- Thilo Braun - Class of 2012
- Anthea Low - Class of 2013
- April Xiaoyi Xu - Class of 2014
- Tianyu Li - Class of 2015
- Yulong (Alex) Ding - Class of 2015
- Rose Zhao - Class of 2016
- Ayden Zhang - Class of 2017
- Naike Ye - Class of 2017
- Austin Guo - Class of 2018
- Grace Wang - Class of 2018
- Jerry Shan - Class of 2018
- Alex Wang - Class of 2019
- Astrid Han - Class of 2019
Now, an MBA Candidate Stanford University Graduate School of Business!
Thilo has always been a great learner and leader. Graduating from BCIS in 2012 as a valedictorian, he was also the Student Council President, Volleyball and Soccer teams’ captain at BCIS. When we interviewed him, Thilo worked for Lilium Aviation after receiving a Master of Engineering in Aeronautical Engineering with first class Honours, now he is going back to continue his learning journey in Stanford University.
If using one word to describe BCIS, Thilo would say 'community'. As a young child he grew up in a small town in Germany, so coming to BCIS was his first international experience. The metropolis of Beijing and the diversity of people at BCIS not only taught Thilo to understand different cultures and perspectives but prepared him for an international life. After graduating from BCIS, Thilo studied Mandarin intensively for one semester in Beijing Foreign Studies University and joined an exchange program in National University of Singapore, where he explored a variety of areas of engineering and was awarded "Best Student in Applied Mechanics".
'Follow your passion' is Thilo's advice to all BCIS students. Passionate about planes, flying and aviation in general, he pursues a path of self-achievement rather than chasing for money. During his days at BCIS, Thilo was active in initiating various projects, leading Student Council and playing at ACAMIS sports tournaments, all of these provided him a well-rounded growth. "Taking a risk, project planning, working with mentors, [and] collaborating with others ... these kinds of experiences helped me to realise I that I could do things," he reflects. Thilo is responsible for leading two teams at Lilium now, in charge of developing industrialization strategy, prototyping facilities, and a wide variety of projects and initiatives.
Thilo admits it is hard to believe how recently he graduated given the number of things he has already accomplished. He is confident that as long as he continues to follow his passion, the experiences and opportunities will always be exciting.
Now, a Senior Accountant at KPMG Canada!
Anthea embraces the sense of community. She is always involved, rallying the team and working with others. Once a coach of the BCIS Middle School volleyball team and Residence Advisor at University of British Columbia (UBC), Anthea relishes the fulfillment of witnessing people grow and fostering a healthy community. Her time spent playing on BCIS volleyball teams for 5 years and organizing the BCIS FLUX Film Festival as a founding committee member allowed her to develop teamwork and communication skills, both of which continue to be valuable in her daily interactions with colleagues and clients.
Prior to earning her Bachelor of Commerce with Honours from UBC, Anthea received and accepted a full-time offer from KPMG. She admits that this made her decision to stay in Vancouver upon graduating easier. "Family will always be a reason to go back to Malaysia, but there are challenges to returning to a culture you've left for a long time." As a BCISer and third-culture child, Anthea is no stranger to moving and adapting to new environments, and she sets no limits to the future in terms of where her career will take her. "It has been a good journey so far, but anything is possible", she says.
Anthea reminisces about her time at BCIS and cherishes the diversity of this community, in terms of both people and experience. Indeed, diversity is valuable in many regards, like in culture, in mind, and in experience. She advises current BCIS students to explore different opportunities and find their own calling, "students are privileged to have the safety net that is education; they don’t need to worry about making a living yet, so this is the perfect time to explore. There are also many opportunities out there that are designed specifically for students." She looks forward to seeing the BCIS community continue to flourish and is happy to connect with BCIS Alumni and students to share her experiences.
April especially enjoyed the social sciences, foreign languages and humanities subjects during her time in school, which has been what guided her along her journey to where she is today. She was part of many enrichment activities, such as Model United Nations and BCIS theatre productions, and she founded a Roots & Shoots conservation club to help reduce our school's carbon footprint and further engaged with her interest in the well-being of the planet and the environment. She was part of several student organisations, and she recognises that this school allowed her to become a well-rounded student by offering opportunities for involvement. She commended involvement in the dramatic arts for helping her with self-confidence.
April enjoyed participating in BCIS enrichment activities with old and new friends alike, with whom she is still in touch today. One of her favourite memories from high school was going to Karaoke with her BCIS friends, which she still does when she visits Beijing.
