Introducing Jade Liang, LFS promotion 2020, currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree at the renowned University of Science and Technology of China, recognized as one of the top 6 universities in the nation. Hailing from a Franco-Chinese background, Jade arrived in China at the age of 9, with French as her mother tongue and limited proficiency in Chinese. In a compelling narrative, she shares her personal and professional journey, serving as an unmatched source of inspiration!
Hello Jade, delighted to have you with us today. To start, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Jade, currently in my 4th year of studying Computer Science at the University of Science and Technology of China. I pursued a scientific Baccalaureate (BAC S) with a specialization in mathematics at LFS in 2020.
I come from a Franco-Chinese family, and initially, my exposure to the Chinese language was limited to occasional learning sessions with my grandmother. I wasn’t actively practicing, making it challenging to really speak.
In 2011, my family and I moved to Shanghai. Within a few months of immersion, my Chinese skills improved significantly. I spent two years in a Chinese school, and then LFS, where I entered in 6th grade, played a crucial role in my progress.
I was accepted into the SIC (Chinese International Section), where I started learning Chinese more diligently, leading to substantial improvement, especially as I could use it in daily life. Today, I’m fluent in both languages, and I would even say that my French is becoming weaker compared to my Chinese! (Laughs) Because nowadays, I primarily use Chinese in my student life.
In a few words, how was your experience at the French School of Shanghai?
The SIC section at LFS was quite intense for me because, unlike the Chinese courses I had taken before, these were literature, culture, and mathematics classes taught in Chinese. It required a lot of effort, but I had teachers who supported me throughout my schooling, so that was great.
I remember many good moments, but one stood out regarding exams! (Laughs) One day in 6th grade, the math exams in both French and Chinese were scheduled at the same time. SIC students had to participate in the Chinese version, and I remember scoring a perfect 20/20. I really didn’t expect it at all, and it felt like the result of all my efforts. I vividly recall my surprise—when I saw my grade, I was genuinely happy, I stood up suddenly, and even my chair fell over! (Laughs)
Are there things from LFS that you miss today?
Well, beyond missing the cafeteria a bit (Laughs), I really miss the school library (3C), there were so many books of all kinds, even manga and comics. I love reading, so I spent a lot of time there!
Can you tell us more about your current journey?
I’m majoring in Computer Science at one of the best Computer Science universities in China, where all my classes are conducted in Chinese. I’m the only French student there, and there are very few students from other nationalities.
In terms of specialization, I do a lot of programming, which is challenging, even though I had some experience with Python at LFS. It was quite difficult at the beginning to transition to a different educational system, and, Chinese students tend to be much more competitive! But now, I feel comfortable in my studies.
Currently, I’m in my 4th year, my final year, and I’m fully immersed in my thesis. At the same time, I’m applying for my master’s program.
How would you say LFS prepared you for entering university and the potential challenges you’ve encountered since?
Firstly, with Chinese. The concepts of Chinese culture and mathematics in SIC really helped me, beyond just language courses. I also remember cultural outings being real assets; they allowed us to use the language beyond the classroom setting.
Next, in terms of career counselling, honestly, I didn’t think I could have a chance at prestigious universities initially. During that time, I had many discussions with the Career Conselling team, Mr. De Meester, and my main teacher, Mrs. Albin. I was encouraged to apply to excellent universities. LFS also provided a lot of support in developing our Parcoursup accounts (a platform that allows students to manage their applications to universities worldwide), and I could apply to multiple programs. I lacked confidence at that moment, but I was well-supported, and without the help of my teachers, I don’t think I would be where I am now.
Let’s discuss your choice to continue your studies in mainland China. What influenced that decision?
China’s rapid development made it an intriguing destination for my studies. Personally, I love living here and consider myself very Chinese. The quality of life, the country’s safety, and practical aspects influenced my decision.
Family was another key factor. Being family-oriented, I wanted to stay close to my parents. Also, with the challenges of Covid, staying put avoided lengthy travels and related issues.
What aspect of your student life at the University of Science and Technology of China do you enjoy the most?
In my current student life, in a class of 90 students, I feel very comfortable. I’ve made many friends, both international and Chinese. My Chinese friends not only provide great support but also give feedback on my Chinese writings. The workload suits me well, and university events organized by the BDA offer ample opportunities to connect with friends!
Lastly, any plans for your future adventures?
For my master’s, I aim to stay in Computer Science. While China is my first choice, I’ve also applied in France and Canada. I’m sending applications to top 20 universities—Tsinghua, Peking University, my current university…
As for the future, pursuing a PhD is uncertain. I’m leaning towards entering the professional world after my master’s, with interests in city security and planning (linked to AI), video games, and data protection, a field that currently captivates me.
A big thank you to Jade for sharing her story. We wish her all the success in her upcoming experiences in China and beyond!