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Alumni Series - Henry Jiang

The Alumni Series features testimonials and interviews given by recent graduates of WillowWood School. Our fourth alumnus featured in this series is Henry Jiang. Henry is attending McMaster University, where he is studying Life Sciences.



How did WillowWood help you achieve your goals?

WillowWood helped me through the early, confusing years and gave me time to consider and achieve my goals. When I first came to WillowWood, I was not sure what I wanted to study academically and where I was going to go to university. You see, the Canadian education system is totally different from the Chinese one. Luckily, the teachers here helped me whenever I had questions. With their help, I quickly adapted to this new educational system and made up my mind about what to do for my post-secondary years.


How was your English when you first started in Grade 10? How did teachers at WillowWood help you improve your English language skills?

To be fair, my English skills were better than many of the other international students in the school. However, my English was not good enough to achieve good academic scores or fluent communication with native speakers. The teachers at WillowWood helped me improve a lot throughout the years. My grade 9 ESL teachers were wonderful. As my skills improved, in my senior years, the teachers of English courses, and often times Fred, the principal of the school, gave me suggestions to improve my writing skills.


Did you make friends with international students?

I certainly did! In fact, most of my friends are international students who originated from China and South Korea. They are friendly people who are willing to help you. My friends and I often helped each other academically. We would also have fun together after school.


Did you make friends with domestic (Canadian) students?

I have some friends that are domestic students. They are nice and creative people who would listen to you and give ideas that are interesting during conversations.


Did attending WillowWood help you get to know Canadian culture better?

It definitely does. First off, Canadian geography and history are literally two mandatory courses you need to take to earn credits. In addition, the people here are friendly and willing to share their stories and experiences with you. Therefore, by observing and communicating with the teachers and domestic students, both in and out of the class, I was able to understand how local people feel and think.


What extracurricular activities did you participate in?

I’m more of a music guy than a sports guy. Therefore, I participated in the music club regularly. I got to play around with all the instruments in WillowWood's amazing music room. Sometimes when there’s enough time, I would also jam with the music teacher, Jeff, and other students in the music room.


How did the teacher's help/make you feel during your time at WillowWood?

The teachers here are really friendly and helpful. Whenever I had school-related problems, they would either be glad to help or send me to someone who knew the stuff to help me. We also chatted a lot outside of classes and had a lot of fun in class.


Anything else you want parents to know?

I think it is a school with a great atmosphere and community. It is a great school to learn English, to get used to the Canadian way of learning, and to get help getting into a good college or university.