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Alena Heise, Year 9

10 November 2013

My name is Alena Heise, I am 14 years old and I come from Germany. I came to BISS Puxi after having lived in Hong Kong for nine years and this is now my fourth year here.

I have grown up in an international environment and I really relish every moment of it. I have friends from all around the world: people from India, Pakistan, China, Scotland, Mexico and many more. We learn so much from this type of environment, you learn to respect different religions and cultures and you broaden your education at the same time.

I really enjoy going to BISS Puxi. Everything is up to top standards. We have science labs and a huge auditorium. The art rooms are nice and big and importantly filled with light. We have mac suites and a dark room for experiments, as well as a small black box theatre for drama. I, like everyone, have my favourite days at school. I really enjoy days with French, Art, Drama and Science, but also English and Geography. I particularly like Art; it’s interesting as we always focus on something new every year. Masks one year, the next we worked on shoes, which we based on a certain artist and this year we are working on food and pop art.

I live around 15 to 30 minutes away from school depending on the traffic and that means I have to be up and ready to get on the school bus at 7.45am. I arrive home in the afternoon at around 3:45pm and then I sit down to work on my homework, which takes me around an hour.  Then I either practise my clarinet or piano or just have a bit of free time. I chat with my friends or sit and read a book and listen to a bit of music.

Twice a week I do ECAs, (extra-curricular activities) after school. On Mondays I have rehearsal for this year’s Christmas Pantomime and on Thursdays I do acting for the camera. Of course there are many different ECAs to choose from including camera work, languages and sports. We have so many to choose from every day and there is definitely something for everyone. I also do BISCAP (British International School Community Activity Programme) a paid sport programme on top of the ECAs, which is run by professional coaches. You have a choice of basketball, football, swimming, ballet, wushu (a Chinese martial art) and many more. I do synchronised swimming every Tuesday after school. Before it starts I do my homework in the LRC (Learning Resource Centre).  I enjoy having ECAs after school because I like staying and being part of the school community outside of just lessons. You meet new people from different year groups and it is another way to peruse your hobbies.

During lunch and ECA time we have a chance to join music bands, which I have taken part in before. It is nice to play with other people and learn different pieces apart from just the usual solo pieces. You learn to play with others and how to work better with other people.

A great thing here at BISS Puxi is the fact that we must learn Mandarin till Year 10 and then we have it as a choice, but at least we have the chance to learn the native language of where we live. I have been learning Mandarin for almost 8 years and my Mandarin is progressing further and further. I can speak clearly and I can read and write quite well. I find it good that we are learning this language because living in China is so much easier when you know a bit of the language. I can talk with my driver and with my Ayi and even communicate well when I am shopping or just ordering food in a restaurant.

I have won at least five certificates of endeavour at school and a Principal’s Commendation for an outstanding Mandarin presentation during the visit of HRH the Duke of York and a certificate and medal for art in the prize giving ceremony which we hold at the end of every year.

BISS Puxi is a fantastic school to be at. I will be finishing my IB here and I am really happy that I can graduate from such a wonderful school. It is great to be in such an international school and have the chance to meet so many people from all over the world.