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A week in the life of a British International School, Phuket student

It’s little wonder why BISP has attracted over 800 day and boarding students who represent approximately 60 different nationalities. Those who join them — from near or far — immediately feel the love. Such was the case for Marija Rutkauskaite from Lithuania, a swimmer who has represented her country in multiple international competitions such as the European Youth Olympic Festival, European Junior Championships and World Junior Championships.


Her coach had come to hear of BISP from a fellow practitioner before letting Marija’s family know of the school. Despite knowing it would be a tough goodbye to endure, they were sure this institution would help her achieve her full potential — BISP had the facilities, coaches, academics, and support offerings any student-athlete would need and more. True enough, once the swimmer took a dive slightly different than the ones she was used to, she was granted a scholarship.

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In 1996, the pearl-shaped island of Phuket, Thailand, became known for more than just a slice of paradise. Academic excellence made its debut in the form of British International School, Phuket (BISP), which had just opened its doors as an international pioneer for partnerships with the UK independent school sector.


Today, the school boasts several other milestones few others can replicate — think international recognition for academic excellence, renowned sporting programmes taught by notable athletes, performing arts ensembles that sell out in minutes, an IGCSE result average that only increases with time, the ability to offer an abundance of scholarships to high-achievers, and many more.




The BISP welcome

In true BISP fashion, Marija was looked after the second she arrived. A representative greeted her at the airport, escorted her onto a school bus and accompanied her to campus. Laughter turned to awe the second she caught a glimpse of her new home.

“Coming from public school in a small country, I was shocked,” she says. “I was amazed by the infrastructure, and with each discovery, my jaw would drop once again.”


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However, with new surroundings came the need to adapt; and not just to time zones, but to food, culture and language as well. English may not have been Marija’s first language, but BISP’s signature student body was connected enough to give any new learner the confidence needed to view any hurdle as a learning opportunity.

Marija thanks her friends and house parents for encouraging and supporting her throughout the transition. “As they all come from different countries, there’s always someone around to remind you that you’re never alone in this situation,” she says.


A week in the life of a Year 13 BISP student

Marija may reserve her weekends for rest and rejuvenation, but she can never say no to fun. BISP hosts an array of boarding activities over the weekend and each is enriching — Marija and her peers regularly enjoy foot massages at a local reflexology centre, trips to the elephant sanctuary, waterparks, shopping centres, and of course, some of Phuket’s many dazzling beaches.


“My favourite was the snorkelling trip,” she enthuses. “We had one last year and we are going for another one next week. Especially since I love the water, it’s so fun to spend the whole day on a boat with my friends.”

Saturday and Sunday


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Marija may reserve her weekends for rest and rejuvenation, but she can never say no to fun. BISP hosts an array of boarding activities over the weekend and each is enriching — Marija and her peers regularly enjoy foot massages at a local reflexology centre, trips to the elephant sanctuary, waterparks, shopping centres, and of course, some of Phuket’s many dazzling beaches.

“My favourite was the snorkelling trip,” she enthuses. “We had one last year and we are going for another one next week. Especially since I love the water, it’s so fun to spend the whole day on a boat with my friends.”

At BISP, school days do not decrease in intensity closer to the end of the week — such structure ensures sportsmen and sportswomen remain at the top of their game. Hence, both Thursday and Friday begin with 5:30 a.m. training sessions. Classes and athletic training follow.


However, there’s still plenty of time to unwind. As the week comes to a close, BISP pupils enjoy sharing recaps in harmony across campus. For Marija and her friends, this usually means hanging out at the basketball court, watching the stars and sharing playlists. Then, they take a relaxing walk back to their boarding house by their 11:00 p.m curfew.

thursday and friday

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At BISP, school days do not decrease in intensity closer to the end of the week — such structure ensures sportsmen and sportswomen remain at the top of their game. Hence, both Thursday and Friday begin with 5:30 a.m. training sessions. Classes and athletic training follow.

