My name is Lily Nazarian and I graduated from Nord Anglia International School of Shanghai, Pudong in 2019. I'm currently a sophomore at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, studying Psychology as a major and double minoring in Law, Justice and Social Change, and Entrepreneurship.
Why NAIS Pudong:
I was born in the US but growing up my dad worked for a company that had a really global reach, so I was able to live in many countries, including Russia, China, Korea, and the U.S. Because I lived internationally, when it came to picking a high school something that was really important to me was finding a school that had a really strong international and global focus.
Some internationally focused qualities that really sprung out to me at NAIS Pudong was that it was really focused on the IB program which puts forth the models of being open-minded, risk-taking and a global citizen. Furthermore, there were people from many backgrounds that really gave me that international feel. This is one part of why I ended up going with NAIS Pudong.
I was also going to be starting in the 10th grade, halfway through secondary school, so I really wanted a school that could help me with my transition and my further education. What appealed to me about NAIS Pudong was how they were immediately accepting of my background and my abilities and willing to work with me and help me grow.
A sense of community:
During my time at NAIS Pudong I'd say one of the biggest takeaways that I still carry with me is seeing the globe is the community. You really have got to make sure that you interact with everyone and if you do so, your life is just that much better.
And even though NAIS Pudong pushed this global idea and incorporated international mindedness in all parts of the syllabus, it was an incredibly tight knit community. And I looked at it more like a family than a school.
In my three years at NAIS Pudong the teachers were really amazing to me. They really valued both the social and the educational aspects in schooling, as well as the students. They were really welcoming of me and they came from all different backgrounds, so I could relate to almost everyone.
The student body was really like a family. NAIS Pudong had students from Kindergarten through to grade 12 and all the students from different years really supported each other. I felt as though I could talk to anyone, and I'd get the help I needed. Or if I couldn't find the classroom, they'd point me to the right way or help me find the right teacher. It was really encouraging.
Something that stemmed from the strong community that we had at NAIS Pudong was my confidence. I felt as though I could speak my opinions and be exactly who I wanted to be with the people in my class and the teachers around me.
The teachers really stressed being confident and having your own individual voice. I remember even on my first day, when I spoke out in class, I was encouraged. My teacher appreciated that I was willing and able to have my opinion and share it with the rest of the class.
Studying the IB:
The school was definitely rigorous especially during my time in the IB program. All the students really had a strong focus on all the pillars that the IB offered and teachers ensured that everyone was kept on track and were always there to help to make sure we got our diplomas.
The IB program helped me towards my success in education after high school. It was rigorous and the different classes helped prepare me in building my work ethic. The IB programme also prepared me for college. Going into my first year I didn't feel as much of the pressure as some of my peers did because I had already learned how to deal with workload and different type of classes.
I think the IB program really impacted me and will continue to impact me throughout my life. It wasn't just about academics and doing the subjects you have to, it also really emphasised different activities, services and sports, as well as helping us build other skills such as through the Theory of Knowledge and the extended essay.
I think that my time at NAIS has really helped me in my time at college now. Some things have really been key to my success in the University of Michigan. especially my business class which really was a key factor in deciding one of my minors.
Beyond the classroom:
NAIS Pudong wasn't only a school that focused on academics. It really provided a lot of opportunities to get out into the community and interact with people. I was able to visit Inner Mongolia, Chengdu, and Tanzania - experiences that I will remember forever. I was also the Co-Secretary General of the Model UN at our school. I was even able to go visit UNICEF and the real United Nations headquarters in New York.
These experiences really helped me become more of a leader, a risk-taker, and open-minded thinker.
Looking to the future:
At this point in time, I see a couple of avenues that I can take after my education is finished at the University of Michigan. I'm considering going to law school after my undergraduate, or maybe doing another business degree, and I’m also considering following a PHD and going into psychiatry or psychology as that's my major.
Taking a moment to reflect:
If I could summarise my experience at NAIS Pudong it would be that I made some of the most important friendships of my life, learned some of the most important things from teachers, and different students of different backgrounds. And I became a more confident version of myself.
I feel like my decision to attend NAIS Pudong has been one of the most important decisions of my life. I've met some people that I will hold friendships with for the rest of my life. And I have learned many things about myself through the curriculum there that I believe will be key to my success in the future.
My parents are one of my biggest role models and all my life I've always wanted to live up to their expectations and go beyond. And I believe that attending NAIS Pudong was key in me achieving that goal.
The most valuable thing that I took away from my time at NAIS Pudong was that confidence is key and that I should always be able to get out of my shell and be out there.
I learned a lot of things at NAIS Pudong, but another thing that was really important to me was being open-minded listener and being accepting of other people's views so I can become better at being a global citizen.
For families considering joining NAIS Pudong I'd say it's a community you definitely want to be part of.