Name: Richard Asfour
1) Where are you presently working/studying?
I am currently studying Biology and Chinese at Duke University.
2) How has your BISS Puxi education helped you to date?
I think that the diversity at BISS Puxi has definitely helped me become a more open minded person and view my surroundings in a different way. Having friends from all around the world has exposed me to a number of new cultures and traditions that I may have not had the chance to experience if not for them, as well as to learn more about my own culture when sharing it with them.
3) What did you enjoy most about BISS Puxi?
Probably my favourite thing about BISS Puxi was the unity in my graduating class. Although everyone had their own friend groups and may have been interested in different things, everyone got on really well with one another. It was really easy to just walk up to someone you’ve only spoken to a few times and have a conversation with them as if you have been good friends for years.
4) Do you still keep in touch with your old classmates at BISS Puxi?
Despite having been apart for almost a year now, I am still very close to many of my old classmates from BISS Puxi, and plan on visiting many of them this summer. It’s been easy to keep in contact with them and it’s always great to hear that they’re enjoying university.
5) What was the inspiration behind your choice of university and course?
I chose to study in the States because of the academic flexibility at university. For my first two years, I am able to study all sorts of subjects ranging from computer science to art history, and am not on a set course until my third year. This is an excellent option for students who are unsure about exactly what they wish to study at university and provides them with more time to develop any academic interests.
6) What three pieces of advice would you give to students who are currently studying IB as they approach revision and exam time?
As IB students, we were often under extreme pressure from heavy workloads of revision during exam period. Something that is important to remember during these times is the need for rest, whether it be giving yourself more sleep, going for a run or just an hour sat on the couch. Taking a bit of time each day and just decompressing can help so much when it comes to dealing with stress.
Something else that was equally as important during exam time was organisation. It was helpful for me to build a sort of revision schedule based around my needs up until each exam. Although I did not strictly follow the schedule, having a checklist of everything you need to do before the exam made everything a little bit less chaotic.
Probably the most important piece of advice I can give is to keep in mind what comes after the exams. Although you’ll have to undergo a rather intense 2 month revision period, the satisfaction of completing the exams is unreal, and following them you have a long summer holiday waiting for you.
7) What were the main challenges you faced studying IB?
Most former IB students can all agree that managing your workload properly at times was a struggle. There were often weeks where multiple essays were due as well as a draft of this and a final draft of that, which undeniably overwhelmed everybody. After completing IB I realised that, although it may be difficult to motivate yourself to do so, it is so helpful to start assignments/essays/IA’s/EE as early as you can to avoid a lot of pressure.
8) How did your CAS experiences aid your learning?
What I really enjoyed about CAS and the CAS trip we took was that CAS makes you immerse yourself into environments with which you are unfamiliar. Through these experiences, it becomes much easier to see the world from the point of view of someone who lives in different circumstances, as well as learning how to adapt to many sorts of environments and become comfortable with them.
Thank you for your time Richard.