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BISP Class of 2022 Alumni, Marija Rutkauskaite, a remarkable young woman with a passion for swimming, resilience, and a heart full of determination, has been carving her path toward greatness. Born and raised in Lithuania, Marija embarked on a transformative journey that led her to embrace new experiences, overcome challenges, and discover her true potential.
At the tender age of 15 in 2018, Marija made the courageous decision to leave her homeland and pursue her education at the renowned British International School, Phuket (BISP) in Thailand. This leap of faith marked the beginning of a transformative chapter in her life. Leaving behind the familiarity of her small public school, Marija ventured into a new world filled with exciting opportunities and boundless potential.
During her time at BISP, Marija’s dedication to both her academics and athletic pursuits shone brightly. She excelled academically, successfully completing both the courses of IGCSE and IB, demonstrating her commitment to intellectual growth. In addition to her scholastic achievements, Marija’s journey in swimming has been recognized for her exceptional talent and dedication. Marija became a multiple national champion in Lithuania at the age of 14.
This success opened doors for her to represent her home country in prestigious events like the European Youth Olympic Festival, European Junior Championships, and World Junior Championships. These experiences further fueled Marija’s passion and determination, propelling her to achieve remarkable feats both nationally and internationally. Her journey stands as proof to her commitment to excellence in the pool. Therefore, she was awarded a scholarship to join the High-Performance Swim Team at BISP. Her remarkable skills led her to secure the title of national Thai champion multiple times and earn medals in various local meets.
Beyond her achievements in the pool, Marija also dedicated herself to making a positive impact within the school community. She actively participated in BISP’s SHINE Team, taking on a leadership role to promote mental and physical well-being among her peers. Her involvement in boarding house activities further exemplified her commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for all students.
After graduating from BISP in 2022, Marija embarked on another adventure, relocating to California to pursue her studies at a Division 1 school. She was granted a scholarship to compete at the highest level, representing her university while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business at California State University, Fresno. This new chapter in her academic and athletic journey has allowed her to continue pushing her limits and striving for excellence.
Marija’s path to success has been shaped by countless individuals who have inspired and supported her throughout her journey. Among the influential figures in Marija’s life, one person stood out as the pillar of support and guidance throughout her time at BISP: Ms. Magali, her house parent. From the moment Marija arrived at BISP, Ms. Magali played a vital role in making her feel at home, providing a sense of security and someone to rely on during her entire stay. Their enduring connection and never-ending support created a nurturing environment where Marija could thrive academically, athletically, and personally. Ms. Magali’s presence and dedication made a profound impact on Marija’s experience at BISP, solidifying her belief that a supportive community can truly transform one’s educational journey. Another person who left an indelible mark on Marija’s life was her art teacher, Mrs. McGuigan. These remarkable women served as role models, guiding Marija’s attitudes, values, and behaviours. Their presence, almost akin to that of parents, significantly influenced Marija’s personal growth and inspired her to lead a meaningful life.
Reflecting upon her time at BISP, Marija acknowledges that her journey was a true rollercoaster, filled with both joyous and challenging moments. From battling homesickness to adapting to new cultures, languages, and cuisines, she encountered numerous obstacles. However, with the endless support and guidance of her teachers, coaches, staff, and fellow students, Marija persevered and emerged stronger than ever. The friendships forged and connections made at BISP continue to be a wellspring of inspiration, reinforcing her belief in the power of a closely-knit community.
Throughout her educational journey, Marija has exemplified her commitment to social responsibility and empathy. During the COVID-19 crisis, she actively engaged in community outreach, distributing food packages to locals in temples and parks. Through this experience, Marija witnessed the transformative power of community support and the profound impact she could have on the lives of others. Her dedication to making a difference serves as an inspiring example of compassion and unity during challenging times.
Looking toward the future, Marija harbours a burning desire to seize every opportunity that comes her way. She aspires to become the best version of herself, recognizing that personal growth and positive change can extend not only to her own life but also to the lives of those around her. Through her constant dedication and determination, Marija aims to leave a lasting impact on the world.
To the current students of BISP, Marija shares a heartfelt message. One thing Marija would like current BISP students to know is that no matter how the overall school journey might seem, in the end it’s all worth it. Academics at BISP opens so many doors to possibilities you may not even know exist yet. It is all worth it at the end! The connections you make, the friends you find and the opportunities that are unlocked are life-changing. Marija encourages them to embrace the ride, savour every moment, and hold steadfast to their dreams.
Marija’s story is an embodiment of resilience, determination, and the pursuit of excellence. Her inspiring journey serves as a testament to the transformative power of education, personal growth, and community support. As she continues to make her mark on the world, Marija Rutkauskaite will undoubtedly inspire countless individuals to strive for greatness and embrace the beauty of their own unique journeys.
Some of Marija’s Unforgettable Memories at BISP:
- Making ’Friends for life’ while at BISP,
- Volunteering at the Primary School swim meets,
- Volunteering at charities during COVID-19,
- Becoming Thai national champion for the first time in 2019 and
- Graduation day and the last “See You Later”, not Goodbye from Marija to Ms Magali and BISP.