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A day in the life of a Tianjin International School student

And go everywhere, they do. TIS graduates can be found in esteemed universities across the globe, including Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, the University of Southern California, Waterloo University, Bristol University, Seoul National University, and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), among others.

The time spent at TIS helps students develop foundational knowledge and grow from an advanced curriculum, while the school also hosts a suite of opportunities outside the classroom that enables them to grow and develop qualities that will serve them well into the future.

Through these experiences, students graduate not just as scholars but as artists, performers, athletes, tech gurus and humanitarians. And their students have the story to prove it.

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It’s hard not to be inspired at Tianjin International School (TIS). For over 35 years, students of all backgrounds have benefitted from the school’s well-rounded, high quality, American education within a safe, transformative, and holistic environment. To this day, its 320 students — representing 17 nationalities — are still benefiting from its educational excellence in Tianjin.

Head of School Ryan Witt is confident that any child will benefit from the school. “The education is rigorous, but the opportunities and experiences at our school are incredibly rich and give the students that start here the ability to go anywhere,” he says.

The Tianjin International School Welcome

Ryley Keegan may have been born in the US, but the 16-year-old has spent most of his life in China, thanks to his father’s career in academia. Keegan comes from a big family and is well-travelled, thanks to his family’s penchant for travelling. Despite that, no experience comes close to his new home.

“It’s been a very unique experience. I appreciate it because of how it’s allowed me to expand my worldview and experience a lot of different cultures.”
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His unique upbringing had prepared him with the right mindset to seamlessly immerse himself in TIS when he first stepped foot on campus two years ago. While he felt intimidated about starting at a new school, his worries were put to rest the second he arrived.

TIS’ campus was warm and welcoming — he knew his experiences at the school would change his life for the better.

Any well-rounded student knows that sleep is fuel for the brain and body, and Keegan always goes to bed at a decent time. After all, without adequate rest, how will he have the mental and physical energy to give it his best at TIS?

10:00 p.m. - Lights out!

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Any teenager would love to binge on Netflix after dinner, but Keegan and his younger brother prefer to use this time to get their homework out of the way before squeezing in another workout.

“We’ll do what we can in an hour, then we’ll do some sort of basketball workout together. If we have a little more time after, we’ll tie up loose ends with our homework.

8:00 p.m. - Homework

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Once home, Keegan and his family would gather for dinner and enjoy a home-cooked meal while sharing daily updates with one another. Since most of his siblings are younger, dinner is scheduled earlier than most homes. Keegan doesn’t mind, however — it allows him to get to his homework earlier.

6:30 p.m. - Time for dinner

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Once classes are over, Keegan’s day involves exploring his interests outside the classroom. Three days a week, this period is reserved for sports. He has participated in volleyball and soccer, but basketball is his favorite. In fact, he’s the team captain.

“That’s kind of where I was able to make my first and closest friends at TIS,” he explains. “Even during COVID-19 lockdowns, we weren’t able to play on campus, but thankfully, we lived close enough to each other to play at a nearby court."

When he isn’t dribbling the ball and guiding his team, Keegan can be found jamming with the jazz band where he reignited his passion for playing the trombone.

TIS was also where he discovered his knack for public speaking and debate. Model United Nations is huge at the school, and Keegan knew it was too rewarding of an experience to pass up.

He and his peers would practice their communication skills in a highly interactive simulation of the United Nations.

3:30 p.m. - Co-curricular excellence

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Calculus is one of Keegan’s favorite classes in school. “In this class is where I feel the most comfortable,” he says.

“It’s almost like looking at the whole scope of mathematics and learning the meanings behind different terminologies."

TIS has also recently introduced the AP Capstone Diploma Program that enables students to gain early exposure to research. Keegan enjoys these sessions just as much. “I think it applies to any field a student might be interested in,” he says.

“It’s not only focused on science — it’s for whatever we’re interested in. Having met many international students through my love for sports, I’ve decided to explore their diverse experiences by adapting to the Chinese culture, in addition to learning how basketball has been used to form enduring connections.”

12:00 p.m. - Back to class

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Keegan loves cafeteria time with his friends, and it’s no wonder why.

From kung pao chicken, kimchi and spring rolls to pizza, spaghetti, and hotdogs, the school’s menu caters to the palates of their diverse community.

Occasionally, Monday lunches are also used for senior students to greet new students. As an older brother and someone who has once been in the shoes of a new student, Keegan is passionate about helping those new to TIS find their bearings.

11:00 a.m. - Lunch time

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Upon greeting his teachers and peers, Keegan settles in for classes. The High School junior has finally begun his Advanced Placement (AP) journey and is loving every minute of it.

“Our AP Biology teacher makes it fun for us to learn,” he says. Keegan appreciates that his teacher is dedicated to ensuring students are confident in their knowledge before taking the AP test in the spring.

Although more than 15 AP programs are offered, Keegan’s interests lie in STEM. Among the four academic classes he has lined up in a day, these are the ones he looks forward to the most.

8:00 a.m. - Classes begin

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Keegan’s morning routine is short and snappy –– growing up in a household of eight, he has to be. “I have a bunch of brothers and sisters and we all have to get up and rush to the bus,” he explains. He showers, has breakfast and is out the door within 30 minutes.

7.00 AM. – WAKE UP

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Saturdays and Sundays are family time for Keegan. “It’s a pretty crazy house,” he says. “But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Keegan uses this time to bond with his siblings and to help with some household chores. Sometimes on Saturday evenings, he will spend some time on the court with his TIS family.

A weekend of rest and rejuvenation

Keegan hopes to join the United States Naval Academy — an academically and physically challenging school — after graduating from TIS. He also hopes to carve himself an international career and continue to be challenged by new cultures. With his experiences at TIS, he’s on track to meet his goals.

Ultimately, with its rich history, TIS draws on its vast experiences to deliver a world-class education; develop globally-minded individuals who learn, love, and lead; and prepare students to enter some of the world’s most competitive universities.

Collectively, these experiences serve as a platform that empowers students to succeed in university and beyond.

A springboard for student success

An enriching student experience awaits at Tianjin International School

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