A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, but taking that first step in the right direction is essential. Earlier this academic year, Anna (year 12), Sophie(year 10), Ian (year 10) and Jeremy (year 10) took such a step as they transferred to Wellington from other schools. The four of them are now settling in, pursuing their passions and enjoying academic success. They sat down with this Shanghai international school’s director of admissions to share their experiences in becoming Wellingtonians.
What school did you attend before transferring to this Shanghai international school?
Anna: I came from a normal public school in Germany. When my dad accepted the job offer to go to Shanghai, my parents wanted to enrol me in the German school. I was okay with that. German schools around the world typically are great, but I wanted to do some research on other schools in Shanghai just to see if I had other options. That is how I found Wellington. I just loved the website. It looked so welcoming and like such an amazing school. I clicked through the entire site until I found the admissions and scholarships pages. There, I learned about Wellington's academic scholarship, and it said that the application deadline was 17 April. I read this on 16 April. I just wanted to test myself and see how good a personal statement I could write in two hours. I sent it in. Not long after that, I was invited to attend a remote scholarship assessment and interview and was eventually awarded a scholarship.
Ian: I have been back and forth between Singapore and Dubai. I previously came from a school called ACS International in Singapore.
Jeremy: I was born in Shanghai, lived here for 10 years. I was at a bilingual school for five years. I spent the next four and a half years in Canada and Germany. The school I went to in Germany was a public school, but they had a special program for international pupils to learn German.
Sophie: I transferred to Wellington from a local school in Shenyang. At my old school, I had to sacrifice a lot of interests and hobbies just to keep my grades up. This is what made me want to enrol at an international school, I can balance my studies and my activities.
How is Wellington College International Shanghai different from your previous school？
Ian: My previous school was not very diverse. There were not many foreigners. It just felt like a local Singaporean school with IGCSE and IB exams. Wellington College International Shanghai is really inclusive and it is genuinely diverse.
Sophie: At my previous school, classes were conducted in Chinese, and the school taught the Chinese National Curriculum. The school day started at 6:30 am and ended at 7 pm. When I got home, it would be nearly 8. I would have to study then, and I often did not get to sleep until 11 or 12. I did not have time to do the things that I like after school. But since I have been at Wellington College International Shanghai, I get a rigorous education, but I also have time to pursue the other things I like to do.
Anna: The work level is astronomical compared to my previous school, but it is manageable. School is now a full-time job for me. But I love working, so it is not a problem. I think the first time I realised that Wellington is different was when I was late for my bus after school. I thought I had missed it, but the bus waited for me. I had never experienced that before as buses do not wait for you where I come from.
How are you finding the Wellington College International Shanghai experience so far?
Anna: Socially, the other pupils have been very welcoming. I became comfortable here very quickly. Academically, because of the timing of my arrival and how IGCSEs work, I had the choice to go back to year 10 or to skip a year and go into year 12. I chose year 12. In the beginning, it was intimidating, but, so far, my coursework is giving me just the right amount of challenge.
Ian: A lot of people are friendly here. The workload is manageable because I have been studying a lot outside of school. I joined a little bit late in the year, so I have been catching up on my work with the support of all of my teachers. They have been really open to helping me. My computer science teacher, for instance, invited me to attend support classes that she hosts every Friday, which has helped me improve in class.
Jeremy: I am progressing. I get help from the teachers, and I also work with math and biology tutors who are year 13 students kind enough to help us out! This is definitely helping me catch up much faster.
How do you like the house system at Wellington College International Shanghai?
Sophie: It has made me feel like I belong here. My housemates are so welcoming. On my first day, I was nervous. I was sitting in the house room. I did not know anyone. Everybody coming in was new to me. Then a few girls came up to me and said, "Hi! Are you in Hopetoun?" I told them I was, and they just started showing me around.
Jeremy: Everybody in Hardinge, my house, is upbeat and optimistic. They always want to do more, learn more and achieve as much as possible. It is energising.
Anna: I love the house system. It is a great community that makes you feel welcome. My housemaster has been amazing.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about moving to Wellington College International Shanghai?
Anna: I would advise them to do it! Wellington gives you a lot more opportunities than any other school I have been to. It also amplifies your career options later in life, because the Wellington career guidance counselling is extensive and really great. But in terms of developing your academic, physical and artistic abilities, Wellington is a great place to do this. I would also suggest focusing on school and finding friends in the first term and not overloading one's plate.
Sophie: I think they should move forward to a new place to study and make new friends. It is a waste of time to just study and not get to pursue the things that you enjoy. So after you have a basic knowledge of the subjects, I recommend moving to an international school to balance your studies with things in life that you enjoy.
Ian: Definitely do it. Wellington College International Shanghai is the best school I have been to, and I have gone to four different international schools. There is a wide range of teachers, and they are all knowledgeable. They are caring, and you can tell that they just want you to do your best. Also, the facilities. The school is huge! When I walk around, I discover something new every day.
Jeremy: They should do it. I mean, look at the campus! It is so nice! It is the best campus of all the schools I have been to. The teachers are super nice here. So are the pupils. You can make friends in a day. The next day, it feels like you have been friends for months. It is just a good environment. I love it.