We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming reunions and events. Find all the details and registration information here. Did you miss one of our events? You can also find information and recaps of past events here.
📣 Save the Date: December 15, 2023! 🗓️
We are thrilled to invite you to the much-anticipated 2023 ISKL Alumni Gathering, an evening of rekindling old friendships, making new memories, and celebrating the ISKL spirit!
Date: Dec 15, 2023
Time: 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Concubine KL, Lot 2, Jalan Panggong, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
- Ticket Fee: RM59 per person
- Includes: Appetizers, Cocktails, Beer, and Wine for the duration of the event (or until it runs out)
To ensure we maintain a cozy and enjoyable atmosphere for all attendees, we have a strict event capacity of 65 people. Therefore, we kindly request that you secure your spot now!
How to purchase your ticket:
Watch How to Purchase Your Ticket:
Hurry, as spots are filling up quickly!
We can’t wait to share this unforgettable evening with you and make it a night to remember. Let’s come together and strengthen the bonds that make our ISKL community so special.
If you have any questions or require further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].
The time has come to celebrate our Alumni with our end-of-year celebration. We are inviting all Alumni students, parents, faculty, and staff back to campus on December 16, 2022, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. for a Holiday Luau (BBQ).
Food and drinks will be provided. Wear your favorite silly Christmas/Holiday outfit, Hawaiian shirt, Batik, BBQ attire, etc. There may be a prize for best dressed .
Please RSVP here: https://forms.gle/kJgdSvpxmYRYeuTd7
The jury is out! ISKL Alumni present the third Alumni Black Box Conversation with our Alum, and Director of Talent
Development and Culture, Ika Muzamal as the host, where our five speakers talk about their academic journey and career experiences in the legal field. Prof. William Birdthistle (’91), Sabrinne Gibson (’11), Hannah Costley (‘12), Jonathan David Ross Silva (’14), and Maggie Casey (‘14), discuss their academic journey and working in the legal field. They share the ups and downs in their academic and career pathways as they pursued their dreams, and what it takes to pursue the law pathway and what to expect on the job.
Get Real! is an opportunity for High School students to explore the university and career options with our own ISKL Alumni working or studying around the world. It’s a chance to find out more about university and work life and to ask the important questions in a small group environment. In the fourth installment of the series, Alina Katz (‘18) discusses uni life in the Netherlands, and the transition to life after ISKL. Stay tuned for this episode to be released in the first week of January.
Do you have an academic, career or general life advice you would like to share with our current students and alumni? Let us know! The next installments of each series are already in the planning stages, and we are eager to include a variety of voices and perspectives. Have other ideas about knowledge sharing opportunities? We would love to hear about it at [email protected].
ISKL Gets Future Ready!
Future Ready: Alumni Black Box Conversations is ISKL Alumni’s brand new careers series, featuring our own ISKL alumni sharing their pathways and inside career knowledge with the ISKL community. Each episode will look at a different professional grouping, exploring the many and varied opportunities for current ISKL students, as well as our Alumni already in the field.
The first episode of Future Ready: Alumni Black Box Conversations delves into Medical Sciences and is hosted by ISKL Alumni Hezril Asyraaf (‘13) who is Producer/Presenter of the Evening Edition on Malaysia’s business radio station, BFM 89.9.
Hezril is joined by other ISKL Alumni working and studying in the Medical Sciences:
- Dr Hana Aziz, Class of ‘98, is a general practitioner at the Malaysia Social Research Institute clinic in Ampang, providing care to the refugee community registered with the UNHCR. Hana earned her medical degree from the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology and is currently studying for a Masters in Public Health. She started her medical career as an emergency doctor and has also worked as a health screening doctor at a major private hospital.
- Dr Elena (El-ee-na) Azizan is a Research Lecturer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, and has recently received a major grant for Covid-19 research related to her field. Elena was an IB scholar who went on to receive a Bachelor of Pharmacology at Leeds University, then a Postgraduate degree in Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge.
- Yu Ern Hsueh is in her third and final year of a Bachelor of Genetics at Queen Mary University of London. A Class of 2017 Alumna, Yu Ern plans to pursue further studies towards a medical career after completing her bachelor’s degree.
click HERE to watch the live streamed event.
