Ellie Wade '16

NYU Shanghai '20
7 years at CSG


I did not begin my academic career at CSG. In fact, for the first eight years, my life was largely spent within a five block radius of my Newark, Ohio home. A chance encounter with a CSG alumna at a local art class gave me inspiration for a brave change. Beginning in fifth grade we traded a two-minute commute for an eight-person carpool, and I discovered a new world of vibrant classrooms, engaged faculty, and insightful discussions. Even though we were thirty-six miles from my address, I was home. To be clear, there were challenging times and difficult moments, but always the reassurance and support that made the impossible happen. From the Form VI Weather Essay to the Form IX History Mysteries, CSG consistently challenged me to achieve beyond what I thought possible. Conquering these milestones would help to build the confidence I would need to determine my own unique path.


In truth it began in Yellowstone. This was the week-long science adventure marking the successful completion of lower school. AKA goodbye tunic, hello independence! The excitement of traveling for the first time without the careful eyes of my parents allowed me to learn as much about myself as I did Old Faithful. Next I was off to Costa Rica for a faculty-led excursion just before Form VIII. This trip would cement friendships over zip lines, introduce cultures foreign and unknown, and spark a passion for language learning through immersion. Following my freshman year I left for a Short-Term Rotary Youth Exchange after hosting a fellow student in our home. At the conclusion of her four-week stay in Ohio, we headed to her home in Italy. I spent my time touring major Italian cities and the countryside, hiking mountains, and tasting authentic Italian cuisine. By the flight home it was evident to me I was ready to leave the security and safety of CSG for the unknown of a yearlong exchange. Supported by the flexibility of CSG and the College Counseling Office, I worked with faculty and staff to design independent study work for the summer preceding my junior year and left for my Long-Term Rotary Youth Exchange in Podebrady, Czech Republic. Living in another country, in another community, and with another family taught me unimaginable lessons. The academic rigor of my CSG years proved invaluable as I studied alongside my Czech classmates at the local gymnázium. Becoming fluent in Czech, independently navigating trains throughout Europe, and having friends on five continents were just a few of the souvenirs I brought home.

Frequent flyer milestones

The plane touched down just in time to dust off my uniforms and step back through the door at 56 S. Columbia Avenue. Returning to both CSG and Ohio gave me the chance to enjoy all the traditions of Form XII and to serve as a Youth Ambassador for Rotary Youth Exchange. I was selected to receive the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and attend the four-day conference at Ohio University. I continued to be involved with Rotary through my senior year, culminating with giving the keynote address at the multi-district conference in July. I credit CSG for their commitment to each individual girl, specifically and selfishly to me, for allowing me to pursue my dreams, all the while ensuring the same academic integrity provided to all students. With the assistance and creativity of the Upper School and the College Counseling Office we were able to create a schedule that allowed me to complete all required and desired coursework. By the end of the first semester my college essay was written and applications were submitted. Generally speaking I followed the typical, prescribed formula…several safety, several match, and several reach schools. Just for good measure I applied to one, super far-reaching school on the other side of the world.

making the world my major

Slowly the acceptance emails started appearing in my inbox and, during Spring Break, the best one of all…to my surprise, I had been accepted to NYU Shanghai. After attending the admitted-students’ weekend in Shanghai to visit the campus, I realized this was the place for me. NYUSH fulfills my parents’ request of an American school, but meets my criteria of a big city, cultural immersion, and limitless international opportunity. As the first accredited American university in China, NYUSH gives students the opportunity to become truly global citizens.

big places, bigger plans

As I write this piece it marks 31 days until I leave for what is certain to be an unforgettable experience: four years in a major metropolitan city, attending a world-class university, and studying subjects of great interest and importance. My long-term plan includes working in international finance, building upon what began at CSG, speaking Mandarin fluently, and continuing to understand all that connects us across the world.