This Alumni Spotlight sheds some light on the journeys of a talented art student, Karen Xu and her experiences at AISG. Karen shares her hopes to become an independent and outstanding artist and storyteller, her IB experience that shaped her as a critical thinker, and her big upcoming move to New York. Let’s discover more about Karen.
Now that your senior year has ended, was there any moment or event this past year that made a defining impact or lasting impression?
The 20-21 Chinese New Year Celebration was an unforgettable experience. The Chinese Lang & Lit HL class prepared a traditional Chinese song and Chinese rap mash-up performance. Everyone collaborated on the performance, making use of their skills and talents, each taking part in tasks such as filming, composing, editing, singing and dancing. I wrote the lyrics for the traditional Chinese song and sang them, and I translated both the song and rap into English. We devoted large amounts of time to practicing, until our embryonic framework was transformed to a complete performance.
How did the IB curriculum affect your perspective towards education?
I believe the most valuable thing about the IB are the thinking skills students gain from two years of learning. Theory of knowledge, for example, opened my door to critical thinking, allowing me to learn with a multidisciplinary approach and assess new knowledge from different perspectives. One that knows a lot is knowledgeable, but only one that thinks is intelligent. The IB curriculum makes one think, and this ability to think, in most cases, makes one humbler and more temperate. Taking the IB really helped me become a kinder person.
In regards to the outbreak of COVID-19, what was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
During the pandemic, there were times that we had to transition to online education. The comfortable environment at home was a challenge to learn, as my bed and electronic devices were much more accessible than at school, which distracted my learning to some extent. When I realized I was beginning to slack off in learning, I cleared my mind from distracting thoughts and tried to act as if I was in school.
Where will you be going to college and what are you looking forward to the most?
New York University. I look forward to life in a new environment and meeting new people, as I have stayed in Guangzhou for most of my life. I believe my experience at NYU will expand my vision and broaden my knowledge.
This year we celebrated AISG’s 40th Anniversary. What thoughts or emotions come to mind and what does this mean to you?
This is my 13th year at AISG, and I have watched many people come and go. AISG is not only a school, but also a place where people gather, get along, establish relationships, and form a sense of community. I cherish how AISG puts emphasis on creating a sense of belonging for all students and faculty, despite the changeful nature of international schools. AISG is not home, but it feels like home.
What advice do you have for current students to make the most of their experience at AISG?
My advice is that all students make friends, have fun, eat well, and participate in as many activities as you can. Despite the increasingly competitiveness of modern academic environments, I believe life is not all about accomplishing and improving, but also enjoying and being happy. If you fail a test, you may regret it for days; but if you miss an activity that you could have been in, you may regret it for years.
What accomplishments do you dream to achieve in the next five years and how will your education at AISG help you achieve these?
I hope to become an independent and outstanding artist that tells stories through art. Though art classes at AISG did not teach me how to draw, it taught me how to put my ideas and thoughts into art. Most people can obtain good skills by practicing, but the ability to think relies on experience and education. I believe that the thinking skills I gained at AISG will provide inspiration for my art and help me become a successful artist and storyteller.
Karen's extracurriculars/activities/awards/etc. during her time at AISG:
- APAC Choir (2018-2019)
- Art Club (2021-2022)
- Quiz Bowl (2018-2019)
- Rams Reception (2020-2021)
- Anime Club (2018-2020)
- Chinese Newspaper (2020-2022)
- Cross Country (2020-2022)
- National Honor Chinese Society (2020-2022)
- Roots and Shoots People (2018-2019)
- Liphy (2018-2022)
- Cross Country Coaches Choice Award (2020-2021)
Thank you Karen for sharing and your beautiful performance during graduation. Remember to be the 'flashlight' that illuminates each other and the world. Congratulations to the class of 2022! Once a Ram, always a Ram!