years of my life with them.

I really do believe life as an international student is unique. The people you are with are just so different. In my English class out of 12 people there were 12 different nationalities. That’s the kind of diversity you meet in international schools. It helps you look at things from different perspectives and get along with a variety of different personalities. At first it’s a challenge of adaptation, but in the end its so worth it. The small class size (in most schools) also helps form a closely knit group that you can really get along with well.

I wanted to thank my teachers for their support and help over the past two years. Their dedication and professionalism (from waiting for us outside the exam hall to giving us about 10 years worth of past papers) really helped prepare us for our final exams and I have nothing but good memories of the time we spent in class. Thanks for making these two long years of IB surprisingly tolerable!

Words for fellow students: I hope we can keep in touch for the years to come and meet up every year. The past few years have been awesome. Now it is time to enjoy the summer of our lives.

Alexi Alexis Lee, Yew Chung International School of Shanghai, is going to attend King’s College London to read Law.

I’ve been studying at Yew Chung International School of Shanghai (YCIS) for three years and lived in Shanghai for the same amount of years. I’ll probably miss Shanghai but I’m more excited at the prospect of going somewhere new.

I liked the culturally-rich environment at YCIS and I was lucky to have been a part of an awesome year. The most memorable thing would actually be the last day of school. The realization that the end is near was pretty shocking in a way and definitely memorable - we didn’t have any classes and could relax a bit.

International school life has definitely made me the person that I am today; the experiences gained from it are invaluable and will help me deal with a lot of situations in the future. It has given me a more culturally and socially conscious perspective to life.

Words for the fellow students: Do your best; or you’ll regret it later - IB is a very important defining factor of your future.

Richard 1 Richard Lee, Concordia International School Shanghai, will be attending Brown University in Providence,  Rhode Island, USA, and be majoring in International Relations with a focus on Political Economy and Development.

This summer will be a summer dedicated entirely to family and friends. With college approaching, I’ve come to realize that my many routine interactions with family will become very limited. As such, I’ve made a promise to spend as much time possible with family. In addition, I will have an opportunity to visit a few close friends of mine in the US.

This year is my 7th year at Concordia International School Shanghai (Concordia), but I’ve lived in Shanghai for over 9 years. To tell you the truth, leaving the city that I’ve come to call home is that last thing I want think about. However, the more I try to push it into the back of my mind, the more apparent it becomes. The prospect of leaving Shanghai and CISS gives me many mixed feelings. I feel the anticipation of living the college life, but I’m a little sad that I’ll be leaving Concordia and all the memories I’ve had there.

My biggest dislike about international school life is the ridiculously high turnover rate. Being in an expat school, I’ve seen many close friends leave Shanghai after their parents fulfill their contracts or decide to move back to their homes abroad. Yes, we have Facebook; yes we have email, but that doesn’t come close to seeing them face-to-face.

I love international schools for their diversity. Our exposure to different cultures and ideas expands our horizons and allows us to better understand the world. It is one thing to get educated about the world outside our own, and it is another thing to meet a member of a foreign country and learn from them.

The most memorable thing I’ve ever done in school would have to be the service interim to Yunnan Province, China, where a team of teachers, classmates and I taught English to village children at a school in DaShanBao, a very rural valley-town on the outskirts of Yunnan. What began as a simple service trip ended up evolving into a soul-shaking, eye-opening experience that will surely stay with me all my life. In fact, it inspired me to pursue my current major at Brown—development economics is an area of study I would very much like to learn about.

The “world citizenship” I’ve gained at Concordia will surely aid me as I step into the increasingly “smaller” world. Concordia, if you will, serves as a microcosm of the world today.

Words for fellow students: High school is a blessing, and it’s a remarkable time of your life. Learn to enjoy both the ups and the downs because those are the times that you will remember best. Yes I know it’s hard to see this when you’re in the middle of writing a research paper or studying for a math final, but you’ll understand exactly what I mean four days before graduation…

Chelsea Chelsea Hulse, Concordia International School Shanghai, is attending Carnegie Mellon University (Pennsylvania, USA) to study psychology in their Science and Humanities Scholars Program.

This summer I will be focused primarily on moving back to the United States and preparing to start college. The preparation will include shopping for college, familiarizing myself with the city (Pittsburgh), scheduling classes, and saying goodbye to friends and family.

I’ve lived in Shanghai for 10 years, all of which I’ve spent attending Concordia. Because of this, I call Shanghai my home and Concordia my family. Leaving will be difficult for sure; instead of returning to the States, I’ll be repatriating. Luckily, most of my close friends are also moving to the States and I have family who live near to Carnegie Mellon University. My immediate family, however, will remain in Shanghai so I will have to adjust to life without my mom, dad, and two little brothers, as well as without friends and teachers who are either also staying in Shanghai or moving to other countries.

The best part of my international experience, predictably, is the sheer amount of international culture I’ve been exposed to thanks to the diverse variety of friends, peers, and educators that I have come into contact with. I don’t like that there was such a high turnover rate every year; although it did give me the chance to meet so many new students, I also had to say goodbye to quite a few friends each year.

