Class of 2015
Where are you currently based, and what is your occupation?
Which teachers played an important role in your time at YIS?
There were several, one of the special parts of YIS is the faculty. From high school, Ms. Wilson was consistently a huge support, and made it clear that she sometimes expected far more of me. She was instrumental in showing me that strong work ethic and ambition were invaluable, and she also served as my Extended Essay supervisor. Her insightful feedback and passion for gender economics and women’s empowerment helped make the challenging EE one of my favorite parts of the IBDP. I will also always be grateful to Madame Maeda. She was the personification of French elegance and class but also equally strict about French grammar and pronunciation. In effect, she taught the language and Francophone culture so well that I became business proficient in the language, which opened many work opportunities for me. And lastly, Mr. McKeown who was an incredibly passionate and caring teacher, and also was the one to instill in me (and probably many others) a continuing interest in international relations, income inequality, and development economics.
What is your most memorable moment from your time at YIS?
There are so many to choose from. I’ll go with these three.
- Mother Tongue Week in Elementary and Middle School. I roped in several of my friends to choreograph and perform traditional Indian dances with me. We had incredible fun teaching each other, getting all dressed up, and taking silly videos. I think I might still have a copy somewhere…
- Field Hockey practices and games, I got quite close to several of the girls from other grades and it was all the more fun sport when you were playing with your best friends.
- All the afternoons in the YIS library (especially the one pre-2010), I must have spent countless hours there, and it started off my love for literature which carries on till today.
What type of sports or non-academic activities were you involved with at YIS?
I played field hockey and was in the dance club for several years, and it was one of the best memories in school I have. Additionally, a part of the 12 years I spent training in ballet was done at school. I was also in Model United Nations. Prom Committee, and the Van der Poel Committee.
Which grade-level or class at YIS would you want to relive, and why? Would you do anything differently?
Probably 10th Grade because the break between celebrating the end of IGCSEs and starting IB felt like all the freedom in the world. And maybe 7th Grade because I made some friends that year that I still keep in touch with till date. Or even Nursery, just to experience again what it feels like to have endless curiosity and get unconditionally happy over small victories. The only thing I would try to do differently is to enjoy being surrounded by your friends every single day, it’s much harder to see everyone you want once your schooling is complete.
Another is that YIS has a very international environment and teaches values of not just tolerance, but acceptance. Truly a school that embraces and celebrates all cultures, faiths, genders, orientations, and abilities. It’s a little more difficult to find that out in the ‘real world’, and I would like my future children to experience similar respectful values that YIS has.
Lastly, YIS’ teachers gave me a very strong love for both reading and being informed on current geopolitical issues. Particularly in IB, many teachers would take the time to hold class discussions on major events and connect them to what we were learning at the time. This also translated into the types of books we would read in English Literature. Since much of our Modern History studies focused on US/European history from the 20th century, it was better balanced out when in English class, we also explored on English-translated Nigerian novels or Japanese traditional literature from the 17th century. This ensured we never read or learnt about only one area of the globe.
Given your experience, what sort of advice would you give to current YIS students?
Be flexible in your mentality. Right around the IB years, I became someone who loved planning and thrived on some sense of organization and set paths. These are not negative things, per say. But perhaps I had felt that change would be less intimidating if I had very particular plans for the future. Going to this school, doing this job for A number of years in B city and then moving to C to do this. It worked well for me until about 2 years ago, when I realized I was following my plan perfectly but did not find much passion or joy for what I was doing. Which forced me for the first time to take more leaps of faith and not jump straight back into crafting a plan. When I got out of my mindset of doing what I thought I should do, and instead doing what I wanted to do or learn about, I found myself in a role and place in life that made me very happy.
Lastly, I’ve also learned to acknowledge how privileged we are to be getting such a balanced, world-class education with many opportunities and sources of support. Growing up, I thought this was completely normal, but I’ve increasingly become much more aware (through both self-reflection and also learning from others that you meet after school), that not everyone you will meet has had the same opportunities. The learning culture and community that YIS gives us is truly a unique experience, but we should also be accepting that others come with their own unique set of experiences too.
What are your most vivid memories of the Yamate-cho campus?
Food Fair, which really highlighted the strong sense of community at YIS. And the playground and hallways, always filled with a lot of laughter, noise, and some chaos. I remember when the Middle Building was under construction and then the unveiling sometime around 2002. I still think it was one of the home-like campuses I’ve ever seen.