Alumni Interview: Nadia Fernando
Class of 2015 | Years at ISPP: 1999. – 2015. (Early Years to Grade 12)
Where do you reside now?
Name the places you have lived in.
Phnom Penh, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Brisbane, Australia.
What have you been up to since graduating from ISPP?
I completed my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences from a small school in Philadelphia, The University of the Sciences. After that, while applying to medical schools, I worked for six months back at ISPP with the scholarship students! I am in my first year of medical school now, at the University of Queensland.
Which countries have you travelled to?
France, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the US, Australia.
What are your hobbies? What do you end up doing in your spare time?
I like to read and watch shows.
Has your international school experience shaped your worldview? How?
Learning in an international environment has definitely made me more curious, more critical and more adaptive. The learning techniques that are so often geared towards asking questions, reflecting, and collaborative problem solving definitely teaches you how to understand what’s going on in the world and how to work with different people.
What do you miss most about Phnom Penh?
I always miss the food while I’m away, especially street food.
How do you remember your school years?
Aside from WWW and MRISA trips, I mostly remember the friends I made through ISPP. Overall, the best way to remember things is to sit down with these friends and reminisce over the experiences we shared.
What did you love most about studying in an international school?
The fact that you will have friends all over the world. I love that just by going to an international school and meeting all these people from different backgrounds, you already become more aware of other cultures. It prepares you for working and interacting in the real world with people whose perspectives are different from your own.
What was your favourite school lunch or snack?
Back on the old campus, there was this mee cha vendor who would sell noodles just on the other side of the wall. Students would stand on this big rock to order food.
What was your favourite subject or who was your favourite teacher?
Science has always been my favourite, so I have to credit Mr Webster, Mr Thompson and Mr Underhill for fueling that passion.
Where did you spend your time on campus / Which area of the school was the most fun?
On the old campus, there was this area between the library and dance studio where the lunch tables were that was shaded under the biggest tamarind tree. That’s where we ate, where we sometimes did art, and where we hung out after school.
What was your most memorable song in ISPP years?
“See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth. It was our graduation song.
Which TV show was most talked about in the hallways?
Game of Thrones! I remember watching “The Red Wedding” just before my MYP completion ceremony.
Which event was the most fun?
I loved seeing everyone all glammed up for formals.
What was the coolest art project you did?
Along walls of a stairwell, I did some striped tape art going up to the second floor.
What are your plans for the future?
To finish med school and figure it out from there.
If you could give ISPP’s current Grade 12 class some advice at their graduation, what would it be?
You really have to put yourself out there to make the most of any experience; try new things, explore, take classes outside of your interest, make lots of connections and foster the ones you already have, be patient, and be honest with yourself.
Updates that you would like to share with our community.
During the summer and the past semester, I was working with ISPP’s scholarship students from Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF). Over the summer I ran a transition program, helping to prepare them for their first semester at ISPP. My focus was on improving their English, getting them acquainted with their laptops, and introducing them to some of the concepts they learn in class. Then during the past semester, I supported the Grade 6 scholarship students in some of their classes and after school, I helped all the scholarship students with their homework. I had an incredibly rewarding time getting to know each of them, and I am so proud to see how much they’ve already grown.