Meet Matt Heinrich
Learn more about Matt Heinrich, Alumni (Class of 2012)
Where are you living now?
Little Rock, Arkansas (USA)
What did you do after you left ISL?
Returned to the U.S. to study at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
What did you study at University?
I received my Bachelors Degree in International Relations with a Minor in French. I was also enrolled in the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). This program gives you the opportunity to enter the Air Force as an officer through 4 years of leadership, professional development, and educational training while also simultaneously completing your bachelor’s degree. In my case, I was fortunate that ROTC offered me a scholarship to help pay for my degree.
What are you doing now?
I am a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, flying the C-130J-30 ‘Super Hercules’.
Do you think that your time at ISL helped you pursue this? If yes, how?
Yes. I would say one of the most critical skills I developed at ISL was time management. The rigor of the IB program prepares you not only academically for university, but also how to manage a busy schedule on your own. At college, that helped me balance life between my degree, military studies, and social life. Later on in Air Force pilot training, I was still able to make time for sport and socializing while balancing 12-hour days of flying, academic exams, and simulated emergency procedures (sometimes all in the same day). Currently, time management is still a huge part of my job – whether it’s flight planning, planning an airdrop in combat, or determining how much time we will have in crew rest, I still use the skills forged at ISL on a daily basis.
What advantages has studying at ISL given you?
Academically, I felt ahead of my peers at university. Most universities in the US will actually offer you credit hours depending on your final IB grades – my university offered me 24 credits, for example (a whole year!). Additionally, I found I have been able to approach difficult decisions and situations throughout college and my military career with an open mind and greater level of tolerance than the average person – and little of that can go a long way!
What advice would you give students to help them make the most of their time at ISL?
Get involved as much as possible – not only academically, but also with extracurricular activities. Whether it’s playing a sport or taking a role in a theater production or participating in Mérite Jeunesse; give yourself an ‘out’ from the academic rigor. Step out of your comfort zone in the classroom and take risks participating in discussions – there is hardly a more tolerant and open-minded environment to do so in. Additionally, find the teachers that will go the extra mile for you and seek their advice and knowledge. They will help you more than you know!
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 played percussion in both symphonic and jazz bands, Model United Nations, and participated in several sports including swimming, basketball, and baseball. One of the highlights was a Model UN trip to New York City for 5 days where we got to sit in the actual General Assembly and conduct meetings with other students and speakers from around the globe. I still keep in contact with my hosts to this day! The biggest benefit: forming connections with other people your age that you otherwise might never have interacted with. It is also a fantastic way to de-stress and give your mind a break from the IB program!
Describe some of the things that ISL does above and beyond teaching and learning:
ISL gives students a very unique opportunity to work and learn in a multicultural environment with students from every corner of the globe. With that comes the ability to understand and work around different points of view or opinions in a respectful yet confident manner.
How did your time at ISL help shape you as a person?
ISL helped shape me into a more well-rounded and multi-cultural individual by allowing me to fully pursue my previous interests and hobbies while exposing me to a wide variety of situations, cultures, and languages I now see as a part of who I am. Additionally I met my wife, Bregje (also class of 2012), while at ISL and we love exploring the world together!
What do you think is unique about ISL?
The staff is truly what makes ISL a fantastic school. I had a few teachers in particular that would really go out of their way to make sure I never left the building with unanswered questions. Whether it was 30 minutes after school to review a paper that was coming due, having a chat over lunch about current global issues, or offering to help review college applications – they were always there for me as both a teacher and mentor. I still make it a point to see them every time I visit Luxembourg!
Describe ISL in 5 words:
Culture, International, Friendships, Growing, Safe