Elliot, Class of 2018
Bachelor of Engineering, Mechanical (Honours), Diploma in Professional Engineering Practice at University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
When I first started at university, I expected the workload to be out of this world. I was prepared to live in the library and have my head buried in books day in and day out. While I wasn’t completely wrong, as there were minimal contact hours with lecturers and tutorials, I could not have been more wrong when it came to the “out of this world” workload. Thanks to my IB knowledge, materials, and Stamford approved writing finesse, I had the first semester sorted. Everyone else around me was struggling to catch up, yet I was already ahead of the game. It was all smooth sailing, really…
My university, UTS, is located in the centre of the central business district of Sydney, which means I can avail of a huge variety of events on offer to students; ranging from networking, sailing, and swimming to casual drinks, paintball, and even attending performances at the Sydney Opera House. Of course, with that last one, asking for your well-earned student discount is an invaluable perk as you face the daunting $3.50 coffee price tag. Not today, and not ever, with my trusty student ID!
If there is one thing I do truly appreciate, it’s the vibe at UTS where everyone is motivated to do their utmost best and on a permanent mission to succeed. They are on a mission to concoct ideas for potential start-ups, find internships, and turn crazy designs into reality. Thanks to the sense of community over the years at Stamford, and the friendships it brought, those same skills have helped me get to know my professors and engage with other smart students. I don’t mean in a trivial way, but on a level that they now welcome my flurry of incessant questioning and always help with my thoughts and ideas. Plus, not only does it help me, but it has the added benefit of making friendships I’d like to think will last a lifetime.
To fully emerge in the first-year experience, and not just the parties, I joined a few different societies and clubs. Of course, at the top of my list was Model United Nations (MUN), as well as the Motorsports Society, Engineering Society, Food Appreciation Society, and by far the most important in reconnecting me with home, the Malaysian and Singaporean Society. The Motorsports Society is quite a special one since their race team does, as I have always dreamed of doing, design and build an electric race car every year. I already know what my sights are locked onto when it comes to being more involved in Year 2 – getting onto the electric race team!
While still at the start of this new chapter in my life, I do miss the days at Stamford. I didn’t know it at the time, but now I see how much it prepared me for what was to come at university. It gave me such an advantage over other students, even in such an odd area like writing lab and design reports. It often felt like I was the only face in my physics lectures not blank with utter confusion, which meant alongside my now stellar Excel skills, and never-ending source of chemistry puns acquired in Ms. Rod’s classes, I was constantly impressing my tutors and outdoing my peers.
I will always reminisce about the infamous MUN meetings, where mystically less than nothing got done, but we always pulled it out of the bag and achieved many greatness in the end. I miss all the sports teams with their overly hard training sessions for no good reason. But, most of all, I cherish the memories I made with friends in the infamous Senior Study Room; now that was heaven on Earth. So, if you find yourself reading this as a student and want a wise word of advice: cherish every memory you make with friends and teachers, because even though you’ll see them again, it just won’t be the same. Oh, and of course, study hard!
Gaëlle, Class of 2016
Now studying: Vatel Madrid
I have fond memories of being in the first graduating cohort of Stamford and to whoever is reading this, I’d like to share with you that life is not easy. You will have to pass through rough patches to be successful in what you want to be.
Since I was 7 years old, I thought that I wanted to grow up to work in a kitchen as a pastry chef. Cooking was a daily ritual in my house where my mother and I cooked everything from appetizers to desserts. We loved spending time together in the kitchen and creating dishes for the family so I thought that was my path. When it was time for me to leave Stamford, I chose to attend the Culinary Institute of America, considered one of the best cooking schools in the world. I attended one year at the CIA in Hyde Park, New York. At first, I was super excited and I loved every minute of it even though it was really hard waking up everyday at 5 am to cook for 8 hours straight.
Then summer came around and I had to do my internship. I decided to do it in a catering company called Gabriela Bertagni Catering for 6 months in Buenos Aires. During my time in the internship, I experience catering for important events such as the UNICEF gala in Buenos Aires, weddings, and birthdays. That’s when everything changed and I realized that I didn’t want to work in a kitchen for my whole life. I realized that I preferred the other side of the industry, talking with people, meeting new people and organizing things.
After much deliberation, I decided to drop out of the internship and change career paths. I applied and got into one of the best schools of hospitality management in the world called Vatel. I started in Vatel Buenos Aires and then I transferred to Vatel Madrid. Now, I am in my second year, and I haven’t regretted it a single bit. I hope that once I graduate, I can work in the concert event industry and maybe one day work with Live Nation!
If you fail, or think that the choice you have made turns out to not be right for you, do not give up. Be brave, try again, and find another solution!
Amari, Class of 2017
Bachelor of Business (Marketing Specialisation) — Honours at Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
After graduating from Stamford American International School, I went to NTU here in Singapore studying a direct Honors Bachelor of Business, specializing in Marketing.
