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Dolma Tsering’s Experience at ISAK

Dolma Tsering from Gorkha disrict is an SMD alumna. She won a scholarship at the International School of Asia Karuizawa (ISAK) in Japan to finish her grade 11 and 12 studies, pursuing an IB (International Baccalaureate) diploma. Right now, she is back at SMD for the summer break and shared her grade 11 experience with us.

The first few days at ISAK, I was intimidated by how smart the other kids were, but after a few weeks, I learned that there is no weighing on ‘how smart someone is’. Everyone is just different, and I am so grateful for SMD because I realized how special I was at ISAK because of our upbringing. It became so easy for me to become comfortable since ISAK also focuses on mindfulness, leadership and relationships, which is basically what we’ve been doing at SMD.

SMD and ISAK have a similar mission, which is to bring positive change in your society, community or the world. Since, we (SMD kids) grew up thinking the same thing, to help bring positive change in our community and our country, this really made me appreciate both ISAK and SMD more and more. I also love how there is a ‘family-feeling’ amongst each other just like at SMD. Another one is ‘diversity’! At ISAK, you get to meet people from different parts of the world with different cultures and learn so much from them. When I was in Nepal, I was able to respect and know about different cultures that existed around the world but at ISAK, I can embrace it, and have a first-hand experience, which I think is ‘amazing’!

Right now, the biggest challenge that I am facing at ISAK is having to prioritize one thing over another. They provide many options for clubs and activities, volunteering opportunities, attending events, such as fund-raising events, which are life changing experiences. Most of the time, the activities that I want to participate in overlap with my assignments and projects. I am forced to prioritize one thing over another which is so hard for me since I want to do both. But at the end, this is also teaching me ‘what’s most important’ and to take action in the face of discomfort.

I just finished grade 11 but I feel like I have learned so much and I know that I still have a lot more to learn. I lived my first year of IB just as I did at SMD, because SMD and ISAK have the same learning environment. Every day, I get to learn something new. And even though sometimes it is hard because I have never been exposed to some topics that are being taught, it is definitely worth it!

All of this is possible, due to the blessings of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, my mom, the SMD family and the ISAK family. I am very grateful to everyone of you who has supported me to date. Thank you everyone!