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Eight happy years in Shanghai

HELENA Halim from Hong Kong is more than a star student at Shanghai Singapore International School. She's deeply involved in school and community, reports Fei Lai.

Star student Helena Halim of Shanghai Singapore International School (SSIS) moved with her family from Hong Kong to Shanghai when she was 8 years old. Today she's 16.

Like most other expat teenagers, they came with their parents whose jobs took them to Shanghai.

"When I arrived here, I liked my home and school community but didn't really like the city itself. I was afraid of long roads and immense car traffics," Halim says.

"I also missed the food and shops from my hometown. But in a time line of eight years, the city developed quickly and even quicker than I expected. Now, many of the elements I missed can be found here in Shanghai," she says.

However, there are important things she had in Hong Kong that she cannot find in the city. One, she says, is a sense of identity.

Halim is considered a star, not only for her academics, but also for her personal achievements and contributions to her school and community. But she modestly notes that there are other distinguished students who have made important contributions to school and community.

Halim is known for her passion for performing, which she enjoyed as far back as she can remember.

"I would use the skipping rope and sing to it like a mic and act emotional, like an actor or singer winning an award," she says.

At SSIS, Halim has performed in musicals in which she sings and acts. She also hosted the school's Christmas show with her brother Ian Halim.

During extracurricular hours, she also works for the Student Council and helps organize school events.

To better her community, she has taken part in charity events, such as the Christmas Giving Tree, written articles for Shanghai Family magazine and traveled to Yunnan Province to teach English for a week.

Halim says her parents helped her to become a better individual.

"When I face problems, no matter what they are, they're there to listen to me and really care for me," she says. "As I am growing up, they are not there as often to solve my problems because they want me to become more independent."

"Besides that, they add humor and color to my life. My parents are quite artistic so I get many opportunities to explore in these areas that I love. All in all, my parents give me love. It sounds cheesy but it's true," Halim says.

She hopes to contribute more to her school and community.

Since she is interested in language and literature, Halim is considering a career in the communications field.


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