Nirali Jain is a prime example of an international school student. She attended école maternelle in Paris, went to Kindergarten and Grade 1 at Antwerp International School, Belgium, and continued her elementary school education at Dulwich College Shanghai, China. The family then returned to France where Nirali attended middle school at Marymount Paris from Grades 5 to 8, and then high school at the International School of Paris from Grades 9 to 12.
“When I joined ISP in Grade 9, I felt at home right away. ISP offered the IBDP and matched the family community atmosphere of Marymount, so it was a natural continuation for me,” Nirali says.
A graduating member of the class of 2021, Nirali is also the recipient of ISP’s Spirit Award and is a true advocate of international education. “International schools develop accepting and open-minded students who are receptive to different habits, cultures and ways of thinking. Talking about diversity seems like a cliché, but in an international school environment, we do really adhere to the idea of international understanding. Being surrounded by different people every day teaches us to respect others while learning, collaborating and even disagreeing with them at times!”
At ISP, Nirali has become more aware of international affairs, as she has learned from people who come from different parts of the world. “It has been eye-opening to meet passionate people who have subjective experiences of world affairs that otherwise seem distant”, she says.
Nirali will be continuing her international lifestyle, as she has applied to universities in almost all corners of the world. She has sent applications to the UK, the US, Canada, the Netherlands, and Singapore. The final destination will depend on the IB results, which had not yet been published during our interview. In any case, Nirali feels that she would be happy to move to any of these countries. She will be studying Materials Science & Engineering for her degree and aspires to continue learning Mandarin and French alongside and perhaps pick up a new language, too, as she genuinely enjoys linguistic diversity as a way of connecting with different cultures and people.
While Nirali is eagerly looking forward to university, there are some butterflies in her stomach as well. “I think it’s amazing to think that I will be starting university, but at the same time, it is a bit intimidating. Shall I fit in, will I feel that I belong, have I made the right choice?” Nirali wonders.
When it became clear that students would not sit the exams this year, Nirali felt a mix of emotions. Her immediate reaction was a sense of relief, but at the same time, there was a sense of disappointment at the abrupt end of school education. “I had watched my older sister prepare and take the exams, and for many years, I had looked forward to getting a chance to achieve my diploma by passing the exams. It’s an important milestone that just disappeared – all of a sudden we were all on an unexpected holiday instead of preparing for a month of exams! However, I think 2021 has taught us all resilience and flexibility, and the motto for my generation might be - Let’s just see what happens and deal with it.”
Nirali’s younger sister, Saachi, will be starting the IB Diploma course next year. When asked what advice she would give the new Grade 11 students, Nirali had more than one piece of advice to offer! First and foremost, Nirali encourages the students to make the most of the opportunities ISP offers, to find out what they like and do not like, to gain different skills, to participate in several activities, and to remember that everything is a learning opportunity. For academic success, Nirali’s advice is to maintain a strong work ethic and divide the workload evenly. Coursework matters, so it is important to put in the effort constantly, but also to find the balance to stay healthy, both mentally and physically.
“I’m thrilled to become a part of ISP’s alumni network. The online platform allows all of us to stay in touch within our grade group but also beyond. The alumni network has enormous potential, as it can provide us with connections, a reliable network, possible internship opportunities, academic advice, and other resources. Our fellow alumni reside all over the world and work in all different walks of life. The network is a resource we must use!”
Congratulations, Nirali, and welcome to the ISP Alumni Community!