The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) has supported students worldwide in expanding their skills, passions and competencies for over 55 years. Our vision — know yourself, care for all, and create a better world — drives our educational approach designed to motivate students to accomplish their passions and goals and better understand themselves.
In line with this understanding and ISKL’s approach to education, here are some inspiring stories and student testimonials from some of ISKL’s community members recorded in this “Find Yourself at ISKL” s’ video series. “Find Yourself at ISKL” highlights how our students, faculty, staff, and community members have discovered and explored their interests at ISKL and found paths and achievements unique to their identity. ISKL has been a true catalyst for change in providing them with a world of endless opportunities.
Are you looking for a good international school? Here are five reasons ISKL could be a great option for your family.
Find Yourself at ISKL – Inspiring stories and student testimonials
1. Rami Madani, Head of School
“When I joined ISKL as a mathematics teacher, I was in the theatre one day and saw my math students singing. I was so impressed looking at them, their passion, energy, and how they cared for each other. That was an ‘aha’ moment for me that their study subjects do not define students. They are, in fact, people who are passionate about making the world a better place.
‘As leaders, if we were to leave a legacy, it should be about people – to help them be better citizens to improve the world for themselves, others, and the environment. At ISKL, we care about everything and everyone, even the turtles (who live in our pond)! I remember taking a photo of the turtles when I joined the school 12 years ago, and those turtles are still here with us as we brought them to our new campus! This is who we are – a community of people who care about everything and everyone!”
2. Molly G. (’21) High School Student testimonial
“One thing that helped me find myself at ISKL was joining the softball team. In Grade 10, I made the Varsity team, and it came as a bit of a shock to me — it’s mostly for Grade 11 and 12 students. That’s when soon after this moment happened, the ISKL highlight of my time here – scoring my first home run! Before that, I didn’t have much confidence in my abilities, but this proved that I could do it. At that moment, I was immersed in not just my own but also my teammates’ energy.
‘Through this experience, I worked with some of the most passionate teachers and coaches I have ever met and formed incredible bonds with students. I hope to leave a legacy at ISKL where my teachers and peers remember the fun times they’ve had with me and know that we were always genuine with each other. The achievements like the home run are great, but the feeling of general happiness with each other is even more important.”
3. Karen Palko, Middle School Dance Teacher
“The person who helped me find my ‘aha’ moment at ISKL was former dance student, Bilquis Hijjas, Class of 1997. In the mid-90s, Bilquis wandered into my classroom and said, “Hey, can I show you something?”
She proceeded to choreograph a dance attached to a metaphor and developed it into a 20-minute piece. I was astounded, realizing maybe I needed to change my teaching method by moving to the back of the classroom instead of leading from the front. This was a pivotal moment for me, and ever since, that’s how I teach, with student-led and student devised pieces.
‘Right up until today, I’m still doing it, so thank you, Bilquis, for helping me find that way.”
Every family experiences a transition period upon first joining ISKL’s community. Learn more about the transition support available to students.
4. Georgia L. (’23) High School Student testimonial
“I’ve been here for two years now, and ISKL has shaped me as a person. I’ve flourished through sports, activities, and academics, and ISKL’s diversity has played a big role in this. The number of opportunities that we have in school help spark interest within students. Specifically for me, that has helped me develop as a person. I’ve been able to find things that I enjoy doing and want to continue doing throughout my school life and beyond.”
5. Juana J. (’28) Elementary School Student testimonial
“ISKL taught me to speak English because, in Argentina, I had not learned any. The only language we knew to talk was Spanish. This is why I love ISKL because we can get to know so many different people and places from around the world.
‘At ISKL, we have an international festival that celebrates all the world’s different places and cultures. I love it because I can get to know people from around the world, and at ISKL, I have friends from Asia, Europe, and many other places. I love getting to know new people because it is like learning another language, and it helps you in many ways.
‘My passion is singing, I love choir, and I had a creative idea to organize a talent show for a passion project. We did it online, and I sang a song called “Memories.” Other people also showed their talents, so I loved it. This experience at ISKL was one of the best experiences of my whole life!”
6. Becky & Ryan Naughton, High School Social Studies Teacher & Director of Activities/Athletics
“I still keep a picture here of our Global Action Program (GAP) expedition trip to Borneo during our first year at ISKL in 2017. We were brand new to Malaysia, and although we’d been to Borneo before, we took 18 students over for their Global trip.
‘We helped a local village plant trees and installed a new water filtration system. It was amazing to see how much the students have grown through experiencing trips like these. It reminds us why it’s great to be here at ISKL because we witness the students’ growth.
‘I saw a few freshman students who were scared to do white water rafting or jump off a 10-foot cliff into a lake. Two or three years later, they’re doing great things. They are leading clubs and are captains of their team. They’re doing all the great things that we expect our students to do here at ISKL.
‘The idea of finding yourself at ISKL is really about helping other students find their way and empowering them through their learning. Allowing them to get in there and work with the material helps – students answer different questions, explain research to other students, and empower each other.
‘Working at ISKL with the faculty members has also been inspiring. It always pushes me to do better because everybody is working just as hard, being as innovative and creative as they can be.”
Discover the many ways ISKL celebrate the school’s diverse community here.
6. Azra Pathan, Director of Learning (current)
“I found myself at ISKL when participating in a collaborative meeting with a grade-level team. They were planning an outer space unit, and ideas were being thrown around the table, and that’s when I felt a surge of energy. The usual respectful voices were all of a sudden raised in excitement! These ideas were integrated, and a new and improved version of the unit was developed.
‘I quickly saw what an incredible and privileged journey I was on as a leader, from being in a classroom, collaborating with fantastic colleagues, and co-teaching with them. There isn’t a meeting that goes by where I’m not humbled by the people I work with.
‘I recognize other unique perspectives and backgrounds they bring, which allows us to do what we do here at ES. These individuals have transformed the community into a more inclusive one that cultivates this sense of belonging. That’s the essence of shared leadership, and I discovered it here at ISKL.”
7. Michelle K. (’32) Elementary School Student testimonial
“I found myself at ISKL through the classes, and the school helped me develop my passion for singing and dancing, which also made me more confident.
‘In my music class, we learn songs, we act, and we dance. My favorite song is ‘Call me Senorita!’ After listening to a lot of music, I got into the spirit of learning songs and singing them because I liked them, and they sounded good to me. If I had to write a song, I think it would be about nature.
‘I would like to thank my Mom and my teachers for teaching me singing, dancing, and encouraging me in my other hobbies.”
8. Brendan V.C. (’23) High School Student testimonial
“I found myself at ISKL through basketball and joining the Boy Scouts movement. It was vital for me to learn how to be a leader, but it also taught me the importance of service.
‘In scouting, it has not only taught me to be adventurous but also be a good leader to those around me and lead by example – a value I know I will carry with me throughout college as well as in my future career. In basketball, a sport I’ve ultimately fallen in love with these past couple of years, I have learned about the importance of teamwork, communication, and team cohesion.
‘Taking what we’ve learned, all the skills we’ve acquired and patched that onto the next generation was an important part of basketball and the boy scouts. It was the teaching of younger students about what we’ve learned and helped others through our shared experiences that truly spoke to me. This was a key lesson I’ve had to grasp. The community has given us so much here at ISKL that we must give back as well”.
At ISKL, we are proud to recognize our diversity as our strength and seek to demonstrate that strength by sharing stories of members of our community.
Do you want to learn more about the real stories of people in our ISKL community? Connect with a Panther here.