About the Host School
Established in 1989, Chengdu Foreign Languages School (CFLS) is the first school in Sichuan Province with foreign language teaching as its primary focus. CFLS now has 5,800 students (from 13 to 18 years old) and about 650 teaching staff. It is located in Chengdu’s High Tech West Zone.
CFLS is highly regarded as one of the best schools in Chengdu, as well as in Sichuan Province. Long term exchange and mutual visit programs have been initiated and carried out between CFLS and some very well respected schools and colleges in the USA and UK.
CFLS ranks among the top schools locally and nationally. It is one of 16 foreign languages schools approved by the State Education Ministry to recommend students to be exempt from the Chinese National College Entrance Examination (Gao Kao). 100% of CFLS graduates passed the National College Entrance Examination and about 70% have enrolled in leading national universities.
The key focus of the main school is to train students to have a good command of foreign languages and to lay a solid foundation of general knowledge for higher education.
About the AP Centre
The AP Program was established in 2009 and at present there are 270 students enrolled in the program. In 2016, 75 students graduate and all graduates will attend colleges and universities abroad. Of those, 40 were accepted to top thirty universities.
There have been major improvements in the facilities this year with new furniture, technology and teachers' workrooms.
Our AP Center endeavors to meet the academic and social needs of all of our students. Some of our classes are geared to the highly able student; some other classes try to meet the needs of those students who still struggle with English. As an AP Center we endeavor to prepare our students for success in the United States so the preparation that our students receive is holistic in the sense that we try to orient and counsel all of our students in the way of life in the United States and its customs, traditions, etc. We want all of our students to be successful in the AP Exams, but the exam is only the beginning of a long and arduous process.
10th grade students begin their course of studies with Pre-AP courses. 11th and 12th grade students all study AP courses which are taught by expatriate teachers. Jointly, with their AP courses, the students study the Chinese National Curriculum. All subjects aim at creating balanced, committed learners who can apply their knowledge academically, professionally and personally!
Hailed as the “Land of Abundance”, Chengdu lies in the southwest of China, in the center of the West-Sichuan Basin. As the capital of Sichuan province, our city is the center of technology and innovation. With a long history, the city is also known for being home to the giant pandas and as a relaxed and laidback city. Visitors should not miss the spicy Sichuan cuisine, famous hot pot, or delicious local snacks!
The surrounding countryside and smaller towns in Sichuan also provide visitors with a wide variety of sites to see. From the impressive Giant Buddha in Leshan, to the colorful lakes in Jiuzhaigou, and the forgotten Tibetan villages in Ganze, there are plenty of things to see just within the province. Of course, Chengdu is also very accessible to other parts of China, with planes, buses, and trains running daily to many locations.
The standard of accommodation is high, for many apartment complexes located near the school are newly constructed. There is a good combination of Chinese and Western food options located at the main shopping center. Also, situated nearby is a Walmart, fitness center, movie theater, convenience stores and multiple bank branches. The school location remains unique, for though it is within the city, there is a true local feel. Some teachers are also involved with city activities such as watching football games or playing rugby for the local club team. There is a good social scene available in the city as well.
Most of our teachers live very close to the school in an area where the shops and restaurants are abundant. We are also lucky to have a Metro station right in front of the school that takes us right in to the center of the city in twenty minutes! Our community is very Chinese but the influx of foreign nationals is growing. Families can feel secure here as crime is virtually nonexistent. Children and adults are out at all hours and enjoy all that this part of the city has to offer. For a foreign teacher this is a wonderful place - outside of the city proper, yet close enough to enjoy all that Chengdu and the surrounding areas can offer.
The history of the city can be traced back 2,400 years when the first emperor built his capital here and named the city. Through thousands of years its original name has been kept and its position as the capital and as the significant center of politics, commerce and military of the Sichuan area (once called Shu) has remained unchanged. Since the Han (206B.C.-220) and Tang (618-907) Dynasties when its handicraft industry flourished, the place has been famous for its brocades and embroideries. It is listed among the first 24 state-approved historical and cultural cities and owns 23 state and provincial cultural relic units. In addition to its profound historical and cultural background featuring historic places of interest such as the Thatched Cottage of Du Fu, Wuhou Memorial Temple and Wenshu Monastery , etc., natural beauty abounds in surrounding areas such as in the Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area and Huanglong Valley (Yellow Dragon Valley) . The natural habitat of giant pandas, Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center , supports the world's only giant panda breeding and research base.
Sampling the famous Sichuan cuisine is a must for a visit here. Enjoying the food as well as the culture, shopping and having tea at a teahouse afford a deeper understanding of this cultural city. Improved land and airlines extending nationwide provide greater convenience. Chengdu is also the main inland access city to Tibet.
Teacher Case Study
Made Von Tonder
I have a degree in Human Biology (BSc.), with microbiology, genetics, biochemistry and physiology as main subjects. I’ve taught science (chemistry, physics and biology) at a school in South Africa for 2 and a half years. I’ve also taught Biology at my current school in China for two and a half years.
Getting students ready for university in the west. This means making sure that they understand that biology is not only about subject knowledge, but also about being able to interpret information. It is also about making sure that they understand the vocabulary before going into detail with processes (English being their second language). I’ve also had to create a scheme of work that would best fit the students at our school.
We have a great and professional staff at CFLS. Our students get into top universities and we have seen much improvement here over the years. The students at CFLS are some of the friendliest and most motivated students I have seen and this is very motivating as a teacher to experience and see. As a teacher, teaching varying science courses and working with such a highly educated and professional staff is both supportive and rewarding. Having relatively small classes, where I can interact with students on a one to one basis is also one of the benefits of working at CFLS.
I am happiest if I have access to some form of exercise most days after school. This could be going to the gym, going to dance lessons, going to aerobics classes or just going for a walk after work. I prefer to finish work that has to be done at school and not take any work home if I can help it (I would rather stay late at school to finish work), this allows me to relax during the evenings and be refreshed the next day.
Student Case Study
I started at the AP centre in Grade 10, in 2013. I love my experience here, absolutely love it. In the AP centre I get experience that I will never get by attending the Gaokao track. I think how the AP centre changed me is not to be seen in a short period of time. I know it changed me a lot but I don't know which specific events influenced me in a certain way. A combination of a strong sense of discipline and an open minded atmosphere has made me a better self. So, in a word, I love the AP centre and the things it brings to me.
It brings me:
- The ability to think critically. I realised that I cannot take things I heard for granted.
- The ability to make wiser decisions. Teachers in the AP centre are amazing. They give us every kind of suggestion from live advice to travelling tips. They helped me a lot.
- The realisation that I need to find my own value. People around me in the AP centre are motivated and inspired.They keep doing what they are good at and digging for deeper meaning in the things they do.
It is a shame that I did struggle with the opinions people have towards international departments but later I figured that I should be proud to be part of the AP centre. Another challenge is that I felt it difficult to listen to and speak that much English for a long time when I first came here.
I have gained a place at the University of Pennsylvania, a top five university in America. Our school does not require students to decide their major until the second year so I could explore as much as I want for the first two semesters. Then I might settle to architecture as a major. I will get a BA in architecture (hopefully), then I will move on to an M.Arch. (if everything goes fine) and then I will move on to get a Doctor's degree in architecture (if I am entirely out of my mind, which might be the case..). Hopefully, I will then move on to be an architect if it is possible.