What did you imagine EMIS to be like before you came and what do you think now? How has your opinion changed?
I knew I was going to come here in April when I was in Norway. I don’t think I really thought through how EMIS is going to be like. I was so absorbed by my UWC experience that I kind of put it on EMIS. I thought it was really amazing that you have students from different countries in the Middle East. I wouldn’t even imagine it happening before EMIS started. I remember thinking about that a lot, but I don’t think I thought through what the school would be like.
What do you think of EMIS now?
Right now I love it. If I look back, it is the place to be in Israel. Of course, it is a new school, that still needs development. It has a long way to go. I think this place in a way still needs to further understand itself. I am sure it will happen, because there are great people leading this place. It just needs time, to learn and to grow.
What did you plan to do at EMIS? Did you do so? How is the outcome?
I really wanted to work with the CAS. In the beginning of the year it was crazy work with the CAS booklet and then there was crazy work getting outside instructors, for Frisbee and Zumba for example. I’m working on different CAS documents that will be used in the future. I talk with students about their CAS if they have problems, and also if they want to initiate a new CAS. A lot of work on ManageBac, reading reflections, writing feedback on reflections which I love doing even if it takes so much time. So, yes, assisting Yuval with what he needs, it is a lot of work.
I really wanted to work with the CAS, because I thought this is where I can contribute the most. I am just 19, you are almost my age, the students, some of them are my age.
Can you tell me about your EMIS highlight?
Oh, so many, I think there are different types of highlights in mind, when I just had conversations with students for one hour. There are also some highlights with the CAS, when frisbee or Zumba started, and I saw so many students enjoy it.
Which situation was most challenging for you?
I think it was challenging for me to have moments when students confront me with something because they are upset, which sometimes it is justified. I didn’t always know how to react or what to do while confronted.
Also, I guess the working pressure. I remember in the first month, I felt like when I was an IB student I wasn’t as busy. I never thought I would be as busy as being in a UWC, and here I am being much busier (laugh), but of course this is a matter of balance and it takes time to make a good routine for yourself.
Describe your EMIS experience in 5 words.
Challenging, Intense, Fulfilling, Comforting, New
What do you think of the EMIS students and community?
I think it is very nice that in a way you are very different from each other, but in a way you are also very similar, like I can see some red thread that goes through all of you, which is nice to see.
About the community? I don’t think there is no community, because I know some students say it quite often: “there is no community, they don’t feel any community.” So I do think there is a community here, but it could be much stronger, like alive in away.
How would approach it?
I don’t think it is so much about the facilities, but more about the student initiation. I think many students want to initiate things but many are just not being executed, they are only talked about or desired upon. Perhaps it is about more support or getting a grip and doing it. I don’t know what stops many projects. What else? Of course time. I think in 5 years this school will have more traditions and customs in particular, more distinct traits which makes a community stronger.
Can you tell me about a lesson EMIS has taught you? / a lesson you learned at EMIS?
One? (laugh) So I think I said it before, having suddenly more responsibility than what I ever had. I have more confidence, even without noticing. This experience really sharpened my views about international education.
Please give some advice to EMISers
To find something, one thing, that what would make this place very meaningful for you. For example if you have criticism or are upset about many things in the school, I think it is great, because it is an opportunity because you learn what you actually think about education and yourself. It is also an opportunity to do something meaningful with it, to find an original way to gather your concerns, address it in someway that hasn’t been addressed yet, formulate it very very well and coming up with an extensive plan for the future of EMIS. Initiating and executing a project from scratch was most meaningful for me. Join CASes you have never thought about.
Please give some advice to a future IBDP candidate
(laugh) If you are an Art student: focus on art right now, until the end.
Study for the exams, even if you have a study week of 10 days, you cannot accumulate all this material. Start one or two months before and gradually build it up, especially in Math.
What about some advice to future volunteers?
Come with concrete aims.
Be prepared to be surprised.
Find a healthy routine for you, don’t try to look at the other volunteer or staff members. Don’t say, they are doing this this this and this, I have to engage in all of this as well. You do in this way have the flexibility to find your own ways and place in here.
It is very important that you bring your own way of doing things to this place, as otherwise it wouldn’t work for you, I think.
If you were able to change one thing at EMIS, what would it be and why?
In the short term, I think it is important that every staff member is going through training or teaching about international education. I think the staff here is amazing, and I think it’s only for the staff, the school, and the students, to learn about international education and in a way, formulate the EMIS agenda. It’s important for the staff and the students and the school as an institution. Perhaps it is a broad thing to change. I think it is important.
How would you like to be remembered?
Just the way the students saw me. I think the students here [at EMIS] know much better than me whether or not my work was significant. I think the way they experienced me as a volunteer here is much more genuine than how I experience myself. It is very difficult to go out and and reflect upon yourself.
If you can ask yourself one question related to EMIS, what would be and what is the answer?
I would ask whether I believe in this place, and I would say yes, I do. It needs a lot of hard work. People need to work very hard on this place, which they do, but it needs to be continued. I do believe in this place very much.
*Photographer: Shy Zvouloun
Interviewee: Liri Tourgeman
Interviewer: Anna-Sophie Kraeftner
Transcription: Anna-Sophie Kraeftner & Emily Perotti