Voices (ISL Stories)

Meet Sebastian Herforth

Learn more about Sebastian Herforth, Alumni (Class of 2013)

Seb Herforth

Where are you living now?
I graduated university in Boston in May, and have been living in Luxembourg for the summer. In mid August I will move to the Bay Area in California to start my fulltime job.

What did you do after you left ISL?
After ISL I went to Northeastern University in Boston, USA, to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. I eventually transferred into a combined Bachelor/Masters degree. Additionally, the school was setup so that you would do 2-3 six month internships over the course of your degree. I did one internship at Bose in Boston, and one at Tesla in California.

Do you feel your ISL education prepared you well for University?
Yes, ISL combined with the IB program prepared me very well for life after ISL. The rigorous nature of the IB got me used to having a heavy course load. I was able to organize my time well and complete all my classes successfully with good grades. The fact that I could tailor my IB subjects to my interests was also great. Besides the IB, the extra curricular community was also great. I was able to partake in most of the sports teams ranging from football in the autumn term, skiing in the winter, and tennis in the spring. I also went on several trips with the school, such as the Tanzania CAS trip, NYC UN trip, and many Merite Jeunesse expeditions, all of which were unbelievable experiences.
I am still in touch with many of the friends that I made during my time at ISL; this is something that, after many conversations with people at university, not many people can say.

What are you doing now?
I will now be starting a full time job in California working for Tesla. I will be returning to the team I interned for. This team is called Craftsmanship, and is responsible for increasing the perceived quality of the vehicle. It is a great balance of mechanical design and user experience.

Do you think that your time at ISL helped you pursue this? If yes, how?
Yes, somewhat answered above.
It made me a hard working individual while giving me exposure to an international community that fosters values that I think are extremely important. These values are open mindedness, knowledge of how to act and interact with all types of people/cultures, critical thinking, and empathy.

What advantages has studying at ISL given you?

  • International community
  • Education through great teachers, allowing me to successfully complete the IB with very high grades. Not very many people can say they enjoy going back to their high school to catch up with their teachers. But in my case, there are a couple teachers that I always go back to visit. They are the ones that inspired and believed in me to do well, and that is something I’m very grateful for.
  • Opportunities in sports, community service, and other extra curriculars

What advice would you give students to help them make the most of their time at ISL?

  • Take nothing for granted, and show gratitude for the opportunities you are given. You are one of the luckiest people in this world to be in a good international school. Don’t take for granted that you are going to a football tournament in Amsterdam, don’t take for granted that you’re going on this CAS trip to Australia, and don’t take for granted that your teachers are there to help you succeed. It’s easy to forget or not realize this when you're living in it, but once you talk to other people about their high school experience, you will realize how good your circumstances are.. This advice should be taken into life in general.
  • Get involved with as much as possible. Even if you’re not sure you will enjoy it, that one meeting/event could change your life. You could get exposure to a skill that you didn’t know you loved, meet someone who you will become a friend for life, or go on a trip that will completely change your mindset and values for the better.
  • When choosing IB subjects, pick ones that interest you, not ones that you think will be easy, or just because your friend is taking that. If you are interested in a subject you will automatically be ahead because you will have motivation to learn. However, if you know what you want to study at university, look up the courses that are required and work towards being successful in those.
  • For students looking to study in the US, try to maximise your HL subjects. This way you will optimise your credits for university courses. I got credits for German B HL, but would not have gotten credits for German A SL.

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?

  • Mostly answered above.
  • The main benefit that I got out of them was the people that I met doing those activities. If you are working towards a common goal with someone, you will become that much closer to those people. Being part of many sports teams I was able to see what distinguishes a good leader from a bad one. These learnings can be applied to so much more in life. The trainings, trips, and tournaments are some of my favorite memories, and my friends and I still talk about those to this day.

Describe some of the things that ISL does above and beyond teaching and learning?
ISL really strives for a well rounded education, by taking part in the IB program and promoting all the extra curriculars.

Describe ISL in 5 words

  • Diverse
  • Opportunities
  • Community
  • Welcoming
  • Inclusive
Seb Herforth


  • Alumni