Chuchu photo

ZIS brings together people with diverse backgrounds

ZIS graduate Chu Chu Muurimaki speaks with Mike Piotrowski, DP Theory of Knowledge and Languages teacher.



Mike Piotrowski: Hey Chu Chu. What a pleasure to talk to you again after all those years!


Chu Chu Muurimaki: Thanks for having me.

MP:  We miss you so much. Your incredible work ethic and phenomenal intuition made classes and school life so much more meaningful. Anything you miss about ZIS?


CCM:  I really want to say the food but Vicky already mentioned it… Other two things would be our homeroom (404 if I remember correctly) and the close relationships with other students and teachers. So many things happened in 404 and I feel like it’s my ‘home’ in the school. I even got my favourite spot to sit in 404. There was laughter, great discussions, studying, studying and studying in 404. I still remember this creative mess on the tables with piles of pass papers during mock exams, and even took a photo because I think it is the best capture of my high school years… In addition, I really appreciate the close relationships with each other in ZIS. Everyone knew everyone, enabling effective communication and feedback which in turn helps everyone to do better.

MP: Hopefully we have improved on the mess since you left (laughter). Is there any specific ZIS moment you remember most fondly?


CCM:  There are just too many moments… But the best ones must be the WWW trip during DP1 to Sichuan as well as CASert. The Sichuan trip was physically exhausting because the days were full with programs and we had to get up early. However, the programs were all very interesting and I would not have got the chance to do them if it wasn’t WWW (Thanks Caelan Ho for organizing this). The food was also amazing and Chengdu became my No.1 city I want to live in. CASert on the other hand gave me and our team so many challenges (coming up with an actual concert, me trying to direct a musical performance with no singing/playing experience). At the same time the atmosphere during preparation and performance was so good and everyone was trying their best to make it happen. This kind of atmosphere you rarely find in uni.

MP:  Oh yes, I remember that magical chemistry between you and your classmates both in and outside the classroom. You were such a diverse bunch, varied in personalities and backgrounds but also so cohesive as a unit.  Any regrets about high school and DP?


CCM: I would probably choose the same subjects (with the same HL/SL) because I made a good decision then. The subjects are either very interesting to me or useful for me. However I might change Psychology into Physics or Chemistry. I enjoyed studying the former and it gave me new ways to look at things compared to other friends in uni, but the latter is useful since I am currently studying Environmental Science and even want to study Environmental Engineering for Masters. Thus, it is of great help to already know what you want to study in uni or at least know the area of study while choosing DP subjects.

MP: Absolutely! Any other advice for ZIS students?


CCM: Two years ago my advice for Y12s was to prepare early. This advice has not changed. Choosing your favourite universities and majors requires lots of research. There are millions of unis, study programs, countries, campuses etc. out there. They are all very different but only a fraction of them suits you and the policies might change year to year, so it is essential to start researching early. Personally I started checking uni information in DP1 (contact data, special requirements for IB, where to live, how to transport etc.). So start figuring out the countries and study programs you are interested in and start with checking the general policies ASAP.

MP: Couldn’t agree more.  Students should treat high school as a springboard to university, not as a goal

in itself. How did ZIS help you in reaching your academic goals?


CCM: Must be with open-mindedness and organizing skills. ZIS brings together people with diverse backgrounds and personalities. Everyone can learn new things and enhance one’s understanding of the world and themselves. Open-mindedness not only helps you in college, but also in life. It is not specifically helpful in any events in uni, but rather generally throughout university life especially if you are active in student organizations. My years in ZIS were full of work and activities and this helped me in developing my organization and prioritization skills. I have a lot of freedom here so it is important to be able to organize my own life with a target in mind.

MP: Thanks for finding time for this interview, Chu Chu. Always a pleasure.


CCM: No worries. All the best for ZIS and the entire community! I miss you guys!

Chu Chu Muurimaki graduated from ZIS in 2016 with a DP score of 39. She is currently studying at the University of Helsinki in her native Finland majoring in Environmental Science.  Currently, she dreams of “having a huge dog, two cats and owning a theatre”.