School Advisor Articles

Kavya Balaji’s Journey: How HELP International School Shaped Her into a Global Citizen

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Jan 23, 2024

Kavya Balaji’s story is one of transformation, resilience and a deep appreciation for the transformative power of education. Her journey at HELP International School wasn’t just about academics; it was about shaping her into the well-rounded individual she is today.

“Studying at an international school gave me an added advantage,” Kavya says. “The opportunities, resources and even the syllabus content were different, and I am incredibly grateful to have gotten access to such an education before even heading off to university.”

Studying at HELP International School

Kavya’s transition to an international school setting in Year 6 marked the beginning of a profound chapter in her life.

“My parents chose to send me to HELP because of its commitment to mould students into thinkers. The most important things were the exposure to the world beyond the classroom, technology integration in learning, and the balance between studying and out-of-school activities.”


At HELP, she also discovered a harmonious blend of Asian comfort and exposure to the broader international world. The school provided numerous opportunities for inter-school activities, fostering connections that transcended geographical boundaries. Kavya reflects, “I made lifelong friends there, ones I still keep in touch with despite being on opposite sides of the world, and unknowingly gained a few role models and mentors in my teachers.”

HELP didn’t just provide Kavya with an education; it gave her the tools and confidence to excel. The school’s supportive teachers and well-designed curriculum helped her discover her passions in English Literature, History and Design Technology in IGCSE. She learned to think critically, challenge assumptions and dive deeper into subjects that sparked her curiosity.

“Maths, which was one of my weaker subjects, became something I enjoyed learning through the support from my teachers,” she shares.

Continuous encouragement from her teachers fueled her confidence, culminating in her successful run for student council and eventual appointment as Head Girl in Year 13 during her A-Levels.

“Whether it was debating, Model United Nations or even the more rigorous syllabus of A-Levels, my teachers always supported and encouraged me.”

In Year 13, Kavya Balaji (centre) served as the Head Girl at HELP

Beyond the Classroom

HELP’s diverse co-curricular activities allowed Kavya to explore her interests beyond academics. From dance and swimming to public speaking and debating, she found avenues to express herself, build resilience and develop valuable life skills.

“I aimed to be someone who wanted to try a variety of different things, to build my experience and learn before I took up a course at university.”

One impactful experience was her involvement in the World Scholar’s Cup. This global competition challenged her intellectually and exposed her to diverse perspectives, igniting a passion for lifelong learning.

“I met people from around the world and learned topics and subjects completely foreign to a 15-year-old, like astronomy paradoxes and social science phenomena. While it was challenging, it showed me my passions and skills as I went through the experience with my friends and teachers.”

A-Levels Excellence Amidst Challenges


Kavya’s A-Levels journey was challenging, particularly amid the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our exams were under strict rules as we missed many face-to-face interactions that could have happened during those two years. However, this only made way for new ways of learning and creative solutions,” she notes.

Despite the constraints, HELP adapted creatively, offering engaging online classes and maintaining a high level of interaction between students and teachers. This was done through presentations and games. The teachers took the added effort to keep the learning flow going, answering students’ doubts, even on weekends, and reaching out to see if they needed any assistance.

Once Kavya was back in person, there was a seamless transition, and she did not feel left behind and overwhelmed as the momentum was always kept high. The school’s emphasis on skill-building co-curricular activities, like the entrepreneurial-focused Project Purpose in her Sixth Form Studies, added a practical dimension to Kavya's education. This project, where she designed a website to help students manage their lives, won her the ‘Shark Tank’ competition.

“While this was extracurricular, this project helped me with my Computer Science subject as I learned to code the website from scratch and the four languages that came along with it, which was one of the best things about A-Levels - everything was connected to provide a holistic and well-rounded experience.”

At A-Levels, Kavya scored A*A*B in Maths, Economics, and Computer Science respectively. 

A Smooth Transition to University

As Kavya neared the end of her school journey, the Higher Education (HE) team at HELP played a crucial role in shaping her path to the University of Melbourne. While her peers explored options in the UK and the US, Kavya was drawn to Australia. The school facilitated career counselling, introduced platforms like UniFrog and Forage, and connected her with alumni in the relevant field.

Contrary to the complexity faced by some applicants, Kavya's application process was streamlined. In fact, she found the application process for Australian universities much simpler than that for the UK. She remarks, “My application process was simple enough that the school did not need to be involved in that aspect - I just had to submit my final grades.”

This simplicity, however, did not imply a lack of support. HELP's HE team provided personalised advice through education agents, ensuring Kavya felt confident in navigating the administrative aspects of her application.

At the University of Melbourne, she is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce – BCom, Finance and Marketing. Her exposure to finance concepts through programmes like the Bloomberg Market Concepts at HELP ignited her fascination with the intricacies of the stock market.

Her passion for reading and writing fueled her interest in marketing, and subjects like English Literature, Design Technology and History provided valuable insights into the field. The interdisciplinary approach she adopted during her school years allowed her to explore various subjects, creating a well-rounded foundation for her current academic pursuits.

Kavya is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce - BCom, Finance and Marketing at the University of Melbourne.


International School Advantage in University Life

Studying at an international school equipped Kavya with the skills to transition seamlessly to university life. The diverse cultural exposure at HELP facilitated easy socialisation, while the rigorous A-Levels programme prepared her for the self-discipline required in higher education.

On the other hand, Kavya believes HELP taught her much about mixing with different cultures and people - something Kavya is now comfortable doing at the university.

Most importantly, HELP’s emphasis on the ‘bigger picture’ enabled her to think critically and connect the dots, which was invaluable in her academic and personal pursuits.

“Being able to understand and know a variety of subjects encouraged me to make conversation with people more, including my professors,” she shares. “It pushed me to think outside the box while learning and solving problems, and equipped me better with life skills in my daily life.”

A Grateful Reflection and Wise Advice

Kavya’s time at HELP is filled with cherished memories. Her experience as Head Girl and Senior Student Council member in Year 12 stands out.

“It was a time that I was truly given the freedom to create change for the future generation of students,” she recalls.

Her fondest memory as Head Girl was spearheading an initiative for solar panels. Kavya and her team successfully proposed the installation of solar panels in the school, contributing to a more sustainable future. This experience taught her valuable leadership skills and instilled a sense of agency and the power of collective action.

“I would definitely recommend HELP,” she says. “With the IGCSE and A-Level programme constantly being developed further, with newer subjects being introduced, and other extracurriculars, there is a great balance between academics and non-academics. There is an opportunity available for everyone; whether it be the arts, sciences, sports, entrepreneurship, or even design, there is something for you to try out and test your skills on your passion.”