ISP Scholarship: My Ticket to Discover the World

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Former ISP scholar Katerina Sukdolakova, Class of 2011, discusses how her time at ISP inspired her to pursue her passion for economics and continue her educational journey around the world. Katerina reflects on the impact of her teachers and how her identity as a Czech citizen was shaped through her international education at ISP and beyond.

Hi Katerina, it’s wonderful to speak with you today!  We’d love to hear about your experience at ISP and how the ISP Scholarship impacted you.

I started my scholarship journey in Grade 10 in 2008 and was at ISP for three years, graduating in May 2011.  The scholarship to attend ISP gave me a ‘ticket to discover the world,’ which I am incredibly thankful for!

At ISP, I could be a poet, a photographer, a mathematician, a Czech teacher, a scientist, a Debate team member, an economist, a choir singer… I don’t think I have ever had a chance to test as many fields as I did at ISP!

My time at ISP has had a great impact on who I am today and has been a stepping stone for all the opportunities I have had since leaving ISP. I would not have had the same level of international spirit, curiosity about the world, and open-mindedness if it was not for my experience at ISP.

Can you tell us more about your life, ambitions, and achievements after you graduated from ISP?

After finishing the IB Diploma at ISP, I continued my studies in Mathematical Economics in the United States and then enriched my experience with two study-abroad stays in Argentina and Russia. After that, I decided to come closer to home to complete a Master’s in Applied Economics in Switzerland.

I have been incredibly lucky to have been supported by scholarships along my educational journey. The different experiences allowed me to explore the interconnectedness of economic and social issues on a global scale and on a personal level made me more adaptable and resilient.

Was there a particular experience or individual at ISP that sparked your interest in your current field of study or career path?

I am currently working in the banking sector in Switzerland as a risk specialist, and aspire to make positive changes in the financial sector that will have an impact on society. 

I chose to pursue studies in economics, largely because the IB Economics curriculum focused not only on theoretical aspects of economics but also made us analyze real-life economic news and policies.

I have also always been interested in languages, and the excitement for language learning gained at ISP (thanks to all the wonderful language teachers I had over the years!) helped me to complete study programs in different countries, and stay an excited language learner for life!

How has your time at ISP influenced your current experiences or approach to education and life in general?

ISP has taught me that learning happens not only in the classroom but whenever you interact with others and the world around you. It has given me confidence in my academic and non-academic abilities, an appreciation of who I am as a person, and the perseverance to work hard and pursue my dreams. ISP also encouraged me to accept help and be ready to help others.

In addition, studying at ISP made me aware of different cultures around the world, and the true meaning of ‘culture’ in general. Living in an international community since leaving the Czech Republic has made me reflect on what being Czech means to me, and what role this identity plays in my life.

When you think back on your time at ISP, what stands out as your most memorable experience or moment?

I have memories of catching up with the English as Additional Language teachers in the office during breaks, preparing a sketch for Language Week, practicing for Speech and Debate tournaments, and of course, being challenged academically in the IB programme!  My time at ISP has also helped me create a network that I can always tap into.  My ISP counselor moved back to the US at the same time as I started my university studies and was so kind to take me to the university campus; a friend from ISP hosted me during my study-abroad trip to Russia; and I was also able to catch up with classmates that live in the US and in Switzerland.

I am so grateful for all the people who I met at ISP. The other students and teachers are what make ISP an excellent place to learn and grow as a person.