A new kind of student
Most Grade 11 students don’t run After School Activities (ASAs). Teachers usually do that. But Giulia doesn’t exactly fit the mold of your typical student.
Giulia Pomponi wasn’t always so open about her passion for art. It used to be a dream she kept to herself. The 19-year-old holds an Italian passport and started attending BIS in September of 2020, after being at an Italian public school.
Nowadays, she sees herself as an artist and works hard to help others see the same in themselves. Once a week she leads an ASA, working with other BIS students to learn about illustration and self-expression through art.
She was initially undecided about whether to pursue the IB Diploma Programme (DP) or the Careers-related Programme (CP) at BIS. Not surprisingly, she chose the path less traveled.
“I love the project-based element of the CP,” Giulia said. “That’s the best way for me to learn, through the process of organizing my own learning.”
About 10% of each BIS graduating class completes the Careers-related Programme. The majority of students decide to pursue the Diploma Programme.
“It’s really important for schools to offer different paths to students because we’re all different, we learn in different ways,” said Giulia. “Don’t be afraid to do what is best for you.”
Diversity and inclusion at work and at school
As part of her CP experience, Giulia is doing a multi-week internship with FC Bayern, working on product design.
“At my internship, I’m enjoying a very accepting environment. We can dress how we want and are comfortable with everyone, regardless of position or title. That acceptance is important because it helps me be more productive, creative, open, and not scared to show the team my ideas.”
This same type of environment is what Giulia has experienced at BIS.
“I felt included and accepted straight away. That was really positive for me.”
Giulia knows from personal experience, not all schools are like BIS.
“I’ve been to a lot of different schools. Some were not diverse at all. It’s really sad to see how closed minded and unaccepting people can be of other people.”
“Education in a diverse environment is essential. We all are coming to school to learn, not just subject matter, but about ourselves and about other people,” said Giulia.
What makes us different makes us special
Giulia tries to take the same inclusive approach with her own ‘students’ in her comic book and illustration ASA.
Her message to them comes from her own experience: Practice sharing your art, who you are and what you make, and try to be fearless in doing it.
“I let my students be themselves. I let them express themselves however they want, and I’m there to help them. That’s what diversity means to me.”