Students Get Real! with Molly Godde and Hina Singh
When a Senior is heading off to university, a few to-do lists are on the horizon involving preparations for the last few months at school and, more dauntingly, what comes after it. Sure, the world wide web presents many probable answers, but do they truly get what it’s like?
This is where ISKL’s Get Real! series comes into play. Get Real! is where our High School students have the opportunity to explore university options with their predecessors, the ISKL Alumni. The fifth installment of the series took place in person, with Class of 2021 alumni Molly Godde and Hina Singh, who shared their experiences- from the admissions process to university life as an undergraduate.
When selecting universities, Hina, who is attending the University of Chicago, shared that the best strategy for her was to research different universities and attend events to understand the school better. “In COVID, it’s difficult to visit schools, but virtual events also gauge how the universities and student body look. They helped me decide which university I wanted to apply to.”
Molly, who had her eyes set on Melbourne University but decided to go for La Trobe University, said the decision came after thorough research and learning more about other universities. She explains, “Look at universities not based on their reputation. I did some digging and looked at what was important to me, and that was my course. Melbourne University had always been my dream university, but I had to let that go.”
After selecting your choices, the next step would be to impress your university’s admission officers with a fantastic application essay. Hina’s advice? Stay true to yourself. “I got an email from my admissions officer, who read my essay and felt like she was speaking to me. Keeping that authenticity alive was essential in my application.”
“You can do a bunch of activities in High School, but if you’re doing it to fill up your resume, I feel like admissions officers will see through that. The ability to make those experiences meaningful and being able to write about them makes so much more sense.”
One of the questions by students was about transitioning to university life as a third culture kid (TCK), as it is normal for TCKs to feel a sense of rootlessness, even as they head off to university. Molly echoes the sentiment and thinks that the way to combat this is to keep doing what you love. “I think it’s important to continue or maintain the things that you love and the things that relax you and make you comfortable.”
Hina adds that she found it easier when there is a sense of familiarity in keeping to who you are as a person; for her, that was touch rugby and singing. “I played touch rugby throughout High School and Middle School, and UChicago had a rugby team, so I joined the team. I am also in an acapella?group. Those two things grounded me, rooted me in the university, and made me feel at home. I found a community and a support system. That was very important to me.”
“I feel like the best way for me to be able to give back to my High School is to offer some advice that I would have appreciated when I was in High School as well.”
One of the most rewarding ways for alumni to give back is by imparting valuable wisdom, which rings true for Hina, who was part of the inaugural Get Real! session with Professor Birdthistle when she was in ISKL and is now a mentor herself.
Are you interested to learn more? We invite you to watch the full video where Molly and Hina gave more insights on university life in Melbourne and Chicago! Want to become a mentor? Let us know at [email protected].
Students Get Real! with Megan Lim
When a Senior is heading off to university, a few to-do lists are on the horizon, involving preparations for the last few months at school and, more dauntingly, what comes after it. Sure, the world wide web presents many probable answers, but do they truly get what it’s like?
This is where ISKL’s Get Real! series comes into play. Get Real! is where our High School students can explore university options with their predecessors, the ISKL Alumni. The sixth installment of the series took place virtually, with Class of 2021 alumni Megan Lim, who shared her experiences – from sharing the key benefits of taking the IB in preparation for a university to general tips on living in the UK as a law undergraduate at the University of Bristol.
Key Benefits of taking the IB in preparation for University
Megan shares many vital advantages of taking the IB, such as time management, knowing how to write essays, and knowing when to study. “IB makes you take math or a science subject, which is good because it builds you into a well-rounded student. However, in university, you have the choice to pick specifically what course you’re doing. Everything I’m learning about, I’m interested in, and it’s easier for me to engage in,” says Megan.
Another significant advantage is time management. “I had to juggle many different responsibilities when I took the IB, and it’s the same in university, if not more so. Having a good organization system and knowing how to structure your time from IB transferred well to university,” remarks Megan. She adds, “The IB English Literature taught me how to write an essay and structure it in a way that demonstrates an argument. One of the assessments in law school is that you have to analyze many different aspects of the law critically and know how to do an introduction, body, paragraphs 1 through 3, a conclusion, and then structure each section to demonstrate your argument.”
