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Graduating As Open Minded, Empathetic, Confident Young People

25 May 2015

It’s hard to believe it’s time for another group of students to graduate from our school. It doesn’t seem anything like that long since last year’s final year students completed their exams and set off to destinations all round the world. 

  • Graduates from the British International School Shanghai, Puxi celebrate reaching the end of their school career

Looking back through photos of the Class of 2014, dressed proudly in their Graduation gowns and hats and smiling broadly, leads me to think about how life has unfolded for them in the year since they left school. Almost all are at university, scattered around the globe. As a British school, it’s maybe not surprising that many are in the UK, from Edinburgh in the far north to Exeter in the south west, via Cambridge, London and many cities in between. Others are in the US – Duke, Northwestern, Illinois and even Hawaii, others in various parts of Asia. Hong Kong is a popular destination for our students to continue the next stage of their education, as is Korea. They are studying every possible course, from medicine to business to engineering, from politics to art, from literature to physics. Some have taken a less conventional path. One is completing national service in his home country before heading off to Cambridge, some are taking gap years, working and travelling, and one is running her own business.

So what do all these young people, from diverse cultures and countries, spread all around the world, have in common? Time spent in international education in this amazing city has made them open minded, understanding of other people and able to walk into a new environment anywhere in the world with real confidence. They have learnt the benefits of being part of a strong community in which people work together and support each other and, in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, they have earned a qualification that will open doors for them wherever they go.

And as for this year’s graduates – well, having hardly looked up from their books for the last few months, they can start to think about the long summer holiday ahead. After graduation, many are going travelling together. They’ll have lots to do in the next few months, getting packed up and ready to set off to the next stage in their lives. But, for now, all they have to do is relax and enjoy their last days and weeks together in the summer sun. When they threw their hats in the air at the end of their Graduation Ceremony on Friday, I was one of many cheering loudly. They’ve worked very hard and they thoroughly deserve the exciting future that lies ahead.

- Jane White, Head of IB Academy