Once a Dolphin Always a Dolphin

When did you arrive at ISP?

We reached in '91 from Hamburg, Germany and I started in Mrs. Fernandez 5th after she returned from maternity leave. I believe we completed 5 and 6th grade at our campus in La Cresta when the school looked more like a house. I had quite difficult first months,  I was homesick, cried half the day and I think I irritated many of my classmates. But looking back I can also remember being comforted by people like Diane Guevara. Now that I remember after 6th grade with Mrs. Patterson, we moved over to the 7th grade in the old HS building which was in another part of the city. After that, we moved to the new campus in Cerro Viento. I remember long bus rides and singing songs on the bus, often times annoying the bus drivers with our wonderful singing.

When we arrived at the new school it wasn't finished yet but it had huge hallways and there was lots of space to sit and have lunch and chat with friends. I think there is still a picture in a yearbook of my friends sitting on that infamous bench eating airheads. I can also remember being surprised by the wildlife on campus like the time we found the scorpion outside of Mr. Altaji's classroom. Not something you see back in Germany.

Who was your favorite teacher?

I can't tell u my fave teachers cuz all of them were super sweet and special in their ways. I just know I remember them all so dearly. Mrs. Fernandez, Mrs. Patterson, Mr. Altaji of course ( met him again when I came to visit in 2001) Mrs. de Zevallos, Ms. Cochez, the late Mrs. Wenzel😕

I had a really tough time getting used to ISP when I first came but the minute my parents told Miriam and me we had to return back to Germany early, because the Banco Germanico had a new position for dad back home, crushed me. Leaving my home, my dear friends and everything.. I just didn't want to leave.  And I tell u this... I have NEVER again witnessed such great and true friendships like the ones I made back then at ISP and Panama. I wouldn't repeat any of my schoolings in Germany, not even for a million dollars, but if I was offered a chance to go back to ISP with my friends, I would do it in flash. I truly wish  I could have stayed longer with these people! I am still in contact with I'd say 97% of all the people from back then via WhatsApp, FB and instagram. And some of them I met again in the past years and it's like we just had coffee the other day.

What did you go on to study after ISP?

I graduated in Germany and went on to do an apprenticeship in foreign trade this is how   I ended up at TomTailor, a German clothing brand. Worked my way up from little buying assistant to Buying Manager in charge of the Men's Division Jackets/Pants/Denims. I fly to Asia 2-3x a yr to visit our suppliers, discuss business, negotiate prices etc. and again..thanks to ISP.. wouldn't be as good at it had I not learned the English I did back then. The job is amazing and I truly cherish the given opportunities and I feel lucky and blessed.

ISP and living abroad taught me compassion and openness to the different cultures of this world. To look past your own plate and see what the next one has to offer on his or hers. Today dealing with so many business people in Asia from China to Myanmar, Vietnam, India via Bangladesh to Indonesia thru Pakistan on to SriLanka the roots were set back at ISP. 

I love all the different cultures and what they have to offer and to bring along an open mind and compassion and empathy is key. ISP also taught me that home is where the heart is and that true friends are not the ones you see daily but the ones who are a WhatsApp message away, when you haven't seen them in 26yrs, but they hear you out and send you a hug when you need it.

I would never replace my 3yrs at the ISP family and Panama ever.  Such a special and dear time to me and when I see pics of ISP today on instagram or FB I get this little melancholic feeling... yes.. I miss it! It was a truly amazing time and I love my parents for dragging me over there, school uniform, strange new language and all. Best time !

A longstanding tradition at ISP has been to sign departing students shirts, Corinna not only remembers this fondly, she kept and still fits in her old uniform. Evidence featured below.

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