Why the University of Bristol?
Megan says she chose Bristol because she was influenced by a YouTuber who went to the university and is now qualified with one of the top law firms in London. “I wanted to be like her,” says Megan, “and upon further research, I’ve discovered how pretty the city of Bristol is and that it’s a good mix between London, a very bustling, fast-moving city, and a quieter town in Bristol. It’s an excellent in-between balance.”
Experiencing Culture Shock: Pizza, Changing Mindsets and Homesickness
Megan talked about her experience coming from an international school with an international background and how she wasn’t expecting culture shock to affect her. However, little things surprised her about living in the UK. “I don’t know if they do this in Malaysia, but Domino’s Pizza here will give you a free garlic mayo dip to dip your pizza in – I didn’t know that was a thing! It’s been life-changing. They also like barbecue-based pizza, which I don’t think is a big thing in Malaysia, but okay, I would encourage that less, but you can try it!” quips Megan.
On a more serious note, Megan also mentions how at ISKL, the school does its best to spread awareness and educate students about drugs and alcohol. However, she felt she wasn’t as mentally prepared as she should have been regarding the differing cultural attitudes between Malaysia and the United Kingdom. “In the UK, the drug and alcohol culture is normalized, and many of my friends smoke, vape, and drink alone. Even though I knew this existed in the world, I feel that maybe every student should be mentally prepared for it. There isn’t any peer pressure to do any of this, but it’s more of just being aware and seeing that this happens in real life,” shares Megan.
Megan also emphasizes that joining social clubs or networking events is a great way to mingle and meet new people. “In the first year, I didn’t feel homesick until the end of the academic year because many things were going on; I had so many things to get used to and many new people to meet. It certainly helps to know other international students and people who live in the same city. You can easily relate to them about the feeling of homesickness or about missing certain types of food,” shares Megan.
Finding A Home
Megan shared her experience finding accommodation in her first year and how she got lucky as she stayed at the university’s halls. “I had a room with my own ensuite bathroom and shared a kitchen with four other people,” she says. Megan also advises students to go for a room with their own bathroom “because sometimes, in catered accommodation, one may end up sharing a bathroom with 15 to 20 people, even though someone is preparing the meals.”
She added that in Bristol, the housing market is very saturated, so by January of their first year, students will struggle if they don’t have a house. “It would help if you got on that very quickly because there are so many students, and Bristol is very limited in terms of housing. I recommend getting accommodation by late November or early December,” shares Megan.
Preparing for a Law School Interview
One of the questions by current ISKL students was, “What do law schools look for in an applicant?” Megan remarks, “The one thing many universities said when I applied is that you don’t need any work experience. They’re looking to see that you’re motivated to learn the law and that you want to do it. Knowing what you want to do in the future shows you’re more attached to the subject.” She also advised about expressing interest in the university’s law programs and sharing if they’d read any books or materials or watched any movies or documentaries about law and the legal world.
“Prepare well for your interview; you can get a lot of good practice books on writing essays and keep up with the news. I like to listen to the Financial Times on Spotify every morning because it’s an excellent way to give yourself a brief outline of what’s happening in the financial and commercial world. You can also skim through the BBC headlines and pick out something interesting on the Internet that is relevant to what’s happening worldwide,” concludes Megan.
Are you interested to learn more? We invite you to watch the full video where Megan gave more insights on university life in Bristol, in the United Kingdom! Want to become a mentor? Let us know at [email protected].
Future Ready: Alumni Black Box Conversations
With Panthers of the past teaching those in the present, ISKL Alumni always find ways to give back to the community!
The inaugural Future Ready: Alumni Black Box Conversations on September 22 saw three alumni in different careers and areas of study share their experiences and journeys in their chosen field.?
Held at the Robert B. Gaw Theatre and attended by a Grade 10 “studio” student audience with sufficient physical distance procedures put in place, the forum focused on the field of Medical Sciences, which many of our Grade 10 students were eager to hear about.
Hezril Asyraaf (’13), a Presenter/Producer of the Evening Edition at Kuala Lumpur’s business radio station, BFM, acted as host while the forum speakers consisted of the following alumni.
