Page 1

Connections The International School of Amsterdam Magazine




Board of Trustees

The International School

Read the fond farewell messages to Dr. Greene spanning

of Amsterdam Magazine

over a decade from members of the ISA Board of Trustees.

Spring 2019


Parent Corner: Try a Verbal Diet Editor-in-chief

ISA parent and paediatrician, Dr. Anisha Abraham, shares

Erika Harriford-McLaren

the inspirational advice she gathered from the recent visit


from New York Times best-selling author Rosalind Wise-

Shelly Harrison

man to ISA. Read to see how saying less may just give you

Megan Smith

more from your teen.


Contributers Erika Harriford-McLaren

Asked and Answered

Matt Jasinski

What happens when you empower a group of second

Megan Smith

graders to reach out to influential changemakers with


their ideas and concerns for making the world a better Design and layout

place? Well, at ISA, they just might get a reply from Prime

Wouter F. Goedkoop

Minister, Mark Rutte, himself.


We Support Venezuela

ISA in collaboration with

Global crises often touch members of international school

XPat Media, The Hague,

communities deeply. The recent events in Venezuela are

the Netherlands

no different, and thanks to the will of the ISA Hispanic com-


munity, ISA is doing it’s share to help those in need as they Printer

flee for safety.

Damen Drukkers Werkendam

A Fond Farewell

the Netherlands

How do you say goodbye to the person who has helped to make your school a globally renowned institution for learn-

ISA alumni, families,

ing? As Dr. Edward E. Greene prepares to move on to new

faculty and friends receive

adventures, we take a moment to remember all that he has

Connections. We

done to make ISA the inspiration leader in education that

welcome your comments

it is.


and encourage you to submit ideas and articles

Robot Wars: Inspiring the Engineers of Tomorrow

for consideration.

How do you spark the interest of students who want to have an engineering club but aren’t quite sure what to do?

Letters and inquiries

You challenge them to join an international robotics com-

may be addressed to:

petition and watch their creativity and passion flourish.


Connections Sportlaan 45


1185TB Amstelveen

ISA grade 8 student Mehar Suri’s love of animals has blos-

+31 20 347 1111

somed into a full-fledged charitable cause—guiding her

into launching a student club that has, in short time, not

only raised funds to save the lives of street animals, but


raised awareness of their plight. Cover Portrait of Dr. Edward

Alumni Profiles

E. Greene by Wouter F.

ISA Alumni...Catch up on the latest news from your former


classmates with our alumni profiles, reunion reviews and


class notes.



words when it came to writing this Welcome message. I’ve known for a few months now that I would be tasked with writing this piece, an editorial farewell, as the opening for this special issue of Connections magazine. I chose the theme ‘Inspiration’

ISA is bursting at the seams with inspiration and

to guide me in choosing the stories to include but

so much of that stems from the unyielding support

more importantly to celebrate the person who has

of Dr. Edward E. Greene for our mission, our pro-

made so much of the ‘magic’ that occurs at this

grammes, and most importantly—for putting chil-

school possible for almost 16 years.

dren first. I’ve been beyond fortunate to have worked for Dr. In this issue, you will read tributes to Dr. Greene and

Greene for the last 5 years and during that time I

have a chance to visualise the enduring legacy he

have been privileged to be a part of one of the most

is leaving. Our mission “to educate for international

amazing organisations in international education—

understanding”, touches on everything that we do

as both Communications Manager and as the moth-

at ISA, and that is in large part due to Dr. Greene.

er of children who have attended the International

He believes deeply in these three pillars—educa-

School of Amsterdam under his leadership. So, I’d

tion, internationalism and understanding—and has

like to say ‘thank you’ before saying anything else.

with thoughtful and deliberate planning designed a school with staffing, pedagogies and facilities to un-

Dr. Greene is a core part of our institution, but even

derscore this. This magazine, our website and even

more so, is a core part of our ISA family. Recently,

our own stories cannot touch upon the tremendous

as I was collecting messages for our surprise staff

impact Dr. Greene has had on our “pink castle” and

farewell book, I became overwhelmed when read-

it’s eclectic inhabitants over the years.

ing just how deeply he touched the lives of so many who worked with, and for, him. For some he was just

For those who know me, it might come as a bit of

Dr. Greene, but for most he was our “Ed”.

a surprise to find that I was somewhat at a loss for So, while I could try to find my own poetic ways to espouse the wonderful virtues of Ed, I think it’s best to let the words of my colleagues speak to this truth. “Thoreau said it best: ‘To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; This is to have succeeded.’ Thank you for the many years of wise, kind, inspired leadership. You’ve made this little corner of the world a much better, wiser, kinder place.” 2

‘Ed, you have inspired thousands of people during your career as an educator with your wisdom, kindness, your love of learning and integrity. You have given ISA rock-steady leadership and the school owes its glowing reputation in the global education community to the growth it has undergone under your watch.’ ‘I was one of your last interviewees at the entire fair and when you offered me the job, I thought I’d won the lottery...Your job offer changed my life, Ed, and I’m beyond grateful to all the powers that be, you included, for placing me where I am today - both professionally and personally.’ “Your vision, your deep knowledge of education, your compassion and intelligence are essential, yet rare, traits of a genuine leader. My gratitude is deep and profound.” ‘No matter how serious or small, personal or professional, at one point or another we have all turned to you as we knew that you could be relied upon, that you could be trusted, that you would try your hardest to help, reassure, and assist; it has not always been easy for you but your shoulders are broad and your door was always open and yes, we will miss this too.’ ‘Without question, the mark of a truly great person is their ability to make everyone feel valued and that they are a contributing member to a collective. Whether the conversation is great or small, you have always, always been that type of leader and friend.’ These words only touch the surface when it comes to showing how Dr. Green has impacted our school. ISA faculty, staff, students and parents are immensely grateful for all that he has done to make ISA a global leader in IB education, but more so for making it a welcoming home-away-from-home. If this school has touched your heart in any way over the last 16 years, you can surely thank Ed Greene for that. Ed, on behalf of the ISA community, I would like to wish you and Christin the best in your new adventure at EARCOS. I hope they know how truly lucky they are to have you. I know we do. Erika Harriford-McLaren 3

A Fond Farewell from the Board Room

Ed Greene has what it takes: he knows how to build the professional bonds with teachers, support staff members, parents, students and the Board of Trustees, required to run an international school of 800 students at first, growing in 16 years, successfully and profitably, to 1400. Working cooperatively with the Board and the legally required Works Council on the development of the pioneering ‘Thought-full Schools’ teacher evaluation programme, and on some pretty substantial and impressive building projects, Ed managed to steer these through the proverbial ‘quicksand’ that is usually part and parcel of the life at international schools. During Ed’s tenure, the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Cultures of Thinking programme started at ISA and over the years has become a steady partnership and training programme for our teachers. In addition, Ed encouraged the launching of the Centre for Development, Learning and Technology,

