Interviews with CIS graduates 2015
Posted 19/08/2015 11:52

Interviews with CIS graduates 2015


Emily Falkenberg

Emily is Danish and she joined Copenhagen International School (CIS) in 6th grade. She graduated in June with a perfect score of 45 points, a result that only one in a thousand IB Diploma graduates achieves world-wide. Emily will be moving to the UK in October to study bio-medicine and play volleyball at Durham University.

“CIS has been a fantastic school for me. I’m a bit of an over-achiever and the school administration and teachers have been extremely supportive and super flexible, allowing me to fulfill my potential through a lot of individual attention – and hard work. For instance, I changed from Standard Level to Higher Level Math after the first year and the teacher sat with me for two very intense days helping me catch up on all the stuff that I had missed the year before.

I can honestly say the CIS is a school that meets the needs of all its students, whether they are struggling academically or whether they excel and need to be challenged through additional work. I have never been pushed to learn. I’ve been motivated.

I come from a Danish school and in terms of the social life at school, I don’t think a Danish high school student will be able to understand the amount of opportunities that a school like CIS offers. All the many different nationalities, students from all over the world – literally! Compared to some of the local Danish schools where everybody looks the same and come from the same neighborhood, CIS is a school that encourages you to be who you are. You fit in by being yourself. You get so many different perspectives on life; there is an openness and a genuine interest in learning about others.

And all the things you can do after school, especially the sports and the charity trips: Traveling to Peru and working at the Mama Cocha orphanage one year and then to Thailand to work with Burmese refugees the next. Not to mention the many sports trips with the volley ball team, competing against other schools across Northern Europe.

At CIS, all of these components - education, sport and the social life - are all part of the same package. It’s all education. It’s all “tools for your tool box”.

I chose Durham University because they have a good bio-medical program – and also because they have a great volley ball team! I joined the CIS volley ball team back in grade 6 and it has had a huge impact on me. In school I’m much more individualistic but I loved those volley ball trips. You are really in it together; you really feel that you are part of something: I love being a member of a team, the sense of belonging, having a common goal, all of us working hard to achieve it – and having fun doing it! I have learned so much from it. From being really shy at the beginning to becoming captain of the team, taking a leadership role.

CIS really motivates you to be the best you can be, in every aspect, individually and with your team. I think that is probably the biggest difference compared to most Danish schools.”


Elizabeth Lam

Born in the UK; parents from Hong Kong and Malaysia. Moved to Denmark in 2000 and has been at CIS since grade 1. Moving to England in September to study Business Management at Warwick University.

“CIS gives students the opportunity to meet people of different cultures as equals. Because CIS is an international school, with teachers and students from literally all over the world, we learn with and about each other without the bias and prejudice that unfortunately often exist in the greater world, even in Denmark.

Having an international understanding and acceptance is an asset no matter what you do and what career you pursue, because you are going to interact with people from other cultures every day. Having an open mind and an interest in learning about other cultures is going to make your life richer, and enable you to make connections with more people, professionally as well as personally.

Through growing up in Denmark and being a student at CIS, I have learned a lot about sustainability and I feel very strongly about living a sustainable life because it’s essential for securing a stable world for future generations. I am a strong believer in innovation enabling us to achieve sustainability; it’s crazy how much power we have through our collective knowledge. Working together across all borders is really key because I feel that we have the ability to solve the world’s problems through human ingenuity and creativity, if we can work together.”


Ditlev Holm 

Ditlev is Danish. Went to a Danish public school until grade 6. Moved to England at the age of 11 with his family and attended an IB school outside London for four years. Came back to Denmark in 2012 and joined 10th grade at CIS. Hopes to study international business at CBS in September.

“Moving to England was a huge challenge, both in terms of the language but also the culture. In England we had to be driven everywhere, there were security issues, we were very limited in what we could do. It was almost like sheep-herding… Coming back to Denmark and to CIS was a big relief because here students are allowed to be – and expected to be - much more independent, the public transport system is safe and reliable. The freedom means that you can grow as an individual and that is very important to me. At the same time, CIS has all the necessary resources to help and support students who struggle, so the school has found a really a good balance.

I play a lot of badminton at a high level* and both the school and individual teachers have been very flexible, allowing me to organize my time a little differently from most other students. Everyone has been totally understanding and supportive.

So I feel very well prepared for university: I have learned how to administer a great deal of freedom, how to study independently, how to catch up on my work if I have fallen behind. And because of the great mix of nationalities and cultures at CIS I have learned to think globally and to look at issues from multiple sides. I think that will be a great asset in my career as well.”

*Ditlev plays for the Danish U19 National team

Mariam Hawath

French-Lebanese. Born in France and attended a French school until the age of 8. Moved to Bahrain and went to a British school there for several years. Joined CIS in 9th grade in 2011. Moving to England in September to study law at University College London.

“At CIS I have met some very caring teachers who take a real interest in you as a student and as a person. They really want you to succeed and they support you in all sorts of ways. I have learned a lot here, in class and also because of the many opportunities that the school offers outside the curriculum and which help you find out what you would like to do after school. I have been involved in artistic activities such as the Yearbook and photography. But at the end of the day it was my involvement with MUN (Model United Nations) and the many interesting and challenging debates about right and wrong that we had in that connection that inspired me to want to study law.

Along with my upbringing and the values that my parents have instilled in me, the education that I have received at CIS has made me increasingly open to others and aware of other people’s needs and perspectives.

CIS is such a multi-cultural community and I have learned a lot from being part of that community. At CIS, it’s not “I’m from here and you’re from there” and so we have different views. It’s really been an eye-opening experience to realize that “We are international!”