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Students benefit from alumni expertise

By Sam Wong, ISB Alumni Relations

The International School of Beijing (ISB) has one of the strongest alumni networks in the region. Alumni remain committed and connected to the school years after they leave, something that’s regularly on display in the events they organize and participate in for current students.

Tomorrow, Grade 12 students will get to put their questions about college to a panel of ISB alumni studying at university. The panel is a highlight of the ISB Counseling Department’s program of events and workshops in students’ final year at the school.

Over the summer, our alumni gave back to the community in a very significant way by hosting two summer courses via Zoom for Middle and High School students. Megan Wang and James Mao, both from the Class of 2008, led the effort and organized for a group of alumni to host and contribute.

The first course was “Living in a complicated world: understanding and discussing current events with ISB alumni.” It aimed to demonstrate to students the importance of education even after they leave school. Alumni explained how they continue to learn and apply an understanding of current events to real-world scenarios. Attendees discussed topics such as how Covid-19 has affected work, systems, government, and communities, as well as how systemic racism impacts how the world works today.

Nicole S, Grade 10, said she “had fun talking to new people about current topics and events; the conversation was intellectually fulfilling.” Her main takeaway was how important phrasing is when presenting an idea to people. “Communication is crucial to us as humans, yet it can be so difficult to do it well. The course allowed me to truly appreciate the intricacies of speech and conversation.”

The second course was titled “Life after ISB: career path fireside chats with ISB alumni. Its goal was to share what career paths are available to ISB graduates to impact the world. The school’s alumni are influential in many walks of life. They are doctors, lawyers, and financiers; they are also start-up founders, community organizers, and media strategists. During each session, alumni from two different career paths would join in a discussion led by James Mao, who has a doctorate in politics from Princeton University, allowing students to listen and ask questions as to how they ended up in their careers.

“I enjoyed the entire course,” said Shawn T, Grade 12. “I was amazed by our alumni’s humility and willingness to connect with ISB students.”

Akari O, Grade 10, echoed Shawn and said her “main takeaway from this course is that life is full of uncertainty and different pathways, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and trust your instincts when venturing through adulthood.”

Alumni are continuing to facilitate unique events for ISB students. The school is grateful to all of them, with special thanks for the summer course leaders:

Megan Wang, Class of 2008

James Mao, Class of 2008

Hui-Ling Koh, Class of 2006

Dorris Lin, Class of 2000

Tiffany Shi, 2001-2004

Gabriel Mekbib, Class of 2010

Jacqueline Ong, 2005-2007

Hannah (Kuo) Rothkuo, Class of 2006

Michelle Florcruz, Class of 2008

Matt Lin, Class of 2007

Peter Tu, Class of 2007

ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.

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