Tim Ivanic was a student at GESS from 1993 to 1996. Recently, he visited Singapore and stopped by his old school to give us a quick interview.
1. What do you miss most about your time at GESS and Singapore?
I miss the great atmosphere between teachers, students and other staff. There was always this general vibe of reciprocal appreciation and respect that I missed especially during the following years at my German Gymnasium. The school community really was special (and probably is still). Apart from that, the fondest memories surely are the many extracurricular activities I was involved in, such as the plays we performed with Mrs Stiehl or achieving second place at Tanglin Cup (soccer) with Mr Clark.
I remember the stuff I did with my school friends like going to shopping centres and playing arcade games…just so many things to do everywhere. The trips I went on with my parents were also mostly possible because of the great geographical location of Singapore where it’s not too far to India or Australia – places that I wouldn’t have been if it hadn’t been for my time in Singapore. I recently went back after almost exactly 20 years and it’s funny how much is still feels familiar despite all the changes.
2. What did you always want to tell my classroom teacher but never dared to say?
My or your classroom teacher? J Just kidding…Of all the teachers I had I have to say Mr Sauer left the most impression on me, that would be something that I would like to tell him – and luckily we are still somewhat in contact, so I might end up telling it to him directly, thank you J
3. Do you think your time here had an impact on your future life?
Definitely. In my current job I need to communicate across cultures, mostly in English. The experience of my stay in Singapore and the corresponding cross-cultural “awareness” (if you want to call it that) that went along with it have stayed with me and shaped me and are now helping me relate to and communicate effectively with our international customers. My time in Singapore has also kept the desire to spend longer times abroad in me alive and sparked my curiosity for other countries. This I think helped me make the decision to spend half a year in the US later down the line and that again has helped me get hired with my current job. So yes, I think that time has definitely shaped me.
4. Is there any piece of advice or any experience you may like to share?
It’s always worth taking a detour. Even if you think past decisions may have been the wrong ones, they will turn out as the right ones eventually. Also, do not consider yourself worth less because your CV is not as straight and flawless as someone else’s. It might just be that detour that an employer might be looking for!
5. Tell us a bit about where you went after you left GESS.
I went back to my home town of Erlangen, went to Gymnasium, got my Abitur after an extra year just before graduating, studied English and German to pursue a teaching career but ended up with a software company and now get to travel the world. Apart from that, I became a glider pilot and flight instructor, the father of two, married, and generally pretty happy. Although where I am now is not where I had thought I would end up 20 years after leaving GESS (or then DSS). And I am still in touch with a couple of classmates from way back then – occasionally we manage to organize meet-ups where I can see in what great company I was back then and still am when we meet.
Fun fact on the side: While I worked as a trainee teacher (Referendar) at a school near Augsburg, I found out that my English seminar teacher knows Mr Altersberger, who back in the days used to be the second principal of DSS – life is full of surprises!