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My Journey from Dulwich Shanghai to Dulwich Singapore to Yale-NUS College

Moving back to Singapore from Shanghai was probably one of the toughest times I had. Relocating, moving, packing up bits and pieces of my life as I transitioned from airport to airport while saying my farewells to my closest friends did not make the move easier. I’m sure many people can relate. The displacement that occurs when one is uprooted from a place they called home—the sense of loss and confusion as one tries to grapple with their changing identities. I didn’t know where home was.

Thankfully, I continued my studies in Dulwich Singapore (I previously studied at Dulwich Shanghai), where I realized that the IB curriculum really strips away your social life no matter which country you are in. Continuing my studies in an international school made it easier to acclimatize and assimilate back into the Singapore community. Moreover, the IB curriculum was so rigorous that I didn’t have time to mourn the loss of my home and friends—I was busy keeping up with CAS, university statements, doing IAs, and trying to comprehend what TOK was even about.

My time at Dulwich Singapore was bittersweet. I vividly remember struggling to manage five extra-curricular activities while maintaining my grades, keeping my predicted score high of 45 to achieve my goal: a good university. Somewhere along the way, while I was performing a balancing act, I tipped. I drowned amidst the countless deadlines and IAs that I had to do. One of the biggest obstacles was my Mathematics HL internal assessment.

Truthfully, the way Mathematics was taught at my school did not suit my learning style. There was not ‘direct teaching’ of concepts and how to apply them to questions; rather, we were taught the concept and then thrown into the deep end to grapple with the difficult questions. This was the same for the Mathematics IA too. So, I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. I wasted hours figuring out my topic and how to structure my coursework while racing against the clock to complete my other assignments.

But I didn’t worry for long. Thankfully, Dr. Boon, my tutor and the creator of EdXP, stepped in and advised me on my topic and approach and taught me everything I needed to know about the internal assessment. Dr Boon was probably one of the best tutors I had. And trust me, I’ve had quite a few. My mother was a hardcore ‘tiger mom’ back when I was in middle school, so I’ve attended a myriad of tutoring lessons. But Dr. Boon exceeded my expectations. Dr. Boon’s ability to adapt to my learning styles and tailor the lessons to fit my weaknesses worked exceptionally, to which I graduated from Dulwich College Singapore with a 7 in HL Mathematics Analysis & Approaches.

Looking back now, I think that my time with Dr Boon and at Dulwich College Singapore has taught me many things. For one, it has allowed me to truly understand the way I learnt things, it has enabled me to see where my limits are and where I truly thrived in. Being an IB student means giving up time spent on socializing and dedicated hours to perfecting an IA, or working on your EE until you’ve memorized every word, or volunteering at your local charity in order to clock in service hours for CAS. Either way, the IB diploma is tough and it is a precarious tight rope that you’re not allowed to fall off of.

So what I learnt, how I coped, was finding the right people to help you get through these tough times. One example being Dr. Boon, who has given me tremendous help and advice through my journey in the IB. Other examples would be my friends, family, teachers. Surround yourself with people that will support your journey and assist you.


This article was written by Cheryl, a student at Yale-NUS and a former IBDP student who scored 43 points at Dulwich College Singapore. Cheryl is currently a sophomore at Yale-NUS College majoring in Economics, and recently did a summer internship with the Asian American Journalists Association. Cheryl is also actively involved with EdXP as a consultant in the creation and development of the platform.


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