"Felt like a start-up"
Sara Read (born Sara Talbot) has a special relationship with Bavarian International School. The Canadian was one of 17 students in the first graduating class in 1997.
Her whole family was closely connected to BIS - both parents worked as teachers and her older brother was also involved in the administration, the school garden and as coordinator of the school plays. Even back then, the now 42-year-old alumni felt that BIS was a "home away from home".
When Sara’s family moved to Freising in 1995, BIS was still in its early days, housed in a former office building in Schwaig and had just under 350 students. “The school still felt like a start-up, in the sense that much of the programming and initiatives were still under development, and all of the teachers and administration were working collaboratively to figure things out. It was an exciting time,” Sara remembers. She calls teachers and staff members of that time, ‘founders and pioneers.’ The small classes and the sense of community made everything feel like a tight-knit, family-like environment. For example, one Grade 1 teacher was simply called “Aunty Pam” by everyone.
The new chapter in Germany and the attendance at BIS truly shaped the rest of her life, she said. Open-mindedness, diversity, academic and social education, a wide range of opportunities and a broad perspective for the future helped her in life and career. Moreover, Germany became a second home for her. She worked in Germany for a while, her older daughter was born in Berlin and so it is no wonder that both daughters (aged 8 and 11) now attend a bilingual German School in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada).
Sara has spent a large part of her professional life working in human relations. Currently, she works at a university in Edmonton where she leads a team that develops programs and strategies in organizational development, recruitment and onboarding, compensation, and organizational design.
Unique and enriching experience
She is still in touch with many of the classmates from the class of 1997 and other students, although they are scattered all over the world, e.g. Canada, Thailand, South Africa, Germany, UK, and Japan. Thanks to social media they are still connected and are thinking about a special alumni anniversary meeting. "The next one would be 2022 - the 25-year reunion. Maybe we can do it!"
For the next 30 years, Sara wishes BIS a "unique and enriching experience". She is sure that the school’s core values and spirit will never change: "It's about diverse students from all over the world learning together and getting a well-rounded education - and not just in the classroom...!