Grad ’19 IB Experiences


Students from Grad’19 visited Bangkok Patana recently, looking back to their experiences here and how it shaped their university life.

Students from Grad’19 visited Bangkok Patana recently, looking back to their experiences here and how it shaped their university life.

Suyash Kothari, Rhea Poonevala, Zahra Poonevala, Charisse Tan and Dena Rana talked about how what they learned at Bangkok Patana prepared them for university, recounted their first few months at university before COVID hit and their post-lockdown plans.


Charisse Tan: “People didn’t think it was that serious in the US in February – things were getting cancelled in Thailand and we didn’t realise it was going to be a big thing. UCLA announced an extended spring break and
then said we were coming back in person. However, finally in the second week of March they announced to students to go home but we might have to come back. I came back from the US in mid-March and I was in quarantine – UCLA finished the quarter online. During the summer I took an internship with Harper’s Bazaar and I did some online courses like coding.”

Suyash Kothari: “We had to pack up all our stuff to go home really quickly. Some of us managed to get stuff in storage or leave it with friends. No one was expecting it would have to be there for more than a few months.”

THE IB The students agreed that it must have been difficult for Grad’20 to have their results based on a predicted grade, having worked so hard for two years, they pointed out how anti-climactic that must have been. One pointed out that the exam gives students a chance to get their grades up so if you don’t do as well in your coursework you can make up for it in your exams.

Does Doing the IBDP Help in the Future?

Another matter that they all agreed upon was that the frequency of the deadlines IB made it much easier to get used to it a university – the way the IB is structured helps you get used to that. Taking many classes in different areas is similar to uni experience. Suyash added, “Although I found uni hard, I would have found it a lot harder if I hadn’t done my IB.”

They also stressed the need for doing the IB, with Rhea Poonvela pointing out that doing the IB and the scores you achieve are very important if you plan to go to university in the UK. The students in the US said that their IB scores helped in being accepted in the US as well, even though it isn’t a US standard; the universities there like to see a standardised certification in applications.

Suyash Kothari: “I had to do a presentation for one of my classes at uni and put so much effort in it – and everyone else had presentations full of text while mine was like my TOK where I had no script. Doing the IB set the standards so high for me to be able to present.”

The Transition to University

Zahra Poonvela: “Transitioning from the structure at Bangkok Patana to university – for me it was my first time in the US before I went to UC Berkeley – all the opinions I had beforehand were different from my own experience. I found I could look at my options and find my own way. You start to enjoy your own freedom once you know how to do it, they do have the resources if you need help. I tried a lot of little things to see what I wanted to do.”

Suyash said of his experiences at Brown: “I already knew
people from Bangok Patana at Brown. It was good to have a community there that would help me out and show me the way. Then you meet people who are connected tangentially. In my first week, this girl walks up to me and asked, “Did you go to Bangkok Patana School?” I realised I had met her during the [Bangkok Patana] ski trip to Switzerland a few years ago!”

The Bangkok Patana family extends far beyond the walls of the school, they found, running into alumni who were happy to lend a helping hand in their adjustment to university life.