REVIEW OF Cambridge International Academy BY Alum, Yuze (Roy) Liu
- Date of Review
August 28, 2023
- Grades (year)
Gr. 12 (2017 - 2018)
- University (major)
University of Toronto (Art & Art History)
(4.5) Overall Experience
As a former student at Cambridge International Academy's branch campus in China, my journey has been nothing short of transformative. The contrast between the two sides, though taught by foreign teachers in pure English, was evident in the distinct cultural atmospheres. Arriving in Canada alone for the first time, I was anxious, but the school's welcoming environment quickly put me at ease. One standout feature of the school is its emphasis on individualized study plans. Having teachers specifically design personalized plans for each student helped me prepare for my future university path. I appreciated the freedom to select courses outside of the compulsory ones, making the learning process engaging and fulfilling. A significant highlight was the school's decision to place us with local families, fostering cultural integration and accelerated English language improvement through daily conversations. Fortunately, my host family embraced me, contributing to a richer experience. The small class sizes were a game-changer, allowing teachers to provide individual attention, and ensuring no student was left behind academically, something public schools often struggle with. In summary, my time at Cambridge International Academy's branch campus in China has left an indelible mark on my personal and academic growth. The school's commitment to individualized learning, cultural immersion, and supportive environment make it an outstanding choice for prospective students seeking an enriching international education.
(5) School Leadership
As a graduate of Cambridge International Academy and a University of Toronto alumni, my memories of this school are cherished and positive. Despite not being a large institution, the school grounds provided adequate facilities for us students. The small class sizes were a unique feature, allowing for personalized attention and care for each student, which would not have been possible in a larger setting. One aspect that stood out about the school leadership and administration was the strong sense of community and familiarity. From the receptionist to the principal, every staff member knew each student personally, fostering a cordial and supportive environment. This close relationship enabled the staff to promptly address any issues or concerns that arose with individual students. Sandra and Linlin, the principal and director, left a lasting impression on the student community with their caring and approachable demeanor. They actively engaged with students and their parents, offering encouragement and guidance to help students excel. Their involvement in the students' lives went beyond just academic matters, instilling a sense of confidence and motivation in us to do our best. In conclusion, Cambridge International Academy's small size allowed for a tight-knit community and a high level of individualized attention. The caring and approachable nature of the school's principals and staff created a supportive and encouraging environment that left a positive impact on my academic and personal growth.
As a student and alum of Cambridge International Academy, I can attest to the exceptional quality of instruction I received during my time there. The small class sizes made a significant difference, especially coming from a larger public school where individual attention was scarce. At Cambridge, the teachers had the experience and ability to cater to each student's academic progress and emotional well-being, creating a more nurturing and supportive environment. The dynamic between teachers and students was highly positive and friendly. The atmosphere was both formal and informal, as the teachers maintained a professional approach while also building meaningful connections with students. There was a strong level of respect between teachers and students, fostering open communication and a collaborative learning environment. The teachers at Cambridge International Academy were not only passionate and knowledgeable about their subjects but also dedicated to effectively communicating their expertise to us. They provided constructive feedback that helped us grow academically and personally. Their enthusiasm for teaching sparked a love of learning in many of us, making the educational experience engaging and enjoyable. Mr. Thompson, in particular, had a profound impact on my academic and personal development. His sense of humor and ability to connect with students on a deeper level made him not only a teacher but also a friend and mentor. He went beyond traditional teaching, offering guidance in life choices and college course selections, imparting valuable principles of being a well-rounded individual. For prospective families, I can confidently say that the teachers at Cambridge International Academy are devoted educators who genuinely care about their students' growth and success. Their passion for teaching and the individualized attention they provide make for an enriching learning experience that empowers students to achieve their best potential.
In terms of Cambridge International Academy's academic programs, the small class sizes mentioned in the question above are a great advantage. Small class sizes allow students to excel and teachers can take care of each student. At the same time, the teachers are teaching the students academic knowledge as well as life lessons, which I think is a very important part. In terms of the general learning atmosphere of the students, I think the cohesion is very strong because the school is not very large, so basically, there is a lot of interaction between students and teachers, and the teachers are very willing to answer questions from the students, whether it's academic or life issues. In addition, the school will also let us participate in some competitive academic competitions, regardless of the final results, this kind of academic competition itself is an opportunity for challenge. The nurturing environment boosts our confidence and motivates us to do our best.
Since it was my last year of high school, there would be a lot of pressure to study. I didn't get involved in a lot of extracurricular activities because I had to face the pressure of the language (English is not my first language) and the pressure of academics. The most activities were playing table tennis, basketball, and badminton with my classmates at school. We usually stayed in the school gym for half an hour to play basketball during recess and after the last class. Although the school's gym is small, it is well-equipped.
