Our Year 13 international student Charles Ouyang hails from China. Described as an ‘exceptional student, top scholar and all-round nice guy’ by International Dean Sophia Grobler, since enrolling at ACG Strathallan Charles has thrown himself wholeheartedly into life at the school.
What is your favourite thing about ACG Strathallan?
The friendly students and staff here. Everyone’s always smiling and willing to help. When I walk around the school, sometimes I get asked by curious students about my height [Charles is two metres tall] or other things. The staff members here are really hospitable and patient. They are helpful not only to my study, but also to other extracurricular activities I do and even to my daily life.
What would you like to study when you graduate from the school?
I am really keen on studying in Hong Kong after graduating from ACG Strathallan. I want to study biology-related subjects, such as biochemistry and biomedicine. In the future, I hope to work in research and discover extremely exciting things.
What activities are you involved in?
Maths and science competitions, the 2017 Student Council, the school badminton team. Playing badminton for the school was a thing that I felt proud of and no doubt my badminton skills have developed greatly!
What did you learn as a school councillor?
The experience of being a councillor helped to improve my skills in communication, organisation, teamwork and, most importantly, leadership. I think to be a good leader you need to be able to stand out, be friendly to everyone, have firm values around what is right and what is wrong, and consider others’ positions.
How is school in New Zealand different to school in China?
I think this is a good question and I am the right person to answer it because I know what “real studying” in China is like.
The greatest difference is the way of teaching and learning. In China students have to learn and to study only for the final exam – Gaokao, while in New Zealand my teachers always encourage us to learn a wide range of knowledge and to find other materials if we are interested.
Exam pressure exists in New Zealand, but to a much lesser degree. Class sizes are also very different. In China you can easily find classes of 40 to 60 students. Here the classes are usually made up of 15 to 25 students. The small class sizes mean that teachers can pay more attention to each individual and students can have greater opportunities to express their opinions as well.
Where would you like to see yourself in ten years?
I hope to get involved in research in biochemistry-related fields, although I understand that everything is possible in the future. The purpose of getting education is to give myself choices, isn’t it?