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    IGCSE High Achiever Anna Westerholt | Remember why you started

    Student Blog

    28 Apr, 2023

    12 : 12

    • Congratulations to Year 12 student Anna Westerholt who received ‘Highest Achievement’ in the Outstanding Cambridge Award Series for ‘Enterprise’. Find out from her angle, about the effect of passion-led studying, the importance of time management and the impact of ‘Brownie Mondays’. As a long-term student at our school, Anna also had a lot to share about our community and what it is like to be a student at YCIS Beijing.


      Originally from Germany, Anna has lived most of her life in Beijing. She spent her early childhood years in Germany and Japan and joined YCIS Beijing almost 10 years ago as a Year 4 student. Anna has an innate interest in Social Sciences (Politics, History and Law) and loves reading the News. Her open-mindedness towards social issues is also reflected in her commitment to social service projects and her active role within the school community as a member of the School’s Student Council. With her friend Sara Fernandez (Year 12), Anna has been running her Monday Brownie Business combining entrepreneurship and good deeds as their proceeds often go to charity.


      Passion and Positivity and a Study Plan


      How do you describe yourself?


      “I am a positive and outgoing person who is actively involved in the community. When challenges occur, I approach them with a positive mind as I strongly believe you can only overcome a roadblock with a positive outlook. An open mind helps in assessing and viewing all perspectives which are key to finding a solution. I enjoy spreading positivity within and outside the school community. A positive environment is created through its people, and positive mindsets lift people up! Helping others brings me an immense amount of happiness as it shows that every individual can make a change."


      Please share with us your story about how you won the ‘Highest Achievement’ in the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Award Series for Enterprise this year.


      "Apart from studying extensively, I found joy in the subject. I believe that my passion for entrepreneurship allowed me to be creative and successful. I invest a lot of my energy into the Brownie Business I am running with my friend and classmate Sara Fernandez, which was an essential part of the examination. The ability to use passion in my studies pushed me to excel and allowed me to take the extra steps to aim for and win this award."


      How does this award affect your future study and life planning?


      "This award will be very useful when applying to future colleges. It also showed me once again that I excel in the study fields of Humanities allowing me to narrow down my future University Major. I am looking into studying International Law in Europe at universities that are renowned for their Law programmes. In the UK it would be the London School of Economics and Political Science, Kings College London, University of Bristol and Oxford. Oxford is my absolute dream university. I am also contemplating studying in Spain at IE University or in the Netherlands at the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University or Maastricht University."


      What challenges have you encountered during your studies and how did you overcome them?


      "Smaller challenges often had to do with specific content. To overcome these, I independently reviewed the content myself or watched tutorials on the given topic. Additionally, I like to ask my peers or teachers for help or further explanation on the content. Another significant challenge, especially towards the end of each course was time management. There was a lot of studying and exam preparation to do in little time. The general support of teachers and providing us with revision content relieved part of the stress as it allowed for better focus and time management and hence successful revision."


      What are the contents of the IGCSE Enterprise exam?


      "The IGCSE enterprise exam encompasses two aspects. Firstly, your ability to understand and describe the key concepts of the subject. Second, your ability to delve deeper, assess and evaluate certain situations involving a case study. Considering the positive and negative factors allows you to reach a conclusion or suggestion for the given case study. In addition, you submit coursework which includes creating your own business."


      Balanced Academics, Big Support and Brownie Mondays


      Please tell us more about your business.


      "We came up with our Brownie Business in 2020, in Year 10, as part of a class competition within the subject Enterprise. It made my partner Sara and I realise we could turn our fun baking hobby into a profitable business. At first, baking brownies was a way to earn money and later evolved into donating our proceeds to charities. This happened when we interlinked our IGCSE Enterprise business with another subject, the IGCSE Global Perspectives group project where we raised funds for the MCF (Migrant Children’s Foundation). We call our business ‘Brownie Monday‘, as we usually sell our baked goods at least once a month on a Monday. Most of our customers stem from the student body and teachers. Their loyal support helped us realising two larger, notable donations providing daily necessities towards girls our age at different migrant schools. I feel beyond happy to have made a visible impact and a tangible achievement through our business."


      Please share your learning experience at YCIS BJ.


      "I have come to find that learning and teaching at YCIS Beijing are profoundly based on discussion, thinking exercises and asking questions. This creates an interesting way of knowledge delivery and the ability for students to think critically about the learning content. For example, in History, we are often given images, symbols and keywords to answer a question, even if we do not yet have much pre-knowledge. This method allows us students to apply critical thinking to formulate answers and gives us room for discussion. Instead of systematic memorization, we are guided towards logical thinking when learning and preparing for exams. This promotes long-run understanding and the ability to apply and extend what has been learned in a different context. The learning atmosphere at YCIS Beijing is a very supportive one. Teachers are always willing to help and find time to sit down with you one-on-one. In addition, students also support each other and are motivational. Our environment is very academic; therefore it is good to know that peers and teachers are supporting you through stressful times."


      What do you enjoy most about being a YCIS Beijing student?


      "I enjoy the community the most. I feel that the YCIS Beijing community is very close-knit, like a family. It allows for constant encouragement, support and fun created through deeper personal connections. I believe this is mainly achieved through being a smaller school that values the personal connections between students and teachers."


      Do you have a life or learning motto that motivates you?


      "Remember why you started” – has been my motto for a couple of years now and it proved helpful in guiding me through difficult times, such as studying for IGCSE. It enables me to reset and evaluate on the following: why did I start something, what motivates me, why am I doing this and what do I want to achieve.


      Receiving the ‘Enterprise’ Award in the Outstanding Cambridge Award Series is a great validation of Anna’s motto, and so is her dedication to using entrepreneurship to help others through charity. It deserves our community’s gratitude and recognition when personal success also benefits others. Last but not least, we would also like to say thank you for sweetening some of our Mondays by turning them into Brownie Mondays!