There is no mandatory requirement for body image management in our school because everyone has their own habits, but having a healthy body is definitely something that parents and the school would like to see. For our class, the students as a whole are very self-disciplined, which doesn't mean that the school forces us to do anything, it's purely about self-management. At the same time, my classmate was very athletic, so we would often get together to play basketball. I don't think there should be any racial discrimination in the nature of human beings, there is no such thing as high or low, we are all flesh and blood. Also, the teachers don't pass on negative knowledge, they teach us how to integrate into the culture and how to get along with others. Especially in a diverse school where there are students from all over the world, but we still get along very well.
(5) School Life
The overall quality of student life at Cambridge International Academy was positive, and I loved going to school there. The school's emphasis on individualized attention, supportive teachers, and a diverse student body contributed to a welcoming and enriching environment. What contributed to my quality of life was the sense of self-discipline fostered among students. While there was no mandatory requirement for body image management, the school encouraged a healthy lifestyle, and students took personal responsibility for their well-being. This self-discipline created a positive atmosphere where students motivated each other to make healthy choices. The school's athletic culture was another aspect that enhanced student life. Many students, including my classmates, were actively involved in sports like basketball, which brought us together and encouraged camaraderie. I experienced no racial discrimination at Cambridge International Academy. The school celebrated diversity, and students from various backgrounds got along well, fostering a sense of inclusivity and cultural exchange. The teachers played a crucial role in shaping a positive school life. They focused on teaching us how to integrate into the culture and get along with others. This approach contributed to a harmonious atmosphere where students felt supported and valued. Prospective families should know that Cambridge International Academy offers a student-centered environment, encouraging self-discipline, healthy habits, and a sense of community. The school's commitment to diversity and fostering positive relationships among students contributes to a warm and inclusive school life. Overall, my experience at the school was rewarding, and I believe it provides a nurturing and supportive educational journey for students.
The wider community of Cambridge International Academy is inclusive and welcoming. Parents are indeed encouraged to be involved in the life of the school. There is a sense of partnership between the school and parents that creates a supportive environment for students. With regard to the alumni community, my experience has been positive. After leaving the school, all my other classmates and I have stayed in touch even though we are no longer studying at the same university. One of the times I came back after leaving Cambridge International High School was when the school invited me to come over because I was already in university and wanted me to give a talk to the future students who were coming over from summer camp. It was easy and convenient for contacting the school, which has its own social media accounts.
(4.5) School Location
The school is thoughtful enough to ask everyone about their allergens and will post them on the cupboards so that they are easily visible to every teacher and student to prevent accidental consumption of allergic foods. There is a plaza right around the school with a supermarket and various restaurants. Senior students can go to the surrounding restaurants for lunch. The school does not restrict students from traveling, but safety comes first in everything. The location of Ajax may be a bit remote compared to other schools, but it provides a good learning environment where students are not distracted by the surrounding facilities.
For those planning to apply to Cambridge International College, I recommend that they thoroughly research the school and its academic programs. Learn about the school's values, teaching methods, and extracurricular opportunities to ensure that it meets your educational and personal goals. Since I was enrolled in my home country, I did not need to apply here. Based on my knowledge of the school, Principal Sandra, Linlin, and Winnie are very attentive to every parent and explain every thing about the school. They are approachable, responsive, and show a genuine interest in getting to know prospective students, not just their academic achievements. My advice is to be yourself during the application process, ask any questions you may have, and be open to exploring how Cambridge International Academy can support your academic and personal growth.
(5) University placement and counselling
The university counseling program at Cambridge International Academy was incredibly supportive, and Mr. Thompson played a pivotal role in guiding students through the application process. From the beginning, Mr. Thompson took the initiative to understand each student's aspirations and interests. He arranged one-on-one sessions to discuss our career goals, desired courses, and the necessary prerequisites for our preferred post-secondary programs. Mr. Thompson's personalized approach made a significant difference in the application process. His in-depth knowledge of various universities and their requirements ensured that each student received appropriate guidance to apply successfully to their first-choice post-secondary programs. Throughout the university application process, I felt well-supported by Mr. Thompson and the counseling program. He provided valuable insights, practical advice, and timely reminders, ensuring that we met application deadlines and compiled strong applications. However, in hindsight, I believe that early engagement with the university counseling program could have been even more beneficial. Although I received substantial support once I initiated contact with Mr. Thompson, I feel that encouraging students to start college placement and application planning earlier could further enhance the process and ease potential stress. Overall, the university counseling program, with Mr. Thompson's guidance, was instrumental in helping students like me navigate the complexities of the application process and make well-informed decisions about our future academic paths. His dedication and individualized approach ensured that we were well-prepared to pursue our desired post-secondary programs successfully.