Yuzi Dai joined BIBS from grade nine and from a prestigious public school in Beijing. Where does she stand now? Just last month, she received an offer from University of Toronto to study Visual Culture and Communication. The University of Toronto is a global leader in research and teaching and Yunzi is going to join U of T’s network of over 560,000 accomplished alumni around the world.
Q:Congratulations, Yuzi! We understand that you used to study in the same public school in Beijing where your mother also teaches. What brought you to BIBS then?
Yuzi：Well, many people asked me that same question before. When I was in my old middle school, I had trouble adjusting to the hectic way of learning and the pressure of doing so many tests every day. I was then really interested and good at art-related subjects but not at math and science. It was also a different stage in my life, yes, the beginning of adolescence. So I had issues both with the school and my parents back then. It was… the dark age of my life. We also talked about going aboard to study right away but my parents were worried as I was too young for that option. So as a way out, they chose to transfer me to an international school for a change. And that’s how I came to BIBS. Looking back, I felt it was a wise decision for all of us to make. Big changes happened to me. You know, really big ones, like, for example, you wouldn’t expect a math hater like me would choose high-level math for my DP studies.
Q:Wow, was it because the math BIBS teaches less complicated that what public schools teach? What’s exactly the reason for that change?
Yuzi ：Some people do think that way. But do you really know that high-level math in the DP program is very advanced and challenging？ I’ve talked to Chinese college students around me and tried to compare. You know what? What we learned in our G11 and G12 DP math is what students learn at Chinese college level.
And the main reason I changed from a math hater to a math lover is because of the magic power of our math teacher Mr. Dustin. He is humorous and always makes our learning engaging and fun. It is also unusual how he is capable of connecting abstract concepts in math with our real life examples and applications. His classes gave me quite some “aha” moments. He also built a website with math quizzes and asked us to compete in teams. It was so much fun to do math tests that way and we won! It was Mr. Dustin who helped me to rebuild my confidence and love in math. And all the rest came naturally after that.
Q:Are your parents excited about your offer? How did they react upon the news?
Yuzi：They were definitely excited about me joining the University of Toronto community. U of T is proud of its caliber of students and they are happy that it has chosen to include me in such a prestigious group. My father applauded for us for making the right school decision to come to BIBS.
My mother is still teaching Chinese language at my old middle school and to G12 students this year. She always had an interest in learning how IB students learn the Chinese language. The way we learn IB Chinese inspired her a lot and she often borrows IB ideas in her teaching. She also likes the IB idea of focusing on math thinking and applications. She is so excited and relieved to see what I have achieved so far. She just wishes that our Chinese education could somehow borrow some of the best IB practices to benefit so many Chinese students.
Q:What’s your advice and tips for younger BIBS students in terms of college application?
Yuzi：For those who want to pursue arts-related undergraduate programs, start your preparation as early as possible! Think things through and talk to your teachers and counselors as often as you can. Express yourself and your ideas fully to them. Find the right topic for your art portfolio. It would be good if you could spend one year to work on your works. The more time you have to polish it, the more likely your portfolio will speak for itself. Besides you also need to work on your college application essays, standard tests like SAT, TOFEL and IELTS. So the earlier you start your preparation, the better the outcomes will be. I feel excited about how I and my fellow G12 students are doing in terms of offers. We are lucky to have the support of our school. Life holds special magic to those who dare to dream and believe in themselves and hard work.