Shanghai Community International School
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Shanghai Community International School: Where students realise their purpose

A mathematician pursuing his Ph.D. An art designer and director in New York City. A college athlete releasing new albums with her band.

These are some of the exciting ventures Shanghai Community International School (SCIS) graduates. For over 25 years, the school has been educating intelligent and passionate students to reach their full potential. Now, it has become a space that encourages creativity and individuality within a diverse international environment.

Take Mathieu Rundstrom. Born in Sweden, Mathieu lived in France before relocating to China. Today, he has a mathematics degree from McGill University and a master’s in combinatorics and optimization degree from the University of Waterloo, where he is now completing a Ph.D.

These achievements, he says, can all be traced back to his time at SCIS. Looking back, Rundstrom remembers how shocking it was to face such a huge change. Moving to an entirely new country and continent was difficult enough as it was — but his integration into the SCIS community was accelerated by “seeking out new things to try.”

“I can’t count on two hands the number of different activities I was able to try out during my three years at SCIS,” he recalls. “Several experiences stand out, such as the three China trips I had the privilege of participating in, performing in the Elvis-themed musical production of ‘All Shook Up!’, and of course, the camaraderie I shared with my peers in study halls or during various extra-curricular activities. Thinking back, SCIS provided me with a wealth of opportunities to broaden my horizons and challenge myself beyond my comfort zone.”

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Rundstrom’s sense of adventure was instilled in him by his time at SCIS — leading him to discover different places in the world post-graduation.
Source: Shanghai Community International School

For some students, gaining exposure to activities outside classes is monumental to their growth. This was certainly the case for SCIS graduate Izzy Johnson. “Being part of the women’s basketball team with our Head Coach, Ethan Schultz, played a large part in shaping who I am as a person,” she shares. “While he had a quieter coaching style, he was always fiercely proud of us and encouraged us to work towards our own goals both inside and outside the sport.”

Today, Johnson is a college-level athlete at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. She applies much of what she learnt as a SCIS basketball player to her athletics journey. In particular, one of the most useful lessons from SCIS was balancing her classes with trainings — something which, as an IB student, she had to learn and adapt to effectively.

This was made all the more pressing when considering her goals for the next few years: finishing her double major in Physical Health and Health Education as well as a Minor in Coaching; qualifying for the outdoor 100- or 200-meter dash; and learning how to competitively pole vault for the next indoor season. Then there’s also finding the time to book shows for and release albums with her college band.

“It all comes down to how much self-motivation and discipline you have if you want to excel in both academics and athletics,” she explains. “It is a little easier if you’ve completed the IB program while playing sports and doing after-school activities. It prepares you well for a college workload.”

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Johnson is now a college athlete who uses the lessons she learnt at SCIS in her daily life. Source: Shanghai Community International School

Of course, such ventures are easier to undertake with a supportive community to back you. Luckily for SCIS students, they have access to a nurturing group of teachers and faculty — all of whom are dedicated to helping them realize their passions, interests, and life aspirations.

Rundstrom, for example, had always had an affinity for mathematics. However, he hadn’t intended to pursue the subject beyond school — not, at least, until the latter half of his school years.

“I have a great amount of gratitude towards my teachers Mr. Bilz and Mr. Newell; they were instrumental in fostering my passion for mathematics through organising the math club, and consistently emphasizing the elegance of the subject,” shares Rundstrom. “In particular, I have Mr. Newell to thank for where I am today, for accommodating my transition from standard level to higher level mathematics, dedicating time outside of class to help me catch up and mentoring me through my extended essay.”

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Kim discovered her passion at SCIS and is now pursuing her dreams in New York City.
Source: Shanghai Community International School

Korean-born alumnus, Nicole Kim, similarly benefited from the close-knit relationships she formed with her teachers at SCIS. “My art teacher, Ms. Dayton, was the first person who saw my talent and led me to grow as an artist and as a person,” she says. “I had a good environment to explore what I wanted to do and what I was good at.”

Kim is one of many SCIS students who chased their dreams post-graduation. The creative talent went on to gain a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Now, she’s a designer and art director at a marketing and advertising firm in the city.

“I think finding a goal and dream is the most important thing during high school,” she explains. “Doing both the IB and AP subjects was tough but thinking deeper about what I wanted out of life helped. This meant that by the time I applied to college, I had a clear goal and major in mind.”

Each of these students are carving out a life for themselves, working and studying in different locations to achieve their dreams. The one thing that binds them? A deep sense of gratitude and love for their time at SCIS.

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