On a nice Tuesday afternoon at the end of August, while CIS is still in the excitement of its first week of school, our alumni Owen Lu visited the new CIS campus. While he was enrolled at CIS, we were still based at our Tianhe campus, so it was a great pleasure to show him our new campus and reconnect with some old friends!
Owen graduated from CIS back in 2017 and received the Alberta High School Diploma. He is a great example of how the Alberta High School Diploma is valued in the United States because he was admitted to the Questrom School of Business at Boston University. On top of that, he is also a student athlete and plays on the Boston University Tennis Squad. He has been playing tennis since the age of six and his well tanned arms shows the amount of time he spends practicing and playing.
Thinking back to his high school career at CIS, the first word that came to mind is ‘busy’. As a student athlete, Owen had a busy schedule. He had to make sure to balance tennis practice with schoolwork so he could be sure to complete the 100 credits he needed to graduate. For those three years he was in class every morning, tennis practice in the afternoons and studying and homework in the evenings.
With that persistence and diligence, Owen went on to continue a busy life at Boston University. He still manages to excel in academics despite having a rigorous training schedule and state-wide tournaments. Recently, he noticed that lots of amateur tennis players were unfamiliar with the English tennis terms that he so commonly uses and hears, so he decided to do something about it. He started a WeChat Official Account introducing tennis vocabulary and tennis technology (WeChat ID: BotunerTennis).
After a short school tour, we sat down in the Learning Commons and had a chat about his life in CIS, Boston and his future.
How is university life? Tell me about your day.
Very busy. I get up at about five o ‘clock every day for skill training, strength training, and endurance training until 11:00am. Then classes in the afternoon. The curriculum at Boston University is quite flexible, allowing me to balance tennis training and academic courses. However, there are a lot of group projects for a business major. Sometimes our group discussion will run until late night, and then it’s 5 o’clock again the very next day. School competition is very intense, I have games nearly every week. Most of the time, we get on buses to other cities for weekend games on Saturday morning, return to school on Sunday, starting a new week next day.
Ever had hard moments when you first arrived in the US?
The biggest obstacle would be culture differences, although I had no problems with the language cause at CIS we are used to all English learning. Sports teams have unique cultures and interpersonal relationships which was complicated in the beginning, but things got better with time.
Talking about high school, why did you choose CIS?
I had already set my goal of studying abroad, but I needed to practice tennis at the same time. We visited several international schools in Guangzhou, CIS was the only one that allowed me to balance my training and academic courses. In those three years, the teachers of CIS helped me a lot with online resources and flexible schedules, so that I can successfully meet the requirements of the Alberta High School Diploma.
How did your application go?
The admission criteria and academic scores at Boston University for me were the same as those of all other students. But in addition, I also needed to contact coaches about my sports expertise. In fact, students with a PE specialty applied for schools had relatively asymmetric information. The help from an intermediary agency was not very useful. In the end, I completed most of the materials and the application process myself. The overall process had a few detours, but was still successful fortunately.
If there was one piece of advice you would give to current high school students, what would it be?
Hmmm… Start preparing as early as possible. Set a goal and get to know your ideal school in advance, communicate with your high school teacher because they are very helpful. It’s never too early to make plans for your future.
Any plans for the future?
I am very interested in business. I enjoyed the courses at BU this year. I think I will consider doing business in the future. This summer I came back to Guangzhou and completed an internship in the Investment Department of Yuexiu Real Estate, which was a leading Real Estate company in the Guangzhou. I learned a lot about venture capital, due diligence and risk assessment. It was all very interesting.
But still, keep playing tennis?
Of course. I love tennis and will continue to play as long as I can.
During our conversation, it became clear that Owen is a person with very clear goal and plan for his future. Which relatively rare for his peer group. He is not afraid to try what he loves and give it 100%. The week after we met, he flew back to Boston: “Finally! School is back again! Summer is too long and I need to start using the tuition I paid!” (Laughters)
CIS looks forward to more exciting news from Owen and wish him all the best in the US!