Alumni: ambassadors for life

We are very proud of the young people who are truly wonderful ambassadors for the region and for our community. In a series of articles a few alumni will tell about their experiences and how ISE helped them to develop into the person of who they are today.

Let’s start with April Roach, age 25, who spent ten years at ISE and works as a news reporter for Standard London in London nowadays. She moved to the Netherlands with her sister and parents to live closer to the work of her parents and graduated in 2013 with an International Baccalaureate diploma.

First experiences in the Netherlands

April starts her story with her first experiences in the Netherlands:

“I was seven years old when we moved to Waalre (just outside of Eindhoven) in 2003. I grew up in London and I remember being struck by how different Waalre was to a city like London. We couldn’t believe how many cycle paths there were and one of my earliest memories was of learning how to ride a bike and trying to learn Dutch at school. I was also very happy at the prospect of not having to wear a school uniform! I started school in Group 4 at what used to be the Regional International School (RIS). I started school in the middle of the year in December but I remember feeling very welcomed and was able to quickly make friends. School helped with Dutch lessons and there were so many after school activities like ice skating and swimming. Soon the RIS became ISE, at the green campus where it is situated now. I really enjoyed the ISE school camps at the beginning of each year. The camps meant that we were able to get to know our classmates before the school year and also experience new sports like abseiling and develop teamwork skills. I also really valued having a varied curriculum during MYP and IB. In history class we didn’t just learn about the battles that were taken place on the western front during World War I, but we also learnt about the battles happening on the eastern front. It’s also a much rewarding learning environment when you’re learning alongside students from all over the world.”

The slogan of ISE is: “More than a school” How did you experience this?

“The ISE is its own little community. Because our year groups were quite small compared to other schools I knew people not just in my year group but in the years above and below.

Sometimes students come to the Netherlands for a short amount of time or in the middle of the school year, which means that you have to get used to a lot of new faces. But from my experience the students were always welcoming and eager to make sure that new students adjusted to life at the ISE, even if English or Dutch wasn’t their first language.”

ISE and Personal development

Furthermore, we asked April what ISE has meant for her personal development. She continues to tell thatthe IB programme taught at the ISE prepared her for the challenges of her university degree. “At the IB we study six subjects and also have to complete a number of community and service hours and an Extended Essay. At the time, the demands of the IB course was very challenging. However, when I went to university I found that I was able to easily adapt to the independent working that comes with a degree because of the work I had done at IB. After completing a number of Community And Service (CAS) hours at the ISE I felt encouraged to continue volunteering at university. I had learned to value the rewards that come with giving back to my community and when I was studying at Warwick, one of my priorities was to ensure that I took part in some form of volunteering alongside my studies. Still now as a grownup, I appreciate having learned to be ‘open-minded’ and able to take ‘risks’. These were two qualities that we were repeatedly encouraged to embody as students of the ISE. I think that as grownups these qualities are just as important. At the ISE we were constantly meeting students from different countries and it was important to remain open-minded when encountering new cultures. When I meet new people at work who challenge my way of thinking I always try to remain open-minded. That is how I experience the worth of being part of the ISE-community, which will remain for the rest of my life.”