During my time at university, I have been given amazing work experience opportunities. I was lucky enough to be accepted into an internship program at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for my first summer internship. At this internship, I gained knowledge about how large companies are able to manage their employees and ensure the standard of expected service level is met, and how to push employees beyond expectations.
Currently, I have been given the opportunity to intern at Singapore Airlines. There, I am learning how to work with data and coding which is something outside of my specialization, but has given me rich insights and knowledge that can be applied in the future.
As I have one more year before graduating, I will be embarking on a semester abroad in Sweden, before coming back to finish my final semester of studies. After graduating, I hope to be able to take a Masters or begin working in the corporate world. As it has always been my passion to plan events, I hope it will be to either work in an events company or department, or even start up my own company!
During my time at Stamford, one of the most cherished memories I will always take away is the Class of 2017 and the friends that I have made. To this day, I still keep in contact with several of my batch mates and we meet up when we get the opportunity to, despite attending universities in different countries.
Another memory would be the volleyball teams and my coaches. With the great training programs and opportunities to travel for overseas tournaments, it has helped me to improve as a player and I have been continuing my volleyball journey in the NTU team.
To all the current graduating year and other high school students, I would highly encourage you to stay involved during school and join co-curricular activities, as the experience you gain from these activities will benefit you in the long-run.
Cherish your school days while they last because they go by really fast, so never forget to have fun when you get the chance. When you enter university, or even before, be sure to take up work opportunities to help you gain experiences and lead you to paths you would never think of taking.
Adam, Class of 2018 Salutatorian
LL.B. Bachelor of Laws at the London School of Economics and Political Science
The Great Beyond – and by that I mean life at university, and not outer space – is a radically different environment to school, in the best possible way. I will admit, it’s far from what I expected it to be: loads of free time, parties, few contact hours, and a decent amount of literature to digest. I often find myself cooped up in the library for the majority of the day, and the rest in various seminars and lectures. At the same time, there is actually a lot of contact time with Professors, which can be incredibly insightful and entertaining. Though, it does mean you need to constantly be on your game.
The social aspect is always there, and with loads of pubs on campus you’re sure to run into a few of the lads should you wish to venture in. At the end of the day, it is what you make of it. There is a great mix of events as well, from networking dinners, to bowling nights, to black tie dinners and beyond. Oddly enough, employers host a load of social events that allow you to explore careers and understand the profession over drinks and canapes. So, as a student, you’ve got to be tactful in sussing out the freebies.
At the London School of Economics (LSE) the atmosphere is rampant with energy, and that really inspires you to do a billion things at once. People are interning, starting companies, going on schemes, writing articles and hosting conferences. It is insane, truly, with how much goes on. From my time at Stamford, I was very much able to muck right in and bring my experience to the table. Of course, I joined the United Nations Society, and quickly succeeded in my application to become Director-General of Administration of YouthMUN, a conference designed to get high school kids involved with MUN. However, at the same time, I found one of my favourite hobbies to take a vastly different form at university. Everything was now about winning. There was no longer a casual, relaxed debate, but rather an intensified analytical forum before me. Luckily enough, I managed to acquire the Commendation Award for SPECPOL at Oxford International Model United Nations and support the team in winning Best Small Delegation.
One of my favourite aspects of university life are the public lectures, which allow you to hear from world leaders, members of Parliament, and other notable figures. In school everything came straight from the textbook, or perhaps a video online, but no longer. You have the chance to hear directly from these people. Even better, if it’s a networking session you can get into a full conversation. That aside, it allows you to explore very specific and nuanced topics that you would not otherwise encounter, and is often on some of the most topical issues in our current state of affairs.
As well, while Stamford was an incredibly international environment, we had all become so accustomed to the being “third culture kids”. In particular, at LSE, the student body is one of the most diverse in the world and consists of people from all walks of life, with very different stories, of all ages. It is something really incredible. I was elected the Sponsorship and Outreach Coordinator of the LSE Irish Society, and introduced to the vast realm of national societies which offer some amazing events.
I think I find myself advantaged having done the IB at Stamford now, because as dreadful as it was in the moment, it does prepare you in terms of rigour and workload. There was a lot of independent learning to be done outside the classroom, and the best work occurred where you dared to take the road less travelled. In university, that is exactly what the Professors want to see from you. It’s all about challenging knowledge and questioning beyond the basic premise. Or, as we say at the LSE: rerum cognoscere causas.
At the same time, I do miss some of the great trips that we went on during Field Studies and MUN at Stamford. Though, being on the doorstep of Europe now, I have managed to hop over to Spain and Ireland very easily. Albeit, it is not the same. Above all I think I do really miss some of the crazy happenings in the Class of 2018 Senior Study. There never will be a room as great as that ever again.
So, if you’re reading this and are still struggling through school: just remember that there is plenty to cherish and enjoy while you can. There are great things waiting at university if you put in the time and work. But, if you’re reading this and you’re someone like me: I hope you’re having a blast and are making the most of things. That’s all from me.