Dr. Hana Aziz (’98), a General Practitioner at the Malaysia Social Research Institute clinic in Ampang, provides care to the refugee community registered with the UNHCR. Dr. Hana earned her medical degree from the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science, and Technology and is currently studying for a Masters in Public Health. She started her medical career as an emergency doctor and worked as a health screening doctor at a major private hospital.
Dr. Elena Azizan (’05), a Research Lecturer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, has recently received a significant grant for COVID-19 research related to her field. Dr. Elena was an IB scholar who went on to receive a Bachelor of Pharmacology at the University of Leeds, then after a postgraduate degree in Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge.
Yu Ern Hsueh (’17) is in her third and final year of a Bachelor of Genetics at the Queen Mary University of London. She plans to pursue further studies towards a medical career after completing her bachelor’s degree.
The forum’s main highlight was when the speakers were asked to give advice and the lessons they have learned from pursuing studies in such a demanding and challenging field.
Dr. Elena gave sound advice to those who may see the field as something so complicated that they may quit. “Don’t quit,” she said, “Change. You can always use whatever you have in the past to move forward. If you feel that it isn’t for you, make a change and work towards bringing that change about.”
Dr. Hana also added her input: “I did have a few friends who you might say, they quit, but I think it’s OK because you don’t know how it will be like going into Medical school. We don’t know how stressful it can be. Once you go in, it’s OK to realize that maybe it’s not right for you. Maybe don’t call it quits, but you can adjust and do something you’re more interested in.”
Yu Ern provided insight into the different types of work in the medical field, having experienced them in her studies. “Although I do enjoy lab work, I find that I miss working with real people – being around them and having conversations with patients. I appreciate that because when you go into this field, you realize that people are a lot more complicated than they first seem, and that’s interesting because you meet all sorts of people. If you enjoy that, that’s the job for you. But if you prefer to focus on your work, then I think research is right for you too. ”
Yu Ern also agreed with Dr. Elena and Dr. Hana in saying that sometimes a career in medicine is glamorized. “It’s important to realize that you will sometimes have those off days,” she said.
When the forum came to an end, our Grade 10 students were enlightened to the many aspects of Medical Sciences, allowing them to explore the paths they might take towards their career pathway.
We look forward to hosting more episodes of Future Ready: Alumni Black Box Conversations to take place and welcoming back more of our Panthers so we can delve deeper into other fields of work and study.
Alumni Black Box #2 - The Arts
“Am I meant to be this artist that I’m trying to be? If the answer is ‘yes’ then you’ve got no problems.” Final words to aspiring artists during the Black Box event from Kirstin Chavez, ISKL Class of 1987, Mezzo-Soprano and Associate Professor at the University of Utah.
The inspiring and informative event features alumni from across the artistic spectrum. Along with Kirstin, our alumni host, Hezril Asyraaf (‘13), is joined by artist Haffendi Anuar (‘04), filmmaker Tony Pietra Arjuna (‘96), and film composer Varqa Buehrer (‘03). Each share their personal journey in their respective professions and their tips for other aspiring creatives.
Each panelist opens up about their experiences at university as well as the day-to-day work that “pays the bills”. The wideranging discussion also delves into the impact of Covid-19 on artists whose professional lives revolve around exhibiting in galleries and performing onstage. For Haffendi, who completed the final term of his Masters at the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford online during the UK’s lockdown, the lack of gallery time over the past 12 months has been a great challenge. He admits, “I mourned the loss of the studio and the workshop…and it was detrimental to my creative fitness.” Haffendi continues, “It took a while…I believe in adapting to a new method of communication, of sharing work…but I’m missing the physical space, going into a gallery and seeing an artwork in the flesh.”
A recurring theme is the importance of resilience and of artists being entrepreneurial in the way they approach their careers. Agreeing with Kirstin who has recently developed an entrepreneurship course for musicians at the University of Utah where she teaches singing, Varqa says, “As a musician, you can’t just be a musician, you also have to be a business person…you kind of have to understand how to sell yourself almost.”
While the pandemic has brought challenges, there are also opportunities, notably for those working in the booming online streaming industry, including Tony. His final message for students is to be prepared to adapt to change. He encourages, “Roll with the punches!”
