Panthers of ISKL #189: Sakura M.(‘28) – The Aspiring Doctor

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“My ultimate goal is to become a doctor with Doctors Without Borders. I want to help as many people as possible who are going through tough times and make the world better by tackling health crises everywhere.”

Meet Sakura M. (’28), a Grade 8 student originally from Japan who has been at ISKL since January 2023. She dreams of becoming a doctor with Doctors Without Borders and has established an ISKL Service Club to promote positive change within the ISKL community. Sakura is also a passionate sports enthusiast and has acquired a black belt in karate.

Here is Sakura’s story:

Tell us more about yourself.

I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and I joined ISKL in January 2023, at the start of the second semester of Grade 7.

Before my enrollment at ISKL, I’d never lived outside of Japan. However, after moving here, I am having a variety of new experiences that I have never experienced before and am learning the ways of thinking of people who have different backgrounds and values. The cultural environment has been a huge learning and growth opportunity for me, expanding how I think and perceive things.

Sakura M with her family and friend

What were your first days of school like?

When I was in Japan, I confidently believed in my proficiency in English. However, upon stepping into ISKL, I first encountered a strong language barrier. I started to feel anxious, couldn’t understand the conversations around me, and was frustrated because I couldn’t properly communicate what I wanted to convey. Initially, I felt surprised and bewildered by the situation where I couldn’t understand what others were saying.

Despite the language challenge, the people around me were remarkably kind. They approached my limited English skills with understanding and sincerely listened to my attempts to communicate. Their warm support gave me significant reassurance amidst the language difficulties.

Sakura with her karate medalsDo you participate in any co-curricular activities at ISKL?

I participate in basketball, track and field, and Girl Scouts. Also, I recently established an ISKL Service Club, where we develop a range of practical actions to bring about positive change within the ISKL community. The club focuses on volunteering and contributing to the community and school, and we are working on creating an art project showing ISKL’s diversity.

Can you tell us more about your other hobbies and interests?

Sports are a big part of my life, and I particularly love playing basketball, volleyball, touch rugby, and karate. I’ve been practicing karate since the first grade and have earned a black belt.

Besides sports, I enjoy arts and creative things. I love to draw stuff because my grandfather was an artist, and I used to draw many things when I spent time with him. Also, I enjoy reading books because they immerse me in different worlds.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

My ultimate goal is to become a doctor with Doctors Without Borders and provide medical assistance to people needing healthcare services in conflict zones, refugee camps, and other challenging environments worldwide. I want to help as many people as possible going through tough times and make the world better by tackling health crises everywhere.

Who or what inspires you or has influenced you?

Mother Teresa is one of the most inspiring figures in my life. Her steadfast commitment to serving the poor and vulnerable has profoundly shaped my values and life aspirations. Moved by her compassion and selfless acts of love, I am driven by a fervent goal to become a doctor. I want to follow in her footsteps and bring medical aid and comfort to people facing adversity.

Most memorable moment at ISKL?

One of my most memorable experiences at ISKL involves engaging in various sports competitions with many different schools. ISKL students often have numerous opportunities to travel for events where they compete against schools from neighboring countries and schools. I participated in the Middle School Festival at Jakarta International School (JIS), competing in basketball, touch rugby, and track and field.

Through these trips, I’ve had the chance to connect with people I had never spoken to before, forming close bonds with students from Jakarta schools. This experience was filled with joy and proved to be incredibly valuable for me.

Beyond the sports matches, these experiences involved interacting with different cultures and values, providing opportunities for self-discovery and growth through new challenges and learning.

POISKL-Sakura M with her friends

What does “Know yourself, care for all, and create a better world” “mean to you?

This phrase means understanding one’s values, strengths, and weaknesses while simultaneously caring for others, enabling meaningful connections with people. Furthermore, by taking responsibility for one’s actions and actively confronting various challenges, it is believed that positive change can be brought to the world.


Do you know of any student, teacher, parent, or staff who always have an anecdote to tell, love to share some insights into their passions and interest, or simply is a Panther through and through? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.

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