Alumni

Students who have been at WIS even for a few years are considered to be a WIS alumni. It is not a diploma that makes a student ‘one of us’ as we have a shared experience of learning in the WIS community.

Our DP alumni are true globe-trotters and attend universities in South Africa, Canada, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Hong Kong and others in diverse disciplines ranging from Medicine, Engineering, Architecture and International Law to Sound Engineering and Hospitality Management. Our alumni also for part of the larger IB Alumni Network which keeps them connected to IBDP graduates both past and present.

WIS is fortunate to have many alumni return to share their tertiary experiences with current IBDP students. If WIS was ever your ‘home’, no matter for how long, please feel free to visit. You are always welcome!

WIS Alumni Updates

WIS Alumni UpdatesWith great pleasure, we reintroduce our regular feature providing an update on our alumni, who are studying and working around the globe, holding the banner of WIS high, as they make their mark in the world.

Same Pilatwe

Alumni of WIS, IB DP class of 2019
2020 Government of Botswana Top Achiever

“It’s Your Road … Walk It.”

To all current and future IB Diploma students: your attitude towards the programme will determine your 2-year experience. Sincerely, I have enjoyed my days as an IB Diploma student – my curiosity to learn is what helped shape my perception of this programme. No aspect of the IB Diploma is insurmountable; otherwise, its founders would never have recommended it for our age level. The IB Diploma is a unique opportunity that opens doors when successfully completed.

I have now earned the IB Diploma and a sponsorship from the government to study Business Law at Carleton University. I have also earned credits for two of my HL subjects and did not have to take any English Proficiency test. The IB Diploma surely has advantages!

Some practical advice I can attest to:

1.Utilize Kognity, GeographyAlltheWay and any other website recommended by teachers;

2. Handwrite your notes, it promotes understanding and retention;
Pray – or is that just me?

3. DP1s: Complete your project of significant length within your first year

4. DP 2s: Internal Assessments cannot coincide with your studying time

Year 11s have to transition into DP. DP 1s brace themselves for their final year. DP 2s are preparing for the examinations. I have to move into the uncertain world of adulthood and making life choices. Transitions will always be challenging, but have faith that you are strong, that you are ready.

My name is Rachel Mwendwa, alumni of WIS, Class of 2016. I’m currently, pursuing an LLB degree at the University of Nairobi, and recently completed second year. In my first year of law school, I joined the Moot Court Society. Essentially this is a simulation of a court proceeding where students have an opportunity to sharpen their advocacy skills. The parties are referred to as applicant and the respondent. My teammate and I underwent two rounds before we were selected to represent our university. The case we argued tackled refugee rights, freedom of expression, migrants’ rights and children’s rights. We argued the case before practicing Advocates and won the internal intercampus rounds. Accordingly, we were chosen to represent University of Nairobi in the All Africa Moot, 2019 organized by the Centre for Human rights based in the University of Pretoria and hosted by University of Botswana from the 1st- 6th July 2019. Universities (about 60) from across Africa participated.

There were three categories: English, French and Portuguese. My team emerged as the second-best team in the preliminary round and proceeded to the final round with three other English-speaking teams, one French team and one Portuguese team. In the final round, Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny, University of Nairobi and University of Namibia were combined as the Applicant Team. Conversely, University of Pretoria, Makerere and Zambezi were the Respondent. On the 6th of July 2019, we argued our case before the Chief Justice of Botswana and other Honourable Justices from all over the Globe at the High Court of Botswana. We emerged the champions of the All Africa Moot, 2019. This has been a memorable experience!

WIS imparted valuable writing and critical thinking skills that have been essential in drafting written submissions and sharpened my oral submissions. Forever grateful! Go, WIS!

Rachel Mwendwa

Rachel Mwendwa, alumni of WIS, Class of 2016
“WIS imparted valuable writing and critical thinking skills that have been essential in drafting written submissions and sharpened my oral submissions. Forever grateful! Go, WIS!”

