Many of our students come from international schools around the world, and Niels in grade 5 is no different. A Dutch national, Niels attended schools in Qatar, England and Norway before coming to YIS in 2014. As Niels explains, "what I like about this school is that you can easily make friends because there are a lot of people in a small environment -- my old school was very big and spread out, so it was hard to make friends because the school was divided: middle school, high school, elementary. Here, the moment I came in, I was welcomed."
What's noteworthy about Niels is that he really remembers that welcome, and his teachers now look to him as a role model for other students. "Without the surroundings of YIS, I wouldn't be who I am right now. When I first came here, a lot of people helped me, my teacher, my new friends, everyone around me. I want to be that same kind of helpful person." To pursue that goal, Niels joined student ambassadors, a leadership group of students from all levels of the school who represent YIS during admission tours to prospective students and their families.
For Niels, student ambassadors is a way to help the school while helping himself: "Teachers and staff who work with us really give us a good experience in student ambassadors, because you learn how to interact with others. I had a communication problem before; I could speak English fine, but I couldn't really communicate with other people. I was shy and kind of trapped in a box. But I learned how to really communicate. Student ambassadors has been a lot of help for me, and I recommend it to others."
A supportive atmosphere is also found in the classroom, as Niels explains: "People help you in learning, too. When you need help, you don't have to be afraid. It's better to ask a question, even if you think that question is not so good, it's important to ask and think about your learning. My teacher Mr. Saez says 'don't be afraid to ask a question, it's better to ask than to be silent and stay confused all the time.' That helped me a lot, too."