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Words from the Graduates of 2008…

July, 2008
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Bertha Bertha Natalia, Shanghai American School, is going to the University of Wisconsin and will major in chemical engineering.

  This was my fourth year being in an international school. I was very shocked when I first came to an international school because everything seemed so "Hollywood". I felt like I was in an American TV series. It took me some time to adjust to the unique environment of an international school, but after that, I became very fond of it. Studying in an international school enabled me to learn not only English, but also cultures, customs, and languages from many different countries. I have become more aware of how different people from different parts of the globe behave and think differently.

  Every moment I spent with my beloved friends was memorable. I remember our cross-gender day during the spirit week, when the men looked very pretty and the women looked very handsome, and also the fashion show that was held on the same day. I also remember the week before the scary final IB and AP exams. My friends, who usually speak a thousand words a minute, became men of no words, which indicated that most of us were experiencing severe stress.

  Words for the fellow Students and friends: I’m very proud of you all. I’m very lucky to have you all as friends. I wish you all the best of luck. I believe all of you will have bright futures, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you all ten years from now. Don’t forget to keep in touch. I’ll share my favorite quote: "Life is tough, but I’m tougher".

Emma   Emma Mallinen, Shanghai American School, will attend Bard College in upstate New York.

  I’m really excited to be going to college, but I’m also sad to be leaving all the people that made my high school experience so great. I have so much nostalgia right now for my classes, teachers and friends, and it’s strange to think that they won’t be there next year! Also the looming prospect of living alone abroad without my family is intimidating.

  In high school I really loved art, acting, philosophy, English, and biology so I’m definitely going to incorporate those into whatever I do in college. My International Baccalaureate visual art class was definitely instrumental to the development of my art. It allowed me to explore my own interests and made me look at different cultures from a critical visual perspective. Outside of formal classes, it was also wonderful traveling to Penang, Malaysia for a theater festival and experiencing that culture and embodying it through acting. I think I’ve been very lucky to have been able to work in this unique creative environment at SAS Pudong.

  My whole high school career has been spent in an international school. Maybe my favorite thing about this experience has been just absorbing everyone’s cultural perspectives in everyday conversations. It’s just those little things that shed a little more light on why people in different countries live by such diverse doctrines.

  Words for the fellow students and friends: Just take every opportunity you can to participate in events or travel or create. Life is too short not to pursue your interests; enjoy Shanghai while you are here.

Evan   Evan Zwisler, Shanghai American School, is going to Claremont McKenna College in California.

  I feel excited more than anything. I’ve had a good time here in Shanghai, so many memories. This city has been as much a parent to me as my mom or dad. Shanghai will always be my home, but there is a whole world out there to explore.

  I think university life will be fun, but hard. I plan on living by the motto “Work hard; play hard”. I want to have a great time, but I don’t want to squander my time there. There is so much I want to learn, and while college will only be the beginning, I plan on making the most of it.

  I have been studying at international schools ever since I was in kindergarten. Having lived over seas my whole life, it is only natural. To ask me to name the most memorable thing is greatly unfair I think! But something that has stood out head and shoulders is how I got to pursue my passion, music, at such a young age. I was able to go out with my band and play at bars when I wasn’t 18. Shanghai’s new music scene is very open to new bands so it was always such a wonderful place to play music.

  I feel that I will be back in Shanghai sooner than I think though. A city with so much to offer should be used to its fullest.

  Words for the fellow students and friends: Have fun, live life, and enjoy yourself. Who knows when you’ll be hit by a Shanghai city bus.

Lash   Lashika Yogendran, Shanghai American School, will go to CUNY Brooklyn College on a full scholarship this fall.

  I plan on majoring in Biology since I want to be a doctor when I grow up!

  Life at SAS Pudong has been nothing short of fantastic. This is actually my first time studying at an international school, although I have lived in many countries. I’ve been at SAS Pudong for three years now. I’d have to say that the most memorable thing about my international school life is the cultural influence of the country I’ve lived in - China. Just to get to our school, you have to drive through a local Chinese village, and this reminds me everyday of how lucky I am to be in the position that I am in right now. Also, at school we have clubs that help out with the local Chinese school in our area - Liming.

