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We Are Graduates…

June, 2009
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  It is the time to say good-bye. It is the time to start a new journey.

  There is a lot to be memorized. There are a lot of expectations. More than 200 students are graduating from international schools in Beijing this summer. For them, this summer will surely become a turning point in their life. Exciting, upset wishful, sad…

  Whatever feelings they have, they should be proud of themselves after years of effort in school. Congratulations to the graduates of 2009!

Nick Watkins, International School of Beijing, will be studying Sociology and International Relations at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.


  In the summer time I will be travelling around Europe for a few weeks with my friends, and then spending a few weeks in Toronto with my grandparents. After that I will leave for Los Angeles to get settled in and prepared for my first year of university.

  This was my 11th year in Beijing and at ISB. I am not looking forward to leaving. Beijing is my home, and it will be especially hard to leave my parents and sister as well as my friends who I will miss quite a bit. I am quite satisfied with the education I received at the International School of Beijing. I feel it has prepared me quite well for university and the years ahead.

  In an international school you are exposed to a variety of different cultures from all over the world which is definitely an advantage. Now if I ever want to travel to Seoul, or New York, or even a small village in Switzerland I will always have someone I know who I can stay with.

  The education experience at an international school is definitely a life-changing one. I feel I have a much better understanding of the world and about other people and cultures than I would have had growing up in a local Chinese school or in some public school in Canada or the States.

  The one thing that I really dislike about going to an international school though is the student turnover rate. Most students stick around for an average of 2-3 years. As a result I have had to say goodbye to a number of close friends over the years which is particularly hard when you are young.

  Last year my school hosted the APAC basketball tournament which was our biggest tournament of the year. It was an amazing experience being able to play in front of our own home crowd and to go up against some amazing competition. Unfortunately we did not win but we finished a respectable third out of six teams. It was an awesome experience being able to represent my school on our own home court. Beijing is great and will always hold a place in my heart but I really just can’t pass up the food in Hong Kong.

  Words for fellow students: Study hard all through high school. Your freshman and sophomore grades do matter so don’t get lazy. On the other hand don’t let school keep you from hanging out with your friends, because friendships are worth far more than an A+ on a test.


Ruoyi Jiang, Beijing City International School, is going to attend New York University in August and study photography.

Jiang Ruoyi-BCIS graduate3

  I chose photography as my major because I have always been fond of art-related things. I think my university life will be interesting. I do not have special plans for my university. My freshman year will be a time to experience new things and try to adjust to the new environment. I think I will need to take a part-time job as well due to financial reasons.

  I have been studying at Beijing City International School (BCIS) for two years and I have been the only person when in Grades 11 and 12. Therefore I am the only graduating student this year at BCIS. Although I sometimes felt on my own, I think my experience here at BCIS has helped me to grow and to become more self-reliant, more independent. I also think my experience in international school will help me with university, especially because New York University also has a lot of international students.

  In the coming holidays before university, I want to make use of the time I have and start to learn more about photography, going to various places to take pictures.

  Words for fellow students: Some trivial things in your study always seem to matter a lot. Those who are taking IB may feel lots of pressure, but we all need to go through this. Once you experience such “hard times,” it becomes easier for you in the future to face other challenges. You can learn to be confident.


Ran Li, Canadian International School of Beijing, is going to attend Queens University in Kingston, Canada and major in mathematics.

Ran Li-CIS

  It was a clear choice because math is my interest. And teachers told me math is a foundation for lots of other studies. I expect the university is very organized, so I will not be distracted by anything and just focused on what I have to do. I expect to be very independent. I know that I will be doing well if I try my best.

  I have been studying at the Canadian International School of Beijing (CISB) for only one year in the 12th grade. Before I came to CISB I took a two year gap, because I thought I did not need to go to school and could survive on my own.

  I worked 14 different jobs, from McDonald’s to selling clothes in H&M, making pizza… a lot of things. I think this experience will definitely save me from going to different roles in university. I think I know now exactly what I want. My values and goals are set.