Carlos Defigeirdo

Alumni of WIS, Class of 2017

“If I can make through IB so can you! Make sure that you do thorough research on the colleges/universities that you have interest in for their entry requirements and if certificates are the best fit for you just do it! Choose subjects that you enjoy and make your IB experience the best that it can be. Roll with it and go on to college! Good luck to you all.”

It is always nice to see former students and hear how they are navigating life after Westwood.  On Friday, June 26, 2019, a former WIS student, Carlos Defigeirdo, came to visit.  Carlos joined WIS in Year 8 and graduated in 2017 obtaining 3 Certificates in Geography, ESS and Spanish.

Carlos understood his personal strengths and passions and chose to tailor his learning experiences through opting to follow the IB Certificate route.  With support and guidance from the Counselling and Learning Support Department, Carlos not only experienced success throughout his Year 12 and 13 academic studies, but also extended his knowledge and skills in physical fitness through special exit to work at Jacks Gym.  He believed that this would enhance his application to college.  This was a personal choice for him as he had a career path of becoming a Personal Trainer in mind.

Through research, he understood that his place of study, Loughborough College in the UK, did not require him to sit for the full Diploma and so he selected subjects he was interested in in order to enjoy his learning and exit Westwood with happy memories and a love of learning.  He acknowledges that this is one of the best decisions he could have ever made.  His favourite memories revolve around playing sport and representing the school in ISSA tournaments.  He thinks of WIS as “home” and he remembers his personal growth experienced through his extensive work with BSPCA for Community Service, receiving support from many different people and all of the friends that he made along the way. Carlos acknowledges that he had some challenges while at WIS and that a lot of people did not have faith in his potential but, “Though I might have faced some roadblocks, there was light at the end of the tunnel and I was able to achieve good grades and silence the critics.”

Carlos is enrolled In Loughborough College, UK and has successfully completed his first year In Level 3 BTEC in Sports with the aim of becoming a strength and conditioning coach.  He is extremely happy at college, represents the college in football and has a part time job to build his CV and earn additional money.  He had some words to share with the current and future students:

“If I can make through IB so can you!  Make sure that you do thorough research on the colleges/universities that you have interest in for their entry requirements and if certificates are the best fit for you just do it!  Choose subjects that you enjoy and make your IB experience the best that it can be.  Roll with it and go on to college!  Good luck to you all.

When I first embarked on my IB diploma journey, I was intimidated! I had heard the stories that previous IB students had shared with me about the program and its demands. What the alumni failed to mention during their stories, was how the IB diploma molded them into who they were and showed them their strengths in life.

The 17-year-old me thought that I would barely manage by taking six subjects including theory of knowledge (TOK), participating in creativity, activity, service (CAS) and writing the extended essay. After procrastinating for two weeks about whether or not to do the DP, I went to my school and registered. The IB coordinator was as surprised as I was that I had come back and decided to do the program after my initial resistance towards having to take on so much.

As I registered, the big question came up: diploma or certificate. My mind processed certificate but my mouth said diploma. So, there I was, an IB diploma student.

“It was up to me to define the type of student I wanted to be”

I took a deep breath and decided that I was in a new country, a new school and new learning curriculum and it was up to me to define the type of student I wanted to be. I knew I was dyslexic and learned early on in my academic journey and knew not to compete with others but rather to challenge myself.

I began to go to class and was pleasantly surprised. The IB curriculum was demanding but had a different approach to learning. We were taught to understand rather than be required to recite what we learned. I found my first year of IB challenging but manageable. I was getting the required grades each term in order to qualify for a diploma. I was pleased.

When year two came, the pressure increased. I understood now why the alumni I met had told us those stories of late nights trying to juggle all their coursework.  I soon began to understand that I could not cope without regular visits to the educational psychologist on our campus. I found myself there two to three times a week expressing how overwhelmed I was and how I was failing to keep up with the work load and, as a result, grasp a lot of concepts. The educational psychologist helped me by providing me with extra material with a breakdown for the topics I failed to understand. I was taught to list my work, prioritize and set timelines for how long it would take me to complete the work. My educational psychologist also coordinated with my teachers to help me keep up with work at my own pace. Although I felt as if I was barely making it through, I was still getting more than the minimum requirement for a diploma.

