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On life at FIS and moving forward: our graduates share their story

Our 2020 IB and Baccalaureate graduates share how they feel about their years at FIS and starting their higher education

This summer, as they are still transitioning from high school graduates to soon-to-be university students, some Class of 2020 Y13 and Terminale students share a few words about what it meant to be a FIS student and how they imagine the next chapter to come.

#8 Audrey, International Stream

#7 Matias, French Stream

#6 Jenny, International Stream 

#5 Matthew, International Stream

#4 Raphaëlle, French Stream 

#3 Mayumi, International Stream 

#2 Clémence, French Stream

#1 Yash, International Stream

Audrey, IB Graduate (International Stream)

How old were you when you joined FIS?

I joined when I was 3 years old.

What valuable learning did you get from the school? 

I’ve become a really confident person because of all the support I’ve gotten at FIS. Being at this school has taught me that if I stay true to myself and my passion, the sky is the limit.

Is there any teacher you particularly appreciated?

Absolutely! Mr Burt has been one of the most influential people in my life, having introduced me to drama and given me countless opportunities to flourish in the field. Mrs Relan has always pushed me to be the best I possibly can and has been nothing but supportive of me. I will never forget my teachers here.

Any word of wisdom, anecdote, piece of advice you want to share with your fellow FIS students? 

Take ownership of your learning. Ask questions, always go the extra mile, and make the most of your school life.

What was your favourite part of your years at FIS? 

Drama club. Being in productions and playing drama games at lunchtime was my favourite time of the week - and getting to run it in Year 13 was an honour.

The best memory you'll take away with you? 

The Year 9 France Trip was probably one of the most memorable trips of my life. I will treasure that experience (and the mandatory scrapbook!) forever.

What are your plans for next year? 

I will be studying Drama, Applied Theatre and Education at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, in England.

Why did you choose this school/major specifically? 

I received offers from Goldsmiths University of London (Performance, Politics and Society), University of Sussex (Theatre and Performance), University of Warwick (Theatre Studies and Global Sustainable Development). I chose this course because I want to be in a big city like London and because it is most relevant to what I want to do in the future - I want to make an impact and promote theatre in education. I also wanted to go to a drama school instead of a regular university to fully immerse myself in the industry.

What are your hopes and plans for the long-term future?

I want to be making and performing theatre, and using it as an educative tool. I want to tell stories that change the way we think about what’s going on in the world - social, environmental and political issues. I’m not sure where or how I’ll be doing that, but I’ve got a couple of years to figure the logistics out :)


Matias, Baccalaureate Graduate (French Stream)

How old were you when you joined FIS?

4 years old.

What valuable learning did you get from the school?

I spent my entire childhood and adolescence within FIS. Most of the valuable knowledge and skills I have acquired in life come from the great teachers and friends I have met throughout the years. Hence, the learnings I have received from the school contributed to the shaping of my character and personality. I would have been a different person if I had received my education elsewhere.

Is there any teacher you particularly appreciated?

Mr. Delvalle and Mme. Barthelon.

Any word of wisdom, anecdote, piece of advice you want to share with your fellow FIS students? 

Enjoy the wonderful city of Hong Kong, characterized by its huge diversity of landscapes. From sunny beaches, hiking trails, peaceful seasides, busy night districts, central business districts to small rural villages - all within your reach. My advice is to explore, experience and enjoy everything that the city has to offer, as you will hardly find any other city as unique as Hong Kong!

If you had to define FIS in 3 words (or 1 or 5...) 

Academically excellent, Multicultural, Diverse, Open minded, Equity.

What was your favourite part of your years at FIS? 

The best part of my years at FIS was making a lot of good friends. I have built some strong and lasting friendships with many people and I sure hope to maintain them after leaving FIS.

The best memory you'll take away with you? 

All the great moments I spent with my friends, inside and outside of the school.

What are your plans for next year? 

I was accepted for CPES Sciences, at Lycée Henri IV - Université PSL.

Why did you choose this school/major specifically? 

I received an admission offer from HKUST (Bachelor of Engineering), however after a lot of thought and hesitation, I decided to decline the offer. Having lived in Hong Kong since birth, I think it's best for me to finally step outside of my comfort zone, to open myself to the world, broaden my horizons and to expose myself to a new environment in which I hope to thrive.

What are your hopes and plans for the long-term future?

