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Audentes International School through the eyes of its students: one year later


Last March, we had a conversation with four students of the Audentes International School about their school life and future plans. Today, a year later, we asked them how have they been doing at school and what their future plans are now.

Keete-Lumina Tali and Evelin Naptal, first-year students of the IB diploma programme, and Anna Vunsh and Eva Smoli, students in their pre-IB year, shared their thoughts and experiences.

Supportive teachers
Last year, all the girls pointed out how friendly the teachers are and how warm the environment is at the international school. They still stand by these words today.
Keete-Lumina believes it is important for teachers to get feedback from their students: “This helps to create a respectful and positive relationship. Teachers seek advice from students on their preferred teaching methods and collect feedback to improve the learning experience.” She has also found assurance from knowing that teachers are always available and ready to listen and support students. “Having attended schools in multiple countries, I can confidently say that I have never been more satisfied with my teachers and classmates than I am right now,” Keete-Lumina says.
Anna says the teachers are the best part of the school. “They motivate and push us in ways I did not think were possible. The dedication with which they teach us new material makes learning truly enjoyable. On top of that, they are very open and ready to help with any issue; they even reply to late night emails if a student has any questions about a test or an assignment.”
Eva also has praise for the teachers. “Our teachers are caring, honest, creative and dedicated to their work. In addition to definitions and formulas, they also teach us teamwork, responsibility, time and stress management as well as how to conduct research, set goals, listen to others and express our point of view.”
Evelin admires the teachers’ sense of humour and kindness and says, “The teachers are like your friends who trust you and will help you through anything. Last year I was really struggling with balancing my training and school as both of these activities required dedication and motivation. I felt like teachers went beyond their job descriptions to comfort me. I am grateful for them being so friendly and understanding.”

The school encourages students to find their own path
The girls mentioned the flexible curriculum that allows students to focus more on their favourite subjects as one of the advantages of the International School.
For instance, Anna loves history and says, “I used to hate history. I did not like memorising dates and important past events, but when I came to Audentes it became my favourite subject almost immediately. I am never bored in history lessons thanks to our amazing teacher who knows how to make each lesson fun and always includes us in discussions. I have never grasped history better than I do now. Thanks to our teacher and his passion for history, this passion has also awakened in me. I am a true history geek and history is all I talk about in my spare time.”
Eva’s favourite subject is biology. “I am fascinated by how the body works, the processes that take place inside us and the way nature operates around us,” she said. Evelin likes biology as well as mathematics. “Even though both of these subjects are quite complicated, I feel that the hard work pays off. I like seeing my progress and the outcome of my efforts.”

Strong motivation helps to go forward
Sometimes, a source of emotional support or a long-term plan is needed to push through a difficult period. Motivating factors can be different for every student.
For instance, Eva finds motivation in her solid future plans and goals: “I want to make these plans a reality and not regret my decisions later.” Anna finds motivation in her goals, too, and says, “I am motivated by moving towards my future goals, step-by-step. This school is one small step towards achieving my goals so having the privilege to study here has kept me extremely motivated and has encouraged me to excel in my studies.”
Evelin has learned to appreciate her own efforts and achievements more. “I have achieved so much in 19 years. Of course, I am still deeply grateful to my national team coach who showed me what dedication really means. I am grateful for my friends who appreciate me and acknowledge my accomplishments. I am grateful for my teachers for their input and efforts. I am inspired by the people around me, but also by my own dedication and ambition.”
Anna points out another motivating factor: “Seeing my family members’ achievements makes me strive to be like them. They have given me every opportunity I have wanted and support me in every decision I make. Knowing that I have such a loving family motivates me to be better and make them proud.”

High workload teaches students to cope with challenges
Eva says that even though this school year has been more difficult for her, she also feels that she has more support from others. “The guidance provided by the teachers is amazing as they truly care about their students. Even though the subjects are a lot more challenging now, the motivation to succeed has also increased tremendously.” Eva has paid special attention to finding a balance between studying and resting and says, “It is important to take breaks and not overwhelm yourself with too many assignments.”
Evelin also admits the workload has been higher this year: “There is so much to do and at the beginning of the school year, I was a bit overwhelmed. I decided to end my career as a professional gymnast to fully focus on my last school year so I could get accepted into a good university. During my second year, I haven’t had any time to take a break from my studies and just get some rest. It is a marathon which has to be run all in one go. But thanks to my classmates and the idea of it soon being over and seeing the actual results of my efforts, I have been able to keep going.”
Keete-Lumina agrees that the workload of the second IB year has been high: “The demands of rigorous coursework, final exams, and additional requirements can be overwhelming. Effective time management is essential for managing the workload and avoiding burnout.”

Tips for current and future students of the International School
When asked what has helped them to be successful in their IB studies, the girls offer many valuable tips.
Evelin says that everyone has to find the right study methods that work for them. Still, she makes some suggestions: “Try to remain calm, find something that motivates you as well as a physical activity for expressing your frustration. Definitely develop your time management skills.” Anna also points out the importance of time management and says, “If you have planned your assignments well and submitted them before the deadline, you will save yourself a lot of stress and panic.” She adds that it is important to choose subjects that you actually like. “If you’re studying something that you’re interested in, you will enjoy the lessons more and find it easier to focus on what the teacher is talking about.”
Keete-Lumine says that actively working with the material and seeking help when needed can enhance your understanding and retention of the content. “Personally, forming study groups with my classmates and asking teachers for feedback has really helped me,” she says. To avoid burnout, Keete-Lumina also recommends finding balance between academic work and self-care by taking regular breaks, getting enough sleep and participating in enjoyable activities. She gives one more helpful piece of advice: “It is important to see challenges as opportunities for growth, because this will help you overcome obstacles and achieve success in the programme.”

