Wei Kheng Teh is originally from Penang, a small island off the North West Coast of Malaysia. Back in 2010, Wei decided to move to Vietnam to spend more time with his Father and it was at this point he obtained a place at BIS HCMC where he completed his IGCSEs.
After completing his IGCSEs at BIS HCMC, Wei went on to do his IB Diploma in Singapore. In both sets of qualifications, Wei achieved outstanding results that secured him a place at Trinity College, Oxford University to study Biochemistry. This was all thanks to his Mother for persuading Wei to be ambitious; “I said to my Mother I would never get a place, but she told me ‘just apply’, and I did and got in!” Now he’s gone one step further and is completing his Masters of Biochemistry at Oxford University. An incredible achievement!
As a school we understand the pressures for both student and parents when moving internationally. So we took this opportunity to speak to Wei about his personal experience of moving abroad for his education; “When I first arrived at BIS HCMC there was quite a bit of adjusting to do. I had come from an American School in Malaysia so not only was I in a new school with a different curriculum, I was also in a completely different country so there was the culture to adapt to as well. It did take me a while to adjust to all these changes but after the first couple of months I found that I really enjoyed myself at the school. BIS was somewhere that I felt I could learn a lot.” Wei considers his biggest achievement as not only getting into Oxford University but settling into the university environment and adapting and adjusting to this. “In the UK, I was a 13 hour flight away from any family, the weather was different, the food was different so it did take me a while to adjust. But I am very happy that I’ve been able to go to Oxford and wouldn’t change this for the world!”
At BIS HCMC, students are strongly encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities alongside their academic work. Wei believes these extra-curricular activities assisted his success not only academically but holistically; “I think the school is really good at encouraging you to find your own interests and develop your skills within that interest. I believe a lot of my academic self-motivation that I needed for the IB Diploma and throughout my degree came from the community and extra-curricular activities I decided to join whilst at BIS. For example, I joined the concert band; developing my interest in music and I also helped out with a number of fundraising activities.”
Following his participation in fundraising activities at BIS, Wei developed his interest in social equality during his time at University. “I was Equalities Representative in Trinity College so that meant welcoming international students like I previously was as well as raising awareness about LGBTQ and minority ethnicities. We ran events to raise awareness and establish a welcoming community for anyone from those groups who might be coming to the college. I believe PSHE, so topics such as sexual consent, racism, socioeconomic differences or LGBTQ rights are extremely important at University when you start interacting with people in a less regulated environment.”
Wei decided to come back to us at BIS HCMC to complete his work experience as he considers his career options for the future; “Over the last month interning at BIS HCMC with the Science department, I’ve learnt a lot more about teaching and how the classroom looks from a teacher’s perspective. I assisted in classes whilst observing different teaching styles, and then amassed enough practical know-how and knowledge to plan and teach activities to the students. I also had insight into what teaching was like outside of the classroom, and the work put into cultivating an environment and syllabus for student learning. BIS welcomed me back as an intern to a familiar environment, although many faces have since changed. It was lovely to have a chance to learn more about teaching, get some practical experience, and simultaneously give back to the school.”
Teaching is an avenue Wei had been interested in from his own time at BIS thanks to his inspirational ICT teacher; Mr Daniel Gamwell. “Mr Gamwell got me very interested in teaching not only from an academic perspective, but also the holistic; so critical thinking, discussion and self-development,” says Wei. “I can probably say it’s in a large part thanks to teachers such as Mr Gamwell that I have such a big interest in becoming a teacher now.”
Plans for the Future...
After finishing his work experience with us at BIS, Wei is heading back off to University to finish his research project and dissertation and enjoy his final year with his friends; building up long-lasting friendships for the future.
Long term, his plans are to have a career in education. Ideally he would like to start a school or be part of a school board community so that he can influence the way a school is run on a day-to-day basis; “I want to create an atmosphere/environment in a school where the key focus is to treat people with respect and tolerance. In particular, I’d like to influence how PSHE is taught. But before I start running a school I will probably need to make some money! As no dreams are going to come true without that!”
Many thanks to Wei for taking the time to speak with us during his work experience and on behalf of the entire BIS Community we wish him the very best of luck with his potential teaching career in the future!
Chelsea Pattison, Marketing Officer