As an international student, I feel that I am very empathetic towards people from different cultures and am able to connect with their perspectives. I have gained many experiences collaborating with people of different backgrounds and mindsets, hence, I have a lot of confidence in group work and taking leadership roles in order to help group members come to a consensus with decision making. As a third-culture child, I have been able to gain many skills from working under different environments, as different countries put different goals on students. Transitioning from different schools has been tough, however, it has made me more independent and curious about different cultures. When I lived in Australia, I never believed that I would be moving to another country. There is an immense difference between living in Manila, the Philippines, and Sydney Australia, and adjusting to these differences made me a better person.
My aspiration in life is to be successful. To me, success does not just mean having a lot of money, rather it is finding something that I enjoy and find happiness. I would like to work towards a job relative to science, as of right now medicine, as that is something I am passionate about. My passion for science started when I had my first science lesson in Grade 6, as I was curious about the many ways science can help people. In the Philippines, my dad was part of the rotary, and he organised for heart surgeons from the US to come and perform surgery on children’s hearts that had holes in them. These children lived on Smokey Mountain, a mountain of rubbish in Tondo where people pick rubbish to make a living, earning less than $2 a day. I was fascinated that firstly, there were people who could repair conditions in our bodies with their own hands, and secondly, that people would use their skills for people who cannot afford it so that they can spread their knowledge for people who need it. After that, I started looking more about medicine, and the new aspects they had found about it. My grandfather, a general practitioner, began talking to me about the new findings in medicine and how he spent his life helping people. He told me that a lot of his patients had been going to him for over 40 years, and he continues to do house visits to check up on them. He has never stopped loving his job, and that really inspired me, because spending a life helping people and saving lives, even if it is just making a small improvement, is definitely something I would like to do.
My focus in school is generally on high achievements academically, and doing well in every subject. I am not really sure where this motivation came from, because there has never been very much pressure on me from my parents or teachers, and I have always been self-motivated. I feel that it may have come from the people around me, because if I was ever compared to someone else who was doing well, it gave me a sense of competition and feeling as if I needed to do well also. I felt that I wouldn’t be able to be set apart from others if I didn’t try to keep high grades. However, this meant that I have been able to bounce back from challenges or tough situations. If I performed badly, I was taught self-awareness because it meant that my revision strategy was not working, and that I would need to reflect on what I have been doing. Focusing on achieving good grades has taught me a lot about looking back on what I have done and how I can learn from my mistakes.
Something that changed my perspective this year was when I went on my Grade 9 Expedition to Sichuan, China. It was both a challenging and eye-opening experience. As not everything went as planned, we learnt about resilience and how to overcome difficult experiences. During this time, we had an unfortunate experience with the weather, as it had snowed to the point where the temperature was too cold for our equipment. Many of us were a bit disappointed that we had to return the way we came, however, it was a great learning opportunity for us. I learnt to make the most out of the opportunities given to me. While we had to go down, it allowed us to have a great bonding experience and experience other activities we wouldn’t have been able to participate in otherwise. This showed me that I need to use what I have to make the best out of whatever situation, because though it may not be ideal, it is out of my control and I have to now do the best I can to improve the situation.
Overall, this year was full of events that have let me grow in my learning. I have experienced many new aspects such as starting the IGCSE course, Grade 9 trips, and examinations, and they have taught me many skills ranging from resilience to the ability to reflect on my achievements and setbacks.