She came to the 15th anniversary reunion right after a personal celebration of her own, finishing fall 2020 exams at Harvard. The reunion reminded April of her time at BCIS. This time however, she is excited to be contributing to the community from a different perspective as an alumna, a network she hopes will continue to help grow in the future.
April's message to students is "follow your heart and pursue your passion" don't be afraid to challenge yourself and move from the conventional path. We are sure April will continue to inspire students with her stories of success in the future.
To read her full alumni update click here.
Now, a Postgraduate Student at The University of British Columbia!
Tianyu (BCIS Class of 2015) is our new BCIS Alumni Relations Officer, he is the first BCIS alumnus to become a full-time staff member of our community. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in History with Philosophy Minor at the University of British Columbia, Tianyu comes back to Beijing.
Coming back to his alma mater, Tianyu says, brings back many good memories and constantly reminds him of the experience of adapting to an international education environment, where everything is stunningly different from what he had previously grown up with. "BCIS is such a place where my critical thinking and self-cultivation are empowered, and such empowerment is, admittedly, somewhat rare in the larger environment, which is certainly also part of my growth in Beijing."
Jack Li, Ted Kim, Tianyu Li and Alex Ding at BCIS Class of 2015 Graduation Ceremony.
Since his days at BCIS, Tianyu has always been contemplating about how present-day China comes to be: a massive question maybe demands a lifetime of assiduous study. While pondering and researching on a variety of topics, he also pays attention to disseminating knowledge and sharing ideas. Apart from acting as a public historian by having his multiple articles published on NetEase News and ThePaper News, Tianyu aims to be more active. He takes the role of BCIS Alumni Relations Officer in the belief of the great value of strengthening of connection "people who have different perspectives but share a similar vision of education" within this inspiring community.
Tianyu is aware of the challenges he will face, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, but he is confident that his unique perspective and varied experience will help the community to thrive. He hopes not only to act as a bridge between alumni with current BCIS faculty and students during his stay in Beijing, but also to stay committed to the success of our alumni network after he returns to UBC to pursue a Master's degree in the future.
Now, an Apple SoC Physical Design Engineer!
"It has a lot to do with luck," Alex reflects on his trajectory of applying to summer internship positions and says, "otherwise I'd still be pondering what to do for the summer." When we interviewed him, he was just about to start working as an ASIC Clocks Intern at Nvidia, but now he is working as a SoC Physical Design Engineer at Apple in California.
When Alex graduated from BCIS, receiving an academic scholarship during the Diploma Programme, and joined the University of Southern California (USC) in 2015, he lacked a clear career plan. Always a hardworking student, he presumed that maintaining a perfect grade would naturally speak on his behalf; although it did, graduating summa cum laude also dragged him into an existential crisis.
As Alex secured admission to the Electrical Engineering master's degree program in his junior year, he also found himself dwelling in self-doubt fostered by uncertainties in his own future. Contradictory as it might seem, the uncertainties he felt came from juxtaposing two certainties: the difficulty of overcoming the academic challenges of graduate level courses and the realization of his friends who majored in Computer Science received full-time offers with tempting packages soon upon completing their bachelor’s degree. Having just pushed through his toughest undergrad semester yet, Alex was worn out. At this point, further pursuing a master's degree in grad school seemed like climbing from the bottom of an abyss to Alex.
He tried to find peace of mind in studying the Japanese language and art history, and even thought about deferring his degree to get some rest. But eventually he decided to stick to his plan and give it a try first, "I thought to hell with my GPA. After all, the purpose of the degree is to prepare myself with the knowledge and skillset required to be competitive in the industry, not to keep straight A's that only look good on the transcript."
The first few months in grad school turned out to be his salvation. As Alex opened up his vision, the knowledge and concepts learned over the years finally came together as he saw the pieces building upon one another; "it was an epiphany that made me look back and realize the significance of the projects I worked on, and I no longer struggle with writing up my resume because I was able to gain insight into their relevance in the industry", Alex chuckles and also admits that luck was also on his side because he did not expect to receive an offer from Nvidia after only a few responses from other positions he applied through career fairs at school.
