Samba, Saxophone, Scholarships and Sofia
This week we speak to Sofia Dementyeva, who was awarded a scholarship this year to join Yew Chung International School of Beijing. Sofia explains what it takes to be a scholar, and offers some advice to future applicants.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Sofia. I’m 12 years old and I’ve just joined YCIS Beijing in Year 8. My brother Vladimir is also at the school in Year 10. We are from Russia but I’ve lived in Beijing all my life. My parents moved here 16 years ago.
My absolute passion is dancing. I like dancing in all kinds of styles – Hip Hop, Latin and Ballroom – and I often compete in international dance competitions with my brother. I also play the saxophone, drums and piano.
Why did you apply for the YCIS Beijing scholarship?
My parents encouraged me to apply for a scholarship, I think mainly because I’m one of four children – it’s quite expensive to put four children through school in China!
My brother Vladimir was awarded a scholarship by YCIS Beijing last year. He’s been really happy here and has been able to do lots of extra-curricular activities, as well as getting great at English.
Last year, I came to YCIS Beijing a few times to dance with Vladimir at school events. I got to know the school and some of the teachers, so it was an obvious choice.
What did you have to do to apply?
I had to write essays about myself and my interests and ambitions, and then I had interviews where we discussed the essays. I also shared videos of my dancing, my medals and certificates. Vladimir and I have won lots of awards since we started competing so they were interested to hear all about that.
As well as the interviews, there were some written tests in English that I had to take.
How did you find the application process?
It wasn’t too bad. The teachers who interviewed me made me feel very welcome, and the questions were all related to my essays so I felt like I was quite well prepared.
Anyway, it was all worth it to be given a scholarship! I was so happy and so were my parents.
Why do you think YCIS Beijing offered you a scholarship?
Mainly because I can dance! It’s quite unusual and there’s no one else at the school doing the kind of dancing that Vladimir and I do. It’s also unusual to play saxophone.
I think it also helped that I speak three languages (Russian, Chinese and English), and do loads of co-curricular activities – volleyball, basketball, football, swimming. I’m just so busy…!
What advice can you give to someone applying for a scholarship this year?
I think it helps to have a special interest or skill – like dancing. I’ve noticed that there aren’t many singers at YCIS Beijing right now… perhaps that could be a good place to start!
What is the best and worst thing about having a scholarship?
The best thing is the motivation, because you need to work hard, have a good attitude, keep up co-curricular activities etc. The worst thing? Nothing. It makes me so happy to make my parents proud.
Our congratulations to Sofia on her fantastic achievement, and a very warm welcome to the YCIS Beijing family!