Student Focus: Meet Year 9 Student & ‘World Scholar’ Natasha Shen

Written by: Janelle Garrett, Lower Secondary Coordinator & Andrea Griego, Student Support Coordinator (Primary)

Natasha Shen started strong this academic year competing with her partner last September at Yale University in the global “Tournament of Champions” for the World Scholar’s Cup. World Scholars’ Cup is a prestigious academic competition that takes place at a regional level all around the world. Students compete here in Shanghai and are able to qualify to participate at further rounds that are considered “Global Rounds.” They enter as a team of three and work together as that team before and during the competition. There are quizzes, debates and writing competitions during the course of a two-day regional bout.

Natasha graciously answered some questions about her World Scholar’s Cup experience:

When did you started doing World Scholar’s Cup as an activity?
I started in Year 7 and I thought it was an interesting academic program because it wasn’t just debating, you could do writing and take tests if you’re good at that. It’s a good opportunity to meet new people. Public speaking can be scary at first, but in World Scholar’s Cup the debate is friendly and lower risk. It isn’t just about winning and losing, you get feedback and advice to learn how to be better, and over time it gets easier and more enjoyable.

How did you get to compete in the World Scholar’s Cup Tournament of Champions at Yale University in the US? 
Tanya, Sophia and I went to Athens this summer and competed in the Global Rounds. We did pretty well, better than we did at Regionals. To be honest, the Shanghai Round was the most competitive of all the rounds, people were very serious, hardcore about winning. We live in a city and country with so many brilliant students.

So how was Yale and the Tournament of Champions? It was much more competitive than Shanghai and the Global Round in Athens—there were brilliant scholars from all over the world, especially from Asia, and these people were very serious especially since they were missing a week of school.

I made friends from Israel, Indonesia, Singapore, the United States and tons of other countries and now they are part of my network. I loved the Scholar’s Ball (disco and talk) and also liked hearing the college panel with Yale students on preparing for college. It really made me think about my future and I feel I have more ideas about things I want to do moving forward so that I can reach my goals. I just loved being on Yale campus and the program also offered a tour in Boston of Harvard and MIT. It was great just being there and soaking up the energy of the place.

And finally, how did you do at Yale?
We did really, really well—we came in 20th in the World out of 300 teams in the Junior Division! These were all top teams. Coming in 20th Overall was based on our combined score for: Debate, Scholar’s Challenge (general knowledge tests on six subjects) and a Writing Competition.

When Natasha is not busy being a brilliant ‘World Scholar’, she spends her time negotiating solutions for complex global issues as a delegate at Model United Nations conferences, solving problems with her teammates at High Four Mathematics and Science Competitions, playing team sports like volleyball, basketball, rugby, and football, or she can be found rocking out on the guitar

with her bandmates. She still finds time to do her homework.

Congratulations Natasha and good luck to all of our brilliant YCIS World Scholars Cup Team who will be competing in the upcoming World Scholar’s Cup regionals in Shanghai!