Both teachers and other students are used to new students arriving from different cultures and languages, so even though I was the only Swedish student in my year, I quickly felt at home, thanks to the help and support that the staff and my classmates gave me.
I live near the school, which makes it easy for me to be involved in extracurricular activities, which I really enjoy. I like how BISS Puxi encourages us to try new things, which has led me to become part of the school netball and volleyball teams – sports that were completely new to me when I came here. Life revolves around school quite tightly which creates a close community. I have been on trips with school to Beijing for the International Award and to Vietnam for the IB CAS programme, where we helped a local family to build a house. I have also been involved in the school’s analogue photography club, which was a very interesting and new experience for me.
Even considering all of this, one of my absolute highlights of the school year must be the football season. We are a committed team and our coaches are always enthusiastic and engaged, so we have put a lot of extra time into practises and hard training. Our hard work has led us to improve each year which allowed us to last year become the third best girls’ team in Shanghai. I have also played in the nation-wide ACAMIS tournament, once in Shenzhen and last year in Qingdao, which both we and the boys’ team won. I find it very impressive that our school manages to allow students to try new things at the same time as keeping a high level for those committed to a particular sport.
Languages are an important part of our lives at school and it is not uncommon to see bilingual or even trilingual students. I myself speak Swedish and English, as well as having studied French for six years and some Mandarin.
The main difference between my old school and BISS Puxi is definitely the amount of support and help that the staff provides. I arrived halfway through the two-year IGCSE programme, but even though I struggled with the language and with catching up on work from the year before, I was encouraged to take part in the ”Aspiring Stars” programme set up to help top students perfect their grades. All teachers have always been keen that everyone should perform their absolute best, and because of that they often provide extra sessions after school or during lunch time, which especially helped me in Year 11 but still does now. With this extensive help I was able to catch up on one years’ worth of studies to achieve 5 A*s at IGCSE.
Now, at IB-level, the teachers continue to challenge and encourage me to become better, and I am now part of the ”Diploma Plus” programme for the IB which is set up for students aiming for top universities, and which means that I take 4 Higher Level Subjects instead of 3. I was also, despite not having taken the Additional Mathematics IGCSE, placed in the top set for Higher Level Mathematics to stretch my abilities, and the teachers often let us take part in international competitions like the ASMA-maths competition and the UK Mathematical Challenge, in which I have won gold certificates both of the years I have competed. The staff are also very helpful with applications to universities, and I have just had an interview with the University of Cambridge to study Engineering.
I am very happy to be at our school. When I arrived here I was unsure and hesitant of what was coming, but with the support given to me by my peers and the staff I have grown both academically and personally. I am now more open-minded and positive regarding challenges, and I push myself to become better. This is, besides academics, something that BISS Puxi has taught me, and I believe that I will benefit from this for the rest of my life.