Voices (ISL Stories)

Meet Beatriz Guia 

Learn more about Beatriz Guia, Alumna (Class of 2013)

Class of (or years attended): 2013 (7 years total: 2002-2003, 2007-2013)

Where are you living now? I am currently living in Luxembourg.

What did you do after you left ISL? 
I went on to study at the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland. 

What did you study at University?
I studied psychology, graduating with a 2.1 Honours Bachelor of Science in 2017. 

What are you doing now?
I am a Holistic Wellness Therapist specialising in restoring and promoting wellness. I also give trainings in English, Portuguese and French at a Professional Development Centre in Dudelange.

I recently became an entrepreneur under the name Bee Holistic, after having spent the last 2.5 years completing various certifying courses in “alternative” and brief therapies I felt would complement my psychology background well. Mental health concerns have been on the rise in the last decade, and the number of young individuals suffering from depression, anxiety and other psycho-emotional conditions has been skyrocketing in recent years. Not to speak of the detrimental effect Covid-19 and quarantine measures have had on the general public. There is currently a huge disharmony between societal expectations and internal wellness, and most of us struggle to deal with this, as we lack the understanding and the tools to confidently manage our own wellbeing. 

In part, I operate as a therapist, providing relaxation or wellness-promotion sessions, in which we come up with a personalised plan to restore your wellbeing to optimal levels. The rest of the time, I operate as a mentor or coach. I offer people the possibility to learn the technical aspects of wellness management so they can confidently use holistic techniques to maintain and preserve their state of wellbeing themselves. I am eager to make my services available to the ISL community in the near future, to collaborate with staff, parents and students so they can all become masters of their own wellness. 

Do you think that your time at ISL helped you pursue this? If yes, how?
Partly, yes. I feel that my “holistic” and entrepreneurial mindset originated with ISL. One thing I took away from ISL is “to always look at the big picture”. In all my classes, I learned to look at all the factors, consider all the viewpoints or options, look past the obvious and not give up. When I went to university, all this really started to resonate with me. 

While studying psychology, I started to understand the complexity of the human being, the intrinsic relationship between the physical (physiological) and the intangible (psychological, emotional, energetic). The “bigger picture” was mesmerising, but I was quickly faced with a dilemma. In my desire to help others, how do I account for the beautiful uniqueness of each individual? How do I account for all the different factors that can pollute someone’s wellbeing? Struggling to find answers to these questions in the existing job market, I turned to Entrepreneurship and decided the best way for me to do this was to develop a new approach, a “holistic” approach. One which would rely on my love for learning, and an ever-evolving skillset of effective and simple techniques that can be combined and adapted, complementing any and all conventional medical practices. The techniques I’ve learned so far include Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Therapeutic Hypnosis, Sophrology-based Relaxation, Non-verbal Communication, Enneagram Personality Analysis, Neurotherapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, Nutritional Behavioural Intelligence, as well as Energy healing techniques such as Magnetism, Reiki and Lithotherapy. 

What advantages has studying at ISL given you?

  • ISL made it possible for me to become a Global Citizen
  • Provided an adapted method of learning where I had a say in my course selection
  • Helped me develop my critical-thinking skills
  • Allowed me to develop my passion for learning
  • Made sure students were aware of our impact on the planet and understood global warming as the threat that it is
  • Taught me a bunch of languages (English and French fluently, enough German to make myself understood, and a few words of many other languages taught by fellow classmates)
  • Made me toughen up and feel prepared for whatever was coming next
  • First two years of university were an absolute breeze after the two years of internal assessments, orals and the infamous Extended Essay during the IB 😊

What advice would you give students to help them make the most of their time at ISL?
Be kind: It is with others that we learn the most. Share your excitement, your happiness and your dreams, we are social creatures by nature, so we thrive best together. Think of the impact you may have on others and support each other, celebrate each other’s success, and remind each other in tougher moments that failure does not exist, and every life experience is a chance to learn and a chance to do better next time. 

Take it easy: The deal with the IB is that it may seem like the end of the world while you’re living it, but it isn’t. We put this insane pressure on ourselves to perform well, not just to proudly represent our school, but also as a way to push ourselves to be excellent. And it sometimes takes a toll. Less time spent with friends, less time pursuing hobbies and extra-curricular passions, and definitely less time spent exploring and understanding our happiness and wellbeing. Looking back, I definitely wish I had taken my own wellbeing and self-discovery more seriously. Finding a balance between academic success and healthy living is important. So, my advice is: take time in your day to be kind to yourself, to check in with yourself and recharge if necessary. 

