ISL Qatar students participated in the World Scholar's Cup held in Yale University
To say the time-jump or cultural medley were disorienting would be an understatement. Yet this hardy band of MYP learners—and all their teammates unable to attend—have made us immeasurably proud in the depth of their skill and breadth of achievement.
It’s remarkable the extent to which the students push their knowledge boundaries and pursue answers to world-changing questions with a passion that exemplifies the IB learner in action. I often suspect they are more driven to study WSC subjects than those prescribed by the school! Perhaps they know well the potential that this extracurricular, purely voluntary pursuit has in raising the standard of meaningful, civilized discourse.
It would do little justice to reflect at length about the values of this program on their behalf, so in the words of a veteran scholar, Sebastian Santoni:
‘Looking back after such an outstanding trip, I now see what an intrinsic part of my life the World Scholar’s Cup has become. When my 6th-grade self-decided to try it out I could not have been prepared for how it would change me both academically and personally. The knowledge I have gained over the years is invaluable but I believe that the social aspect of the WSC is worth its weight in gold. Thinking back to my first global round in Kuala Lumpur, I was an antisocial mess with no passion for learning. I thought that education was pointless and was too shy to even make eye contact, let alone make friends!
‘And now, almost 3 years later, I got an opportunity to see the true extent of my own growth at the Tournament of Champions round of the WSC, only a few weeks ago. Screaming in joy with my teammates after getting a 2000-point question right in the bowl, meeting up with friends from previous rounds (some old; some new) and making new ones all made me realize how much this competition means to me. The memories I’ve gained are indescribable but I’m so glad to be part of such a diverse, inclusive, supportive and friendly community. I could go on for hours, but that would serve no use to someone who hasn’t taken part themselves. All I ask is that you give the WSC a chance. If you’re a student looking to better yourself, a teacher wishing to inspire a love for learning in others, or a parent searching for a pastime for your child, I suggest you look to the WSC, because that first “why not?” could change your life forever and have you never looking back.’
And from the pen of one of our newest yet most ambitious scholars, Youssef Barakat:
‘If I had been told two years ago that I would be competing with champion scholars from across the world in the campus of an Ivy League university, I wouldn’t have believed it. Now, here I am; winning medals in all kinds of academic domains ranging from debating, writing, taking a difficult quiz, and combining our team knowledge to answer questions using a clicker. This trip undoubtedly had an enormous impact on my academic and social skills. It not only encouraged me to study as hard as possible but also with passion. This was something I was missing growing up, as I never really enjoyed learning, and felt that knowledge was often forced into my head. With interesting concepts like Schrodinger's cat, The July Plot, and the Watergate Scandal; WSC helped me find my passion and what I was truly interested in. This has also inextricably linked to my excelling with most subjects in school, because of the vast amounts of knowledge obtained on each WSC subject.
‘Experiencing the Global Round and Tournament of Champions allowed me to make friends from innumerable countries. It has opened me to different cultures, people, countries, and has made me a more international person as a whole. The memories made with my teammates and friends in the WSC program will be cherished, because to me, they symbolize the better person I’ve become. I cannot wait to re-experience the exhilaration that the program has to offer next year. I encourage you all to at least give it an opportunity. As George Eliot said, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” ’
While our experienced scholars take mature steps to lead their new scholars in training, next steps for us include organizing an ISL Qatar-exclusive Mock Round and awaiting the release of new subjects for a fresh year in ‘An Entangled World.’