Profile: Erica Zhang

Melbourne student, Erica Zhang, shares her schooling experience with readers of Australia China Connections and how she and her parents came to choose Yew Chung International School in Shanghai and the IB curriculum.


Name: Erica Zhang

Age: 16

Hometown: Melbourne, Victoria

School: Yew Chung International School, Shanghai

Curriculum: IB Diploma

My family and I moved to Shanghai in the middle of 2005. I was 10 at the time and about to begin Year 7 (Grade 6).

When I first arrived, I was extremely confused by the fact that a “school year” and a “year year” were not the same thing. I had also chosen to skip half a grade rather than stay back half a year, so it was slightly intimidating to be the youngest student in my grade. Aside from that, the content and difficulty of the curriculum was not drastically different from what I was used to, nor was it hard to adjust to.

My parents chose to send me to Yew Chung because of its focus on bilingual education and its prestigious Chinese programme. The school’s holistic teaching style was also appealing.

After my high school graduation, I hope to attend university in either the U.S. or back home in Australia. It is reassuring that the IB diploma (which I am undertaking at Yew Chung) is recognised internationally so the choice is mine.

Teachers urge IB students to consider facts from multiple perspectives in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the implications behind a fact, event or situation. This is especially true in the subject Theory of Knowledge, in which the nature and essence of knowledge is debated. I found this subject baffling at first, as it seemed so abstract. It is becoming more interesting and understandable as I learn to relate the theoretical concepts to real life situations and examples.

Attending school in an international environment has taught me to look beyond the places I am familiar with, and consider and confront more challenging or unfamiliar places for my future education and/or life. Before coming here, I assumed I would finish school, find a job and settle down all in the same place I was born in.

China seems to be the centre of everything these days, so the experiences and opportunities from living here have definitely been exciting. From watching the Beijing Olympics to visiting the World Expo, as well as the countless travel opportunities, China has an endless supply of things to offer. 


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