Success Starts at ISB

Stories of Student Achievement at International School Bangkok

Students Thrive at ISB.

This is where you belong.

An ISB education helps ensure students have choice in where they can attend university or college - even if they speak English as a second language.

In the stories below, you’ll meet individuals who came to ISB with minimal English language skills and yet succeeded. They tell us how they felt before they showed up at our doors, how they found success at ISB, and where they are now.

Stories from our Alumni Community

Click the headings below to read our alumni stories.

When did you first start at ISB?  

I started at ISB in January 1997.

What was your favorite part of ISB? 

I enjoyed varsity tryouts for the school's official sports team.

How did you feel when you first started at ISB?  

I was not good at English, so I was worried about trying to catch up with everything. 

Was your level of English a concern when you first started at ISB? If so, why?  

I was practicing English for one to two years before ISB, but still, my English was beginner level of ESL.

What at ISB helped you most with your English?  

ESL class was helpful, but I think having time with Americans and Europeans in English and Social Studies was the best opportunity to practice my conversational skills.

Were there ways you were able to maintain your Japanese while at school? 

I attended a Japanese middle school before ISB and had lots of Japanese friends at ISB, so it was easy to maintain my native language.

To which schools did you apply?  

Waseda and Sophia Universities in Tokyo.

Which university did you choose and why? 

I chose Sophia because I liked the small class sizes.  

What career did you pursue after university? Why?  

I studied marketing in school, so I worked at an online advertising company for nearly 10 years after graduation. After, I pursued a global sales career. I changed my career from advertising to location-based services such as mapping or self-driving cars.

Do you have any advice for other students on how to excel at ISB with English as a second language?  

It’s very difficult to take classes in your second language, especially at that age. I'd recommend making friends with native English language speakers. This helps take your language to the next level quicker.  

Anything you would like to add?  

For me, though it was challenging to get good grades in my classes at ISB, studying at an international school truly provided a unique experience - something that has stuck with me throughout my life. 

When did you first start ISB?

In 1997, beginning of 8th grade

What was your favorite part of ISB?

The ample facilities such as the number of fields, track, tennis court, air-conditioned gym. I also loved the IASAS activities as they allowed us the opportunity to interact with other international schools in Southeast Asia. 

How did you feel when you first started ISB?

There were more Japanese students than expected, which helped me to make friends easily and get support in my English language learning. 

Was your level of English a concern when you first started at ISB?  If so, why?

Since I did not have a chance to study English for academic purposes before entering ISB, I was worried about whether or not I could understand the class lectures. It was easy for me to listen, but difficult for me to speak and write, but the Japanese-English dictionary helped me a lot.

What at ISB helped you most with your English? 

There was a class for English as a second language which helped me a lot. 

When it came time to apply to university, did you feel confident in both your Japanese and your English?

Yes, I was pretty confident enough in both my Japanese and English.

Which university did you choose and why?

Waseda University, School of Political Science and Economics

How do you feel ISB prepared you for university?

Not only the end semester exam, but there was lots of homework, essays, and exams on a daily basis which forced me to learn and significantly developed my English.

What career did you pursue after university? Why?

I joined Sumitomo Corporation, one of the global trading and investing companies. I already had a chance to work in the U.S. and Myanmar.

Do you have any advice for other students on how to excel at ISB with English as a second language?

Don’t forget to do your homework, join varsity activities to get in touch with non-Japanese students.

Anything you would like to add?

Since Japanese university starts in April, please consider applying early. 

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ISB Alumni from Japan

Click the headings below to read our alumni stories.

When did you first start ISB?

1997

What was your favorite part of ISB?

Huge and beautiful campus!

Was your level of English a concern when you first started at ISB?  If so, why?

Since I lived in the U.S. for three years during elementary school, it was not my first time in an English-speaking school, though I was first afraid since it had been quite a while since then.

But there were so many friends with similar situations to me, so that helped me a lot. 

When it came time to apply to university, did you feel confident in both your Japanese and your English?

Yes.

Which university did you choose and why?

International Christian University in Tokyo.