"Recently I took a step back to look at some of those moments, and began to consider when do we form opinions about ourselves? We tend to gradually decide on the things we are good at and not so good at, then, at some point, ultimately make clear statements to mark these definitions as a part of who we are." Alex reminisces the six years at BCIS, and the memory of studying DP Mathematics Higher Level left a strong impression to him. Back then, as the Higher Level and Standard Level classrooms were right next to each other, he remembers hearing laughter from the other room while struggling to keep up with the content presented to him. "Recognizing the strengths and limitations of oneself can be both a blessing and a curse; it might just intimidate you to shy away from trying, causing self-denial." When asked to give advice to his younger alumni fellows and BCIS students, Alex suggests them not to restrain themselves from trying other things even if they were set to pursue a certain goal, and for those who feel nervous about not knowing their paths yet, to leave behind the mindset of needing to define oneself and rest assured to explore.
"But frankly, I don't even know if I would listen to such advice if I had the chance to tell it to myself a year ago. Sometimes there is no better way than to let time take its course."
Rose recalls her main challenge as a teenager being her shyness. She remembers struggling to participate in class and overall having a fear of public speaking. She overcame that with the help of the BCIS drama department, who encouraged her constantly and supported her in performance.
She also recalls that the range of enrichment activities helped her to come out of her shell due to the friendships she made and through teacher support. She successfully faced her fears and felt empowered enough to be the MC for around 200 people at one of the school’s events. She feels as though BCIS gave her the confidence she thought she lacked and is extremely fond of her school.
"This is a special school," Rose says, as she remembers a time in physics class where she became interested in non-Newtonian fluid and the teachers encouraged her interest and actually managed to make such fluids in school to support her. She says that was what got her along the path to where she is now, helping her find what she was meant to do all along. She is so grateful to this community for helping her to pursue what she loves and chase her dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer.
She now lives her university life adventurously with a "gotta try 'em all" mindset, and is always excited to come down to the newly furnished BCIS Alumni Study Lounge to continue her studies.
Despite the years spent apart from BCIS, Ayden is still very much a fierce BCIS Warrior. He particularly values the relationships he built throughout his student career at BCIS, more specifically through sports teams. He owes his strong school spirit to the unity demonstrated when playing for our school in basketball games alongside his friends and classmates earning the 1st ACAMIS basketball prize for the school.
His school spirit and connection to the school is such that he and fellow alumni, Eva Dong (Class of 2017) and Grace Wang (Class of 2018), founded the BCIS New York Alumni Association. Together with other students, they hoped to create a resourceful platform where BCIS alumni can remain connected throughout the years and gain advice/mentorship from within the BCIS community in New York. "It is kind of a support network that can be used to fall back on and really connect to share knowledge and culture." Ayden says.
He values the resources and resourcefulness he gained in BCIS and suggests students "should take advantage of them" as he recollects how the environment here gave him the self-confidence and social empowerment he needed to become who he is today.
Graduating in Educational Studies & Chemistry and applying for post-grad studies
Naike recalls his admiration for the IB Diploma Programme. He relates that it is important to exploit interests particularly for the Extended Essay (EE). The experiment he designed for his EE was the key tool that allowed him to successfully apply for a research position at his university. He is grateful to the school for encouraging him to write his EE on a subject he was passionate about which motivated him to pursue his career.
He feels like the people who encouraged him the most were humanities teachers and advisors, throughout his school career despite not teaching him during IB years. He admits he was quite timid but is grateful to the environment at BCIS, which helped him to break out of his shell and gave him the confidence in himself he needed to succeed.
"Be yourself because the school will embrace you as you are and help you get where you need to go," he advises current students. He recommends and asks that we take chances, and we will be surprised where we have the capability to reach.
Austin really appreciates the support he received at BCIS, particularly as he developed his English language proficiency. When he first joined the school, he felt his level of English was inhibiting his overall achievement and it frustrated him. However, he recalls his English class was where he became independent, regained his confidence and picked up the pace again in his other classes.
Because of the diverse courses offered at BCIS, Austin found himself considering other interests, particularly in the areas design and technology, which allowed him to become a well-rounded individual. He also fondly recalls the time spent with friends outside the classroom, and highlights Week Without Walls trips and the graduate trip as some of the best experiences to connect within his grade level and with his advisors.
"The small community made it tighter," Austin mentioned. Because of this, he was able to create a strong bond with the school environment and people within it. So much so, that he felt encouraged to contact the Alumni Relations Team to become a more active member of the Alumni Network. He is looking forward to the BCIS alumni community further developing, so that it facilitates communication and gets the recognition it deserves.Austin wants to thank his teachers for all the help he received during his BCIS years, for supporting his long journey with the school and for making it a memorable one.
Ayden (Class of 2017) and Grace are co-founding members of BCIS New York Alumni Association.
