The ISA Experience and its Impact on a Professional Journey

Many years after leaving ISA, alum Yuri Yagimoto (née Hayakawa) noticed a connection between her higher education path and her experience in the International School of Amsterdam. She came back to Amsterdam and visited our campus to meet her Grade 5 teacher and share a bit about her story.

Yuri studied world literature with a specialisation in children’s books, and a sub-major in child developmental psychology at the University of Tokyo. Soon she will begin her graduate studies at the Graduate School of Tsukuba and her focus is on international education and International Baccalaureate (IB) education. 

Yuri attributes her choice of career to the valuable and unforgettable time she had as a Lower School student at ISA.

“I chose to get involved in primary years education, especially IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), because the experiences I had at ISA had so many positive impacts on me. I learned the importance of intercultural understanding by interacting with friends and teachers with different cultural backgrounds. Moreover, I developed my self-esteem through PYP lessons where we were all respected as who we were. These experiences have brought me up to think about how we can make our world a better place by respecting each other and one of my answers to this was to get involved in children’s education” said Yuri.

When reflecting on the memories of her time at ISA, she mentioned the PYP Exhibition. “It was a great challenge for me to work with group members and we even planned a field research to visit an animal shelter in town. I felt such a sense of accomplishment and I gained confidence from the experience of going through a project from the beginning to the end. I have so many great memories from my ISA days.”

Yuri also shared her advice to current ISA students and community members. “The people (friends, teachers and staffs) you meet at ISA are the one of the most wonderful people you could encounter in your life. I would advise you to keep in touch with them even after you leave ISA. I actually reunited with some friends for the first time in 15 years which was an amazing time.”

Lastly, Yuri shared how, as a professional, she sees the benefits of the PYP to children:

“I believe the biggest benefits you can gain from PYP is the sense of self-esteem. When I was in ISA, there were many opportunities to introduce my Japanese culture and traditional festivals to my classmates. Even though I hadn’t lived in Japan for so long, I was able to learn about my own country and be proud of who I was and where I came from. By developing those feelings of self-esteem, I became interested in other countries and had respect for their different cultures. Through the PYP curriculum, especially the Unit of Inquiry lessons, I believe the students learn about important themes related to both their own lives and lives of others, and also how and what each can do to make this world a better place, which are the most essential elements in this 21st century world.”

#IamISA zooms into individuals of our community to share their stories, voices and experiences at ISA.

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