Francesco Babs: The Modest Scholar

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Yew Chung International School of Beijing has an active scholarship programme and every year awards scholarships to outstanding students who excel in a range of areas. We speak to Francesco Babs, one of this year’s scholars, about his award.

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Francesco and I’ve just started YCIS Beijing in Year 9. My mum is from Italy and my dad is from Nigeria and I’ve lived in Beijing for ten years.

Why did you apply for the YCIS Beijing scholarship?


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I applied to YCIS Beijing because it is a school with a really good reputation. It gets great results and has a very international student body. When I was looking around my first impressions were excellent – it seemed very welcoming and I wanted to be a part of it.

When I was applying for the school we heard about the scholarship programme and thought that it was worth a try… YCIS Beijing is very academic so I wasn’t confident that I would get it but I guess it paid off!

What did you have to do to apply?

I had quite a few interviews with different members of staff – the Co-Principals, the IGCSE Co-Ordinator, and the Head of Secondary. They asked me all sorts of questions about myself, my interests and strengths and I had to show that I am a well-rounded person with lots of interests. I also sat a written exam in English and submitted essay responses to some questions.


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How did you find the application process?

It was pretty tough actually. The Co-Principals asked some difficult questions and I had to stay calm and answer everything really thoughtfully. Overall, I’d say it was a good experience. It was good practice for interviews and university applications and, when I found out that I had been awarded a scholarship, I felt really happy. It’s nice when hard work pays off.

Why do you think YCIS Beijing offered you a scholarship?

My scholarship is given for all-round ability, not just academic but also sports and languages. I think that I fulfilled a lot of these requirements because I speak Chinese, Italian and English and I also play football quite well. Now I’m here I’ve signed up to CCA volleyball to keep growing my sports ability.


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What is the best and worst thing about having a scholarship?

In a way, I think that the best thing is also the worst thing. Scholarships are reviewed every year to make sure that you’re still performing really well. In some ways this is good because it motivates you to work hard and try new things – but it also means there’s always pressure on you! On the whole though, I think that pressure will be a good thing and will affect my results really positively.

Can you offer any advice to other students applying for scholarships?

My best piece of advice is to not be too modest! You’ve got to talk about yourself and show everyone why you’re really good. This is a bit strange because normally you wouldn’t want to talk about yourself that way but in the interviews that’s what they want to hear!

My second piece of advice is to students who have got their scholarships already: make sure you keep on trying new things at school and pushing yourself in classes. You will need to in order to keep your scholarship, but it’s also generally good advice for life.

We are delighted to welcome Francesco into the community and look forward to seeing him make a positive impact around school. Congratulations Francesco!

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