  Just being in an international school has made me a “global citizen”. I made an effort to get involved with the school in many different ways. I made an effort and tried out for volleyball and soccer, and I’ve been starting line-up on the varsity volleyball and soccer teams for the past three years. I started a mini-community service club as well. Every couple weeks (depending on people’s schedules), I take a group of 12 kids to the XinHua Leukemia Hospital to volunteer. It’s been a great experience for me and, I hope, the kids that participated in the visits as well. I’m also part of my school’s chapter of National Honor Society, and I was the chapter president this year. An international school offers so many opportunities; it would be a shame if I or any other student didn’t utilize them!

  Words for the fellow students and friends: For my senior friends, good luck in university, wherever you go! I know each and every one of you can and will succeed! For other high school students, the best advice I can give is to get involved in your school! Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone, because you might end up liking it!

Nicole   Nicole Bang, Concordia International School Shanghai, will be attending Brigham Young University in Rexburg Idaho.

  Wow! Graduation … I am feeling really excited and happy that my high school career is ending and I am starting anew. It’s almost like a dream and feels like I’ll wake up and have another week or month of high school. But I also feel slightly sad that I am saying goodbye to my teachers, friends and acquaintances. Working for 12 years for that diploma has paid off; late nights working on papers and frantic cramming for the next test or exam has been all worth it in the end. A sense of great accomplishment is the cherry on top!

  At Brigham Young University, I hope to major in Nursing. I am really excited to be on my own and with other people close to my age. I am hoping to be able to do something with community theater as well. It will be very different in Idaho compared to my strict city and suburb life. According to the last census, there were only about 200 Asians among the 23,000 people in Rexburg. I will miss the skyscrapers and the bustle of the city, but I know that if I keep an open mind, I can do anything, live anywhere, and get to know anyone I meet. The campus has a really great atmosphere for someone away from home. With my family and friends to back me up, even if they are far away, I know that it will be great.

  Concordia International School of Shanghai has taught me the importance of a strong community and family atmosphere, which is really necessary to make it overseas. I’ve attended four different schools in my four years of high school. I’ve been to two different public schools and have home-schooled before coming to CISS. I have loved my time at CISS. The academics are challenging, and sometimes things got hard or hectic. I think that learning a balance between family, friends, school, and extracurricular activities is essential. Make friends that support and will help you. Always rely on your parents and teachers for guidance and never be too embarrassed to ask for help. High school is the time where there is a lot of self-discovery and growth. I have changed in a way that I would have not thought at the beginning of the year. The faith of all the faculty and staff is inspiring. The love that the teachers have for their students is wonderful, and the relationships that you create are wonderful. There is a pull to the school that everyone feels. You go to the school not only to learn, but also to grow and have a good time.

  Words for the fellow students and friends: I’ve been uplifted by many at Concordia, and we all should be looking for people to help. Help rather then degrade. Find something that you can devote time to everyday or every week, to help you relax and clear your mind. High school is an important time, but it’s only one of the many building blocks of life ahead. Love others, be yourself.

Samihan   Samihan Yedkar, Concordia International School Shanghai, is going to Carnegie Mellon University to study Mechanical Engineering.

  Although graduation is a time to say goodbye to teachers and friends, it is also a time to dream of the fun and excitement of our future, collegiate lives.

  The first word out of my mouth was "car". Since a very early age, I was able to recognize and name every car on the street. I’ve had an absolute love for cars since the day I was born. In college, I will be pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on the auto industry. Going to a school like Carnegie Mellon is going to mean a lot of work. I’m going to make no bones of that, but hopefully it will also let me interact with the brightest of my contemporaries and some of the top professors in the industry. It’s going to be fun, no doubt about it.

  My high school experience with Concordia International School Shanghai has been an overwhelmingly positive one. High school life here is a good mix of academics (bolstered largely by a phenomenal Advanced Placement program), social awareness (week-long community service trips into rural Yunnan/ Habitat for Humanity Mongolia), sports (soon-to-be member of the Asia Pacific Athletics Conference) and good people. I’ve found Concordia’s community more warm and welcoming than most other schools I have visited. Concordia’s high school experience is a strong blend of all the traditional elements of high school life mixed with a solid grounding in the local community in which we live. I’ve had an absolute blast, and I’d recommend Concordia to any incoming families looking for a good school in Shanghai.