How did you find the transition from Thailand and ISB to Japan?

It went pretty smoothly.

What career did you pursue after university? Why?

I chose my career at an international law firm because I had the opportunity to use my overseas experience.

When did you first start ISB?

I started going to ISB in the 8th grade. I left ISB and Thailand after finishing sophomore year.  

What was your favorite part of ISB?

Good friends and teachers, great campus and opportunities that you don’t get anywhere else.

How did you feel when you first started ISB?

I was nervous but excited at the same time. 

Was your level of English a concern when you first started at ISB?  If so, why?

Yes, because I was in Japanese school before going to ISB and I was not proficient in English.

What at ISB helped you most with your English?  

All the teachers were very helpful but EAL class especially helped me with learning English.

Were there ways you were able to maintain your Japanese while at school? 

Making Japanese friends at ISB helped me maintain my Japanese language skills.

When it came time to apply to university, did you feel confident in both your Japanese and your English?

Yes. 

Which university did you choose and why?

I went to Gakushuin University because I wanted to further my studies in English and gender studies.

How do you feel ISB prepared you for university?

I left ISB and Thailand after I finished sophomore year, but going to ISB helped me a lot to be confident with my level of English when applying for universities.

What career did you pursue after university? Why?

I worked for ANA, a Japanese airline company as a flight attendant because I like traveling abroad. Then I worked for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in New York because I wanted to pursue a career in finance.

Do you have any advice for other students on how to excel at ISB with English as a second language?

Try as many activities at ISB as possible and get yourself involved. Not only will it help you improve your English skills, but also these experiences will broaden your horizons.

Anything you would like to add?

I am very happy I went to ISB and I wish for my daughter to also attend ISB. ISB has a very good academic environment that offers a lot of resources and opportunities for learning. Thank you ISB, keep it up!

When did you first start ISB?

I started in 1997 when I was in 9th grade. 

What was your favorite part of ISB?

The facilities and the great teachers.

How did you feel when you first started ISB?

I was confused because the school was huge.  

Was your level of English a concern when you first started at ISB?  If so, why?

I was a beginner and had never educated in English. 

What at ISB helped you most with your English?  

The EAL program and sports after school.

How did you find the transition from Thailand and ISB to Japan?

I had no problem with my new life in Japan. 

What career did you pursue after university? Why?

I work at Hermes Japan. I love communicating with customers and telling them about the craftsmanship.

Do you have any advice for other students on how to excel at SIB with English as a second language?

I recommend studying lots and making as many friends as you can.

 

 

Getting to Know the ISB Alumni Community

Click the headings below to read our alumni stories.

When did you first start ISB?

I started in 1994 at ISB’s summer school.

What was your favorite part of ISB?

Varsity athletics.

How did you feel when you first started ISB?

At first, I was anxious and uneasy.

Was your level of English a concern when you first started at ISB? If so, why?

Yes because I came straight out of Japanese middle school. During the first three months, I didn’t understand anything. After six months, I started understanding the conversation. After one year, I was able to speak it - not fluently but still well.  

What at ISB helped you most with your English?  

Both my Japanese and foreign friends helped me most at ISB, and getting involved in sports. 

Were there ways you were able to maintain your Japanese while at school? 

I spent a lot of time with my Japanese friends where we spoke our native language.

When it came time to apply to university, did you feel confident in both your Japanese and your English?

Yes. I ended up attending university in the states. 

Which university did you choose and why?

I attended New York State University in Buffalo for 1.5 years. Then for the rest of my undergraduate, which was 2.5 years, I went to Boston University. I wanted to study English in the states and go to a school that had a good reputation. 

How did you find the transition from Thailand and ISB to the U.S.?

Not that easy. I spent the first year adopting the lifestyle in the States. Since then, I have embraced, have learned, and have grown from this experience.

How do you feel ISB prepared you for university?

ISB helped me with my English skills through classes. 

What career did you pursue after university? Why?

Currently, I work in Japan at Mitsubishi Electric. I wanted to contribute and enhance society. When choosing where to work, the company name didn’t matter, but again reputation did matter. 

