Story/Interview December 5, 2022
IB student enjoys “dynamic and interactive” classes
After returning to Brazil from Japan where she studied at an international school, Laura Sasaki wanted to continue her globally-focused education. With family in both countries and skill in their languages, she joined King’s InterHigh as part of the first cohort to begin the online International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma.
She’s enjoying the flexibility online studying has given her, with more time for her hobbies and interests. And if she ever misses a lesson or needs to hear something again, she can with our lesson recordings. Laura plans on studying economics and business management overseas after graduation. She also has big dreams for the future and hopes to run her own company one day.
Laura lives in São Jose dos Campos, a small town on the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil. She says it’s perfect for her, as it’s neither too big or too small and she has plenty of friends who live nearby. But she hasn’t always lived here – as an international family, in 2019, she moved to Japan with her father for two years, where her grandparents are.
After spending time in both countries, she’s observed a few cultural and behavioural differences. “Everyone is very warm in Brazil,” she explains. “People hug all the time, and kiss on the cheek when meeting each other. Japan is very quiet and conservative in comparison. But it’s still beautiful.”
While in Japan, Laura attended an international school and began following the IB curriculum. She wanted to continue this when she returned to Brazil. No local schools offered it, so she began searching for online schools, and a counsellor from her previous school recommended she try King’s InterHigh.
She usually chooses to join lessons live. For her, this means a 4:30am start! Laura says it can be hard work sometimes, but she loves everything there is to get involved with. To begin with, there’s assemblies and reflective lectures. Then there are opportunities to talk to her new friends. “We have a group chat and we talk every day, which is really nice,” she says. Right now, Laura is preparing for mock exams in December.
“If I’m in a lesson and there’s something I didn’t understand the first time, I can go back to the lesson recordings.”
A key feature of King’s InterHigh is lesson recordings. Students can access these at any time, which is ideal for those who can’t attend live lessons or need to hear something again. Laura says this has been of real benefit to her. “If I’m in a lesson and there’s something I didn’t understand the first time, I can go back to the recordings.”
What about the lessons themselves? Laura says these are dynamic, with plenty of opportunities for participation. “Teachers will regularly create breakout rooms, where we can discuss the topics together. It’s so much more than sitting and watching them talk.”
Her economics teacher creates polls, asking students how well they understand the topic and class exercises. Meanwhile, her business management teacher will run quizzes as part of their study programme.
She’s also been putting a lot of effort into her Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) subjects. This includes painting, which she says helps her to relax. She’ll also go on runs and take part in yoga. All of this is a nice change of pace.
While Laura’s pleased to be studying online as it suits her ambitions, her friends were a little confused by her decision. When social distancing rules were being relaxed around the world, her friends expected her to join them in the physical classroom again. “They were like ‘We just came back to school, and now you’re going online?’ But I like studying this way!”
“Teachers will regularly create breakout rooms, where we can discuss the topics together. It’s so much more than sitting and watching them talk.”
When it comes to post-school life, Laura thinks beyond borders. She’s interested in going to Europe to study economics and business management, with a few friends of hers already studying in London. There’s also Madrid, where’s she’s previously been to see the IE University. This deeply impressed her.
“I’ve wanted to study abroad since I was little,” says Laura. “A lot of people back home would move to the United States, England or Italy, and I’d be like ‘Dad, when are we going?’ I’m applying to a few universities in Europe and the US. I’m applying to one university in Tokyo, which is pretty international, and I already know some people there.”
Her future ambitions are entrepreneurial as well as international. One day she’d like to run her own company. While she doesn’t know exactly what this would be yet, Laura says she likes managing things. She’s already gained experience of this working for her sister’s company, taking responsibility for the administrative and financial side of things.
In her spare time, Laura’s hobbies include ballet and volleyball. She was a ballet dancer for 12 years, and she plans to return to this one day. After playing volleyball competitively in Japan, she now plays for fun. She also enjoys reading, which she admits is “Something I didn’t like at school. Now I have lots of books in my room.”
Being part of an online school helps with finding time for these interests. She says her favourite thing about joining is the flexibility it’s given her. “I have a lot of time for my extracurricular stuff. When I was at physical school, I’d leave my house at 7am and come back at 5pm. Now I have the entire day to do everything,” she says. “I have a lot of time to do what I love doing, and then homework. It’s a pretty good balance.”
Borders don’t create boundaries to learning, either. Which is great for someone like Laura, who loves to travel. “Even when I travel or go on vacation, I can still do schoolwork because I can always go back to the recordings. I won’t miss anything – it’s really flexible.”
“With online school, I have a lot of time to do what I love doing, and then homework. It's a pretty good balance.”