Having attended BCIS for thirteen years, since kindergarten, Grace considers BCIS her "second home". She feels connected to the family-feel of the community and teachers that impacted her in her student career, where she recalls "everybody was on the same team wanting each other to succeed". When students would be scared about receiving feedback from universities teachers would reassure them and say, "the place you go is the best place suited for you". Finding comfort in the teacher support, Grace remembers feeling confident and motivated to pursue her passions to get her where she is today.
It was due to this tether to the school that she sparked the idea to create the BCIS New York Alumni Association along with fellow alumni Ayden Zhang (Class of 2017) and Eva (Class of 2017), in the 2020 summer alumni reunion. The association allows alumni from BCIS to be together and "create a place where everyone can just come back" says Grace, to connect old and new generations in a familiar environment while providing social and professional networking opportunities.
Grace says BCIS allowed her to exploit interests outside of the classroom too, such as sports. She particularly cherishes the school's music program and recognises its high standard as being what truly helped her find her way. She was offered the opportunity to participate with the Banana Arts project and go to many live events and live shows. The enrichment activity programme is one of the things she said helped her to think outside the box, as well as the school being focused on supporting student initiatives, supporting students to find what they enjoy.
Jerry remembers the support he received regarding the improvement of his English proficiency. He really admired the lack of discrimination regarding English levels, he recalls receiving nothing but support in his learning journey. He highlights the BCIS immersive environment as a crucial factor that aided his growth.
"Small class sizes mean that immersion can happen and students can create strong bonds with teachers. The fact that students come from such diverse backgrounds helps to expand horizons and gain culture." He admires that the school offers opportunities and helps students to become well-rounded and acquire a range of tastes. As well as this, students are encouraged to pursue their interests outside the classroom and academic lens, in Jerry's case it was music. He wistfully mentions that he misses practicing music, since he doesn’t have much time in university, and encourages students to exploit this opportunity while they can.
Jerry is really fond of the education he received in our school. "BCIS is a place I'll never forget" he says. Coronavirus provided a unique opportunity to come back to the community and reunite with old friends because many fellow alumni were trapped back home in Beijing. He feels grateful that they all had a chance to reconnect in the place where it all began.
Now, a Computer Engineering Student at UC Irvine!
Alex experiences an unusual circumstance first year into the university due to the coronavirus pandemic, he has to stay at his dorm alone and finish the rest of the semester online. It's a pity for him not being able to keep his fitness plan, but overall, he has a fruitful year after graduating from BCIS.
Initially Alex contemplated about majoring in Computer Science, but he chose Computer Engineering instead as he enjoys knowing more about hardware rather than just focus on coding. Looking back, he advises BCIS students who are willing to study in this field to explore beyond the coursework, as the frontier of such an innovative industry advances in an unpredictably fast pace, staying updated is always beneficial.
At UCI, Alex finds the opportunity to further develop his passion about fitness training. Although unfortunately his GPA drops a bit in the second term because he "was busy working out and didn’t manage his time so well," he is confident that he will make improvements in his second year.
Keen to make a contribution to his community, Alex is driven by this ambition to pay close attention to contemporary issues. At BCIS, he enjoyed doing 'Week at a Glance' with his friends to look at world news and working at the Student Council, these experiences prepared him to play a very active role at UCI Student Government, where he dedicated himself to improve the learning environment for his fellow Engineering students.
Alex is happy to help prospective students for his school or major from BCIS to better prepare themselves, he hopes to get more involved in the BCIS Alumni Community and continue to make BCIS an even better place.
Now, studying illustration in California!
Going from a student to alumni to rejoining the community on a more active level as a staff member, Astrid has done it all.
She largely remembers the challenge of coming to this school at 13-years-old and being shy and not knowing anybody. Simultaneously, she recalls the kindness of other students and how caring and welcoming they were, helping her out of her shell. They were the ones who encouraged her to get into basketball and other sports teams, where she made some of the best friendships along her school career and gained confidence to pursue her goals. She vividly recalls being a part of those sports teams and building strong bonds with team-mates and friendships across rival schools.
Astrid was also one of the first IDEATE program graduates. She felt like IDEATE helped her to use her voice and express herself creatively with the freedom she desired. She fondly states that these opportunities are what made her who she is today, and the memories and confidence she gained here are what deepens her connection to the school.
She felt supported and this was what made her decide to come back, this time as an intern for the Alumni Relations Team to help former students stay connected to the school and to give back to the community that helped her on her journey.