Tianjin International School
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Tianjin International School: Diverse opportunities, holistic development

Chairing a Model United Nations (MUN) conference. Captaining the soccer, volleyball, and basketball teams. Serving as class president. These are some of the things Ji Woo Kim has achieved at Tianjin International School (TIS) – experiences she believes will continue to benefit her at university and beyond.

Established in 1986, TIS is an American college-preparatory school with over 35 years of experience in providing ambitious young learners with age-appropriate development and cultural enrichment. Today, more than 45 foreign educators nurture over 270 students in the oldest international school in China’s seventh-largest city.

Kim, a Korean national born in China, moved here when her dad transferred to teach physical education at TIS. Then only three years old, she was nervous about going to school — but that didn’t last long. “Going back to those earlier years, I remember not liking to go to school, and I would cry every day in the morning,” she shares. “But I remember my mom helping me and also like a lot of teachers and friends who were encouraging me.”

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JiWoo Kim Source: Tianjin International School

What sets TIS apart from other international schools is its ability to support students in unique situations. Kim experienced this during eighth grade when both of her parents fell sick and had to move to Korea. As a result, she and her sister were living alone in China.

“The teachers at our school helped us a lot and lived with us on one-week shifts,” she explains. “Even in school, they will not only help me academically but also offer help in other areas of life. I can talk to them freely about that stuff.”

Kim took to TIS quickly. She thrived in her academics — which is completely understandable given how its close-knit community enables teachers to dedicate their attention to each student’s progress.

Biology classes are her favourite. While the subject was challenging, she shared how fun it was to learn about nature and the human body. It’s all thanks to John Lundy, a secondary science teacher at TIS. “He really helped me with my studies because not only did he teach us the concept, but he also really encouraged me personally as well,” says Kim.

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AP courses offered at TIS include Calculus, Macroeconomics, Chinese, English Language, Statistics, World History, Chemistry, and Computer Science. Source: Tianjin International School

She felt the same warmth from her guidance counsellor Shelley Cotton, who guided Kim on what she needed to know and do when picking a university and navigating the complex application process.

TIS’s all-encompassing support system puts students first. “Some days, some are having a tough moment [and] we need to come along with them for support,” the counsellor shares. “Some days, we go along with them and their families for support and prepare them for the future.”

TIS initiatives are tailored to what each student needs. The Senior Departure Seminar, for example, is a two-day seminar filled with informative and practical talks to help international seniors get ready to embark on the next phase of their academic journey — university.

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Shelley Cotton helps prepare students for the next phase of their lives. Source: Source: Tianjin International School

“We encourage students to think about university from the beginning of freshman year to start that path,” Cotton explains. “Starting ninth grade, we meet with them one-on-one each year and multiple times during the senior year.”

When they’re not realising the future they envision for themselves, students like Kim are pursuing their goals, hobbies, and interests. Kim, for example, served as Deputy Secretary General for TIANMUN X, where she got involved in planning different aspects of the MUN conference.

As captain of several sports teams, she learned the value of collaboration. “Since the sport requires working together with your teammates, I learned a lot about how I could encourage them while also teaching them new things and grow stronger bonds between the upper and underclassmen as well,” she says.

Above all, Kim is confident that her time at TIS has transformed her into a global citizen and future leader. “Being able to discern, persist in what I do, learn, love, and lead — I’m confident that when I go to college, I’ll still have these qualities,” she says.

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