Darren Chong De Ren (Singapore) and Juanita Eben (Belgium) are this year’s headboy and girl at The British School of Beijing (Shunyi campus). The two 18-year-olds take time to tell us what they’ll miss most about high school and Beijing before embarking on their next chapter.
What will you miss most about high school?
Darren: I will definitely miss all of my schoolmates and teachers. Over the years, I have made many lasting friendships and it is sad to say goodbye. We have a tight knit community here at BSB. I owe my awesome high school experience to all these people who shared my ups and downs for the past two years. We’ve had many great memories.
Juanita: I’ll miss the fact that everybody knows each other here. Even though I have a group of close friends in my year, I also have a great time with students in the years below. I will miss my teachers that have motivated me to go for the best grades that I could. I am also going to miss playing competitive sports, my teammates with whom I had played great seasons, and leading younger students.
Where will you go to school? Have you decided what to study in university? Darren: I plan to study politics, philosophy, and economics (PPE) in the UK in the near future. Prior to university, I will be returning to Singapore to serve National Service for two years. I am looking forward to be living in Singapore for the first time in 18 years.
Juanita: Next fall, I will go to the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. I applied to study medicine since it has always been a dream of mine. I have always been fascinated by the human body so I think that it will be a nourishing experience.
What advice would you offer to under classmen?
Darren: I think the most important piece of advice is to keep an open mind and be observant. Ignorance is what causes us to stagnate on the path of our personal development and maturity. Over the years I have heeded the wisdom and advice of my seniors and tried to keep an open mind. By being open, you can meet new people and open up experiences that you would never have expected before. You also gain a wealth of knowledge and experience which helps you to mature in life. So surprise yourself. Follow the winds of change and see where they take you. You never know what exciting things lie just beyond the horizon!
Juanita: I think the greatest advice I can give to other people is to stay on track. Try to be involved in the school community as much as possible and do not be afraid to talk to teachers and even joke around with them. My personal experience showed me that taking the time to be available to everybody earns people’s trust. They will want to share bad and good experiences with you. This is part of the fun in going to school! I will always remember high school as a great part of my life, full of amazing memories.
What will you miss most about Beijing?
Darren: I think I will miss the expatriate lifestyle here in Beijing the most. I’ve been an expatriate all my life and living in Beijing for eight years has given me another place to call home. The large welcoming expat community here is something I won’t easily forget.
Juanita: I have not been in Beijing for long but I will definitely miss it a lot. There are so many opportunities for foreigners here that you would not be able to have anywhere else. Of course, I will also miss all my friends a lot.
Photos: Courtesy of BSB