Leo van Os,Board Chair Emeritus When early this century the International School of Amsterdam was searching for a new director, one of the applications stood out from those of the many highly qualified candidates that reacted: the one from Dr. Edward E. Greene. He had also applied in 1999 when a vacancy at ISA had occurred; however, he had withdrawn his application when the chairman of his school, the University Laboratory School in Louisiana, had suddenly fallen seriously ill—Ed felt he just couldn’t leave his chairman or the school ‘unattended’ and decided to stay there at least a few more years. So when, three years later, he applied once more, he was a ‘must-meet’ candidate for the ISA Board’s search committee. And the rest

velopment leadership. He also developed a relationship with ISA and the Teachers College Reading and Writing project at the prestigious Columbia University. The ISA Board always encouraged Ed to accept responsibilities outside the Netherlands, so his Chairmanship of the European Council of International Schools, his Presidency at the Association for the Advancement of International Education and his membership of the International Task force for Child Protection were warmly welcomed. He did the school proud in all these capacities. As a member of the Board of Trustees since 2000

is history!

and as Board Chairman since 2008, I was priv-

Ever since his appointment in 2003, Ed has taken

until 2015, when I decided that 15 years of my board

the International School of Amsterdam forward in important ways. His vision and leadership, his amiable way of gaining people’s confidence and trust first and then trying to find, if at all possible, consensual agreement on issues that could divide, made is possible for Ed to weather many a storm that international schools have to face in this day and age. 4

putting ISA on the world map for professional de-

ileged to have worked closely with Ed Greene up membership was about all a school should endure. During this lengthy tenure, I met many school superintendents, also those of top international schools. I can honestly say, with due humility, that the Board of Trustees in 2003 could not have chosen a better director for ISA than it did.

Beth Johnson

to circumstances, the Board was more and more

It has been a pleasure to know and work with

involved in certain aspects of the operational side

Dr. Greene over the past 16 years. I was actively involved in the search in the year he was selected to become the new director of ISA, and I served on the Board as a parent representative for an extended

of ISA. In the beginning of his tenure, it was not always made easy for Dr. Greene. While finding his feet in the ISA community, Dr. Greene built a trusting relationship with students, parents, faculty and

period of time at the beginning of his tenure.


Over the intervening years, he has stabilized the

Working with a Board of Trustees, the dynamics of

operation of the school and infused new energy into the child-oriented focus of all staff working with the students at ISA. In my own experience as a parent, he has been family-oriented and has put the student at the forefront of all discussions, even in ex-

which changed every year due to constant changing of board members, required extra skill sets. This gentle giant managed it all in a very successful way, furthering ISA’s standing in the world of international education and the Amsterdam/Amstelveen

tremely difficult circumstances.


I particularly appreciate Dr. Greene’s intellectual

I wish Dr. Greene a very happy and eventful life after

curiosity as manifested at the ISA Book Fairs where his personal reading taste is wide-ranging and his professional interest in investigating the cutting

ISA, and I am sure that he will leave an incredible footprint behind.

edge of education impressive.

Mary Francis Walsh, MHS

Dr. Greene is moving on to new challenges while

was participating in the search that culminated in

leaving a legacy of increased energy and improved organization at all levels of the school. My very best

One of my first experiences as a Board member hiring Ed Greene. For me, that undertaking was intimidating, as the responsibility placed in the

wishes as he takes on his next assignment.

director’s hands is no small matter. The director

Christian Beek, Board Chair

students, faculty, parents, administrative staff and

While is it now more than 12 years ago, I still look back at my time as a member and Chair of the ISA Board with great fondness. This is in no small part thanks to Ed Greene’s unfailing support and dedi-

sets a standard for the school’s relationships with Board members – even the community. What I remember most about Ed as director is his warmth and candor. These qualities made the difference in his service as director, above and beyond his expe-

cation to ‘his’ school.

rience and qualifications. They made a difference in

Working with and alongside Ed for those three years

like so many, it is something we will always value.

was a privilege and an education in itself. Ed is someone who truly cares, and his new organization is lucky to have him. I wish Ed and his family every

how so many of us experienced ISA. For my family,

Ferdinand Mason ISA is very dear to me. I have experienced ISA as a

success out East.

student, parent, and, ultimately as a Board member.

Gerda van Diemen

graduation over 30 years ago.

The ISA Board of Trustees 2002-2003 went through the process of selecting a new director starting the 2003-2004 school year. After an intensive search,

More importantly, I met my wife at ISA, just before

I had the privilege of becoming a Board member at the beginning of the millennium but more impor-

the experienced Dr. Ed Greene was appointed.

tantly, was privileged to have been on the Board

For its students and parents, ISA was a happy and

that ISA stands for.

very active learning environment; however, at that time there was turbulence behind the scenes. Due

when Ed was selected as caretaker of everything

To be honest, I had some initial doubts at the time 5

when the decision was taken. The school was at crossroads, and it was vital that the right person be selected to continue to safeguard what the (my) school stands for. Much of what ISA represents can be attributed to Ed. He vastly strengthened the concept of ‘international understanding’ in what is now a globally renown institution for student learning. We have been blessed to have Ed at the stern. Ed, we wish you and

make this happen before he leaves the school to his successor. We all should be grateful that he created such a safe and warm environment for students, staff and teachers. It is through his leadership that the school has been awarded the honour of top education employer in the Netherlands.

your family well in the many years ahead.

Thank you, Ed!

Graham Tiley

Brenda Broad, Board Chair

I was fortunate enough to serve on the ISA Board

While the school has seen numerous changes over

from December 2007 until I left the Netherlands four years later. During this time, the school faced the challenge of the global financial crisis and, at the same time, the difficult decision of whether or not to expand in the face of this uncertainty. Dr. Greene’s leadership was critical to the successful navigation through these choppy waters and it is satisfying to see that the school has continued to thrive and

the years, with additions to students, teachers, staff and facilities, Ed’s demeanour and deep commitment to growth and excellence have been consistent throughout. When times were easy and times were hard, Ed always remained an exceptional leader and our North Star. While these characteristics are impres-

grow under his stewardship.

sive on their own, it was his personality, integrity

It was a pleasure to work with, and support, Dr.

him to also make such a difference to the interna-

Greene in his mission, and I personally learned much from him that I’ve taken into my own career. For all of this, I offer him my thanks and best wishes

and sense of balance and grounding that allowed tional school community around the world. I consider myself very privileged to have spent half of Ed’s tenure at ISA serving the school through the

for the future.


Peter Hesp, Board Chair

Eric Robles

It was in 2014 that I was asked to join the ISA Board

When I think of a director of an international school,

as a nonparent member and as the successor of Treasurer David Masters. I’ve enjoyed my role on the Board, both as the treasurer and now in my second year as Board chair. I can tell you, it’s never a dull moment with ISA. In 2014, the school had just opened an extension to allow 400 new student places. Following along the growth in the Amsterdam region, ISA soon found itself nearing capacity in just one short year, that bringing its own issues, with shortages in staffing, teaching space, parking and more. Ed dealt with these problems in his own calm way, even when dealing with those who had their own ideas on where to set priorities. He has been instrumental in taking steps to professionalising the 6

Board/director relationship. He has worked hard to

I imagine a person who is warm, kind, approachable and open to anyone in the community, who has a certain authority based on his or her outstanding knowledge and communication skills and, above all, someone who is a team builder, loyal to the school and their team. Ed, you have it all and even more! You are the ‘ultimate father’ and ‘ISA teddy bear’ of the school. You have built a school with an outstanding international reputation and will leave behind a legacy that will be remembered for generations. You are an icon of ISA and will be terribly missed! It was an honour to work with you when I was on the Board, and I wish you all the best in the next phase of your career.

It seems only fitting that the first event held at ISA’s Centre for Development, Learning & Technology (CDLT) in January 2015 was Cultures of Thinking, a project stemming from the Harvard School of Education’s Project Zero, which was introduced into ISA’s own professional development in 2003, the year when Dr. Edward E. Greene joined the school as director. Since then, Dr. Green’s commitment to ensuring that ISA faculty and staff have access to the leading pedagogical approaches and methodologies on offer has materialised into a lasting and impactful legacy—a fully dedicated centre for the professional development of the entire education community­—from administrators to teachers to staff—based within the heart of the ISA campus. Head of Lower School, Susan Loban, was instrumental in helping the school realise this dream. “In 2014, there were several schools in Europe who were looking top open professional development centres for international school teachers and we were one of them. So, when the school decided to expand in 2014, there was an opportunity for us to bring our dream to reality - and use the two floors from our former Upper School Library to create a unique purpose-built facility to train our own teachers and staff as well as other educators from around the world.” “Dr. Greene has a gift of seeing the potential in his teachers and staff and giving them the space to grow into confident and extremely competent employees. Encouraging professional development is one way he ensures that growth continues, and helping us to get the CDLT has benefited both students and teachers with its innovative topics, accessibility and hands-on training from the top thought leaders in education within the centre itself and inside our classrooms.” “On behalf of the school, I’d like to thank Dr. Greene for his undying support of life-long learning for not just our students, but for those who teach and lead them each day.” 7


Parent Corner:

How was drama class? What homework do you have tonight? Did you eat your snack?

Try a Verbal Diet

Where is your coat?

My boys’ response rate generally diminishes with

I recently met the New York Times best-selling author and educator Rosalind Wiseman during her

each new question.

talks at the International School of Amsterdam. Wiseman wrote Queen Bees and Wannabees, on helping girls to survive cliques and conflicts (which was the inspiration for the cult classic and hit movie Mean Girls) as well as Masterminds and Wingmen on boys’ social hierarchies and their effect on their well-being.

virtual duct tape and refrain from talking and nag-

Her advice for parents: go on a verbal diet!

ging. The author also suggests that we apply duct

As parents, we often ask preteens and teens too

and allow kids to do things for themselves. I love the

many questions. Our constant barrage of questions (and demands) may lead kids to say less instead of more. Her remarks made me think of some of the chats with my boys after school. I generally ask them one question after another: How was drama class? What homework do you have tonight? Did you eat your snack? Where is your coat? My boys’ response

tape to our body so that we don’t get too involved visual of putting duct tape on my mouth and saying less, not more… As for what we should be saying, Hoefle recommends that we ask curious questions, not minutia, to make connections and have meaningful discussion. For example, ask preteens and teens: Who makes

rate generally diminishes with each new question.

you laugh? What are you most worried about when

Sound familiar? Her advice is to keep conversations

follow on Instagram? Can you tell me how you play

to a minimum. In fact, young people (like adults) often want to decompress after a long day. Wiseman states that the times we are on fact finding missions, i.e. the ride home after school, the dinner meal, the trip to the store etc..., are all just moments, not a lifetime. Hence, keep discussions short and don’t repeat what you have to say. Also, keep conversations to three main issues, especially if your kids are

it comes to leaving home for university? Who do you this video game? Who is your favourite character in Harry Potter? Returning to Wiseman, her final suggestion regarding communication and the verbal diet resonated with something my husband and I are doing at home. She suggests waiting on big questions until kids are in bed. Darkness can be safety, as children and teens

distracted easily.

don’t need to see your face or expression. Some of my most thoughtful conversations with my boys, in-

Dr. Anisha Abraham is a pediatri-

Rosalind’s verbal diet reminds me of a book I read

cluding when I asked if I was talking too much (an-

cian, teen health expert, public

swer: ‘yes’), come late at night while they are in bed

speaker and consultant.

called Duct Tape Parenting, by Vicki Hoefle. One of the premises of the book is that if you spend more than ten minutes nagging your child every day, it’s time for a change. The book suggests that we apply

and ready to sleep. Bottom line: Make what you say count and say less, not more!

Her original blog post can be found on her website: ­


You’ve Got Mail While email may be the norm for communicating for many people these days, it seems good old-fashioned ‘snail mail’ still has its place when it comes to delivering messages from the heart and holiday wishes. As part of the PYP unit of inquiry ‘You’ve Got Messages’, ISA kindergarten students have continued to carry on the tradition of opening the Kindergarten Post Office in the Lower School for sending mail within the school during the winter holidays. Available to all members of the Lower School, the Kindergarten Postal System is a unique way to inspire students to get involved in purposeful writing to communicate holiday wishes to family, friends, reading buddies and more. Students are encouraged to write letters throughout the weeks—during class, as homework or just for fun—and are given instructions on how a letter is written, how an envelope is addressed and how it gets from point A to B, wherever in the world it is sent. Kindergarten teacher Debbie O’Hara believes that this experience is important on many levels for a kindergartener’s development. “We want to place an emphasis on ways of communicating different types of messages and how they make us feel. Our aim is to ‘fill each others buckets’ by teaching the kids that writing a little note to give a compliment or show someone that they are liked can really cheer people up. We want to encourage those good feelings. Everyone loves getting mail and, since the unit of inquiry is bridging the winter holiday season, it’s perfect timing.” But with so much communication being digital these days, do the children really take to writing and drawing mail? 10

“You would be amazed”, notes O’Hara. “We probably collect throughout the grade level between 700 and 1000 pieces of mail in those three weeks. Most are pictures and art work from the children, but our kindergarten parents often post letters to their own children by dropping off letters in the red mail box outside the Lower School office or in the in-boxes located in each classroom. So children are not only inspired to participate because of their classmates, but also because they are experiencing the joy of receiving kind and loving messages from their homes as well.”

Asked and Answered

By Megan Amelia

A popular person for sending a letter to was Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, with four students writing directly to him to voice their concerns about plastics A core principle of student inquiry within the ISA Primary Years Programme (PYP) is that ideas come directly from students. Grade 2 teacher Melanie Smith believes this is what makes the PYP such an

damaging the environment. As luck would have it, one of the students, Bo Gunning, had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Rutte at ‘het Torentje’, his office in The Hague, to personally hand over her classmates’

exciting curriculum for both teachers and learners.


So when her students began learning about persua-

Weeks later, to the delight of the now grade 3 stu-

sive writing in class, Smith wanted the lesson to have a real-life context, to allow her seven-and-eight year olds to see that, even as children, their ideas had the potential to make tangible change in the world. She asked them to write a letter to a real reader to persuade them about a topic that students felt was

dents, Prime Minister Rutte replied to each and every one of their letters, thanking them for raising awareness of their issues and explaining the actions he had taken to address their cause, such as introducing a ban on free plastic bags in the Netherlands and encouraging companies to develop more


sustainable packaging.

“I am very passionate about children building

Rutte wrote, “It is a good thing to know that children

conceptual understanding through inquiry-based learning. I want children to understand that their voices are powerful and they can make a difference. Through such inquiries, children are able to build conceptual understandings that they will be able to transfer to different situations throughout their lives.” More than just a pen pal Smith’s students began by considering which issues mattered the most to them, raising topics such as the harmful effects of plastics in the ocean and the importance of wearing a helmet while cycling. They also considered persuading influential people who had the power to make real change, such as J.K. Rowling, Emma Watson and even President Vladimir

are also considering such important issues. I think it is of the utmost importance that we change our throwaway culture. We need to raise awareness—in companies, shops and schools. The solution starts here.” While all of the students may not have received a response, knowing that some of their classmates did was encouraging and helped them to gain an understanding of persuasion and raising awareness. There’s an old saying that “it never hurts to ask” and, for these students, asking led them beyond their



Smith felt that it was necessary to emphasise to her

them to have their voices

students that even though they might not receive a




classroom and allowed heard.

reply from such a high profile person, “raising awareness of the issues was still very important”. 11

TEDxAmsterdam TEDxAmsterdam recently celebrated it’s tenth anniversary and the International School of Amsterdam was honoured to have been invited to take part in the exclusive opening act to launch the event. Under the theme of “the Big X”, the programme was designed to encourage attendees to stop and think about how their big ideas for the future could be part of a bigger picture - part of the “puzzle of life”. Ten children from grade 5 were selected to attend brainstorming activities with the creative team for the event, Company New Heroes and directors from Events in Company, to discover their opinions on how to tackle some of society’s biggest problems - from alleviating stress from our daily lives and overcoming social Above:

anxiety to stimulating continued interest in the arts

Tom gives the opening mono-

and sharing the concept of international mindedness

logue to start off the 10th anni-

in an ever-globalised world. These solutions were

versary of TEDxAmsterdam.

then drawn on puzzle pieces which were later added to a larger than life “X-shaped” puzzle art installation,


featuring pieces from all the TEDx attendees.

Mateo, Naisha, Itamir, Maddalena and Isidora present their

Aspiring actor and ISA student, Tom Creyghton, took

teams “Big Ideas’ for the future.

on the immense task of performing the opening monologue in front of the 700+ attendees for the event, while 5 students, Mateo, Naisha, Itamir, Maddalena and Isidora were chosen to present their teams projects to the crowd. Read more about the students “Big Questions” on the following page or you can watch the opening at


Emmanuel—How can we convince people to appreciate art? Our team believes that there could be an app where anyone can enter their personal interests and then they could receive notification of new exhibitions at museums in their area or even around the world that are showing things they like. We think kids should have the app as well, because we can learn a lot to help us in life from art and museums. Partner—Maddalena

Alexandra—How can people get rid of stress or not get stressed at all? We invented a watch called “the deep breath”, and you sign in to it and put in a personal checklist and health update. You wear it all the time, and when the watch senses you are getting stressed, it vibrates to alert you and then gives you strategies to get rid of it, like food and activity tips and yoga and meditation videos. Partner—Isidora

Kaan—How can we overcome social anxiety? We think people should always go outside, do more sports and spend less time on the internet and more time with people. We need to encourage people to join clubs or do anything that gets them out from in front of a screen. And we think this should be mostly for grownups. Parents work and text so much that they don’t realise they are separating from society. Partner—Itamir

EeRynn—How can we stimulate international mindedness in the future? International mindedness means to have a lot of knowledge of other cultures and societies and religions. But it’s about knowing what it means to people and not just what it is about. Our blog book (which could also be an app or website) is where you can post photos and comments about a culture you’ve learned about or your own culture, and others can ask questions about it. It would be for stu-

dents and also for parents—so they can make a better community. Partner­—Naisha

Konrad—How can we reduce air pollution? Most of our roads should just be accessible with a bus, and then more people would take the bus because they have to. People won’t need a car, because they know they can get to where they want. We just need less people in cars. People should realise public transport is not that bad, because we can travel in groups of people and we all can socialise and enjoy each other. Partner - Mateo



We Support Venezuela The crisis in Venezuela has seemingly reached a

Venezuela, while also raising funds to help some of

breaking point, as the South American country has

the country’s most vulnerable victims—child refu-

plunged into a political, social and economic crisis

gees—receive basic care needs, as health services

like never before.

have become overwhelmed under the strain.

According to the Venezuelan national assembly, the

Putting a call out to the various international commu-

International Monetary Fund and the Economist,

nities—the two arranged a “We Support Venezuela”

hyperinflation in the country has caused inflation

charity fundraiser bake sale. Our interview with Va-

rates to reach 1,300,000% from November 2017 to

nessa Jaar-Rodriguez explains more on why it was

November 2018, with official exchange rates putting

important to bring the community together around

637 bolivars to just 1 U.S. dollar. To date, over 3 mil-

this crisis and how that unity will help heal the glob-

lion Venezuelans of all ages have fled the country,

al diaspora of Venezuelans—from South America all

most to nearby Colombia, which has been strong in

the way to the International School of Amsterdam.

its support to those fleeing, receiving an estimated 5000 refugees per day.

Vanessa, what is your connection to Venezuela? I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, my husband is

Over the past years, ISA parents, students, faculty

also Venezuelan, and we carry our country in our

and staff have come together to raise funds to sup-

hearts everywhere we go.

port communities in need due to large scale crises. From earthquake relief in Japan, Nepal and Mexico

What inspired you to host this event?

to hurricane assistance in Puerto Rico, our com-

As a Venezuelan abroad, I believe it is our respon-

munity has a long-standing commitment to come

sibility to help our country in any possible way that

together to make a difference in the lives of others.

we can. We need to be active and set examples on giving a hand to people in need. When we moved

As an international school hosting 60 nationalities, it

to the Netherlands and joined ISA in August 2017, I

was inevitable that members of the ISA community

immediately felt how strong and supportive the ISA

would be affected by this crisis—either personally or

international community is, so I knew this event

through friends or colleagues.

could be a success.

Aid for Venezuela

When it comes to the crisis in Venezuela, why do you

ISA staff member and parent Eli Arenas and ISA

think the world has been so slow to respond?

parent Vanessa Jaar-Rodriguez, members of the ISA

Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis is the worst crisis

Hispanic community, decided to take on the task

of its kind in the western hemisphere. I think the

of raising awareness within the ISA community of

world has been slow to respond, because it was not

the human rights and political crises in their native

until a few months ago when it finally reached full 15

international coverage and world leaders began to acknowledge the severity of the humanitarian crisis. Newspapers, online news, social media, among other channels, started to continuously report about Venezuela’s situation. Before this, it was not widely understood. But now people know that more than 3 million Venezuelans have left their country in the last three years searching for a place to live that could offer them the basic needs of food, shelter and health. Were you surprised by the ISA community’s response to

is currently targeted to students, but it could evolve and expand to families and the overall school community, where we can all participate. It could be a Global Festival, where families could also have the chance to dress up and parade with their children and could organize villages in the gym to showcase to everyone the different cultures. There are many opportunities for inspiration, and hopefully our fundraiser will be just one of many in the coming years.

this fundraiser, and if so, why?

Did you succeed in your goal?

We were beyond grateful for the support we received

We had great expectations about the fundraiser,

from families from countries all over the world that voluntarily contributed delicious goods for the char-

and those were happily surpassed. The fundraiser amount was above expectations. We raised over

ity bake sale.

2,000 euro. On behalf of the Hispanic Community

When the day arrived, you could sense the LOVE in

like to express our gratitude towards the ISA com-

the main foyer from students, parents, caregivers and staff from ISA that unconditionally supported this cause. We are thankful to everyone for their support. Do you think we can further inspire our parent community to help each other and learn about each other’s cultures like we do for our students in the IB? Yes, I think that we, as parents, can inspire and help each other to learn about others cultures. This was just one example of it. Also, through the weekly international breakfasts, countries have the opportunity to show their culture with their amazing local cuisine and traditions. They are well attended, so I think that is helping.


Another big event is the Global Village Day, which

and the Venezuelan families in the school, we would munity’s support of this cause. Thank you!

Urbanuskerk Benefit

In 1889, Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers left his mark

brainstorming on how the school could help.

on the world, when he designed a beautiful church, St. Urbanus church (Urbanuskerk), which rests along

Walker-Pope and the gospel choir organised a

the water in the tiny village of Bovenkerk, now a part

two-performance event on Saturday 2 December,

of the municipality of Amstelveen.

which featured a guest appearance from the ISA grade 2 and 3 choir as well. The event was a true

Recent renovations to the building ensured that the

success, selling out and raising over 5000 euro to

community landmark would continue to remain a

donate to the reconstruction project.

focal point for tourists and for the numerous choirs who vied to perform there each year.

“We are beyond grateful to the school and our community for supporting us. Thank you�.

However, on 15 September, 2018 tragedy struck, as a fire broke out and destroyed most of the building, leaving the surrounding community and parishioners in shock. ISA teacher Victoria Walker-Pope had performed in the Church just months prior to the fire for the Christmas holidays as part of the Amstel Gospel Choir. When learning about the destruction, she and her fellow choir members sought to find a way to help in the fundraising campaigns to rebuild the building. Once the idea of a charity concert came through, Walker-Pope discussed the idea of a fundraiser at the school with the ISA administration which eagerly approved the project, having already been 25

Robot Wars: Inspiring the Engineers of Tomorrow By Megan Amelia


ISA’s Engineering Club is not just a way for students to fulfil their International Baccalaureate Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) requirements. For many members, the club has become a space where they can develop their skills and meet like-minded students from across the school. While many might not necessarily come into contact with each other during their daily life at ISA, through the club they are united

and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format”. For the ISA students, this was the first time they had pooled their skills together for a challenge, and they soon found themselves competing against 15 other teams from around the Netherlands to secure a place in the FTC Netherlands League Championship and, ultimately, for a shot at winning the title at the FTC final in the

by one thing: their shared passion for engineering.

United States.

Into the real world

Cue training montage

The club’s mentor, ISA Upper School science teach-

Some might have questioned Schult’s and the club’s

er Kim Schult, wanted to inspire the group to take their passion out of the classroom and into the real world by giving them a platform to showcase what they know and what they can do. So, after some consultation on ways to move forward, the club members decided to use their talent for engineering

decision to enter into a competition just weeks after they first set out into the world of robotics; however, the members felt that their commitment ran deep enough to rise to the challenge. To assist them with navigating this new system,

to compete in a robotics competition.

Schult recruited her friend Floor Zegwaard, who

Just a few weeks later, on Sunday, 13 January, the

Hague, to give her students a crash course in Robot-

club drove to Veghel, near Eindhoven, to participate in the First Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics competition, which “allows studens around the world to compete head to head in robotics competitions.

runs a robotics club at the Maerlant-Lyceum in The ics 101. Zegwaard and two of his students visited ISA and were available via Skype to answer questions and to discuss any technical problems the group encountered.

Students are challenged to design, build, program,


The group designed the robot themselves, while Schult took a backseat to allow their creativity and inspiration to come to the fore, and in just a few weeks they had built a working robot and were ready to take on their first robotics competition. Robot wars In robotics, it all comes down to how well a robot performs on the day. At the FTC competition, four teams compete on the playing field, with two teams working together against two other teams, with the goal of earning the highest number of points during a set amount of time in each match. Robots earn points by completing certain tasks, such as picking up a ball and moving it to a goal, driving over a steep ramp, or raising themselves a certain height off the ground by holding on to a structure; the more difficult the task, the more points the robot will earn. First impressions are important in the robotics world; the first 30 seconds of each match are autonomous, which means that the robot has to perform alone without any communication from the team. After that, the teams are allowed to program the robot to perform tasks using a remote control. The group soon discovered that everyone solves a problem in a different way. They initially had the idea that, given the limited number of tasks that the robots needed to perform, the robots from each team would all look very similar. But actually, every robot looked completely different, and they all took a different approach to accomplish the tasks. Fuelling a passion Participants were required to keep an engineering notebook, which allowed them to reflect on their choices and actions during the competition and what they had learned from them. On reflection, the students realised that they had missed a small detail in the rulebook, which kept them from earning a larger amount of points. Their resolution for next time: to read the rules more clearly! When Schulte asked her students what they took away from their experience at the competition, she found that the competition brought out the students competitive sides, not just with the other teams, but within the club itself. Each member wanted to do their very best in each match and to problem-solve quickly. The challenge was both personal and professional. Collaboration notoriously fosters creativity, and all the students noticed that they enjoyed developing a cohesive team across the school grades, as they normally don’t necessarily have the opportunity to work together. They also enjoyed working with other teams from the competition, from whom they learned a lot from and were inspired with lots of new ideas and techniques for next year’s competition. This first competition has given them confidence in themselves and in their ability to think on their feet and solve problems under pressure. So what’s next for ISA’s robotics team? Without any doubt, more practice, more problem-solving and more competitions are on the horizon.


Solo & Ensemble Festival

Seven students participated in the very rigorous honour division, in which students must select their performance repertoire from a pre-approved list of pieces suitable for entry into conservatory study or a

Recently, ISA students attended the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) Solo and Ensemble festival at the American School of the Hague, which boasted 175 participants from seven

university school of music. ISA grade 11 student Nozomi Akamatsu, one of the honours participants, was given the highest rating

international schools.

possible and was one of only three students to be

ISA Upper School music teacher Douglas Beam was

lations to Doug Beam and all who participated.

asked to perform in the closing ceremony. Congratu-

excited to have ISA students return to the event, as they have historically performed well in the past, taking home numerous awards and accolades. ‘Once again, we had a very successful solo and ensemble festival, with outstanding results from the student solo and the group events’, noted Beam. ‘ISA had one of the largest groups and performed in 31 events (over 70 students performed in total). In 29 of the 31 events, our students were awarded the two highest possible ratings, “performance with merit” or “performance with distinction” ratings, demonstrating a strong level or musicality and preparation.’



Meeting the Change Makers It’s been a little over a year since the students at Mar-

organised the Amsterdam and The Hague March

jorie Stone Douglas High school were thrust into the

for our Lives protests, as well as a small group of

global spotlight—victims of one of the United States’

students from the AICS and ISA.

worst mass school shootings. During this time, the teenage survivors from this school, and other young

“I wrote my extended essay on Emma Gonzalez’s

victims of gun violence, have taken to the streets to

speech, so meeting the students and actually getting

make their voices heard.

to talk one-on-one with them was an amazing experience. We learned how activism can make real change

The “March for our Lives” Movement (MFOL), named

and most importantly, that just because we’re young

after the 2018 global gun-violence street protest

doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference”, explained

which occurred after the shooting, has inspired

grade-12 student, Molly Christopher.

millions of people, both young and old, around the world to stand up and say “enough is enough” and

The ISA and Dutch students left inspired and ready

to demand for stricter gun laws and more account-

to continue their work with the MFOL cause, many

ability in gun control and access. In fact, many ISA

having already assisted with U.S. voter registration

families, students and staff took part in the march

for mid-term elections and participated in meetings

and protest speeches on Museumplein in early 2018

with the U.S. Ambassador to The Netherlands.

to show support for the cause. Special thanks to Amsterdam/Hague MFOL organThe students leading the movement have turned the

isers Julie Phillips, Jose van Houten, Eden Leslie,

tragedy of the Parkland shooting into a lightening rod

Leilani Hancock and Elaine Flynn and to the AICS for

for change—for both safer schools and safer streets.

extending the invitation to join for the day.

Armed with knowledge and the deep conviction that they can—and will­—make change, the group of students has become a force to be reckoned with at rallies, in interviews and most importantly, in the legislature, where their lobbying has seen changes in gun sale laws, which will hopefully translate into improved security for all. On November 20, 2018, the efforts of the students were recognised on a global level when they were awarded the 14th annual International Children’s Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a patron of the Dutch-based organisation KidsRights, which sponsors the event. Immediately after the event, the students boarded a plane to the Netherlands, where, Amsterdam International Community School (AICS) hosted them for a press junket and small meetup with local Dutch students who 31

product design teacher Mr. Cahen, I dehydrated meat and vegetables, which I sealed and carried back to India to feed to the stray animals. These endeavours brought us a good amount, which I was able to personally bring to Animal Aid Unlimited, in Udaipur, India ,in December 2016. Meeting with the founders of Animal Aid, Erika Abrams and Jim Myers, was a life-changing moment for me. They told me how they had wrapped up their lives in the U.S. and moved permanently to India with the sole mission to help stray animals. They opened their animal hospital in 2003 with a staff of just four and today they are located in a four acre open area with a permanent staff of 50 and many volunteers from all around the world. Boosted by my meeting with Erika and Jim, and having seen the difference that all of our collected funds could make, I pressed on full speed ahead to continue fundraising. In 2017, I was given the opportunity by Taken, a popular boy band, to sell tickets to their concert in Amsterdam, where the proceeds would go to a charity of my choice. In addition to raising money, my aim has also been to spread awareness about the plight of stray

Care4Buddies By Mehar Suri On our annual visits to India, I would often see wounded and starving stray animals left to suffer and ultimately die in the streets and back alleys. It was when I was in grade 6 that I decided it was time to take some concrete action. With the help of my then homeroom teacher, ISA science teacher Ms. Mary Kelly, I began to organise fundraising activities that would help me to gather funds to send back to some of the charities I had come across in India, that work

mind, I have spoken about the issue at the Middle

to rescue and rehabilitate injured stray animals.

School assembly numerous times. In grade 8 ,I start-

During the first year of the project, I organised bake

Mr Alex Knight, ISA Math teacher, as our mentor. Our

sales, bring-and-buy sales and raffles accessible to the entire Middle School. With the help of our food 32

animals in India and elsewhere. With this goal in

ed a Middle School club called “Care4Buddies� with club has nine active members and we hope to grow in the years to come.

In December 2018, I was again able to visit Animal Aid, this time as an established club and meet with both Jim and Erika, where I presented them with our first donation of 623 euro or 50,000 Indian rupees. We were able to cement a partnership with Animal Aid Unlimited for the years to come. It was amazing to hear about all the things they are doing to protect stray animals and to raise awareness amongst the local people. They too, in turn, were very impressed with the efforts of the Care4Buddies team at ISA. Our most recent fundraising initiative involved making and delivering Valentine’s Day cards to Middle School students for a small fee. We raised over 100 euro from this event alone. Looking into the future, Care4Buddies will continue to strive to raise funds to help animals and to raise awareness about issues such as animal abuse and the benefits of veganism, not just for the animals but for the planet at large.

Mehar Suri with animals from the Animal Aid Unlimited organisation in India and posing with staff, including owner, Jim Myers. YOU CAN ALSO HELP BY SPONSORING A DOG LIKE DEEPAK ABOVE OR ANOTHER ANIMAL. To learn more visit: deepak-sponsorship/


2 January, 2019

Dear friends at the International School of Amsterdam, My name is Erika, and I’m co-founder of Animal Aid Unlimited, a rescue center for street animals

in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. One of your incredible students, Mehar Suri, and some of her amazing

classmates, have contributed Rs 50,000—which is 623 euros—saving the lives of about 30 street animals here. These young people are absolutely incredible for their imaginations, their hard work, and their extraordinary compassion for animals they have never met before, but whose lives they hold as

precious. I am proud of the International School of Amsterdam, too, for supporting and encouraging the following leaders to take action on their dreams of making the world a kinder place for animals. The students we want to recognise as special friends of animals are: Mehar Suri

Kyla Robertson Lara Colville

Despina Griston

Maria Volovodova

Elektra Sarafopoulou Allesandro Iucci Hanna Lenz

We hope that all the students can draw inspiration from these pioneering young people. Animals

who live on the streets in India include dogs, donkeys, cows, pigs, goats—and many of them either never had guardians or have been abandoned because they are no longer “useful”--abandoned on the streets, often with little to eat, and when they become injured or ill, they desperately need human help.

Your incredible students have given the means to provide help in Udaipur, and through our efforts to

make known the stories of individual animals helped by humans, we are hoping to galvanize such help for animals in cities all over India and the world. Your students are a powerful force for action, and they are—and will be—guides in compassionate action for many many others throughout their lives. Erika Abrams

Co-founder, Animal Aid Unlimited


Lathrain: The Band “Qelarha, one thing you have to understand: elves are dangerous. Make sure you never fall into their hands. Do you promise that?” Roshya looks at her until she nods to indicate she has understood. “But how do I do that?” Roshya has a simple answer to that: “It is their eyes. Never allow one of them to look you in the eye. If that happens, you are lost. That is how they create the lathrain, I know that without any doubt.” With these words, ISA Spanish teacher Anna Lopez Dekker invites her readers to join her on a unique journey with her inaugural young adult fantasy novel—Lathrain: the Band. Fiction novels inspire the imagination, and the youngadult literary world offers a unique escape and a sense of belonging for many teens (and adults). The novel is Lopez Dekker’s first published work, allowing Lopez Dekker to join the ranks of the other dozen published authors from the ISA staff and faculty. There are plans to promote the book at Dutch ComicCon, part of the larger global comic book convention, which focuses primarily on comic book culture and fantasy. Additionally, a book signing at ISA is in the cards and Lopez Dekker has confirmed that the novel, which is currently being published in Spanish and Dutch, is being looked at for an English translation as well. 35

Alumni Spotlight Juha Virtanen

attended ISA from 1998 to

2004. After leaving ISA, he obtained his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Kent, where he is now a Lecturer in Contemporary

Channel Apraxia, was published by Contraband Books in 2014, and his chapbook –LAND was published through Oystercatcher Press in 2016. His

Literature at the School of English.

most recent book, Poetry and Performance During

Juha, originally from Finland, started attending ISA

Effect was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2017,

after his family moved to Amsterdam for his father’s job. Originally only meaning to stay in the Netherlands for two years, Juha considers himself lucky

the British Poetry Revival 1960-1980: Event and and examines intersections of poetry and performance during the British poetry revival. In 2018, his work was included in the international anthology

that he was able to stay for six years:

Wretched Strangers: Borders, Movement, Homes.

“The six years I spent at ISA were definitely an influ-

in British little magazines, and is writing a new series

ential period for me. All of the teachers I had for English were great at feeding and further encouraging my interest in literature, which obviously played a big role in my decision to study the subject at university.” At the University of Kent, Juha primarily specialises in innovative British and Irish poetry, but he has also designed and taught modules on materials such as graphic novels. In addition, he is currently serving as the School of English’s Deputy Director of Education, as well as the programme director for Kent’s master’s degree in the contemporary, which is an interdisciplinary programme taught jointly by the university and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. 36

Juha is a published poet; his first collection, Back

He is currently researching women poets published of poems called Doom Engines. Rather than setting out to directly follow a particular career path, Juha believes that his line of work allows him to pursue some of his deep-rooted interests in a unique way. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree, Juha felt as though he wasn’t done with studying, so he went on to obtain his master’s and, after gaining his doctorate, he was lucky enough to be hired as a lecturer. He considers each step along this path to have been shaped by meeting individual goals rather than following a defined life path.

His proudest moments have included receiving his doctorate, being hired as a lecturer and seeing his work published. More importantly, he is always moved when he sees his students thrive with their own idiosyncratic interests. He is also very proud of DATABLEED, an open-access poetry journal which he co-edits with his partner, Eleanor Perry. In autumn 2018, they are launching DATABLEEDER, a series of poetry and performance events based in Canterbury,

Bertolt Brecht, the German playwright and poet, who remains an influential figure for Juha’s views on literature and art. Even to this day, whenever Juha has to deliver a lecture, present a paper at a conference or do a poetry reading, he utilises the concentration and breathing techniques that he was taught during his ISA play rehearsals. When asked to offer advice or insights to current ISA


students, Juha notes, “I think it’s entirely in keeping

While Juha credits all of his English teachers with

that I take this opportunity – especially right now –

furthering his passion for literature, it was his theatre classes that proved to be a life-changing experience.

with the spirit of what I learned during my time at ISA to emphasise the importance of bridges instead of walls”.

It was during these classes that he first encountered

Wendy Lee Oldfield graduated from ISA

in 1999, having spent grades 6 to 8 at the old A.J. Erntstraat ISA campus, and then grades 11 and 12 at ISA’s current location. After leaving ISA, Wendy studied graphic design at Chapman University in California, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2004. Since then, she’s co-authored two books on creativity; Caffeine for the Creative Mind and Caffeine for the Creative Team. She has also worked on a number of design projects for brands such as Google, Blizzard Entertainment, Pepsi, Chipotle and the NFL. Two years ago, Wendy joined a tech startup in southern California as Design Director, allowing her to work with “a wonderful team of fellow designers, videographers and creatives”, a role which she thoroughly enjoys. It is no wonder that Wendy has chosen to work in a creative industry. “I loved art [at ISA]. I loved the lab and all the paints and pencils and canvases and tools in the room that helped to bring concepts to life. I loved that the art room was quiet and had lots of windows and light, and I thoroughly looked forward to spending time there.” Wendy has fond memories of her time at ISA, includ-

Wendy and her husband, whom she married in 2011,

Pictured above are Wendy and

ing “the great group of friends I made”, which helped

currently live with their adorable Yorkie, Puck, in An-

her husband in the art room

Wendy feel welcome and less isolated during her

aheim, California, where they can see the fireworks

during their recent visit to ISA.

senior year at ISA.

from Disneyland from their front yard. 37

ISA Alumni Reception London Design Museum

The Design Museum is the world’s leading design museum and was voted European Museum of the Year 2018. Having opened at its new location in Kensington in 2016, the Design Museum is located in a spectacular and architecturally unique building that houses a collection which spans many different forms of design. The museum provided a unique backdrop for alumni to reconnect with each other and reminisce about their time at ISA. Prior to the celebration, ISA alumni took part in a guided tour of the museum’s Designer Maker User Exhibition, which featured items of twentieth- and twenty-first century design, viewed through the an-

On Saturday, 26 January, ISA returned to London to host an alumni reception at the world-renowned Design Museum in Kensington, marking ISA’s third time hosting an alumni gathering in the capital city.

gles of the designer, manufacturer and user. After they had the chance to explore the collection, alumni were then able to catch up with their ISA friends in the museum’s Helene and Johannes Huth Gallery. Representing the school were ISA’s Director, Dr. Edward E. Greene, Admissions and Advancement Director Julia True, as well as the event organiser, Alumni and Advancement Coordinator, Matt Jasinski. Also in attendance was ISA Business Coordinator, Vivian Bak, who graduated from ISA herself in 1988. Vivian said that the event was “a blast from the past event at a unique location in London, a selection of both the young and more mature alumni to reminisce about ISA’s “gezelligheid” over the years and to share what has become of us since we graduated.” The reception was another fantastic opportunity to check in with our alumni and see how they are doing —whether they are studying at a university in the U.K., attending another school after their relocation from Amsterdam, starting their professional careers or simply enjoying life after ISA. Next up, ISA will be traveling to Japan for an alumni reception on 4 June at the Hotel Okura Tokyo. Shortly afterwards, there will be a reception in Amsterdam at ISA’s campus on 6 July. Please email for more information.



London Alumni Selina Good (‘99-‘12) graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an M.A. in geography and is now working in Marketing at the InterContinental London Park Lane. Auxane Coutanceau-Ehret (‘16-‘18) is studying for a B.A. in advertising at London College of Communication—University of the Arts London. Carmen Barragan-Lopez (‘10‘17) is studying law at University College London. Jonathan Gray (‘00-‘13) is studying medicine in Sheffield, UK. Aaron Yat Lam (‘13-‘17) is in his second Year at Imperial College London, studying materials science and engineering. Edo Keijzer (‘03-‘09) is working at Salesforce. Alberte Knudsen (‘11-‘16) is currently in her second year of a B.Sc. in psychology at City, University of London. Elena Rueda (‘09-‘14) is working in health services in London. Henry Huyton (‘99-‘14) received a sports management degree at Loughborough University and is now a Digital Research Analyst at Seven League Sports Marketing. Luca Santarelli (‘04-‘16) is currently studying at Queen Mary University of London.


Luca Rade (‘05-‘09) is graduating from Princeton University this year and is planning to go to graduate school after taking a year off. Alexander Swaab (‘92-‘08) is working for a startup called Fika, an emotional wellness app aimed at mainstreaming emotional fitness to become a preventative solution to the mental health crisis. Sanae Shibahara (‘74-‘76) moved to moved to London after attending ISA and came back to Japan in 1980. Sanae is currently working as a broadcasting interpreter and conference interpreter based in Tokyo. Frederique Joosten (‘14-‘17) is studying law at University College London. Samuel Freeman (‘08-‘17) is attending university at Royal Holloway, University of London. Samuel also won two hackathons: one at university, and one in Lisbon, which has led to Samuel starting a company with a friend. Helena Gangi (‘11-‘17) is studying for a bachelor’s degree in communication science at the University of Amsterdam. Reece Chau (‘07-‘13) is currently in the Barclays Graduate Programme. Joel Punwani (‘14-‘17) is attending university and is on the committee of a local ward-level party, the Liberal Democrats.

Maxime Boekel (‘09-‘11) is working in sales in the tech industry. Adriaan Hilbers (‘10-‘12) finished a degree in mathematics in the UK and is now studying for a Ph.D. in statistics applied to renewable energy. Sarah-Mae Lieverse (‘08-‘12) graduated law school in the U.K., completed an M.A. in Art Business at Sotheby’s in London and now works as a provenance researcher with a specialisation in Nazi-looted art, restitution, and cultural heritage repatriation. Ana Paula Castillo (‘11-‘14) left ISA and attended high school in Portugal and is now studying at University College London in arts and sciences. Julien van Hollebeke (‘06-‘16) studies at Loughborough University and is currently on work placement at the Walt Disney Company. Fintan McCafferty (‘04-‘16) is attending university and studying fashion menswear design Maartje Heldt (‘13-‘16) is on a placement year working at Ipsos MORI before heading back to the University of Bath. Aaron Guha (‘13-‘18) studying for a bachelor’s degree at Imperial College London.

Be sure to stay in touch and keep us posted on what’s going on in your life. You can always send updates and photos to

The International School of Amsterdam


To Educate for International Understanding