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Shen Wai International School (SWIS): The school of choice for IB continuum education

Rae Johnstone 

Established in 2011, Shen Wai International School (SWIS) is one of the fastest growing international schools in Shenzhen.  Next year the students who attended the school in its founding year will be the first graduating class, having completed the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP), Middle Years Program (MYP) and Diploma Program (DP).

SWIS is purposely built to be an IB continuum school, which means that everything from the staff to the building itself are designed with that goal in mind. Staff are employed from all over the world; what they have in common is that they all have valuable experience teaching the IB program.

For such a young school, SWIS has achieved an incredible amount.  They have world-recognised accreditations from the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and to add to this prestigious list they have recently been granted accreditation with the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) and the Association of China and Mongolia International Schools (ACAMIS). These international achievements are representative of how far the school has come in such a short period of time.

Being the only government invested, non-profit international school in Shenzhen, SWIS accepts students from the expatriate community as well as children who are permanent residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. This leads to an eclectic group of students who come together to build a community in which they can learn and grow together as well as forming life-long friendships.

Shen Wai International School follows the IB mission statement of aiming to ‘develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.’ This is followed through the range of student-led projects at SWIS, particularly throughout the Middle Years and Diploma Programs.

The Middle Years Program has a real-life approach to learning, founded in the cross-curricular units which make up the core of the program. Students are taught to become independent, organised and creative, with a focus on critical thinking and reflective learning. In Grade 8 students work together on a community project, designed to give back to the community they are part of – locally, regionally or globally. Following this students plan, design and carry out a personal project which is also based on the Service learning area of the IB program. This enables students to become more internationally-minded and aware of their role as global citizens.

After School Activities (ASA) play a significant role at SWIS, providing students with the opportunity to take part in activities and projects external to lessons. One example of an ASA project at SWIS is fund-raising and support of QianZhou Primary School. As well as donating money to the school, SWIS students have also taught children at the school, helped to build a new playground and have visited in their own time to help out. This has provided invaluable support to a school which has very few students and even less facilities.

During Grades 11 and 12 students take the IB Diploma Program at SWIS. Here the focus changes, as students now need to prepare for university and the wider world. Students choose topics within six courses: Studies in Language and Literature; Language Acquisition; Sciences; The Arts; Mathematics; Individuals and Societies. For the Diploma Program, assessment of the courses is through external examination as well as teacher assessment. Across and alongside each course, students study the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS); In addition, they have an extended essay to write on a topic of their choosing. TOK provides the glue to make connections between all disciplines and develops students into enquiring and reflective global citizens. CAS provides students with the opportunity for non-academic pursuits, often extending outside of school hours, and can be connected to ASA projects. The extended essay gives students an idea of university-level research and preparation for college assignments.

Learning at SWIS doesn’t just take place on the state-of-the-art campus. Learning Beyond the Classroom (LBC) is an integral part of the curriculum throughout the PYP, MYP and DP, and includes educational trips to Hong Kong and Cambodia as well as other parts of mainland China. Here the students have the chance to experience other cultures and ways of life, and they can see how they fit into the global community.

Why choose SWIS? Shen Wai International School is purpose-built to be an IB continuum school. It is ideal for expat families new or returning to Shenzhen, as students become incredibly internationally-minded. This is demonstrated through how they see the world and the service projects they come up with both within and beyond school life. Small class sizes, experienced staff and a balanced program of academia, sports and other activities simply add to the attraction of attending SWIS.

If you would like to find out more information about Shen Wai International School (SWIS), simply visit their website www.swis.cn and book a school tour.

Chinese and Pinyin Name: 深圳外国语学校国际部(SWIS)
Place Address: Shen Wai international School, No. 29, Baishi 3rd Road, Nanshan, Shenzhen, China 518053 中国深圳市南山区白石三道29号, 深圳外国语学校国际部 邮编:518053
Place Phone: 86 (755) 86541981/86541963
Past Events of Shen Wai international School:
Shen Wai International School Publishes its Very Own Chinese Textbook 深外国际部小学中文教材《启航中文》
Shen Wai International School Photos
Shen Wai International School Pre-K to Grade 4 PYP Art Exhibition 2017
SWIS Celebrates International Children’s Day