My most interesting memory remains a week-long trip to Yunnan province at the beginning of my junior year. Some classmates and I went to one of the poorest towns to teach English. As we stepped into the roles of teachers, however, we found ourselves actually experiencing the importance of acceptance, culture, and education.

This issue is not whether or not international school experience will change my life in the future - this unique experience has changed my life already. Concordia has provided a global environment in which to nurture my awareness and appreciation for other cultures, especially Asian ones. Without this experience, I don’t know if I would be as prepared to interact with others around the world.

Words for fellow students: Take advantage of this international environment. Create opportunities for yourself and embrace the chance to expand your awareness of the world.

Matthew Matthew Barnes, Shanghai Rego International School, is going to the Professional Golfers Career College in California to “play golf”.

It’s basically a chance for people who really enjoy golf to go and be a part of the golf industry later in their lives. For example, you get your associate degree in professional golf management, and so you can directly go to manage the golf course or even become a professional golfer.

I enjoy the game of golf, and I have been playing on and off for four years. That’s why I applied to attend this school. I am a very competitive person, and play a lot of sports. Golf is not something that everybody does and it is very much an individual game, during which you only play against yourself. I like to challenge myself and to watch myself improve all the time. That’s also a reason why I chose it.

There is a requirement for your golf skills to attend the school. I am just barely in that range, being lucky to be able to get into it.

My main sport is basketball. I played basketball at Shanghai Rego International School (SRIS) for two years and I was the team captain. I am actually known at Shanghai international schools for being a good basketball player. I really love basketball and my dream has always been to play at the NBA. But it’s unrealistic for me right now. So I have chosen a different path and put that aside for a bit.

I have been here in Shanghai two years, and spent two years at SRIS. In Japan I went to an international school as well, an all-boys school. Before Japan, I went to a big public school in the USA. Here at SRIS, I enjoyed it a lot more.

In many ways for me, moving countries and going to international school is much better than staying in your own country and going to a public school there just because, for example, there are so many different nationalities at SRIS that you get to learn so much about other cultures and languages and experience things that you really don’t get to experience elsewhere.

Words for fellow students: As long as you really take advantage of the opportunities you gain through living in China, you can really achieve so much and you can go anywhere and stay where you want. As long as you are optimistic, you can embrace what is given to you.

Shannon 1 Shannon Gallagher, Dulwich College Shanghai, is going to Carleton University in Canada to study journalism.

I am Canadian, I like writing, and Carleton University is the best journalism school in Canada.

For me, over the past three years I realized that people my age are really apathetic towards the problems that are going on in the world, or they don’t really want to know what’s going on. They don’t want to care much. So I think for me, journalism is a way for me to inspire people and educate them about the things that are going on. I want to do journalism, and I want to do my part in explaining and showing to people what’s going on in the world, and maybe inspire them to do something about it.

Hopefully I can work for some magazine in the future. I would like to do war journalism, or human rights journalism. But if I cannot do that, then I’d love to do music journalism.

I lived here in Shanghai for seven years. I love Shanghai – it is my home. Hopefully I will come back once I finish university.

I have been to different schools in Shanghai, such as Shanghai American School, Yew Chung International School of Shanghai and Dulwich College Shanghai.

I like the international school life, which is good and bad. You get to see different things and move around, but then you don’t’ really have a place where you can stay, like a home. I think international school is the best education that you can get. It’s difficult to live away from your family, but other than that I don’t have complaints about it. It’s a great experience.

Words for fellow students: Enjoy all you have. A lot of people don’t really like living overseas, but they don’t realize what a great experience it is. Just have fun. Appreciate everything.

Zoe 1 Zoe Weber, Dulwich College Shanghai, will stay at Shanghai Jiaotong University to study Chinese for a year, and then she is going to attend the law school at the University of Leeds in England.

I have been in Shanghai for 7 years. My Chinese is not as good as it should be for 7 years. But it’s OK. Ma ma hu hu. I have always enjoyed studying Chinese. Chinese also is so important, especially right now in today’s economy. It’s something I enjoy.

I have been living in Asia for a total of 17 years. I lived in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong before I came to Shanghai. Probably the finest part of living in China is the challenges of the language. Just being able to experience Shanghai is really great.

I have been to eight or nine schools since first grade and have been in international school for 17 years, including my last precious years at Dulwich College Shanghai.

I honestly think I have been so lucky and so fortunate to attend the schools I have done, with their wonderful staff, wonderful people and lovely students. You know, you cannot ask for anything more.

When you are in this environment in which you always lived overseas, you are always going to want to change. For me, I always want to move around. I am passionate about law and the study of law and I want to be a corporate lawyer. Leeds is a very good choice for studying law.

Words for fellow students: Just to enjoy it, because it is going to go by so quickly, and something I noticed was that time just flies by. Take every opportunity you have, and make the best out of it, because you are going to graduate one day. Have a good time.

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  1. February 28th, 2010 at 20:56 | #1

    Howdy! Good thought, but could this really function?

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