My current plan is to study a Master's degree in Engineering. I would then like to have a career in engineering or fields related to commerce and banking. For me it's a little bit too early to tell where I'd like to settle down after my studies as this really depends on a myriad of factors (political situation, familial situation, job opportunities, liking for a country...).

Anything else you'd like to add?

Having grown and matured up in FIS since my childhood, I know that this school will always have a special place in my heart. I feel very grateful to have received an excellent education from FIS and I am certain that all of the valuable skills, knowledge and teachings the school has given me will help me obtain a fulfilling career in the future. I would like to thank all of the teachers and staff for their care and commitment towards the students. I am also very happy that I made a lot of good friends with whom I spent some great and memorable moments. All in all I am very satisfied with my experience at FIS and I am proud to be among the school's alumni.


Jenny, IB Graduate (International Stream)

How old were you when you joined FIS?

I was 15 years old and had just got back from studying in France. 4 academic years have just gone by so abruptly!

What valuable learning did you get from the school?

Over the course of my four years, I had initially struggled with settling in at FIS. I learned to appreciate others and what I was able to do myself over time. I became stronger in regards to upholding better work habits which I am grateful for my peers and teachers in guiding me to do so.

Is there any teacher you particularly appreciated?

All my teachers. I also miss Mme Leonard. They were all there to aid me when I was feeling most down and always knew how to provide solid advice for my work. 

Any word of wisdom, anecdote, piece of advice you want to share with your fellow FIS students? 

Don't be afraid to speak up. Use your voice to be heard when the occasion is right. Don't lose yourself amongst the others. Sometimes it’s better to listen to yourself because you’re the one who knows what makes you happiest.

If you had to define FIS in 3 words (or 1 or 5...) 

Rocky but worth it.

What was your favourite part of your years at FIS? 

Our Year 12 CAS Trip to Sanya. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else – I loved the variety of activities the teachers had prepared for us such as water sports. Kayaking is my favorite water sport and I was happy they brought it to Sanya. I felt a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment thanks to the trip, as we got to help out at the orphanage with children who had disabilities. I got to help design a sign in Chinese for the orphanage’s shop, where they would sell art pieces the kids made.

The best memory you'll take away with you? 

Being understood by teachers. My situation was rather tough and I was very glad that they did their very best to accommodate my needs. They were very friendly and were willing to hear me out; I’d had troubles in feeling my issues were actual issues and they were able to provide comfort and constructive advice.

What are your plans for next year? 

I should be studying at HKU, ideally I’d like to major in English Studies but since it’s my first year I still have some time to explore what I really would like to pursue for my courses. I’m excited and nervous about it. I hope in a year from now I’ll be able to manage myself efficiently.

Why did you choose this school/major specifically? 

CUHK – I wanted to apply for their Global Studies Programme but resorted to opting for HKU, as it is a once in a lifetime experience for many youngsters, a place many may have sought for.

What are your hopes and plans for the long-term future?

In an ideal world, I’d love to work alongside creative and global-minded individuals. I had many plans in the past to pursue art or writing as a child but reality is like eating bricks in Hong Kong. "Follow your dreams" is sadly not something I can follow through, but I have to be flexible and work my way around it, like creating compromises. It's ironic – you are told this as a child, by your parents and peers and teachers. Realistically, I'll most likely resort to something else more stable and consider my art as hobbies – something to relieve my stress. IB showed me how strenuous art can be and I realised my own fragility but I was ultimately able to appreciate people with strong spirits and rigid commitment to their craft.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I still wish I got to paint the mural in the student room. If FIS allowed it I would love to make a comeback.


Matthew, IB Graduate (International Stream)

How old were you when you joined FIS?

15 years old.

What valuable learning did you get from the school? 

When I first joined FIS, I was really individualistic, thinking that I could do everything by myself. However, FIS helped me change this mindset. I started to collaborate better with others and being more open-minded.

Is there any teacher you particularly appreciated?

I would like to thank my Maths and Science teachers for pushing me to better appreciate the subjects in the Natural Sciences and Maths. Particularly Mr Yukon Man, Mr Gary Wines, Mrs Archana Relan who encouraged me to be my best in science lessons and Mr Thomas Tauts and Ms Rita Wong whose passion for mathematics inspired me to work hard. 

Any word of wisdom, anecdote, piece of advice you want to share with your fellow FIS students? 

