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ESF The First 50 Years - People stories

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English Schools Foundation

Memories that last a lifetime

ESF alumnus: Thomas Au

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 December, 2017, 9:02am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 December, 2017, 9:01am

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As a youngster attending Discovery College, Thomas Au had a deep interest in solving problems, and a fascination for chemistry. Both were nurtured and encouraged by the school’s dedicated teachers, he says.

Discovery College’s unique learning environment also played a positive role. “My parents decided to send me to an ESF school because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and try a new study environment,” Thomas says. Studying the IB Diploma helped him become a more independent learner, he notes.

Thomas’s English teacher influenced his world view, and taught him to consider the past, as well as the present, while making a judgement. The teacher also advised him to explore different perspectives and alternative arguments before making a decision.

ESF graduates often form lifelong friendships during their studies, and this is true of Thomas. “I met two of my best friends on my first day at Discovery College, and we’ve been in close contact ever since,” he says. Their friendship remains as strong as ever, even though they live in far flung places around the globe, Thomas notes.

After graduation, Thomas earned a chemical engineering degree from University College London. He recalls that it was “the opportunity to perform different labs weekly at an ESF school that sparked my interest in the field.”

Thomas fondly remembers the highly qualified and caring staff members at Discovery College who helped him reach his goals. “They all brought unique experiences to class, and they nurtured the different attributes that I possess today,” he says. “Discovery College developed my individuality, taught me how to be a critical thinker, and showed me how to take the initiative and become a leader,” he says.

Thomas says he took part in a full range of activities at Discovery College, but if he could go back and do it again, he would try to do even more. Special memories of his time there include a trip to Kenya, which was “truly wild”, winning at the ESF debate competition, playing on the basketball team and, of course, all the close friends he made.