  Words for fellow students: Some of the things other students may say to you seem very interesting and make sense, but this may go against what your school is doing. Try not to listen to them. Stand for your own beliefs. Believe in your parents. Believe in your teachers. It will give you the best outcome.



Wendy Qian, Beijing BISS International School, is going to attend Claremont Mckenna College this fall in California with a full scholarship.

Wendy-BISS graduating

  I was thinking about taking international relations (for my major), but it is a liberal school so it’s not determined yet. I also consider my bilingual status, and my international perspective as an advantage for an international relations major. My expectation for college life is that I hope I can double major and be in a band as a drummer.

  Plans for the coming holidays before university? My dad found me an internship at a Chinese magazine. It’s a finance magazine, and (although) I don’t know much about finance, I enjoy writing and journalism so I think I will have a good time there. The internship will last a month or two. And then I might take it easy for the rest of the time.

  In 10th Grade I enrolled into BISS, and I have been studying here for three years. My most memorable moments at BISS are those International Days in spring time, because it’s meaningful for us to communicate with each other through our clothing and our food. That might be the only event that we actually show that we are different while most of the time we appear to the same. International Day is the one day where we get to show our national characteristics.

  Words for fellow students: Enjoy the process of learning.


Angela Chi, Yew Chung International School of Beijing, is going to study Medicine in university.

Angela Chi_9594

  It’s a real joy to graduate with my father, he just receive his Ph. D from Peking University - a once in a lifetime experience, for sure. My dad has been waiting for this day for nine years and to be able to share this excitement with him, along with my graduation from high school, is thrilling.

  It is Medicine that I want to take up as my major in university. But as far as which university I will be going is concerned, I currently have not made a final decision. Either way, I hope to build my foundation in this area of study in university and eventually use this foundation to help me become a surgeon, which I have only recently had a desire to become.

  Since my arrival in Beijing in 2000 I have been studying at Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS-Beijing). I have mixed-feelings leaving YCIS-Beijing and Beijing in general. Though I will be missing my family, friends and teachers, I am excited about the change in environment and independence that I will have when I leave.

  What I personally think is a unique characteristic about an international school is that you meet and interact with people from all cultures and races at a younger age, which prepares you for university and the workplace. Teachers come from all over the world too, which helps you broaden your horizons about the world five days a week. Of course since YCIS-Beijing is located in China, my Mandarin has improved drastically over the nine years, helping to make me a more "global citizen".

  However, studying at an international school does have its downfalls and one of these is that your friends come and go. No matter how close some of my friends and I were, the constant movement became a barrier between us. Despite this downfall, however, I do believe that my studies at YCIS-Beijing have been life-changing. After contemplating the nine years that I have spent at YCIS-Beijing, I came to realize that I learned most about myself as an individual and the world as a whole in my high school years. I cannot deny the fact that my high school life wasn’t always brilliant, but all of the experiences that I had are worth cherishing.

  One of these experiences was when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Aortic Synopsis back in the year 2004, which led me to four years of ‘rest’ from sports. Though rest from sports was exceedingly difficult for me as it was my passion, I began to have an interest in the field of medicine and the human body because of it. There’s no doubt that my diagnosis was a struggle for me for a number of years, but to a large extent I am thankful that it happened because it was through this experience that I now have a long-term ambition.

  Words for fellow students: In terms of academics, understand what you are learning. It’s this understanding that will help you most, especially in the IGCSE and IB. However in terms of life in general - take whatever opportunity is given to you and enjoy it. Who knows, it may become worthwhile.


Jennifer Chen, Harrow International School Beijing, is going to Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts to attend the Arts and Sciences Department.

Harrow Jennifer

  I’ve been accepted into the Spring Admissions to Northeastern, so I’ll be spending August to December in Beijing.