Although life may seem to be a race, you will also need to understand that if you want to run fast, go alone but if you are planning to go further go together. Hence, be kind to others so that when you finish your degree in university and start working, you will have a support network to carry you forward. 

If you had to define FIS in 3 words, what would they be? 

A supportive community.

What was your favourite part of your years at FIS? 

When it came around to exams, the school became half-empty and this emptiness allowed me to better concentrate revising for exams compared to the boisterous environment during regular school hours. 

The best memory you'll take away with you? 

The best memory I will take away from FIS is the fun I had preparing talks during assembly. The preparation of the talks and seeing the audience being so engaged warmed my heart.

What are your plans for next year? 

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I am thinking of studying in Mainland China at Tsinghua University, doing Materials Science. Afterwards, when everything is controlled, I hope to transfer to Cambridge to study Natural Sciences or Imperial College London to study Chemistry with Molecular Physics.

Why did you choose this school/major specifically? 

I received offers from Imperial College London, University College London, the Universities of Durham and Edinburgh. I applied for Natural Sciences at UCL and Durham, Chemistry with Molecular Physics at Imperial and Chemistry at Edinburgh. I chose these subjects because I have enjoyed Chemistry and I wanted to incorporate Maths and other Natural Sciences subjects to my study. 

What are your hopes and plans for the long-term future? 

After my BSc/MSc I hope to continue studying to get a PhD in Chemistry/Materials Science. After, I hope to start work as a lecturer at a UK or Chinese university. 

Anything else you'd like to add? 

Thank you, FIS, for teaching me how to be an all-rounder. I hope to visit soon and if lucky, start teaching at FIS to pass down the knowledge my teachers have provided me with. 


Raphaëlle, Baccalaureate Graduate (French Stream) 

How old were you when you joined FIS?

14 years old.

What valuable learning did you get from the school?

When I moved to Hong Kong from New York, I was taken aback by the extent to which the FIS was immersed in French culture. In Hong Kong, as opposed to in New York, my classmates spoke French in the hallways and behaved in ways different to those I had previously known; French culture was more palpable at the FIS. This made me feel uncomfortable at first and produced an emotional shock.

However, I found the FIS’ being geared towards the international offered a sense of balance. In fact, though French culture is deeply rooted in FIS values, not only is the school located in a very international setting, its students travel all over the world and/or come from all over the world. In this sense, I got the best of both worlds at the FIS: my attachment to French culture grew and with it my level in French, and my exposure to an international scheme increased drastically.

Any teacher you particularly appreciated?

The FIS offers its students very competent and engaged academic staff: professors who truly want the best for their students and administration who look out for their well-being. I have greatly learned from all of them, their diversity in methodology, character and personality having been key factors in my growth. For that, I thank each and one of them. That said, while they all deserve a mention here, I can only mention a few, particularly:

  • Mr. Whitehurst, my OIB History professor. His honesty complemented by his goodwill helped us to improve constantly. He systematically reminded us of what we were working towards and gave our work deeper meaning. Our computer-based system additionally helped us prep for university: what a plus!
  • Ms. Soubiran, my Physics and Chemistry professor. Her teachings were very well structured and she fully played off of her students’ reactions in class. As a student, I truly felt listened to and guided in my learning.
  • Mr. Kugler, another one of my Physics and Chemistry professors. The livelihood and humour he added to his holistic teachings made class entertaining and the content more readily accessible. Passionate about his discipline, he took time to execute experiments with us. Doing this not only allowed him to show us the beauty of his discipline, it allowed us to grasp the concepts we were learning more concretely.
  • Señora Kind Medina, my Spanish language professor. She saw potential in advanced students and helped them improve faster all the while supporting students with difficulties. She made sure not to exclude either one of these types of students in order to maintain a cohesive class group. Her classes were very nourishing.
  • Ms. O’Brien, my OIB English Literature professor. She truly made our OIB community feel like a family. She had immense faith in us and admired us for our liveliness and energy, despite our occasional lack of maturity. The comments she made on our work were constructive, making it easier for us to truly progress and gain in clarity and fluidity.
  • Mr. Paris, my Mathematics professor. His teaching style is undoubtedly the one that enhanced my methodology and rigour the most. My communication skills, both written and oral, have greatly increased since then.
  • Mr. Bartozzi, another one of my Mathematics professors. His use of daily events to introduce mathematical concepts was fascinating and immensely effective. The effort he put into providing us with solid material during online schooling was significant, and for that, I am eternally grateful. He truly does go the extra mile for his students.
  • Mr. Nogaro and Mr. Pierre, my Physical Education professors. They saw the potential in my teammates and I. They pushed me out of my comfort zone, particularly in track and field where they encouraged me to compete in events I’d feared before but in which I ended up excelling quite rapidly. Their sharing of the theory behind physical education made us more willing to give it our best.

