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COBIS Leadership Weekend, Madrid 2016

A word from the Student Leaders

“Why did you apply to become a Student Leader? Don’t you already have a lot on your hands in IB?” Well no, to be honest, at least not yet… This was the question that popped up the most when I was applying to the role of a Student Leader less than 4 weeks ago.

One morning when Mr. Darwell summoned everyone in Year 12 to the library to introduce the offer of becoming a Student Leader, I knew I wanted to be a part of this journey. “You caught my attention this morning with an offer, which would be hard (and ridiculous) to ignore”, I wrote in my letter, which explained my interest of taking on the role of a Student Leader. Hardly knowing what we signed up for, ten Year 12 students were called in for assessed team building activities, which were of course closely monitored by Mr. Darwell and Mr. Harrison. It was then, Eojin and I decided to work as a team during one of the “trust” activities. Fast forward to last weekend Eojin and I are sitting in a Boeing 737 headed to the COBIS Leadership Weekend in Madrid. After a one-on-one interview with Mr. Harrison, we were chosen as the Student Leaders for the school year 2016/17.

  • Student Leadership course
  • Student Leadership course
  • Student Leadership course
  • Student Leadership course
  • Student Leadership course
  • Student Leadership course
  • Student Leadership course

But before moving forward too quickly let me introduce ourselves to you. My name is Simona, I’m from Bratislava and this is my tenth year studying in BISB. I was very interested in becoming a Student Leader, as I wanted to give back to our amazing community for all the great experiences, learning outcomes and memories I have acquired throughout the last decade. My aim is to bring our whole school closer together, so we serve as an international family. I believe if our students would unite, become a team, our whole school would perform better and our presence would be noticed beyond our closest ‘sister-schools’ whether in Budapest or in Prague. Eojin has a very similar viewpoint on this matter and that is also a reason why I’m so happy we get to work closely together in the next year. Eojin, also in year 12, comes from South Korea but has lived in Prague for her whole life. She wants to share her experiences and knowledge with other students in order for them to thrive. Eojin is keen on helping and guiding others.

As Student Leaders we have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders, but as always BISB has made our life easier. In order for us to conduct our role to our fullest capabilities, BISB sent us to attend the COBIS 2016 Leadership Weekend in Madrid. The weekend was based around five key areas, which are meant to help us in our life as Student Leaders. They have been designed to be as engaging and enjoyable as possible, while developing those tacit skills we will come to rely on in our role. The weekend started with a think piece; “What is Student Leadership?“, which was led by Simon Nixon who is a Senior School leader at the Kings College - British School of Panama. The other four key areas we were focused on during the weekend were Public speaking and presentation skills, The Social Media Challenge, Teamwork: Wide Game (which was a 1920s styled teambuilding game) and Development Planning in our context. We were under the supervision of skilled COBIS staff members, each of which delivered interesting presentations to us and 30 other Students Leaders form all around the world. Eojin and I made loads of new friends with whom we shared ideas on how to improve our school communities for the better. It was really interesting to listen to ideas presented by other Student Leaders. Even though we came from different parts of the world, different schools and have different mentalities, we agreed on ways from which our schools would benefit. After all we are members of one big, international school community and British education has left its positive mark on our thinking.

Most of the sessions took place at the Kings College Madrid, Soto Auditorium. The school belongs under the Kings Group and caters for over 1500 pupils. Incomparable with size, however, Kings College Madrid reminded me of BISB a lot. Maybe it was the high achievers pinned proudly up on notice boards, gold medals and cups engraved with the school name placed high upon shelves or maybe it was the international spirit breathing in the hallways, the same spirit spreading through our hallways in BISB. It has been a great experience meeting everyone. Even though at first we had nothing personal in common, all of us were a part of an international school community with the British education system, and at the end of the day not only this school bond was what we had in common, we shared similar ideas, viewpoints and opinions on enhancing our communities, something given to us by our incredible schools.

Leaving Madrid, Eojin and I have acquired many skills; we boosted our confidence and improved our public speaking abilities. We cannot wait to share our experience with the rest of our school and help guide other students to success. We are excited to work together, learn from each other and cooperate with students beyond our friendship groups. We think this is going to be a great year and hope to conduct our Student Leader roles to our highest potential. Lastly, we would like to thank BISB for opening new doors and allowing us to experience the beauty of our international school communities even beyond the Slovak borders.

Simona Ivanová

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