  I’ve been at international schools for the last twelve years - ever since the first grade. The diversity of international student bodies is not new to me. However, it would be a cliché to suggest that the best aspect of international education is the diversity of the student body. Instead, it’s the expatriate experience that I will treasure the most. In the last eleven to twelve years I have balanced my personal beliefs and social customs with those of the international community in my school and those of the local community surrounding me. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to over fifteen countries across the world; I’ve run through three passports filled with visas and exit/entry stamps. I’ve played soccer at international school tournaments in Hong Kong and Beijing; I’ve led Model United Nations delegations to Singapore; I’ve dug ditches and taught English in villages without running water or electricity. Living abroad has afforded me the chance to truly step out of the formulaic mould of high school education and do things truly momentous and special.

  Words to the fellow students and friends: Simply live your international life to the fullest: do as much of whatever you cannot do back home as you possibly can. Then, you can go back to your friends back home and tell them strange (and somewhat embellished) tales of your childhood in the mysterious Orient.

David   David Wang, Shanghai Community International School, is going to University of British Columbia in Canada, majoring in Business and Computer Science.

  I’m very excited and looking forward to my university life. I really look forward to living on campus, to being independent, and to experiencing a different lifestyle. I will certainly miss all the friends and teachers in SCIS.

  I’ve been in SCIS for four years; SCIS provided me many opportunities to cultivate my skills in different areas. I joined many sports and clubs that really helped to shape my personality and value. Being the volleyball and basketball captains and leading the teams to win the first-ever championships in school history were the most memorable things that happened in SCIS.

  Words for the fellow students and friends: Like my dad always tells me: "It doesn’t matter what result you get as long as you do everything to your best ability!" There isn’t any particular way to make a perfect balance, just try your best.

  Gitanjali Venkatesh, Shanghai Community International School, is going to the Manipal Institute of Gita Technology (MIT), Karnataka, India.

  I am very happy that I have successfully graduated from high school.

  High school has been the best period of my life until now. I have been a student at SCIS Hangzhou & Pudong campuses throughout high school. The teachers are very amiable. I had a lot of opportunities to learn and enjoy through Educational projects, MUN (Model United Nations) activities, Student Council, and class field trips.

  I have been studying at an international schools for six years in Hong Kong, Hangzhou and Shanghai. I had the opportunity to interact with teachers from Canada, USA and China, as well as with fellow students from 15 countries. Representing my school in the MUN sessions at Beijing and being awarded the Academic prize for Grade 12 were the most memorable events.

  It really took me four years of my high school career to reach this point of achievement. I have learnt that it takes a lot of hard work, motivation, and involvement in all our classes to make it up to the top. This unique environment provided me the courage to face all kinds of situations.

  Words for the fellow students and friends: As I said before, it takes a lot of hard work to reach the top, but at the same time have fun and be involved in your school. “Believe in yourself and in your dreams, and success will be yours.”-Vincent Van Gogh

  Charlotte Torck, Shanghai Rego International School, is hoping to get into the University of Dundee to study Architecture.

  I’m very excited to start something new, to meet new people, to make new friends and to do something I love and choose to do everyday! I’ve lived in Shanghai for nine years and got attached. Saying goodbye is not easy, especially to my friends.

  University is an adventure, the start of a new life. I’m hopping to meet new people, make new friends, and to learn from people’s experiences.

  I’ve spent five years at Shanghai Rego International School, and at another international school for the four years previous. An international school is a very special environment, and all of us that have experienced this should feel extremely lucky. In an international school you learn an important lesson, a lesson of life… you learn tolerance. Something so important for our future lives in this ever-changing world.

  Words for the fellow students and friends: Make friends, talk to people from different nationalities and cultures, you learn so much. Study but do things outside of school, get involved in school life and HAVE FUN. High school is the time when you build up your personality and it is as important as your grades. Remember whatever you do, you are a year 13 student, and everybody looks up to you; you are a very important part of the school, and you can use your position to make changes and do things in school you want to do.

Katrina_SRIS   Katrina Khan, Shanghai Rego International School, is going to the University of the West Indies in Trinidad to major in Environmental Resource Management.

