Learn more about Karitas Didriksdottir, Alumna (Class of 2004)
Where are you living now?
I am back in my home country Iceland, having spent half of my life living abroad.
What did you do after you left ISL?
After graduation, I moved back to Iceland to attend university.
What did you study at University?
I studied business at Reykjavik University, pursued an additional minor in business English and attended CBS in Copenhagen as an Erasmus exchange student.
What are you doing now?
I recently joined Icelandic skincare brand BIOEFFECT as Vice President overseeing the UK market. I am also pursuing an executive degree at Stanford University and lead a women's network in Iceland called Exempla. Most importantly though, I am mother of three wonderful children, married to a wonderful husband.
Do you think that your time at ISL helped you pursue this? If yes, how?
Absolutely, getting to know people from various countries and cultures, and learning and working in an international environment, as well as continuing to learn various languages, opened up possibilities to work abroad. After university in Iceland and Denmark, I lived and worked in London, New York and Frankfurt.
What advantages has studying at ISL given you?
The international environment at ISL helped me become more appreciative and understanding of other cultures and different views. It also gave me confidence and courage to pursue opportunities in fast-paced cities, such as London and New York. The IB is well known internationally and an excellent preparation for university. I attended Luxembourgish school for seven years, had a great experience and made wonderful friends for life. I was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship to attend ISL, where I completed my last three years of high school. Coming from Athénée du Luxembourg, I appreciated the more interactive environment at ISL. At ISL new ideas from students are embraced and teachers and ISL employees support students in realizing initiatives. We for example created a student newsletter, recorded student news in German class, and created various groups focused on supporting charitable projects.
What advice would you give students to help them make the most of their time at ISL?
I recommend to everyone to embrace the time at ISL, participate in clubs and activities, try out different things, take initiative and contribute to the incredible community at ISL, have fun and enjoy this time with friends and family. My experience is that teachers and employees of ISL provide excellent support and guidance, so if you have an idea you would like to realize or skills you wish to develop, ISL is a fantastic platform to do so.
I also encourage everyone living in Luxembourg to find ways to be part of the Luxembourgish community, whether it is through sports or other activities. I am grateful for the time I spent in Luxembourgish schools, for learning to speak Luxembourgish, German and French fluently, and believe that wherever one lives, integrating into the local community is extremely valuable.
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?
The extra-curricular activities at ISL are an excellent way to gain experience in areas that one is interested in and to try out different things. I was part of student council and was president of student council for a year. I was part of the student newsletter team, the yearbook team, organized the annual international luncheon, participated in debate, basketball, Amnesty, AIDS group, and worked with Special Olympics as part of CAS.
Describe some of the things that ISL does above and beyond teaching and learning:
The ISL community is very strong. During my time at ISL, we were all very close - teachers, students and our families. ISL strives to do everything at the highest standard and seeks to provide students with opportunities to grow both academically and personally.
How did your time at ISL help shape you as a person?
ISL gave me courage to take on all kinds of challenges, pursue opportunities, and to believe that I can live and work in various countries, with people from all over the world. I also believe that it helped me be a better communicator, more understanding and appreciative of people with different backgrounds, with different views.
What do you think is unique about ISL?
The international environment. I love the international luncheons where everyone brings food from their home country. Everyone proudly shares their heritage and is keen to learn about others’ cultures at the same time. ISL instils a strong sense of interest in the pursuit of knowledge. My experience is that ISL'ers are lifelong learners.
If you could thank a teacher or staff member, who would it be?
There are so many people I am grateful for and whom I would like to thank. To name a few - Mr Pierce, who taught me Business and who has guided me throughout my time at ISL and beyond; Nicki Crush, Upper School Principal at the time; Mrs. Johnson in German; Mr Thayer in English; Mr O’Brien in Art; Ms Burns, our librarian at the time; Mr Jenks and Mr Tuffel for their positive encouragements. I am also eternally grateful for the lifelong friendships with classmates from ISL.
Describe ISL in 5 words: