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A Conversation with ISP Alumnus Sofia Zul Hadi

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By Madeline Cox, Upper School English Teacher at ISP since 2016. Madeleine is from the U.K, where she began teaching in 2002, then teaching at international schools in Tanzania, Sudan, and Japan.

Many of us open our ever-expanding inbox with some trepidation at the start of each day. On one such morning, I saw a message that instead, lifted my heart. A past student had written to me, wanting to become a high school teacher and asking, could I spare some time for a conversation?

I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Sofia Zul Hadi, a graduate of ISP Class of 2018. One of the last times we spoke was at the school’s Senior Awards Ceremony, after presenting Sofia with the Falcon Award. This is a high mark of recognition, usually awarded to just one senior each year. The recipient shows outstanding involvement in the school life of ISP by giving freely of their time to students, faculty, organisations, and projects. 

Sofia certainly hasn’t been sitting still since this occasion: she’s in the final months of her degree specialising in International Relations. Calling from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she talked about some of the challenges and unexpected outcomes of switching to online learning, as well as her roles in student mentorship and leadership.

Aside from all the deserved accolades, Sofia was just as I remembered her: keen to learn, and ready to question. After discussing her undergraduate course, then happily reminiscing about the K-pop dance group that Sofia co-founded (it’s still going strong at ISP), we moved to focus on teaching. I asked her, “what draws you to it?” She said simply, “I love learning, but I want a practical involvement: I like guiding people.” After I asked Sofia about the source of inspiration, she grinned: “Back when I was at ISP.”

Madeleine Cox