The American School in SwitzerlandThe American School in Switzerland
Bilingual IB Diploma Recipient To Pursue Medical Degree in Switzerland 
Adele Virgilio '21

Adele Virgilio ’21 (Italy) will study Medicine at University of Lausanne with the aim of pursuing a career as either a pediatric oncologist or pediatric cardiologist.

Adele is trilingual in Italian, English, and French and has done ballet training for six days a week since she was a small child. She earned a Bilingual IB Diploma in English and Italian, scoring 37 points on her assessment—a particularly impressive accomplishment considering that she spoke almost no English when she started at TASIS in grade 7.

Adele discussed this achievement and other aspects of her six years at TASIS shortly after her graduation in May of 2021.

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishments at TASIS?
I would say I’ve had two big accomplishments at TASIS: one academic and the other social. First, I was able to become fluent in English in just a year of attending TASIS. In fact, in the second semester of my second year I was moved to the mainstream English class—after just three semesters in EAL. This was a milestone in my life, as I finally felt like I could communicate fluently with the people around me without having to worry about not being able to make them understand me.

My second biggest accomplishment was to get to know all the people in my grade. Looking back at my school years, I can confidently say that I met many people, and each one of them was from a different country or city. I was able to connect with people from all over the world and got the chance to experience their lifestyle and learn about their culture, which could have never happened if I remained in Napoli. This is a big accomplishment for me because I now find myself with a very big group of close friends who come from many different places around the world, and at the same time I also have many other friends who also come from many different countries. This has taught me to stretch myself, to learn about other people's cultures, and at the same time to connect with people who are not the same nationality as I am.

Do you feel that your time at TASIS has prepared you well for college?
I think it has prepared me well for college, as it has taught me to always challenge myself to the fullest in order to get the best outcomes. It has also taught me to never lose my determination in order to be able to fully achieve my dreams and to be successful in life. Being at TASIS has also taught me to connect to people on an international level and to be able to communicate with them and get to know them. 

What experiences have you found most inspiring at TASIS? 
What I have found most inspiring at TASIS is the Global Service Program. I was lucky to be part of the Gram Vikas India group in 11th grade, which gave me the opportunity to travel to India right before the pandemic struck the world. It was the best experience of my life where I was challenged in both a social and emotional aspect. I was able to connect with people from a completely different culture and different lifestyle but who in the end were just like all of us, no matter where they come from. In our week there, I not only made new friendships but also learned the importance of appreciating what I have every day even more and understanding how lucky I am to be able to live with my family in a safe and healthy environment. 

I am so thankful to Gram Vikas because the trip did not just give me the opportunity to meet new people from India. It also allowed me to strengthen some of my old friendships and get close to new people who, in such a short time, became some of the most important people in my life.

What courses or teachers will you remember most fondly? 
I will most fondly remember my Biology classes with Dr. Sawyer-Price, whose love for her job makes her an amazing teacher. She never gave up on any of her students and always tried to push us to do our best. She always had our back, she was available at any time, and she understood if something was wrong and always offered her help to make us feel better. Nevertheless, I will always remember all of my classes and teachers, as they were amazing and made my journey at TASIS a memorable one. 

What do you think you will miss the most about your time at TASIS? 
What I will miss the most about TASIS is just being able to be on campus and see everyone: my friends, teachers, and all of the students at school. I will also miss going to my classes and especially running up the stairs to not be late for Dr. Love's English classes in Ca’ Gioia. I will also miss hanging out in the snack bar, where I was able to see my friends and spend time with them there when possible. I will honestly miss everything about TASIS, but the one thing I will for sure miss the most is seeing all of my friends every day. They have become my family. 

Clearly dealing with a pandemic for your final three semesters isn't how you and your classmates wanted to end your time at TASIS. But is there anything positive you've been able to take away from all of this? 
Dealing with a pandemic was not easy for any of us. Having to be locked in our houses for many months without seeing each other was probably the worst part for everyone, but I think that also not being able to go to school was a struggle for most students, as we were so used to attending our classes and seeing our friends and teachers every day. Something positive for me was that, after having to deal with a lockdown and many quarantines, I started to appreciate more my time spent at school and especially my time with my friends. I did not realize how important it was to see them every day at school and to spend time with them when possible, which is why after living through this pandemic I tried my best to strengthen my friendships and to not take anything for granted—even just a simple morning at school apart from all the stress and tiredness.

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