However, there’s still plenty of time to unwind. As the week comes to a close, BISP pupils enjoy sharing recaps in harmony across campus. For Marija and her friends, this usually means hanging out at the basketball court, watching the stars and sharing playlists. Then, they take a relaxing walk back to their boarding house by their 11:00 p.m curfew.

Marija’s mid-week is often similar to Mondays — a tad bit more time to sleep in, followed by IB classes and a two-hour training session. A slightly freer schedule means a little extra time for her to thoroughly enjoy her art lessons.


“My teacher makes everything exciting and I could spend hours with her,” she enthuses. “Today, my style of art is abstract. I’m playing around, but I’ve recently found my own style, which incorporates wax, acrylic paint and glue.”

WEDnesday

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Marija’s mid-week is often similar to Mondays — a tad bit more time to sleep in, followed by IB classes and a two-hour training session. A slightly freer schedule means a little extra time for her to thoroughly enjoy her art lessons.

“My teacher makes everything exciting and I could spend hours with her,” she enthuses. “Today, my style of art is abstract. I’m playing around, but I’ve recently found my own style, which incorporates wax, acrylic paint and glue.”

On Tuesdays, Marija’s alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. to ensure she’s in the water by 5:30 a.m. The endorphin-filled student then makes her way to the common cafeteria to fuel up for her first IB class at 8:00 a.m.


By 3:00 p.m., she’s ready to kick off her first three-hour training session of the week. When done, she has her dinner before attending the daily boarding house meeting at 6:45 p.m., where house parents get students up to speed on new school offerings and upcoming events. The rest of her night is reserved for catching up on homework and phoning her family back in Lithuania.




TUESDAY

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On Tuesdays, Marija’s alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. to ensure she’s in the water by 5:30 a.m. The endorphin-filled student then makes her way to the common cafeteria to fuel up for her first IB class at 8:00 a.m.

By 3:00 p.m., she’s ready to kick off her first three-hour training session of the week. When done, she has her dinner before attending the daily boarding house meeting at 6:45 p.m., where house parents get students up to speed on new school offerings and upcoming events. The rest of her night is reserved for catching up on homework and phoning her family back in Lithuania.




For senior students at BISP, a strong start to the week is crucial. Marija begins her day at 6:30 a.m., has her breakfast and spruces up in time for the 8 a.m. bell. For her, class days comprise all six of her IB classes – Business, Biology, English B, Mathematical Applications and Interpretations, Lithuanian, and Art. Lunch, a brief break and a study period are integrated in between.


Once classes come to a close at 4:00 p.m., the High-Performance Swimmer puts on her swimsuit and heads to a two-hour training session with her coach.

Balancing academic rigour with athletic excellence wasn’t something she got accustomed to at her old school. “They figured since we would be Olympians one day, nothing else mattered. But here, we are treated as students first and foremost,” she says.

MONDAY

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For senior students at BISP, a strong start to the week is crucial. Marija begins her day at 6:30 a.m., has her breakfast and spruces up in time for the 8 a.m. bell. For her, class days comprise all six of her IB classes – Business, Biology, English B, Mathematical Applications and Interpretations, Lithuanian, and Art. Lunch, a brief break and a study period are integrated in between.

Once classes come to a close at 4:00 p.m., the High-Performance Swimmer puts on her swimsuit and heads to a two-hour training session with her coach.

Balancing academic rigour with athletic excellence wasn’t something she got accustomed to at her old school. “They figured since we would be Olympians one day, nothing else mattered. But here, we are treated as students first and foremost,” she says.

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“With the life skills I have gained in communication, time management, critical thinking and problem-solving, I’m sure I will do great.”
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With university life calling, Marija is making the most of every minute she has left with her peers. While saying goodbye to the life she built at BISP will be tough, there’s still a lot to look forward to. In August 2022, she will take her next academic step at California State University, Fresno. She credits her educators for helping her land a scholarship to the Division 1 institution.

“In Year 11, the counsellors really helped my parents and I narrow down our options and submit quality applications,” she says. “Soon, I will be majoring in business entrepreneurship and interior design while still perfecting my swimming skills.

An international education that opens doors worldwide

An enriching academic journey awaits at British International School, Phuket

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