  I am sad that I’m leaving the school and the people in it who helped me develop and grow over the years, but I am happy that a new door is opening and my entire future awaits.

  I moved to Shanghai directly from Trinidad. On the first day at SRIS I felt like I was a small fish from a small pond suddenly thrown into the ocean. I was overwhelmed by the maturity and experience of my classmates. SRIS opened my eyes in many ways. I learned about different cultures; I made friends from many countries. I learned skills that were not taught in my home country, mostly arts and physical education, and there was also a new thirst for knowledge. SRIS encourages students to develop a wholesome attitude to life in that they are given opportunities to explore their individual talents. It is a great place to grow.

  I transferred to SRIS in its first year, midway through Year 9, so I have spent four and a half years in an international school. I would have to say that the exotic trips are the most memorable thing. I have been on both local and international trips for various subjects over the years to Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore, in each case learning organizational skills and how to be more independent.

  Being in an international school, the most important thing is to have an open mind. Learn about your peers, their countries, their cultures and their opinions. Make lots of friends and stay in touch with them after they have left. Take on every opportunity that comes your way.

  Words for the fellow students or friends: Learn and live as much as you can.Lim

   Tau Herng Lim, Shanghai Singapore International School, will need to go back to National Amy Service.

  After that I do not know which university I will be attending, but most likely my major would be Economics.

  I have been studying at an international school for eight years. The greatest thing would be that we’re able to make friends who plan to be in all parts of the world, so that we would have such good friends wherever we may choose to go in the future.

  The most important thing is to be open-minded because our school is slowly moving away from Singaporean teachers like before, but increasingly employing more and more teachers from around the world. Different teaching styles and friends from all over the world may make the classes very messy, but the important thing is to follow your own way and to contribute to classes too.

  Words for the fellow students and friends: To everyone who may be leaving, good luck in whatever you do and wherever you may go. Remember that high school is not all studying, so do what you have to do!

Ting   Yushan Ting, Shanghai Singapore International School, will study medicine in university.

  Like one of my teachers told me, this is an ending that is also a beginning. I’m heartbroken that I have to bid farewell to my classmates (there have already been many teary episodes), who have become like family to me and supported me through these years, but at the same time I’m anticipating a new chapter in my life.

  My high school life as SSIS was more colorful, interesting, happy, and stressful…than I had ever imagined it would be. Looking back, I realize that there are so many moments with friends to cherish! The happy times, even the stressful and sad times when the sheer workload all come back to me, and I know that I loved every single minute of it. Now, it has become an integral part of who I am.

  I have been studying at an international school for six years, since I entered elementary school. The most memorable thing for me in my international school life is the great amount of friends from all around the world I have made. We have grown up in so many different backgrounds, and I think it’s simply amazing that we all can manage to get along so well.

  International schools are most often places where much creativity and talent is allowed to flourish. There are less stereotypes here about what kinds of subjects are “better” to study or what one should study to ensure success. Hence, students can make good use of this kind of undiscriminating environment to explore all aspects of their interests and personalities.

  Words for the fellow students and friends: I know in my heart, in my soul, that we will never be apart, and we will go to places together. Here’s to our time spent together, and here’s to the time we will spend together in the future.

Gavin   Gavin Chen, Yew Chung International School of Shanghai, will be studying at Carnegie Mellon University in the US.

  I am definitely sad to be leaving the people and the school that I have gotten to know so well over the past few years. However, I also feel excited to begin university life as I am sure there will be many opportunities available to me. Overall, I remain optimistic as I look toward the future.

  The most memorable thing for me in my high school career is the people that I have shared my experiences with. Although I may not remember everything that has happened in high school, I will certainly remember the people.

  I have been studying at an international school for five years. I am very grateful for my international education because it is so different from an education in my home country. It’s amazing how my classmates come from all over the world and that each of them brings a unique perspective of the world that I have never seen before. Here, I feel like my eyes have been opened to the rest of the world and hope to take my newfound sense of an international community with me to university.

  Well, to make the most of an international school experience a student should not focus solely on studies. I made the best use of the environment of an international school by getting to know my classmates and trying to understand them better.

  Words for the fellow students and friends: These last two years with you guys have been awesome! I hope we meet again in the future and good luck to you all!

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