Were you involved in any clubs/activities at ISL? What did you enjoy about them and what benefit do you think they have for students?
During my time at ISL, I was part of Global Issues, I also went on the Tanzania trip, played Volleyball one season, and helped organise the ISL team for Relais pour la Vie several years in a row. One of the things I find great about ISL is the large range of sports and extra-curricular activities it offers its students. There really are a lot of options to explore, allowing students to develop their hobbies and passions with their friends and/or make new friends in the process. Whatever your interests, I’m sure you can find others at ISL with whom you can share your enthusiasm with. What is also great about some of these activities is that they offered us the chance to travel, either with sports teams for games, or with clubs for conferences or volunteering trips. At these events, we get the chance to represent ISL and continue to develop our global citizenship, by expanding our friend network beyond Luxembourg.

How did your time at ISL help shape you as a person?
There is definitely more than one way in which my time at ISL helped me become the person I am today. It is in many ways thanks to ISL that I developed my sense of self and global citizenship, and I think had I gone to a different school, my appreciation for other cultures, religions and personal individuality would not be the same. The International Luncheon comes to mind, as an event that exemplifies ISL’s vision of educating international citizens who appreciate each other’s differences. TOK during the IB programme is another great example of how ISL helped me become the adult I am today. It taught me to not just accept everything at face value, but to ask myself questions and do my own research before reaching my own conclusions. 

There is one other way I can think of in which my time at ISL helped me become who I am today, which also ended up being one of the main reasons for choosing a career in wellness. Despite the various mental health and wellness initiatives we had at the time, I have to admit I struggled while I was a student. With little to no personal knowledge on stress and emotional management, and the misguided perception that I should just deal with all the stress and sadness I was feeling by myself, my self-confidence took a hit, and this led to generalised and social anxiety during my final years at ISL and until more recently. I dismissed the help that was available to me because I was afraid and thought it was not the help I specifically needed at the time. It wasn’t until I left ISL that I saw the detrimental effects of not addressing these issues sooner. In hindsight, I wish I had asked for help when I needed it and accepted it, so I could have started working on my wellbeing earlier on. I believe ISL exemplifies how the academic and professional spheres can be, and should be, complemented by an emotional and/or psychological education. My aim with Bee Holistic is to make this type of education available to everyone and anyone.

I will leave this here for anyone who needs to read this: If you feel stuck, overwhelmed, stressed, unhappy or even if you just want to talk, know that you are not alone! ISL has a great support staff, already available and eager to help. On top of that, they are continuously looking to expand their knowledge so they can provide the best support possible. And even outside of the support staff, there are always people you can turn to, be it a teacher, a parent, a fellow student or even an alumnus like myself. 

What do you think is unique about ISL?
Two things come to mind.

  1. ISL strives to prepare independent, critical-thinking, considerate and international individuals. It goes beyond simply educating, we have the possibility to learn how to be a decent human being if we so choose.
  2. It’s a small community. Small both because of its small class size, and also because of the closely-knit atmosphere. There are those who truly go above and beyond for the students at ISL. Showcasing how dedicated they are to the development of the next generations to come, there are staff members who continuously seek out new ways to improve the school and make sure students feel happy and safe in their classroom. There is a family feel to it, and there was always at least one person at ISL who I could turn to.  

If you could thank a teacher or staff member, who would it be?
It’s hard to thank just one, there are definitely several teachers that helped me become who I am today. A school is only as good as its teachers, and some of the teachers at ISL really go above and beyond to make sure learning is an enjoyable and fun experience.

The list is definitely not complete, and I apologise right away for missing some, but certain names that will stay in my memory are John Ertel, Lynnette Dackner, Michael West, Seth Ruef, Anne-Marie Berny, Jane Powell, Suavis Vandeweerd, Isabelle Caverly, Marie Roy, … The list goes on, but I will stop here. For those I didn’t mention by name, and there are definitely more than those I listed, I thank you as well! 

Describe ISL in 5 words:
Challenging, Opportunities, Friendships, Learning, Community (and as bonus for those who remember, poulet special piquant)


  • Alumni