The Self-Cultivation of an Honor Student
Studying at Xi’an Liangjiatan International School for 3.5 years
University Acceptances: KAIST
Major: Electrical Engineering
IBDP score: 42
“After successfully completing the entire IB Diploma course and preparing for my future journey in university, I’ve come to realize how much IB has contributed to my growth as an inquiring individual, beyond being just a student. The unique curriculum of IB, with its extra assignments such as EE, IAs, and TOK, provided me with abundant opportunities to explore the essence of learning, the interconnections between different concepts, and the application of knowledge in innovative ways. I haven’t come across any other curriculum that offers such enriching experiences. Thanks to the unwavering support from the XLIS community, I not only completed the IB course but also flourished as an inquirer.
He is an exemplary student in every sense.
Last month, at the 2023 IB Diploma Programme Graduation Ceremony held at Xi’an Liangjiatan International School, Korean student Minsang Kim won a total of five academic awards, including the Business Management Award, Chemistry Award, Analysis and Approaches Math HL Award, Theory of Knowledge Award (English), and IB Learner Profile Award.
In the eyes of teachers, he is diligent and always puts his studies first. Among his peers, he is not only academically outstanding but also known for his gentle personality, helpfulness, love for sports, and rightfully earns the title of an all-around student. Recently, he took part in university interviews at esteemed institutions like the University of Cambridge in the UK, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the prestigious Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, with his preferred major, Electronic Engineering. While his classmates admire his achievements, this shy young man humbly admits that three years ago, he couldn’t have imagined achieving what he has today.
“I had been studying in Korea before, and after coming to Xi’an Liangjiatan International School, I had to adapt to an all-English teaching system. Additionally, with the impact of the pandemic, we often had to attend online classes from home. All of this was challenging, and even understanding the course content was not easy at first.”
If the rapid improvement in English proficiency was driven by his environment, then his consistently excellent performance in the sciences stemmed from his passion from an early age.
Growing up in the highly competitive South Korean education system, Minsang rarely felt pressured by his parents regarding his studies. On the contrary, they encouraged him to explore his true interests. When they discovered his strong interest in robotics and electronic engineering, they actively enrolled him in robotics classes and youth programming training. After coming to Xi’an Liangjiatan International School, he readily joined the IT Club among many elective courses. Additionally, he voluntarily participated in the United States of America Computing Olympiad (USACO), an international competition that tests logical thinking and programming abilities.
“It’s a valuable experience that broadens my horizons. Winning or losing is not the most important; I focus on the experience gained and use it to find breakthroughs when tackling similar challenges next time,” says Minsang.
“Before studying the IB programme at Xi’an Liangjiatan International School, I saw myself as an ordinary person without any special qualities. However, IB truly changed me in many ways, making me a person who dares to take risks, pursue new things, and challenge myself,” says Minsang. He believes that the most significant help from IB was establishing his unique thinking pattern, enabling him to exist, think, and grow as a distinct individual.
While building oneself as an individual is crucial, connecting that individuality to the broader world and offering solace to “distant cries” seems to add an even deeper significance to the “growing pains” experienced during the process of individual growth.
For Minsang, the first time he felt this profound meaning was when he received a plea for help from Uganda.
During the preparation for the MYP5 personal project exhibition, two students from Uganda, who were far away from their classmates, reached out to ask for assistance. They were facing a real predicament – due to a lack of water resources, the local villagers had been enduring difficulties in accessing water for basic survival. They wanted to build a well in the village, but a lack of funds delayed the project’s launch. After learning about their situation, Minsang immediately participated in the fundraising activities and created a promotional video for the personal project exhibition. With the collective efforts of the community, the students quickly raised enough funds to support their Ugandan peers, enabling the successful construction of the first well, effectively solving the villagers’ survival problems.
“It was just a small act, nothing extraordinary, but seeing how my contribution could help our distant companions in times of urgency felt really cool.”
He is always good at recognizing the strengths and merits of each of his classmates but seldom talks about his own remarkable qualities. During our conversation, we noticed a detail – except for a few exceptions, for over 1000 days, Minsang has consistently shown up at the school gymnasium after school for exercise. When we asked about the reason for such persistence, he didn’t say much but simply smiled shyly, “It’s just a habit; it helps me relieve stress.”
May you bravely enjoy the world; best wishes to Minsang.
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Fancy Fan (Admin Officer)