Learn more about Noah Melton, Alumnus (Class of 2020)
Where are you living now? The Netherlands
What are you doing now, since leaving ISL?
After I left ISL, I went straight off to the University of Leiden in the Netherlands where I am doing a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology. The University of Leiden is the oldest university in the Netherlands and is well known for its Archaeology programme. I had visited the school during their Open Days and I really liked what I saw. I'm very happy there between the friends and the professors.
What has been the most challenging thing to overcome since leaving ISL and transitioning to University during a global pandemic?
In the Netherlands, as we didn’t really have that 'first wave', I was able to have a practically normal University experience my first semester. But then around October or November when the case numbers kept going up and up, harsh measures were put in place and we went into almost fully digital mode. I still had practicals that I had to do so I was going into the faculty about once or twice a week, even during the second semester. I definitely feel privileged about the fact that I did have that physical part at the start, because if I didn't have that, I probably wouldn't have had any friends at University.
Do you think that your time at ISL helped you pursue what you are doing at University? If yes, how?
I've always had a passion for history. But at one point I was thinking about it, and I thought I love history, but I do think I'd find it even more interesting if I didn't only apply myself intellectually, but also physically to a certain extent. I think for many people that is the actual drive for archaeology. Also, the fact that it's both a social science and to a certain extent a physical science. I do want to be a bit rounded that way, even if I'm not the best at physical sciences.
I'd say probably the two classes that helped me the most for what I'm currently doing were IB history and IB geography. In terms of history, it's mainly source analysis that's very important in writing essays in archaeology. IB geography is primarily human geography (well, even physical geography helps with archaeology!). When you break it down, archaeology is just the analysis of human societies through material culture and geography significantly does help one analysing societies. Both of those classes really did prepare me.
What advantages has studying at ISL given you?
In my opinion, the most important thing about ISL is how well rounded it made me in its international nature. It does really emphasize in many ways from the very start that it is an international school, that we live in an international community, and also that we should be respectful of other nationalities. I think that really helps me nowadays because whenever I meet someone, no matter what my subconscious prejudice may be, I'll always give them a fair shake no matter what they're like or where they're from. I think that's something that this school has taught me, because I do know of other people who aren't like that. They'll let their prejudice get ahead of them whenever they meet anyone.
The IB, I find, is also a very easy way to find solidarity with other students. When I came to University, I met quite a few people who took the IB, and it's a common experience - a shared, difficult experience. It is also quite an advantage. I found that a lot of people at my University had a hard time doing things like essays and citations. That is one thing I will give the school - the IB programme is really the best programme in my opinion in that you are prepared for University.
What advice would you give students to help them make the most of their time at ISL?
I know it may sound a bit cliché, but ask your teachers for help!! Your teachers want to help you and even if you are doing terribly, they will help you along. There were certain points in the IB where I was struggling in a few classes, but really, if you talk to your teachers, they will help you through no matter what.
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 involved in the Choir and the Cryptocurrency Club.
Clubs teach you about teamwork, about fostering that kind of social mindset with your fellow students. And that’s some more advice: try to be friends with your fellow students! It's never great when you feel all alone going through something like the IB. So it's very important to make friends, not only so you can hang out with people on the weekends and stuff, but also you have help and you can be in a good mental state when you're at school. School isn't just for sitting there and learning. It's also a chance to be with people you enjoy.
Describe some of the things that ISL does above and beyond teaching and learning:
I think the best thing it does is fostering the international mindset, which most certainly helps when you’re out in the actual world. Also, all of the extra clubs and activities. Yes, they are required by the IB, but this also helps our social interactions in the future.
How did your time at ISL help shape you as a person?
I know I have said it earlier, but it is the way it has given me an international mindset – the whole ‘fair shake’ idea. I respect people for who they are and I don’t discriminate. This is something which has been hammered into me for a good reason.
And another thing, ISL has given me a certain respect for academia and for intellectualism. And I am glad that I have this respect, as do most people who have graduated from ISL, as it is more and more important in times like these when people do not respect academia as much and just refuse to believe in science and facts.
What do you think is unique about ISL?
The teachers truly do love teaching. I think that is probably one of the most important things about a school is that the teachers actually enjoy what they are doing and that they want to teach students.
If you could thank a teacher or staff member, who would it be?
Ms Schweifler and Mr Penn – both absolutely influenced me and were my favourite teachers at ISL. Their classes helped me most for what I am currently doing.
Also, perhaps Mr. Solomon. He retired a few years ago but he was my homeroom teacher and also my English teacher in 8th grade. He was very kind and I really liked his class. Coincidentally his wife was also my first and second grade teacher.
What do you see yourself doing after university?
My Bachelor’s degree will be finished in 2023 and then I plan to do my Master's. I don't know if I want to do a PhD yet. A Master’s yes, because: a) I like the subject, and b) it is necessary in our current world. And then after that, I'm thinking to go into academia. I also enjoy being politically active. I don't know if I would want to be a politician or anything, but I do want to continue to be politically active in one way or another.
Describe ISL in 5 words:
Social, Caring, Academic, Rounded, Preparatory