  Although I’m not leaving Beijing, I’ll be leaving the expat lifestyle. Aside from working, I will also be taking Chinese courses to improve my Chinese. I’ll be living by myself in a rundown apartment in the city (without my Ayi) and learning how to cook, clean, pay rent and take care of myself. I’m absolutely terrified.

  I’ve been at Harrow International School Beijing for 3 and a half years, almost from when it started. I’ve been living in Beijing, however, for 16 years. Even after such a long time of living here, I’m still not sure if I’m ready to go!

  I love almost everything about Beijing, so moving will be really hard. However, I’m excited about the new experiences I’ll have at University. I had moved from a very big international school to Harrow, a very small one. Many people never understood why I did this, but it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. What Harrow lacks in size, it gains in opportunities. I believe that growing up as an international student is ultimately the best. I’ve met such interesting and diverse people and have been exposed to so much more than if I were going to public school in America. However, an international lifestyle is an overly comfortable lifestyle.

  Needless to say, I will miss my Ayi very, very much. And I’ve definitely made lifelong friends in high school.

  Words for fellow students: To apologize IMMEDIATELY when you’ve upset your teacher. It just saves so much time and hassle, and you’re probably in the wrong anyways.

Zhang Shizhuo, Beijing World Youth Academy, is heading to New York University to study ‘Film & Television’ at Tisch.

  Although my family wanted me to study something else they still respect my decision. I want to study film because the internships I did during high school inspired me. Film is a perfect combination of business and art and NYU- Tisch is the perfect place for that.

  For this summer I’m planning to travel to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo with my friends. At the end of the summer I will stay in Beijing and start to study film and art history in order to get ready for my University course.

  Besides the excitement of my new life in New York, I believe every graduate will be sad about leaving because we have spent one of the most important times of our lives in high school. After graduation, we will probably fly to different parts of the world, meaning that it will be hard to reunite all of us together again. I know I will miss my friends and teachers in the future.

  One thing I loved and hated the most about studying in an international school was the fluidity of my classmates. I love it because you can always make new friends from all over the world. I hate it because, you know, it is always very hard to say goodbye. There were a lot of memorable things. One of the most memorable was the IB2 art exhibition. This art exhibition was where I could finally display the art works that I had created for the past three years and it was a long process. Each work reminded me of a different story in different periods of time while I was making them. It was a lot of fun to be treated as an artist and trying to explain yours works to the audience. I enjoyed looking at their expressions when they looked at my work even if they did not understand it. The closing party was a precious memory for me to work with dear Miss KC (my art teacher for 3 years) and all the adorable art students! Before BWYA, I was studying in a Chinese school.

  The education system and sense of worth are extremely different from BWYA. In an international school, people teach us how to think instead of putting the knowledge into your head. Therefore, we can develop our own value systems. During this process we can find our true interests and start to think about our future. It’s definitely a life-changing experience. To give a simple example, if I didn’t come to the international school, BWYA, I would have never fallen in love with film or be accepted to NYU.

  I think I will come back to China in the future. China is where I am from. Isn’t it? My roots are here and the market in China for the film industry is unfathomably large. I’d love to make a contribution to my own country’s movie industry.

  Words for fellow students: Be yourself and enjoy your life in an international school. Do the time; don’t let the time do you. For the teachers, I would say I love you all. I would have never made it without all of you!


Andrew Li, Beijing Worth Youth Academy, will be attending Stanford University next fall after requesting a gap year.

Andrew Li-BWYA graduating10

  My major will be economics, but I guess I will be quite flexible in choosing my major, especially since America actually supports students trying out different majors and trying out activities. So I will be studying economics, but I will be open to other options.

  During this gap year I will be doing volunteer work. I will be travelling in China. I might go to Sichuan. I will also possibly do volunteer work for preparation for next year’s Asian Games to be hosted by Guangzhou. I want to have the gap year also because I want to be better prepared for university. I feel that while I am currently prepared already, I would like to study maybe a new language before I attend Stanford. For example, I am thinking about French. Other than that, it is actually a good time to spend time with my parents doing whatever. Because it will be the last time to spend time with my parents in this fashion. I want to treasure it before I go to Stanford.

  I was born in Beijing and then went to the USA. I have been studying at Beijing World Youth Academy (BWYA) since the 8th grade. Studying in Beijing is not only exciting, and I have treasured this experience. I will definitely return to Beijing, because it is my home. When I encounter other students who have already graduated, they tell me how important it has been to attend an international school. As an international school student, we know how to be flexible; we know how to adjust to the situation. As we have already interacted with students from all over the world, we know how to communicate and how to interact with everyone else. So I think we are very prepared to go to university, wherever we go. This is something that not only BWYA students have, but also every international school student has, especially living in China.

  BWYA has given us a platform to expand our abilities. To me, the most memorable thing would have to be the Model United Nations. I have attended different conferences in Beijing and Singapore and other places. Initially it was quite a shock for me, because I did not expect so many different students to come together to talk about global issues. Another memorable experience was the various volunteer works we have been doing. For example, we have been teaching different communities English. Last year we taught the armed forces who were protecting the embassies and who were going to be guards at the Beijing Olympics. That was a very cool experience.

  Words for fellow students: Use you summer and winter time very wisely. We have got a lot of vacations here, especially since we celebrate all the Chinese vacations and major international holidays. For us, it means we have a lot of free time on our hands. Do not only focus on playing for two months and forget about what you need to learn. Treat your teachers as friends!


Joycelin Wong, International School of Beijing, is going to Drexel University in Philadelphia next fall to study Entertainment and Arts Management with a possible minor in Theater.

ISB Wong (1)

  I have lived in Beijing for about ten years and have studied at ISB for five. I’ve been here for a while so I’m definitely excited to go somewhere new, but I know that I’ll miss this place a lot.

  Overall, I really enjoyed studying at the International School of Beijing (ISB). You meet such a diverse group of students that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. By interacting with all these different people, I felt that I became more open-minded to different cultures and ideas and just more mature in general.

  I can’t find too much that I dislike about international schools except for the competitiveness among the students, especially seniors applying to college. While I definitely could have done without that, I think it motivated and pushed me to perform to my full potential.

  One of the most memorable things I did at ISB would be my involvement in the theater and choir. Being onstage is one of the best feelings in the world and I’m so glad I discovered it at ISB. Playing a lead role in this year’s production of the musical Guys and Dolls was just the perfect way to end my experiences at ISB. I’ll also remember things like singing Rachmaninoff on the Great Wall, field trips with my IB Geography class, talking in the rain during Relay For Life and the countless inside jokes I share with the great friends I’ve made here.

  The education experience at an international school to me is a life-changing one. Yes! Even if it doesn’t change your life, it changes your perspective on life. It took me a while to realize this. I went to a boarding arts high school in Michigan for my sophomore year to study piano and it was only when I returned to Beijing to finish high school that I realized how privileged my life was. I also gained more respect for other people, cultures, beliefs and values. It showed me that it was okay to be different. If I had gone to any other school, I feel that my life would be headed in a completely different direction.

  Words for fellow students: Don’t procrastinate so much! Everyone says it, but does anyone ever listen? I know I didn’t. This year would have been so much less stressful if I didn’t slack off and procrastinate so much. Also, don’t be afraid to try new activities. I only started participating in theater (one of my greatest passions) in my junior year because I was paranoid of what other people would think of me. Try to enjoy high school as much as you can. There will be times when you just want to burn your textbooks and throw yourself against a wall. But don’t stress out too much…in ten years you’re not going to remember the all-nighter you spent on a Math IA. You’ll remember the all-nighter you spent gossiping, baking and learning strange dances from YouTube (before it was blocked!) with your friends.

By Qin Chuan

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