School Advisor Articles

Andrea Choong’s Transformation to Empowered Media Planner at SIS

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Feb 21, 2024

Andrea Choong’s path from a shy teenager to a confident media planner began in the warm embrace of Sunway International School (SIS).

“I had a wonderful 3 years in SIS with a very engaging learning environment, encouraging teachers and various opportunities to grow.”

These factors equipped her with the skills and self-belief to thrive in university and beyond.

Since its inception in Malaysia in 2008, SIS has consistently offered a comprehensive educational environment designed to foster the development of children in the 21st century. Diverging from the passive learning approach still prevalent in numerous Malaysian schools, SIS educators actively lead their students through highly engaging methods, ensuring a more rewarding educational journey towards future success.

Operating from a small campus in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur and offering three world-renowned school qualifications, Canadian-based programme (Ontario Secondary School Diploma), Cambridge (IGCSE) International Programme and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), the school fosters a close-knit community where everyone knows each other. This familiarity translates into a supportive learning environment where collaboration and open communication are encouraged. The move-between-class system and dedicated study periods provide ample space for interaction, which allowed Andrea to build strong relationships with classmates and teachers.

SIS’s curriculum isn’t just about memorisation; it emphasises critical thinking and application of knowledge. Presentations, group projects and real-world simulations mimic university settings, which prepared Andrea for the challenges ahead. “Our grades are attributed to various projects, exams, tests and participation.”

This exposure to diverse perspectives, with mostly Canadian teachers with a certified Ontario teaching licence and a multicultural student body, further enriched her learning experience.

During her three years at SIS, Andrea experienced a stimulating learning atmosphere with supportive instructors and abundant growth opportunities.

Discovering Passions through CCAs

Active participation in co-curricular activities (CCAs) was pivotal in Andrea’s personal and academic development. “I was quite active in trying out new clubs, from raising funds with the Christian Fellowship to planning events with the Interact Club and even learning German and cooking with the various clubs available.”

Competing in sports competitions and engaging in various clubs enriched her skill set and laid the foundation for successful university applications.

Community service was also an integral part of Andrea’s SIS experience. Volunteering as a peer tutor in maths allowed her to help others and gain valuable insights into different communities and their challenges. This instilled in her a sense of social responsibility and the importance of giving back, values she continues to uphold today.

Confidence Broke Barriers 

Andrea’s journey wasn’t without challenges. Initially shy and lacking self-esteem, public speaking was a daunting task. However, the SIS curriculum, with its emphasis on presentations and class discussions, forced her out of her shell. She also credits SIS for instilling in her a goal-oriented mindset.

“With a lot of help from my friends and constructive feedback from my teachers, I became better one step at a time. I believe that the environment at SIS made me very goal-oriented. This go-getter personality and my good grades got me into Monash University,” she acknowledges.

This transformation culminated in her winning MVP and Best Presenter awards during a university marketing competition, showcasing SIS’s impact on her personal growth.

Andrea actively participated in a variety of clubs at SIS.

The diverse and multicultural environment at SIS also equipped her with the ability to form working relationships and collaborate effectively with diverse teams.

“I was quite used to working with others and established my own working style. With this, it was easy to achieve the grades I wanted, especially on group projects,” she says.

Her journey through high school had already equipped her with the skills needed to lead a team or ensure its cohesive functioning. Andrea didn’t hesitate to take charge when required, drawing from her prior experiences to find solutions to any challenge that arose. Whether it was seeking assistance from teachers or addressing concerns with problematic team members, she approached each situation with confidence and determination.

Nurturing a Passion for Marketing

After graduating from SIS, Andrea pursued her passion at Monash Business School, where she pursued a Bachelor of Business and Commerce, Marketing.

Andrea’s interest in marketing was sparked by a close family friend, a successful head of marketing for a luxury brand. Witnessing her creativity and strategic planning firsthand fueled an inherent curiosity and creative drive.

SIS was the perfect platform that honed these skills through presentations, group projects and real-world simulations, solidifying her decision to pursue a career in marketing.

Today, Andrea works as a media planner at Mediabrands Malaysia.

Advice for Parents Considering International Schools

As Andrea thrives in her current role at Mediabrands Malaysia, she emphasises the importance of SIS in her life. “It is a big part of who I am now, allowing me to shine with my skills in my workplace.”

However, while SIS’s Canadian programme had worked wonders for her, Andrea emphasises that understanding the child’s needs is crucial for a successful academic journey. “Many excel in the British system, where learning is much more knowledge-based, and the grading system is based on tests. This might not work well with people who prefer hands-on experiences, applying the knowledge with agility and communicating it efficiently.”

Thus, she advises parents to understand their child’s learning style before deciding on an international school.