Do you have any advice for other students on how to excel at ISB with English as a second language?

Stop trying to skip the struggle, that’s where character is built!

Anything you would like to add?

ISB, thank you for making me "me".

1) When did you first start ISB?

Grade 8.

2) What was your favorite part of ISB?

I enjoyed every single part of ISB, the campus, friends, teachers, curriculum, events, IASAS, etc.

3) How did you feel when you first started ISB?

When I first started at ISB, I felt very anxious about commuting a long distance, making new friends, and also having an education in English.

4) Was your level of English a concern when you first started at ISB?  If so, why?

Yes, although I had experience living in the U.S. for eight years from when I was just a baby until second grade and English was my mother tongue at that time, by the time I came to ISB at the age of 13, I could not speak English at all. I was even close to failing my English class exams in middle school in Japan. I still remember when I came to ISB summer school after 7th grade, we were reading The Diary of Anne Frank, which I struggled reading and was looking up English words in a dictionary every second.

5) What at ISB helped you most with your English?

I think looking up new English words in the dictionary every day helped with my vocabulary and English class improved my grammar. With the use of elective classes such as “speech”, I was able to improve my presentation skills. 

6) Were there ways you were able to maintain your Japanese while at school?

In 11th grade and 12th grade, there were Japanese classes as elective classes focusing on university exam preparation. Similar to other Japanese students, I also had a tutor after school at home to prepare for the Japanese university exams, who gave me techniques for writing essays. 

7) When it came time to apply to university, did you feel confident in both your Japanese and your English?

I was confident enough with English, but not so much in Japanese. After going back to Japan and going to cram school, I met lots of returnees from the U.S. and lost a bit of confidence in English when comparing to them, who spent their high school in the U.S. 

8) To which schools did you apply?

Kwansei Gakuin University, Doshisha University, Keio University, Waseda University, Sophia University, and Aoyama Gakuin University.

9) Which university did you choose and why?

Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.  Although I did pass many of the university’s exams, this was the only university that had a School of International Politics, Economy and Business.  Also, I was originally from Osaka and never had experience living in Tokyo, but all of my ISB friends were from Tokyo, so I still wanted to be close with them.

10) How did you find the transition from Thailand and ISB to Japan?

Not so difficult. Of course, there are some subjects where we lacked knowledge compared to those who lived all their life in Japan such as Japanese history, Japanese literature, etc. People who grow up in Japan learn these things in high school, but it’s was never too late to study later on. Of course, I had different advantages knowing something they didn’t know, so I didn’t feel the disadvantage at all.

11) How do you feel ISB prepared you for university?

I think my experience at ISB prepared me for my post-university life, but not as much for university life.

12) What career did you pursue after university? Why?

I decided to work for a Japanese manufacturer with a global brand and started to apply for companies in the automotive industry and electronics manufacturers. I ended up working in the global marketing team for Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, a Japanese manufacturer of Electrical Equipment and Electronics. Looking back at that time, I’m sure that the experience and strength I had in ISB helped me get a job at a global company. 

13) Do you have any advice for other students on how to excel at SIB with English as a second language?

Never be afraid of trying and also don’t forget to always enjoy trying what you like to do.  Just like myself, you might not be the smart one in class, but maybe you are talented in other fields such as sports and/or music. Participating in IASAS and showing your skills will definitely help you make friends regardless of your English skills. Showing your strength will change how others look at you.

14) Anything you would like to add?

Unlike Japanese high school life where you focus and study hard for a short period preparing for your quarterly exam, ISB school life requires hard work on a daily basis, but the hard work you put in during high school in ISB will definitely pay off when you get older. It’s been 20 years since graduating from ISB, but still today, the days I spent at ISB are the best days in my life. I would strongly recommend choosing ISB.

Helping our Japanese Families Apply to ISB

 

Our admissions process reflects the values of our school, where we handle your application with care, respect and with individual attention and consideration. We want the process to be simple, effective and easy to navigate. To support with this, we’ve created eight simple steps to give you a detailed look at how we help our all families through the application process.

 

Discover the Application Process  for our Japanese Families