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Students Awarded Scholarship to China!

Interview with Ayma Lone

We are excited to highlight two exceptional Year 11 students, Ayma Lone and Deserre Jackson, who have been awarded scholarships to complete their A levels in Mandarin in China over the next two years.

Before they depart for study leave, we wanted to share their inspiring stories and achievements to showcase the unique and outstanding Mandarin Excellence program at Stantonbury.

Ayma began her Mandarin journey in Year 8, gradually developing a passion that led her to pursue the language for her GCSEs.


Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background and your journey with Mandarin?

I chose to learn Mandarin because I enjoy challenging myself. When I heard it was one of the hardest languages to learn, I immediately wanted to take on that challenge. As a person, I don’t like settling for the basics, and I found other languages easier to learn. My passion for Mandarin started in Year 8 and led me to take it as a GCSE.

Congratulations on obtaining the scholarship to study in China! How did you feel when you found out you were selected?

I received an email informing me that I had been awarded the scholarship shortly after Desiree received hers. I was so excited that I jumped towards her in pure joy! We were both in class at the time, and the whole class shared in our excitement since we've been together in the same tutor group for four years.

Can you describe the application process for the scholarship? What do you think made your application stand out?

The process was nerve-wracking because I knew it was a huge opportunity that not many people get. What made it a bit sad was the thought that, if I was successful, I would no longer be studying at Stantonbury. I think my passion for the language and dedication to learning helped my application stand out.

What has been the most challenging aspect of learning Mandarin so far, and how have you overcome it?

The most challenging aspect has been staying consistent with my studies. I knew I had to put in a lot of work to achieve the grades I wanted, so I dedicated myself to regular revision and practice.

Can you share a memorable experience or achievement you've had while studying Mandarin at Stantonbury?

The entire experience has been positive. Every milestone felt like an achievement. One particularly memorable moment was when I first started understanding and speaking Mandarin in real conversations.

What are you most excited about regarding your upcoming move to China?

I'm incredibly excited about the beautiful scenery I've seen online and the overall experience of living there. It still hasn’t fully sunk in that I'm going!

How do you think living in China for two years will impact your language skills and cultural understanding?

Absolutely, it will have a huge impact. I aim to become fluent and hope to teach Mandarin to students when I return home.

Have you set any specific goals for your time in China, both academically and personally?

I want to stay motivated and avoid burnout. My goal is to remain disciplined and not become lazy.

How has the Mandarin Excellence program at Stantonbury prepared you for this next step in your education?

The program has helped me understand both the language and the culture, which is very important to me. I've been exposed to Chinese music and literature, and I feel confident that I'll adapt quickly to social etiquette in China.

What kind of support have you received from teachers, family, and friends regarding this scholarship?

Everyone has been incredibly supportive and proud of me, especially my aunts and uncles. They’re thrilled and often express their excitement. My family now uses me as an example for my siblings, and I have inspired my sisters to pursue similar opportunities. This scholarship has had a significant positive impact on me, especially considering my cultural background.

How do you see this opportunity shaping your future career or educational goals?

This opportunity has already boosted my confidence tremendously and will help me get into prestigious schools. It's going to be an eye-opening experience that will shape my future.

What advice would you give to other students who are considering applying for the Mandarin Excellence program?

Take advantage of this opportunity when it’s presented because it doesn’t come often. It will open many doors, including the chance to learn other languages and connect with another continent.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your journey or the upcoming adventure in China?

This experience has pushed me to become more sociable and has built my confidence. I'm incredibly grateful and ready for the next challenge!

How can the Stantonbury community stay updated on your experiences while you’re abroad?

I'm going to miss the school as it has had such a positive impact on me. I will be sharing updates regularly to keep everyone informed.

Thank you for sharing your story with us. We wish you all the best in your studies and adventures in China!

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