NIS Stories

NIS Alumni Tell-All: How to Get the Most Out of an NIS Education

Academic Success

When it comes to elementary and secondary school, these are the important foundational years for a child, a time when parents hope their children achieve academic success in whatever way is unique to them – be it getting into a university of their choice, becoming the captain of a sports team, coming up with an initiative to help the community, or whatever their child is passionate about.

At Nagoya International School (NIS), we want our students to feel confident in learning how to equip themselves to follow their passions and create their future pathways in whatever they see fit. 

Take Lina, a recent NIS graduate originally from Japan who enrolled back in 2008 and whose time at NIS – from establishing strong friendships at an early age to being encouraged to inquire, inspire and make an impact – was truly transformative. 


Making lifelong connections


When asked about the first memory that sticks out to Lina when she first enrolled at NIS, she was quick to touch on the diversity – and a very kind ELC teacher. 
“I had all these kids in class who didn’t look like me because they weren’t from Japan,” said Lina. “I was excited to explore and talk to all these people.”  Some of these individuals she’s still close with today, visiting one friend from first grade in California almost every summer. 

Lina (second from the left) and her story at NIS began over a decade ago, shown here in a throwback photo from kindergarten.
Lina (second from the left) and her story at NIS began over a decade ago, shown here in a throwback photo from kindergarten.
Lina was all smiles at her graduation ceremony, ready and excited to move on to her next adventure.
Lina was all smiles at her graduation ceremony, ready and excited to move on to her next adventure.
Lina's art work: a collage of hands and faces, with a painting of a man in the center with three faces. The center face is holding and pulling at face.
Lina's art is dark in tone, but portrays a difficult subject. Her art explores the deterioration of behaviour associated with dementia and other similar brain diseases.
Lina's Art- hands holding an orange watering can watering a house plant










This type of global network is one of the highlights she was quick to mention. “I think it's a really cool thing how I have a lot of friends  around the world. Even if I travel somewhere for a vacation, it means that I can probably meet one of them.”

Aside from the lifelong relationships with her fellow classmates, Lina also touches on the strong connections she made with teachers as pivotal to how NIS provided the academic foundation necessary for success.
“They really have been some awesome teachers,” she said. “They’re always nice and open [to answer] questions.” 

When asked about any educator in particular who made an impact, Lina told us about her English teacher, Mr. Graham. 
“He was a great teacher who poured love into his lessons,” said Lina adding how this passion was extremely infectious.
“If you're not afraid to ask [teachers] questions and have a good relationship with them, you'll be able to have a solid academic foundation.”


International education versus Japanese schools


Growing up in Japan, Lina sometimes thinks about the impact international education had on her life in comparison to what it would’ve been like to be a Japanese student attending a Japanese school. 

“I feel very fortunate that I [had] the opportunity to go to an international school and be able to learn English,” said Lina “I could never imagine myself not being able to have this big part of my life. If it didn't exist, like my music taste, whatever I look for on social media, whatever news I check, whatever book I read, it would all be different.”

She adds how she thinks her worldview would also be “much smaller” had she attended a different school. 


Learning to inquire, inspire and impact


Whether it’s in the classroom, walking through the halls in  school, working with teachers or chatting with parents, inquire, inspire and impact are at the heart of everything.

And it’s something Lina has found great value in, inquiring to seek more information, to question herself, to learn something, and then taking the newfound learning and using it to inspire – either herself or others. 

“And then from that inspiration, you try to make an impact,” she said  


Springing into her future


With a “solid academic foundation”, Lina was able to gain admission to her first choice university -  Waseda University in Tokyo -  majoring in social science with hopefully “a hint of economics”.

From there, she’s open to whatever her future throws her way. But before she embarks on the exciting path before her, she has some words of wisdom for any young student or family who may be feeling nervous about their first day at NIS.

“You'll be able to feel comfortable in the NIS community,” she said “Because it’s a small community, everyone is nice [and] includes you in everything.”

And once you establish those strong connections, Lina encourages everyone to “keep in touch with everyone who comes along, it’s worth it.”

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