About the Host School
RDFZ was established in 1950 and has 5,000 students on roll from 12 to 18 years of age. The ethos of the school is: 'To value individuality, discover personal potential, enhance student growth, boost national prosperity and to promote the progress of humanity'. This is achieved via all round development of students, with value placed on distinctive skills, innovative spirit and moral excellence.
The school's leafy campus is located in the heart of Beijing's education precinct. It has over 130 teaching rooms (all with audio-visual facilities), a large library, well-equipped science laboratories, a telescope, a 50m indoor swimming pool, numerous badminton and basketball courts, a small gym and table-tennis area, a 400m athletics track, 5 lecture theatres, an 800-seat auditorium and a rehearsal room for the school's full-size orchestra. RDFZ also has several other rapidly developing branch schools.
RDFZ is consistently placed at the top, or near the top, of all school rankings. RDFZ has the highest number of graduates admitted to Beijing University and Tsinghua University (considered the top universities in China) of any school in China. Awards for students are extensive, such as in International Mathematical Olympiads and competiions on a national level for innovation.
About the A Level, AP & IB Centre
The International Curriculum Centre in the High School Affiliated to Renmin University offers A-Level, AP and IB programmes. The ICC is currently in its tenth year of operation and has over 700 students on roll, with 47 expatriate teachers and over 20 Chinese teachers supporting the programme.
Classes begin at 8am and end at 4:35pm. The school day comprises of nine 40 minute lessons (most are double periods). On average, we have 25 students per class but this does vary according to subject.
In terms of centre facilities, we have 4 staff offices and a comfortable staff lounge; 15 teaching rooms (all with audio-visual and wireless internet); dedicated labs for Physics (including interactive whiteboard), Chemistry (including interactive whiteboard), Biology and ICT. We also have access to several lecture theatres and study rooms for each year level.
Students in the Centre range from 14 to 18 years of age and although the majority are from Beijing, we have students from many different provinces in China. The students are active and take part in a wide variety of extracurricular activities and the main school offers 300 clubs. We also offer activities such as the International Award, science club, several magazines in English, debate, public speaking, drama, music club and a wide range of sports. A number of visitors from overseas universities also hold information sessions for our students on a regular basis. We have a large number of high-achieving students and our teachers generally find it very rewarding and fulfilling to be stretched and challenged in their subject area of expertise. Teaching in English to non-native speakers requires some adjustment to teaching techniques but most people make the transition easily.
Our on-campus accommodation block for teachers has 1, 2 and 3-bedroom fully-furnished apartments. In later years of service, some teachers choose to move to their own outside accommodation.
The campus is based in the heart of the Haidian district with a major subway interchange a few minutes walk from the school front gate. Beijing is the cultural and political centre of China and has made great strides in promoting itself as a world-class city and a centre of traditional and modern culture. It offers a vibrant and diverse nightlife, a burgeoning arts community, wonderful parks, a myriad of restaurants and a terrain made for bike riding. Public transport is excellent and very inexpensive. All this (and more) make Beijing an exciting place to live.
The cultural and historical sites of Beijing are numerous with The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace and much more. Beijing is also a rail and air transportation hub for the rest of China and with a single flight you can be in most Asian cities by sunset.
Teacher Case Study
After graduating from The University of Nottingham with a mathematical physics degree and completing a PGCE in mathematics education, I took up my first teaching position in the UK. Two years later, I moved abroad to teach. My first teaching position was in Egypt and I have since been working in China. I first took up the position of Head of Mathematics at RDFZ in 2014 and am now leading the CIE programme at the school.
The school provides the opportunity to work with highly motivated students whose dedication to succeed is second to none that I have encountered in my career so far. I enjoy the challenge of helping the students to develop their problem solving, thinking skills and communication skills as well as their subject specific knowledge. In addition, the school offers all of CIE IGCSE/A-Level, IB and AP, meaning that I have lots of chances to enhance my own teaching repertoire.
Living in Beijing is, for the most part, very comfortable. The extensive subway system and taxis make getting around and exploring the city very easy. There is always something happening in this big and vibrant city and its impressive transport links to other parts of China, the region and the world mean there are endless opportunities for travelling during holidays.
Student Case Study
I am fortunate to have spent three fulfilling years of my life at ICC since September 2013. The precious experience has been far beyond mere academics and was full of the ebb and flow that I would expect to find in real life. Indeed, the years have been about the infinite possibilities as well as the ever so inspiring teachers and classmates that I was privileged to work with.
The education I received at ICC has taught me a surprisingly wide range of knowledge: that an egg can survive from 5 floors with our parachute, New York Times bestselling novels can actually be decent, and how the world might be a much better place had the Greeks not won the Persian Wars. Most importantly, ICC taught me that anything could happen in my life, yet it is the endeavor in the blind uncertainty that is important.
Granted a life of infinite possibilities does not always promise a fairytale of sweet surprises-there have been bottlenecks, where everything in my life became challenging: keeping up with my golfing scores, maintaining my grades, and leading the student union business. A small trouble in an overly fulfilled life can at times cause great anxiety on my part. Yet, in those struggles, it was the idea of being able to be at school and talk to my teachers and friends that helped me battle through.
My three years at ICC will have me well prepared for the thrilling college career I will embark on this fall at Stanford. Now I know better than to clearly plan my future in detail: I have a dream and that will be my direction; all I can do is to focus on the present and let the rest unfold. People are pitifully powerless in worrying about the future.
ICC is a place where a teacher told me that it is absolutely reasonable to write to my favorite author and ask him to speak at our graduation, even if he gets busy chatting with Bill Gates. Perhaps ICC is a place full of infinite possibilities.