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What's Life Like as a Junior at BISB? Let's Find Out Together!

May 09, 2019

I'm Oscar and this is the second part of my series on life as a Year 12 student (Junior) at the British International School of Boston. Follow me as I blog about the details of my experiences in my Junior and Senior years, including unique school trips and experiences, college applications, exams, and more.

  • Oscar Wang

This term has been quite eventful! January especially, when a lot of trips and socials that BISB put together took place. What made it feel crazy to me was that all these trips happened on consecutive weekends, which was exhausting but fun! There are quite a lot of school trips and events during the winter, which is something I really enjoy as a winter trip just feels very cozy.  

One of these was the annual ski trip; a 4-day trip which takes place during the extended Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, where middle and high school students travel to Maine and ski or snowboard together at the Sunday River. This trip is always very popular, and spaces do fill up quickly. We skied for about 4 hours at a time and also spent time off the slopes and in the hostel. It’s really nice for students from both middle and high school to spend time together without the pressures of school. The highlight of the trip for me was when everyone sat together, watched the game, and cheered on the Patriots. This trip was definitely one of my favorite trips, and it was just good to have a break from the stress and spend some quality time with my peers. 

There is also a Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN) at the end of January every year for high school students, which I attended this year. During the HMUN conference we went to the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Boston and debated for 4 days. There is quite a lot of prior preparation that we have to do before participating. We represented a country and were placed on different theoretical UN committees from which we would debate about certain global issues. This experience is very valuable as the draft resolutions can’t be written in advance and the writing actually takes place during the conference, ensuring that the different delegates would have to work together. This has really helped me build collaborative skills and it was overall a very fun and exciting experience. 

Many high school students participated in the BISB ski lock-in, which took place in New Hampshire. Students can ski during the night until 3AM. I didn’t get the chance to go on this trip, but I heard many good things about it. 

In school, Year 11 students (Sophomores) and Year 13 students (Seniors) have been ramping up their revision and studying, as their exams are very close now. In order to help them, there is a peer mentoring program that the school has set up, where the older students can aid younger students with their work. I’m assisting Year 11 students and Year 10 students with Chemistry and Biology. It is quite nice for them and also for me as I get to reaffirm my knowledge on certain topics.  

IB students have also started to have French and Spanish speaking sessions. During this time, a native French or Spanish speaker comes in and has a 30-minute, one-on-one speaking session with us during one of our study periods. These sessions have been very helpful as they allow us to become more confident with our dialogue in preparation for when we take the exam. 

BISB sponsors an exchange trip every year with a school near Madrid and the Spanish exchange students visited the campus in mid-March.  It’s a great opportunity to experience the Spanish culture and to learn some Spanish. The Spanish exchange students gave some presentations regarding their culture to the lower school, which was very interesting. I was able to take part in the exchange trip 2 years ago, and the students that I met then came here this year, which was very delightful as we still keep in touch. The friendships that are made on the trips really are long-lasting. 

Currently, my year is starting internal assessments in most of our subjects. I find this really exciting and stressful as there is a lot of writing to do, but I’m excited as I get to explore things that interest me beyond the curriculum. All of my classes are going quite well. In chemistry, I find that some of the more difficult concepts are very abstract, but I’ve been seeking my peers and teachers for help and that has certainly made it more understandable. The French speaking sessions has also greatly improved my confidence in my French, which was a subject that I was not very comfortable with.

It’s time for college applications so I’ve started my Common Application Essay and have completed some college tours. All of the Juniors have also started to meet with our college consular once a week regarding where we are on our college applications. Most of us have have started taking our SAT/ACTs. Things are starting to be a little bustling concerning the upcoming deadlines with our internal assessments and extended essays. This is a challenging yet rewarding period, but the stress is very much manageable as long as I organize my time well (which is a key aspect of the IB curriculum). There is also an important end of year exam in May. This exam is critical for a lot of us, especially if we’re applying early decision for colleges, as this exam is what our teachers will use to predict our grades.  

Overall this term is going well. Now that we have all the trips and other fun activities at the beginning of the term out of the way, it’s time to study and work hard for the exams.  

For Part 1, click here.