Eva has a whole list of useful tips:

  • ask questions if anything remains unclear;
  • pay attention in lessons (it sounds basic, but it is essential);
  • take part in activities and discussions – it is impossible to get far without practice;
  • stay consistent and do at least a little bit of work every day, do not try to cram all your assignments together into one evening;
  • find an effective method for learning the material (for example, Eva studies most effectively through taking notes and visualisation);
  • do not hesitate to ask for help; you can form study groups with your classmates to help each other.

The girls agree that it’s important to find the time to give yourself a pat on the back for working hard every day. Eva feels proud of herself for staying on track with her work throughout the year, acquiring a lot of new knowledge and learning how to apply it. Evelin can also feel proud of her dutifulness: “I have not submitted one assignment late, which can be considered an achievement in DP2. I am also very pleased with my predicted grades. If you have managed to do well in the IB programme, you should definitely be proud of yourself.”

Plenty of activities outside the classroom
Even though studies require time and dedication, the girls have also made sure to spend their spare time doing many exciting activities.
Thanks to the intensive lessons, Anna has had more opportunities to be physically active: “As school can sometimes be quite tiring, me and my friends have been blowing off some steam by playing basketball during recess. This has helped me concentrate better in class. Plus, we have also discovered many people in our school who share our passion for basketball. This encouraged us to have basketball matches every weekend where we play ball with our teachers. Basketball has united our school community and also serves well as a Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project.”
Eva really enjoyed the project in which the students of Audentes International School hosted students from other countries who had come here to learn about entrepreneurship and visit Tallinn. “It was so fun to talk and get to know each other,” she says. Recently, Eva and a few of her classmates had the opportunity to visit the European Parliament by taking part in the lectures and discussions of the Euroscola event. In addition to her intense studies, Eva has also managed to find time for her hobbies, such as dancing and sports.
To illustrate the warm relationship between students and teachers outside the classroom, Evelin shares a happy memory: “I remember how fun it was when our class went to play laser tag. It just so happened that me and my homeroom teacher Rodrigo were having a duel with each other. We kept running into each other so I was able to get back at him for all the home assignments and tests. It was really fun to play something so childish with my homeroom teacher – it is just something you don’t really expect to do.”
The girls have also been excited for the CAS programme in the IB. The programme allows students to try out different activities. As part of the programme, Evelin has gone bowling, made friendship bracelets, cooked and practiced piano. “There are many other options, but every student can pick out the activities they enjoy and connect them with CAS,” she says.

University life already within reach
As first-year IB students, Anna and Eva do not have to make their final university choice yet this spring (even though Anna has already made some plans: after graduation, she will probably study biology or biomedicine). Keete-Lumina and Evelin, however, are already actively planning their future studies.
Based on her predicted grades, Keete-Lumina has been accepted to two universities in the United Kingdom. Her first option is the University of Nottingham, where she could start BA studies in Medical Physiology and Therapeutics. The second option is the Swansea University, where she has been accepted to pursue Applied Medical Sciences. She will also apply for the Medicine and Surgery programme at a university in Milan.
Evelin has also been accepted to a few universities in the United Kingdom, but her actual goal is to study at Aarhus or Aalborg University in Denmark or at the University of Tartu. “I applied for the Cognitive Science programme at Aarhus University and the Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology programme at Aalborg University, but I also plan on applying for the Physiotherapy programme at the University of Tartu.”

Definitely the best choice
With another year at Audentes behind them now, the girls are still happy with their choice of school.
Evelin likes everything about her school and says, “If I could go back in time, I would definitely still choose Audentes IB. I have no regrets. Yes, the workload is high, but I enjoy the experience and the atmosphere at this school very much.” The school has also met Eva’s expectations: “It has been challenging, but so worth it. The atmosphere is incredible as well.”
Anna lists various reasons for being satisfied with her choice. “I can study subjects that I enjoy at a very high level. On top of that, the IB diploma is recognised all over the world. I believe Audentes has the best atmosphere, teachers and selection of subjects in Estonia. Enrolling in this school has given me more opportunities to grow as a student and improve the skills I already had.”
Keete-Lumina’s interest for a global education began after she spent a year studying abroad in America: “I was looking for a school that would offer unique, extensive education that is recognised globally. The IB programme of the Audentes International School has met those expectations. The support from my classmates and my teachers has been invaluable to me and I feel part of a supportive community.”

A suitable school for you and your best friend
As experienced IB students, the girls strongly recommend the International School to all of their friends.
Keete-Lumina emphasises the unique atmosphere of the school and adds that even though the IB Diploma Programme is demanding and comprehensive, she is happy to be part of this family and says, “The atmosphere here is calm and encouraging which makes it easier to navigate the challenging coursework. Teachers are always ready to help when students feel overwhelmed or stuck.”
Anna says that she has actually recommended Audentes to most of her friends. Some of them have joined the school this year. “They have told me that this has been their best study and school experience. The atmosphere of the school motivates students and supports their studies,” Anna says.
Eva points out that students can focus on the subjects that they actually need and enjoy. “The school feels like home and the people are like a big family. Everyone is heard and all opinions are taken into account,” she says.
Evelin recommends Audentes International School for many reasons. “It is a place to learn about yourself. The teachers are your friends. As the curriculum is very challenging, the happiness and pride from achieving great results feels even greater.” She also points out the importance of good relationships and says, “I am convinced that the Audentes International School is the most fun and cool place that provides great education and broadens your horizons. I have many awesome, supportive and fun teachers. I also have lots of great classmates who are on the same path as me. And I appreciate the atmosphere of our school because it’s so warm, welcoming and helpful.”

Read more about Audentes International School and admission here.