Moving from China to New Zealand to attend ACG Strathallan has been a passport to success for Year 11 student Huiqiao (Olivia) Jiang.
Since her arrival at the school six years ago, Olivia has gone from strength to strength, performing well in academics, smashing it in the sporting arena, and enthusiastically embracing all that ACG Strathallan life offers.
“When I first arrived I had no idea what was going on around me,” admits Olivia. “I lacked confidence, mainly due to my English skills, and many things were unfamiliar and different. But the Strathallan teachers helped me a lot. They were always friendly and there for me when I struggled, and they were always willing to help, no matter how difficult it was.”
As Olivia began to gain confidence, life at school became rich, rewarding and fun.
“ACG Strathallan has given me more confidence than I ever thought I’d have. It has enabled me to develop not only in my studies, but in all aspects, including sports, music and arts. It has also improved my social skills, and I now have lots of great friends. My school life at Strathallan has been fantastic and it has helped me develop in all kinds of different ways.”
Making the most of extracurriculars
Initially shy about participating in school activities, encouragement from teachers and friends gave Olivia the courage to give things a try. She hasn’t looked back.
“I decided to join different activities one at a time. From participating in the yearly production band to taking part in the KBB music festival and being part of the string ensemble and junior choir, I enjoyed every minute I spent with my fellow bandmates. I’ve also participated in competitions like Epro8 and Mathex, and this year have become a Mathex coach – and I’ve especially loved being an Open Day guide. I’ve been doing that since Year 6 and it never fails to make me happy when someone compliments me on being so confident!”
Smashing it in sports
Named ACG Strathallan’s 2023 Senior Sportsperson of the Year, Olivia’s talent for fencing has seen her cement her place as an athlete to watch. With a string of accolades already under her belt (including numerous national secondary school and national women’s championship titles), Olivia has a bright future in fencing ahead of her.
“Receiving the ACG Strathallan Senior Sportsperson of the Year award was a significant achievement for me, and it has definitely made me more confident. It’s good to know that all the training I’ve done has been worth it. This award means a lot to me, not only because of my achievement but also because it means I can introduce fencing to more people, and encourage them to come and join me.”
Eyes on the future
Although Olivia has another couple of years at ACG Strathallan, she is already looking ahead to university and beyond with excitement and anticipation.
“My plan is to go to medical school. I will continue my fencing journey and in my free time I hope to create a band of my own, learn to play some other musical instruments, or learn a different language. I would also like to help and support other people in my community.”
Top tips for studying in NZ
For international students considering studying Down Under, Olivia has a few words of advice.
“Join as many clubs and activities as possible. You may not realise it, but through these activities you will develop and grow while having fun and enjoying your school life. I believe the skills you develop at school will benefit you throughout your entire life.”
And does she recommend ACG Strathallan? Absolutely!
“There are many reasons I recommend ACG Strathallan but the most significant ones are the friendly teachers and students, and the relaxed and welcoming environment. And you don’t need to worry about not being able to make friends at ACG Strathallan!”