Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi is made up of students from around the world, with a depth and breadth of experiences that create a vibrant, thriving student body community.
In this series of Student Voice articles, we provide a platform for the students in our community to share their experiences and passions and we explore how Dulwich has helped them Learn Worldwise, so they can Graduate Worldwise.
Student leadership is valued at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi. We believe it is important that our students are provided opportunities to develop skillsets that are valued by universities around the world, and that will serve them well beyond university. Leadership is one of the critical skills required to be a successful 21st century global citizen.
A new student leadership position this academic year is the Marketing and Communications Intern. This week, we sat down with Vaishu in Year 9 to learn more about her motivations, and what it means to be the Marketing and Communications Intern.
Q. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Vaishnavi and here at the school, I am affectionately known as Vaishu. I am from the southern part of India. I was born in Bangalore and then moved with my family to Chennai. I studied at Vanshi Manthan Vidyashram in Chennai till Year 7. The learnings at Manthan Vidyshram gave me a solid foundation to commence my journey at Dulwich. My hometown is in Kerala, a province in the southernmost part of India. I am currently in Year 9 at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi. I have been here in Shanghai for one and a half years now.
This is my first time in China. It was very intriguing at first, because in India the climate is hot and humid. It was difficult to adapt to the cold weather. But now I love it. Shanghai is such a wonderful place.
Q. Can you tell us about your time at Dulwich?
I love my school. I have all positives to say about my school. The teachers are wonderful- they encourage us to explore. We have a very welcoming and kind headmaster, whose vision guides Dulwich Puxi. I love the facilities like the huge gymnasium. It’s fit for all kinds of sports. We have students from many different nationalities, giving us opportunities to know different cultures. It makes the school a wonderful place.
Q. What are some of the highlights?
School itself is a wonderful place, but the most wonderful experiences I have had would be the residential trips. For example, last year we went to Sichuan in Chengdu. We enjoyed our time a lot. We went with the current Year 10 students.
This year we went to Chongming Island together with the Year 7 and 8 students. We did a lot of fun stuff. We made Chongming cakes, went peach picking, harvested taro roots and went camping under the night sky by a lake. It was a beautiful experience.
I think at school our daily routines are quite focused on studying, but when we leave the campus and explore, we become more inquisitive and risk-taking. This is important for us as young people.
Q. What have you learned about yourself since you joined the College?
I have found that I learn languages very quickly. Before I joined the College I couldn’t speak any Mandarin, but I have picked it up quite quickly. This is an addition to the few Indian languages I already speak. Adding Mandarin to this list is very helpful. Learning is very interactive at Dulwich, thanks to the teachers and their commitment. I found learning is fun at Dulwich.
Q. What are your aspirations for the future?
I would like to serve in the Armed Forces. Although I have not decided the exact field, joining the Armed Forces is what I am really passionate about. However, I am still working through the pathway I should take to achieve that. Luckily, we have a really good university and career counseling programme.
Year 9 is a pre-IGCSE year, so Mr. Zarate is helping us work through all the options we have available and choose the right IGCSE courses. He meets with us regularly and helps us explore our aspirations, then matches them up with the IGCSE courses that will help us achieve them. We still haven’t made our final decisions. The next step is to discuss our options with our parents and other teaching staff. Through a dialogue we will be guided to choose the best subjects for our needs.
Q. Tell us about your Student Leadership role.
I am the Marketing and Communications Intern. This is a new leadership position introduced this year. I am expected to write articles about the school and events taking place. I am also expected to represent the College at key events. For example, this year I have spoken at the Remembrance Day assembly, and the Diwali assembly. In the Remembrance Day assembly, I spoke about the role of women and nurses in World War II, something I feel passionate about. For Diwali, as the only Indian student in the College, I took the opportunity to speak about what Diwali means to me, and to share the traditions and stories about Diwali with the school community. This was very meaningful for me.
As this is a new role, I am still working with the Marketing and Communications team to define the entire scope of the role and see how I can contribute to the life of the College, and in particular raising up the representation of student voice in College communications.
I have found the role very interesting so far, because I have been able to develop my own communications skills, to take feedback and reflect upon the work I am doing. This has greatly improved my writing skills, and also my ability to work confidently with a range of students.
For last week’s article with Isabel, the Head Student, I had to interview her, then transcribe the interview and polish it into an article ready to be published. This was a time-consuming process. In the end I found a website that could help with the transcribing process, but I also needed to go through and ensure it was accurate, then format it all correctly. I learned a lot about how to take an interview recording and represent it in a way fit for publishing in print.
Q. What do you want to achieve this year as Marketing and Communications Intern?
Firstly, I want to be successful in the role and set the stage for students who would like to do this role in the future. Next, I would also like to be a positive role-model for other students in the College. Lastly, I would like to improve my communication skills. I am excited to see how the role will develop and will make the most of this opportunity.
Q. Who has supported you in this role?
My parents, the teachers and staff have all helped me a lot. My parents helped me to realise that I do have leadership skills and encouraged me to do my best in this role. The role has been a little harder than I thought. A good leader needs to be a good role model and needs to be able to learn from mistakes. That’s a difficult but important lesson to learn.
Q. Why is this role important for you?
Apart from the benefits I have mentioned before, I think this role will be an important part of boosting my university application. It is a valuable experience that will demonstrate that I can be reflective of my own skills and have a commitment to learning and developing myself. I think it’s also providing me with a great opportunity to hone my existing talents and learn more about myself.
I have learned a lot about myself and my classmates. I have noticed that every single student has innate and unique talents and abilities and it is great to speak with them and help them highlight their strengths.
I also think it is important to have student leadership roles because they raise up and bring attention to student voice. It is important to have a range of ideas and opinions expressed around the College, and those shouldn’t only come for the teachers and staff.
Q. Tell us about some of the projects you have planned for the year.
I am currently working with Mr. Matthews, the Director of Marketing and Communications, on this series of Student Voice articles. We plan to profile all of the different leadership positions in the College, such as the House Captains and Student Council. This is our first main project.
We are also planning a series of podcasts. I am currently working with the Head Librarian and Mr. Matthews to identify how we can execute that idea, but I’ve already received a lot of enthusiasm about this from students.
Q. Do you have any advice for students thinking of taking on leadership positions within the College?
Yes, you need to be able to work together with other students, collaborate with them and listen to their ideas and feedback. Bringing together many different ideas and discussing all of the options will help you come to the best solution or idea. You also need to be able to work independently and manage your time effectively, so that you can complete all of the tasks the leadership position entails as well as completing your homework and other school and personal commitments. In the Senior School our studies take top priority. Whether we are preparing for IGCSE or the IB Diploma Programme, getting the best results requires a lot of time and focus. You need to be able to balance the leadership position with your study commitments.