When international student Zhichun (Gian) Chen and his family began looking for their perfect school, they soon discovered ACG Strathallan fulfilled all their needs. Recognised as the top academic school in South Auckland, Strathallan also offers the wide green spaces and sports facilities that were most important to Gian, alongside a thriving arts programme and a host of extra-curricular options.
Excited at the prospect of joining Strathallan, Gian become a member of the Year 7 cohort at the beginning of 2020. While his parents were confident that the supportive and holistic environment the school promotes would help their son reach his potential, they are amazed at how well he has progressed so far.
Over the past five months Gian has quickly adapted to his new school and is thriving under the Cambridge curriculum. The eleven-year-old dynamo is making the most of every opportunity and was even nominated by two of his subject teachers for the Principal’s Award for Term 1.
A keen scholar, Gian is enjoying the wide range of subjects and activities available to him, both in the classroom and on the sports field.
“My favourite subject is Sport, because in our sport class, we often get a lot of interesting games such as football, badminton, netball, Maori games, nonstop cricket and many others,” explains Gian.
“I also enjoy Drama and Dance. Miss Brady teaches us that, and always makes it fun: dancing, singing and tongue twisters. I like how Miss Brady and Mr McKay [Music teacher] always teach us something about how to sing well and how to dance well.
The support and guidance of his teachers has helped make Gian’s transition to Strathallan as smooth and seamless as possible.
“It was very easy because at ACG, the teachers are all nice to me. They are all very enthusiastic and when I have any questions, I can ask for help from them.”
While Gian has enjoyed the move to Strathallan’s Cambridge curriculum, he admits there have been challenges, especially when introduced to subjects he was previously unfamiliar with. However, he has found that through hard work and dedication, the rewards of a good grade outweigh everything else.
“The major challenge for me is Social Science, because we didn’t have this at my old school, so I don’t know some of the things. But the way the teachers teach helps me get more interested in it.”
With Strathallan having exceeded their expectations, Gian’s parents are deeply appreciative of the assistance their son has received as an international student. They believe he has grown enormously in the short time he has been at the school, finding friendship, confidence, and developing a strong work ethic.
“That is what we have been looking forward to,” adds mum Xueping (Anna).