“International education offers a lot of flexibility and opens doors to many exciting opportunities. Completing an international qualification gives you the option to pursue further study anywhere in the world. It also enables you to meet like-minded people and learn more about their cultures.”
My name is Johanna Koks, I started my studies at ISWA in August 2018 when I was in Year 11 and graduated in the 2020 cohort as the IB DP Dux. I am currently undertaking a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) with a Direct Pathway to Doctor of Medicine at UWA.
ISWA offers two education pathways to their senior students, which pathway did you take?
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP).
Describe your experience studying at ISWA.
I had a very pleasant study experience at ISWA as I felt supported at every step of my journey. Completing the IBDP at ISWA felt like a breeze thanks to the high-level teaching I could access. I was glad that I was able to consult our teachers regarding my subjects but also when it came to CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) – the opportunities and guidance provided by the school made its completion very enjoyable.
When I arrived at ISWA, the academic year had been going on for nearly a month. There was quite a bit of material to catch up on, but it was easy to manage thanks to the good level of support I got from my teachers. As there are not too many students in one class, the teachers could ensure that everyone understood the content well and offer extra help where needed. Small student numbers also enabled me to make friends quickly.
Do you believe you left ISWA with a global education that has prepared you to work internationally?
Yes, definitely. I currently work at a multi-national company and going there straight after graduating from ISWA was a very comfortable transition as I was already used to being surrounded by people from different cultures. International education at ISWA does not stop in the classroom but continues to community events, such as Harmony Day. ISWA truly shows that learning about each other’s cultures, trying out new foods and practising foreign languages is fun, which is definitely a very important transferable skill to have.
How do you believe ISWA’s culture shaped your school experience?
During my time at ISWA, I made many friends, most of whom I still see on a weekly basis. I felt included from my first day till way after graduation. Besides friends, I consider the relationships I established with my teachers very important. Even after I had graduated, they were there to help me with my university applications and recommendation letters at any time. It is so nice to know that you are supported by your school community as a whole.
How do you think studying in a welcoming, close-knit community like ISWA compares to other schools?
I have never studied at a very large school; however, I think that it is easier to get started at a new school where the community is accommodating and not overwhelming as I imagine it could be in larger schools. I really appreciate how close everyone at ISWA is – I felt free to consult any teacher or coordinator whenever needed. I think that ISWA students and staff are all very open-minded which enables every person to express themselves the way they are.
What are the benefits of an international education to students at school today?
International education offers a lot of flexibility and opens doors to many exciting opportunities. Completing an international qualification gives you the option to pursue further study anywhere in the world. It also enables you to meet like-minded people and learn more about their cultures. Besides educational benefits, such as speaking various languages, the human connections made are very rewarding. How nice it is to know that you have friends who are there for you no matter the distance between you or the time that has passed!
Tell us about what you’re doing now. Have you had any memorable achievements since leaving ISWA?
Since leaving ISWA, I have been working as a Junior Business Advisor at a consulting agency, where I manage digital marketing and support document governance for 2 healthcare organisations.
I have also remained at Hollywood Private Hospital as a patient support volunteer. (I first started volunteering there in June 2019 and did that weekly throughout Year 12 at ISWA, I am so grateful that the teachers enabled me to have the flexibility to leave school early on Wednesdays.)
In February 2021, I started my studies at UWA, where I am undertaking a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) with a Direct Pathway to Doctor of Medicine.
If you had to describe your experience at ISWA in ten words or less, what would you say?
I felt encouraged to be who I want to be.
Acknowledgement of Country
We wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we are on, the Whadjuk (Perth region) people and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. We acknowledge, respect and seek to learn from their wisdom, continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.