Earlier this year, we had a visit from Gianfranco Gonzalez who graduated in 2013 and was a student here for seven years. We asked him a few questions about his time at BISS Puxi and how it has prepared him for life at university.
How has the IB prepared you for life beyond school?
I am currently studying International Relations at the London School of Economics (LSE). A course I am currently enjoying very much and was very well prepared for by the IB. IB students are by far more prepared for university than A-level students because the IB has a more rigorous approach to academics. With the IB I already knew how to write university level essays without any trouble (that would include referencing, structure and phrasing), which is specifically helpful since my course is essay based. I am better prepared on how to structure my time for academics without forgetting to include time for creative or physical activities.
What advice would you give to current IB students?
I would advise IB students to do the courses they like or have a passion for. When someone enjoys the courses they do they end up doing much better and this will allow them to go into what they want later in life. In BISS Puxi I was surrounded by teachers who enjoyed what they did and enjoyed being with us, something that really helped me being able to pursue a course of my liking.
Another thing they should not forget is how to organize their time and this does not mean sacrificing social life all together. Me and my friends socialised all the way through the IB. It was only at the end, the last couple of months (from Easter onwards) of the IB that we sacrificed more and more of our social time to revise, a sacrifice worth making since we are all where we wanted to be.
It’s not all about the studying though, what ECAs were you part of at BISS Puxi and have you had the chance to carry on with them at LSE?
During my time in BISS I did my fair share of ECAs. I was part of the rugby, touch rugby, football and basketball teams. I remained in the rugby team all the way into Year 13. I was in boxing, chess, photography, MUN, current affairs, gardening and I was in two school plays. I can't remember the rest of the ECAs I was part of, there were so many!
I always like trying new things and changing what I do. I am doing different activities here at LSE, but they are based around similar interests and skills. I have joined a wide arrange of societies that include the Amnesty International society, various debating societies, film society, Mexican society, history society and the International Relations society that organises trips to different parts of the world and helps submerge students into every aspect of a culture, history and politics. As for sports I am joining the ultimate Frisbee team and giving basketball another try.
And finally, what is your fondest memory of BISS Puxi?
It is difficult to say what my fondest memory is from my time at BISS Puxi. Having been there so long there is no specific moment that sticks out, because I really had a great time at BISS. I can however say that I made lifelong friendships and I met people that will forever be with me. I also want to say that after being at BISS Puxi for so long, the end was both exciting and sad, since I would get the opportunity to experience a whole new world. However it would also be without people that I met all those years ago when I arrived in Shanghai.