Alumni Black Box #3 - Law
“I love a good argument. It was like, how can I take arguing and make money from it? And I think that’s why I went into law and used my ability to argue to help others. That’s where it stems from.” Those were the words of Hannah Costley, a criminal defense solicitor and ISKL Class of 2012 alumni, on why she chose to pursue law.
That is one of the many anecdotes from the third installment of ISKL’s Future Ready: Alumni Black Box Conversations that brought together ISKL Alumni to shed some light on the realm of law. Helmed by ISKL’s Director of Talent and Culture, Ika Muzamal, the event aims to give students an outlook of the different types of law and knowledge of the diverse array of institutions where they could potentially study.
Watch the video here: Alumni Black Box Conversations: Law | The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL)
Each episode of Future Ready Alumni Black Box Conversations explores a different academic and career pathway featuring alumni from all over the world who come together for a sharing session. Some talented and successful alumni joined Ika to talk about their respective journeys and shared advice for anyone who wishes to venture into law. The impressive lineup consisted of:
Professor William Birdthistle (Class of ’91)
Sabrinne Gibson (Class of ’11)
Hannah Costley (Class of ’12)
Maggie Casey (Class of ’14)
Jonathan David Ross Silva (Class of ’14)
Ika, who is also an ISKL Alumni and Law grad, set the scene for viewers by explaining “we will be exploring some pertinent themes such as career pathways or what it’s like to be in this field in reality.” She then proceeded to ask our alumni the allimportant question; why law?
Although he comes from a family of lawyers, Jonathan, a former legal associate at Shearn Delamore & Co, the oldest law firm in Malaysia, stressed how ISKL influenced his decision to pursue law. He said, “I decided to go to law school because I looked at the activities that I enjoyed at ISKL like MUN, debate, forensics, and I looked at the classes that I enjoyed, which were English, history, and commerce and social sciences.”
Similarly, alumni Maggie who is currently pursuing law at the University of Ottawa said that “coming from ISKL, living overseas, understanding that the world is so broad and the legal system influences so much of our day-to-day lives. So that is what interests me.”
When asked to advise students who want to pursue a similar pathway, all panelists unanimously agreed that internships are valuable in preparing students for the real world. Sabrinne, whose role as a Senior Investigator includes investigating allegations of discrimination, sexual and gender-based misconduct, said her internships helped her narrow down what she liked and disliked. The people she met were instrumental when she started her job quest up until now- adding that “I know that if I have any questions about anything in this field, that they would be the experts to ask.”
Adding on to that, Professor William Birdthistle highlights how connecting with other students or alumni is one of the most valuable resources in high school when it comes to getting real-life testimonials about higher education. “It is something I encourage all ISKL students to do, which is to get in touch with alumni to ask them what it is like,” he said.
Guided by our mission and vision, ISKL is committed to supporting our students in being ready for what the future may hold and equipping them with the lifelong skills they will need. Taking note of this, our alumni shared their perspectives on what we can expect in the future for the industry. Hannah discussed how there are more virtual hearings in the aftermath of the pandemic, but she believes that the criminal justice system will remain face to face because it is such a people-oriented area of law.
Echoing Hannah’s sentiment, Professor William mentioned how AI is now used to process the bulk of work that goes into reviewing contracts adding, “I think there’ll be plenty of technological disruptions to come. But I think fundamentally, the practice is going to happen. It’s going to continue as it has for millennia because, at 2:00 am, when you’re looking at being deprived of liberty, the first person you’re going to want to talk to is a lawyer.”
This is just a sneak peek of the insightful conversations that took place among our alumni. Head on over to our YouTube channel to watch the entire session; it is a session that is ipso facto worth exploring.
A big thank you to Hannah Costley, Jonathan David Ross Silva, Maggie Casey, Professor William Birdthistle, and Sabrinne Gibson for taking the time to offer valuable advice to our students and the ISKL community. They are a testament to how the ISKL Alumni always find ways to give back to the community.
Are you an ISKL alumnus interested in sharing your knowledge and participating on a future panel? Continue to share the Panther spirit by registering to be a part of our vibrant community at alumni.iskl.edu.my/register. For more information, please contact [email protected].
Once a Panther, Always a Panther!