Picture Above: Jessica (far right on the back row) with Michael Clark, Regional Head of Schools of Orbital, and other Britannica students

My name is Jessica and I am 17 years old. I’m currently studying at Britannica International School, Shanghai and my three A Level subject choices are Chinese, Mathematics and Business Studies.

How long have you been at Britannica?

Two years.

Where did you study before Britannica?

I studied at a local Chinese-speaking school in Beijing.

What prompted you to make the move to study at Britannica?

I eventually want to study in an overseas university outside China, so my parents felt it important I go to an international school. I also studied IGCSE for six months which gave me a good insight into the British education system.

You moved from a public school in Beijing to Britannica. Do you have a dream school or university you would like to go to?
I have been looking at and researching entry requirements for Kings College in London.

Why do you want to study in the UK, not the US?

I think the education system in the UK is more traditional. The teachers are very responsible.

So You like UK style education. Since you are an A Level student, what is special about this curriculum?
It’s different to AP or IB so you only have to choose three subjects, but each subject is studied to a greater depth. So you are able to learn more about your favourite subjects. I chose those subjects because Chinese is my first language and my teacher advised that if you want to study a second language very well, you should be very good at my first language. For Mathematics, I did quite well at IGCSE and I feel it will be useful as I later want to study Business Management at university.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’m interested in fashion management. I want to work for a luxury brand. My favourite brand is Chanel.

Do you think A Levels are helping you achieving in your dream? In what way?
For the business studies courses that I study, it helps provide me with the knowledge of management and helps me to become more familiar with management theories and techniques.

Why Britannica then, as there are other international schools?

The Britishness. The student numbers are relatively small, so the teachers can pay more attention to you and focus on a fewer amount of students. There is more personalised education here at Britannica.

Did you ever consider bilingual schools?

No. Because in international schools, they have an environment for you that better develop your English and lessons that are taught in English. In the past years learning at Britannica, my English has really improved a lot.

Can you describe your typical day at Britannica?

At 8:20 in the morning we go to form, and our form is in the computer suite room so we can use the computers and spend time in the computer room. 8:40 to 10 we go to lessons. 10:00 – 10:20 we have twenty minutes break. And 10:20 to 1pm we have four periods of lessons.

You have 5 hours of lessons per day?
Yes, I only take three courses here. The rest of my time is used to do self-study or do homework and personal research under the supervision of my teachers for these courses.

Jessica Interview 2

Picture Above: Jessica (4th from the left) in Britannica school orchestra

Have you participated in extracurricular activities?

We have extra school activities every day except for Wednesday. My favorite is the orchestra. I did this when I was in Year 10 and I played the violin.

Do you have any award?
No, but I do enjoy it.

How would you describe the atmosphere or the relationship between schoolmates and teachers and students?
The students are really nice here. They are very friendly and when I first came here my classmate introduced the school to me and it was very nice and helpful. For the teachers, they are very responsible, like friends.

What would you say is the greatest benefit you’ve received from the two years of A Level education?
I acquired plenty of knowledge about my subjects and I’ve also learned teamwork as there are a lot of different activities. I think in a public school the teachers just talk in front of the class.

For students who study in public schools or considering studying International education for themselves, what advice do you have?
Good English skills are important. Because reading, listening, writing, and speaking are four areas which you need to become comfortable. I think it’s important to also join group discussions in class. I think that’s really helpful for you to communicate with your friends.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced over the last two years? How did you overcome them?
When I first came to this school, for some of these subjects, if the teachers talked too fast, I couldn’t catch what they said. When I got back home, I read books and took some notes by myself. That’s a helpful tip if you’re going to study in an international school.

So you overcame the challenges by doing extra work after class?
Yes, but my teachers also gave me lots of extra help.

Do you have anything to add?
I think Britannica International School is very good and people should consider applying to it.

Thank you very much. When do you graduate?

Next June or July and next September I go to university.

I wish you good luck and that you go to your dream university. Thank you.