Alexandra D. '07, The Riverside School, sat down with ISZL alumnus Philip A. to discuss his memories of Switzerland and experience living in an international school community. This interview can also be found in the Winter 2012-13 issue of The Magazine.
Philip A. was born in Dallas, Texas but grew up and currently lives in Zurich. He has four passports with citizenship around the world.
What have you been doing since graduation?
I've been working on becoming a qualified martial arts teacher. I achieved that goal in September 2012, and now I am planning to become self-employed and open my own martial arts school. Things are looking good and, if everything goes according to plan, my dream of opening a martial arts school will soon come true.
What do you remember most fondly from your school days?
My favourite memories are of the friends I had at school and seeing them so regularly. We were all bound together whether we liked it or not. Oh, and Migros Comedies were incredible. One of the best school experiences was going to Venice in 2007. Matt C. and I had a spectacular time on that trip, great things happened.
Were there any teachers that influenced or inspired you?
Mr. Loesche and Mr. Lordet were not only great teachers, but great people as well. I was always enthusiastic about going to their classes because I knew they could always make a class worthwhile and fun. I also felt like I was learning a lot of things for life and not only to pass my Advanced Placement exams.
How did attending an international school affect you?
I think attending an international school has both positive and negative effects. On the positive side, it gives an international education and not just knowledge about the country you are in. In Swiss public schools, a student would know the name of every river in Switzerland, but hardly anything about the political situation between North and South Korea. An international school grants you a global perspective. You also meet and make friends with people from all over the world, and learn how distinct the mentalities of different countries and cultures are. The negative side is the rarity of long-lasting friendships. I attended a public Swiss school until the 5th grade. All of my best friends – the ones I see today – are from that school. These are 14-year friendships. From my 8 years of attending international schools, I only have one or two friends.