Any word of wisdom, anecdote, advice you want to share with your fellow FIS students? 

The FIS has a large community waiting to be consolidated. Take the initiative! Propose projects that foster collaboration, diversity, and community: the administrative staff and the student-led school bodies are not only open to propositions, they encourage them. Also, do get involved in school-based extracurricular activities and join sports teams: considering the student body is very large, these opportunities allow you to meet people from other grades, people you would not necessarily run into in the hallways. Overall, make your time at the FIS significant: makes links with people and work for the bettering of student and school life as a whole. The FIS offers you all the opportunities and structure you might need for this.

If you had to define FIS in 3 words (or 1 or 5...) 

INTERNATIONAL: you are immersed in an environment where students, teachers, and staff have traveled all over the world and/or come from all over the world.

INNOVATIVE and COLLABORATIVE: the education staff does its best to increase their collaboration with students and among students. They give you opportunities to bring life to your ideas. They give you guidelines and frequently communicate with you so as to make your projects as solid and as beneficial to the FIS community as possible.

What was your favourite part of your years at FIS? 

A major node in the AEFE network, the FIS participates in a large number of competitions with the French schools of the Asia Pacific region. I had the great pleasure of participating in, and winning, the basketball tournament in Shanghai and the track and field meet in both Singapore and Hong Kong. This aspect of the FIS is my favorite part in that it allows you to truly benefit from your time in Asia by traveling to various other countries. It also gives you the opportunity to meet students who are similar to you and who share the same interests as you. A healthy sense of competition pushes you to go beyond your limits and the sense of camaraderie and support is heart-warming. These events truly further the sense of community the FIS already provides.

The best memory you will take away with you? 

My fondest memory at the FIS is undoubtedly my trip to Krabi, Thailand in my junior year in the context of a study of geology. I went with my Biology and Physics and Chemistry professors, as well as with my classmates from the Scientific Stream (S). This trip hugely amplified cohesion in the group and made the concepts we studied in class easier to grasp and memorise. It was a wonderful and beautiful way to end our junior year and begin our senior year at the FIS.

What are your plans for next year? 

Bachelor of Science, Ecole Polytechnique

Why did you choose this school/major specifically? 

I received offers from McGill University, Boston University, Durham University, University College London, University of Exeter, King's College London, INSA Lyon, Université Paris Dauphine, among others.

I chose Ecole Polytechnique's Bachelor of Science because it allows me to simultaneously follow the French education system and benefit from its rigour, and also maintain my international background. Furthermore, the living conditions (campus facilities, accommodation, location) are suited to my desires.

What are your hopes and plans for the long-term future?

Though much uncertainty remains, I hope to study my master's degree in the United States, possibly on the East Coast.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I would like to sincerely thank the professors this year for the hard-work and effort they put into supplying us with top-quality material despite the circumstances we have all had to face.


Mayumi, IB Graduate (International Stream) 

How old were you when you joined FIS?

10 years old.

What valuable learning did you get from the school?

Relationship with teachers - I became more comfortable with reaching out to teachers to ask them questions. I used to be a lot more shy around teachers but I was fortunate enough to encounter many approachable teachers that are always willing to help students when needed.

Is there any teacher you particularly appreciated?

Mrs Relan, Mr Tilbrook, Ms Motwani, Mrs Haggard, Mme Gauthier

If you had to define FIS in 3 words (or 1 or 5...) 

Warm and supportive.

What was your favorite part of your years at FIS? 

Primary and junior secondary when the workload was much lighter!

The best memory you'll take away with you? 

The CAS trip is a trip for Y12s to go on to give them a small taste of CAS and to allow them to build on their CAS skills.  For our year group, we went to Sanya.  It was definitely a nice getaway and we were able to pick up a lot of CAS skills along the way as well.  I particularly liked the beach activities and also enjoyed volunteering at the Bright Connection, which was an orphanage for autistic children/children with physical disabilities.

