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Voices (ISL Stories)

Meet Jacob 

Learn more about Jacob Arnould, Alumni (Class of 2013)
 

Where are you living now?
Luxembourg 

What did you do after you left ISL?
I went to the University of St Andrews. With my studies interrupted by medical leave, during which time I started teaching myself how to code to improve my health and make my life easier. Soon enough I started competing in Hack-a-thons. Eventually I decided to leave university to focus full time on creating my own business to provide technology to help people affected by chronic medical conditions. 

What did you study at University?
I started in Sustainable Development, but transferred to Physics. 

Do you feel your ISL education prepared you well for University?
Yes and no. For example, I felt at the same academic level as my fellow students, in a university known for its academic rigor. I also felt well integrated with the international student body at St Andrews, a direct result of the international exposure I had at ISL. While the Learning Support I received at ISL was outstanding, I feel that I was not very well prepared to self advocate for academic accommodations. Trying to navigate both for my learning differences and for my medical condition. 
 
What are you doing now?
I am building a startup company called MyMedBot. MyMedBot is an emergency alert mobile application which enables young people who live with a life-threatening chronic condition to be able to alert their contacts if they ever find themselves in a situation where they need help. In March 2018, MyMedBot was one of 10 startups selected out of 163 to participate in the Fit4Start accelerator program! Fit4Start is an initiative of Luxinnovation, the innovation branch of the Ministry of the Economy. 
 
 

Do you think that your time at ISL helped you pursue this? 
If yes, how? Yes. Building a startup requires confidence and determination. ISL teachers gave me the confidence to work on what I am passionate about and also determination to get through the less than fun work. 
 
What advantages has studying at ISL given you?
My ISL education first gave me access to a fine university. Now that I am back in Luxembourg looking for advice and support for my business, I have found several great connections through the ISL community. One of my key advisors is the father of an ISL student. 
 
What advice would you give students to help them make the most of their time at ISL?
Do not dismiss your least favorite subjects. My experience is that I learned to appreciate the broad IB education later! English was not my favorite subject, but studying Orwell’s “1984” in excruciating (!) depth has continued to influence my thoughts about politics, society and technology. 

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?
I was very active in the Global Issues Network, MUN and the Generation Euro Students’ Award. I enjoyed applying what I was learning in the classroom to current affairs. I enjoyed travelling around the world to meet other students. It felt empowering because we were being treated as adults, not teenagers. Participating in these clubs, especially GIN, since ISL often hosted the annual conference, helped me develop my ability to take initiatives. This is difficult to teach in a classroom setting, but ISL’s clubs fostered this in a big way. These skills helped me in starting a society at university and are still helping me with my current work. 

Describe some of the things that ISL does above and beyond teaching and learning?
I had several teachers who were interested in who I was, as much as how well I was doing academically. They were unforgettable and their encouragement stays with me. 

How did your time at ISL help shape you as a person? 
See above 

What do you think is unique about ISL? 
ISL was a unique experience for me because we were a community of students who mostly came from diverse cultural backgrounds, i.e. third culture kids, studying a program that valued context as an approach to all subjects. ISL is an international school in an already multi-lingual country offering a diploma that highlights a multi-cultural viewpoint. ISL taught us to be comfortable with questioning all things, even our privilege within the “bubble” that we so often heard ourselves referred to. 
 
Describe ISL in 5 words
Teachers - IB - Opportunities - Community - Rigor 

 
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