In the realm of education, only a handful of schools have the power to leave an enduring mark on students, shaping their futures for years to come. Garden International School (GIS) stands as a beacon of such educational excellence, nurturing young minds and preparing them for a world of opportunities. A shining example of this is Katelyn Tan, an exceptional alumna whose journey from her early days at GIS has led her to the esteemed position of senior writer at Tatler Asia. Born in Kuala Lumpur, Katelyn’s path has been paved with passion, determination and the unwavering support of the GIS community.
Katelyn's journey began at GIS in Year 4, where she continued until Year 13. “I really enjoyed my time at GIS as I felt supported by the community that the school fostered – I suppose that’s why I ended up staying for 9 years,” she says.
Recognised by the Council of International Schools, Garden International School (GIS) boasts a distinguished reputation in Malaysia's educational landscape. Its history-rich legacy is upheld across two campuses: Desa Sri Hartamas, catering to Early Years (Nursery to Reception) and Mont Kiara, housing Primary and Secondary students (Year 1 to Year 13). GIS represents a diverse community, attracting students from 65 different countries aged 3 to 18. The school promotes creativity, builds confidence and transforms students into global citizens through exceptional teaching. Complemented by a tailored British curriculum that embraces diversity and meets the needs of students, GIS sets the stage for success.
Reflecting on her time at GIS, Katelyn vividly recalls her participation in the transformative Duke of Edinburgh programme. “My most memorable experience was doing the Duke of Edinburgh or International Award. The participants in my year climbed and summited Mount Rinjani, an active volcano in Indonesia. It was such an exciting experience and I’m so grateful that GIS provided me with such an opportunity.”
Katelyn, who scored 3A* in Biology, Economics and Mathematics in her A Levels, went on to study social sciences at University College London (UCL). She praised the GIS Higher Education (HE) team for the support she received throughout her UCAS applications, a system in the UK that helps students apply to universities and colleges for higher education. The UCAS application is where students share their grades, info and personal statements to apply for undergraduate courses. It makes applying to multiple places easier.
“The GIS Higher Education team played a crucial role in shaping my personal statement. Having two teachers guide my progress and answer my questions was incredibly helpful,” Katelyn says.
Katelyn's journey took an exciting turn during her gap year. Discovering a newfound passion for culinary arts, she embarked on an internship at Tatler Dining – a choice that would ultimately shape her career trajectory.
“I applied for an internship at Tatler Dining as I realised I might want to pursue a career in the F&B industry,” she says. “I loved how much I was able to do within the company even as an intern, and the following year, I did another internship at Tatler Dining. In my third year of university, the company reached out about taking a permanent role as senior dining writer.”
Katelyn's internships at Tatler Dining provided her with the exposure and experience she needed to step into the role and that was where her passion for writing and journalism evolved.
“I fostered a love for F&B before I grew my love for writing! I love food as a subject matter, which makes writing about it much more seamless.
While Katelyn's career direction crystallised during university, her time at GIS played a vital role in shaping her path. Participating in leadership roles such as house captain and student leader at GIS, she honed her confidence and communication skills. These qualities are now instrumental in her role as a writer at Tatler, where she engages with high-profile personalities and covers exclusive events.
Drawing from her journey, Katelyn encourages students who aspire to follow a similar path in writing and media. “Definitely take on work experience! I only realised it was a job that I would love after my internship at Tatler,” she says.
Katelyn's story underscores the importance of real-world exposure in discovering one's true calling. At GIS, all Year 12 students have the opportunity to participate in a four-week THRIVE internship aligned with their interests, providing invaluable real-world knowledge and skills while working alongside experienced industry professionals. This internship programme gives students a glimpse into their future paths.
Katelyn has over 218k followers in her food blog and Instagram page.
Beyond her career, Katelyn’s creative prowess shines in her food blog and Instagram page, “katfewd.” With an impressive following of 218k, her journey from cooking as a hobby to serious content creating is inspiring. Documenting her culinary escapades and creative dishes, Katelyn's success story is a testament to the power of pursuing one's passions.
Katelyn's remarkable journey from Garden International School to her current role as a senior writer at Tatler Asia stands as a testament to the power of passion, dedication and a nurturing environment that GIS provides. Her story illustrates how GIS’s support, opportunities and encouragement paved the way for her success.
Parents who are considering sending their children to an international school can draw inspiration from Katelyn's journey, understanding that the foundation laid during their child’s educational years is a crucial element to remarkable careers.