What are your plans for next year? 

I will study Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University (Canada).

Why did you choose this school/major specifically? 

University of Toronto, Western University, Waterloo, Queen’s University. I chose McGill because it’s a good school for the sciences in Canada, and Montreal is also my favourite city in Canada.

What are your hopes and plans for the long-term future?

I plan on pursuing a graduate degree/medicine in Canada after finishing my Bachelor’s degree. I would also like to work in Canada (and maybe even Hong Kong) in the future.


Clémence, Baccalaureate graduate (French Stream)

How old were you when you joined FIS?

I completed almost all of my schooling at FIS since I was seven years old when I joined the school.

What valuable learning did you get from the school?

Over the last 11 years I have had the opportunity to join the American Section (OIB), to learn three foreign languages and to be surrounded by teachers who are not only passionate about their subject but also very caring towards their students. FIS has also allowed me to meet great people, the students are extremely close-knit, and everyone is pulling one another to the top.

Is there a teacher that you particularly appreciated?

I can think of Mr Whitehurst, my history teacher since 6è, who introduced me to MUN and to whom I owe my interest in American politics, Mrs McCarthy who has helped me prepare all my university applications and who has been very supportive. I would also like to thank Mr. Descambs, Mr. Simon and Mr. Gimenez, my teachers of French, Philosophy and History-Geography, who always pushed me to go beyond the expectations of high school and who broadened my horizons.

If you had to define the FIS in 3 words (or 1 or 5 ...)

Caring, Demanding, United.

The best memory you'll take away with you? 

My trip to SIMUN! It was a very stimulating experience because the subjects were difficult but being there with the whole FIS delegation, with everyone extremely motivated, made it even more incredible.

What are your plans for next year?

I will start with two years of multidisciplinary studies (history, politics, economics, sociology, law and foreign languages) and then I chose to specialise in Politics (Major) and Human Rights (Minor) during my last two years.

I will spend two years at SciencesPo Paris (Reims campus) then two years at Columbia University (New York).

Why did you choose this school/major specifically? 

I received 4 offers for the PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) programme at the universities of LSE, Kings, Durham and Manchester, and one offer for the ISPS (International Social and Political Sciences) programme at UCL. The double degree offered by SciencesPo and Columbia University has always been my dream, it is a programme that allows me to study many fields at the same time, while giving me the opportunity to specialise in the two subjects I am passionate about. I also wanted to discover the United States after studying for 8 years in the American Section, and to be at the heart of international politics.

What are your hopes and plans for the long-term future?

I'm not yet fixed on a specific career, I just know that I want to make myself useful, maybe it will take the form of a career in politics or at the United Nations.


Yash, IB graduate (International Stream)

How old were you when you joined FIS?

4 years old.

What valuable learning did you get from the school?

FIS has taught me the value of collaboration as well as independence and through all of my time here, I have become a much more confident and well-rounded individual.

Any teacher you particularly appreciated?

They were all amazing teachers, and I can't single out anyone who I appreciated more than the rest.

Any word of wisdom, anecdote, piece of advice you want to share with your fellow FIS students? 

Although at times it might seem like you have too much work and you are really starting to feel the pressure, with the right people around you and helping you, there isn't anything that is out of your reach.

If you had to define FIS in 3 words (or 1 or 5...) 

Diverse, Community, Collaborative.

What was your favourite part of your years at FIS? 

My favorite part of my time at FIS is definitely the time that I spent will all of my peers and teachers. I have made a lot of friends who I will be in constant communication with even after I leave. Furthermore, I also enjoyed spending time working with the community here at FIS, who are always challenging me in a good way.

The best memory you will take away with you? 

Definitely the time that I spend with my friends in school. They're a major reason why my school experience was as fruitful as it was.

What are your plans for next year? 

I will study Economics at University of California, Davis (USA).

Why did you choose this school/major specifically? 

I chose Davis because it had everything that I wanted from a university experience, and it's the school where I was most happy to spend the next few years of my life.

What are your hopes and plans for the long-term future?

As of right now, I am unsure of what my future holds for me, but the next step is university, and I'm looking forward to it.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I would like to thank the teachers and admin at FIS for making my school experience so memorable. I've spent 14 years at the school, and each one of them was amazing due to the teachers and peers I had around me, so thank you FIS.