Was I succeeding or failing? I was in fact, on the edge of a discovery. Shortly after this, choosing my TOK topic became my “Aha! moment.’’ I was able to find my strengths in life: I am creative, and I am good at research; once I apply both, I am confident I can present anything. It happened like this:

“Thanks to IB I am defined by my strengths”

My frenemie, the TOK final presentation, was coming up and I had always been one of the more reserved pupils in my class. I struggled with my presentations and could never reply back to the questions asked. My classmates were confident, they spoke up and backed up their opinions. I handed in my first draft but was not satisfied. I barely had an argument and wrote an essay on PowerPoint rather than creating a proper presentation. The weekend before my final draft was due I was watching TV and saw the LGBTQ+ community being discussed. It hit me—why don’t I make my TOK presentation about LGBT rights in Africa? I had a passion for LGBTQ+ rights, understood the issue and knew how aspects such as culture and religion gave people different reasons for the way they dealt with the LGBTQ+ community.

My passion for human rights and culture led me to research on the way the LGBTQ+ communities were treated around Africa, it also led me to look at the way in which Western Countries reacted to the treatment. My conclusion dealt with human rights and how everyone has freedom of expression, and how others freedom of expressions may conflict with others beliefs.  It didn’t seem like a big change but being able to choose a topic that interested me really helped me focus my creative and research skills. Changing topics also made me feel more at ease during my presentation since I was able to dive deeper into this topic I already had tons of background knowledge on.

Learning to define my own strengths and interests, then incorporating them into my work, allowed me to approach my studies with a newfound sense of confidence. Through identifying my strengths and passion, I was able to pave the path for my tertiary education. I completed the program and earned my IB diploma. I went on to university and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication and Marketing. I currently work in my home country as a Graduate Trainee Business Creation and still reap the benefits of my time in the IB.

Thanks to IB I am defined by my strengths, time management and ability to remain consistent.

Langelihle Ndiweni completed her IB diploma at Westwood International School in Botswana in 2014. Langelihle continued her education by attaining a Bachelor of Arts Communication Science with specialization in Corporate and Marketing Communication at the University of the Free State in South Africa in 2017. She is currently working at in her home country Zimbabwe in a medical aid society as a Graduate Trainee Business Creation. She loves being creative and spends her weekends trying out different foods. You can reach her on LinkedIn to get an IB survival tips.

Langelihle Ndiweni

Alumni of WIS, Class of 2014

Langelihle Ndiweni completed her IB diploma at Westwood International School in Botswana in 2014. Langelihle continued her education by attaining a Bachelor of Arts Communication Science with specialization in Corporate and Marketing Communication at the University of the Free State in South Africa in 2017. She is currently working in her home country Zimbabwe in a medical aid society as a Graduate Trainee Business Creation. She loves being creative and spends her weekends trying out different foods. You can reach her on LinkedIn to get an IB survival tips.

Nilaye Bhatnagar

Alumni of WIS, Class of 2018

We wish to congratulate Nilaye Bhatnagar – Class of 2018, who has recently begun his Bachelor’s Degree in Design, majoring in Architecture, at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

We wish to congratulate Nilaye Bhatnagar – Class of 2018, who has recently begun his Bachelor’s Degree in Design, majoring in Architecture, at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Throughout his high school career, Nilaye kept a keen focus on his dream to study Architecture, taking higher level studies in Mathematics, Physics and Art in the IB Diploma and working with great dedication to achieve the grades he needed to pursue his chosen field of study.

His IBDP Art exhibition demonstrated his skill in design and a very sophisticated sense of space, shape and line – an emerging architect’s eye! We wish Nilaye well and look forward to receiving regular updates as he progresses through his degree course.

Want to keep up with WIS news or share your experiences with us? Send us your contact details!

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