My Impington Experience: Rigorous, passionate and diverse

  • Luke Kirilenko, Year 13 student

Why did you choose to study at Impington International College (IIC)? What stood out to you about its offering?

I’ve always been interested in the International Baccalaureate (IB), and the College is the only non-private school in Cambridge that offers it. I’m also interested in football, and the College offers a football scholarship programme in partnership with Norwich City Football Club.

I appreciate that the College schedules my coaching and matches into my timetable, which means that I don’t have to worry about organising my studies and my training as the College helps with that balance.


Where were you studying before IIC? 

I’m American and I spent the first 12 years of my life in the United States. However, before IIC, I was studying in Madrid, and lived in Spain for three years.


How did you find the transition to ICC coming from Spain?

It was different, but it was an easier transition than when I moved to Madrid because I can speak my native language. Everyone at IIC is really welcoming and inclusive. There are so many international students at the College that I don’t feel out of place because it is so diverse.


What are you studying?

I’m studying the IB Diploma Programme (DP) and you choose six subjects. I am studying three subjects at Higher Level: Economics, Spanish, and Business, as well as three at Standard Level: Sports Science, Mathematics and English.


Why did you choose the DP?

So I could combine academic learning with my football scholarship. I’ve always enjoyed learning and I wanted to take the most intellectually vigorous course that I could. The IB DP sets you up if you want to go into university and that’s something I’m interested in doing.

I’ve applied to a few universities in the USA, as an early action applicant, because the decision window closed at the end of January. I will then choose my preferred option by the end of May.


Is there anything outside of football you do extra-curricular wise?

I’m involved in a charity called Cambridge Convoy Rescue Action Group (CamCRAG), which arranges convoys to Calais, where refugees need food and resources. I organise donations from the main College and delivery to CamCRAG. I also spend time in the gym at the Impington Village Sports Centre, which is free to use as a student here.


What sparked your interest in CamCRAG?

In the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) element of the DP you are required to complete a project, which I like as it pushes me out of my comfort zone trying something different. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to help others and it’s going to be easier for me to complete projects like this in the future.


Could you talk me through a typical day for you?

On the whole, every day is different. There’s an A week and a B week, and each week has different classes.

Typically, I get into school for my Period 0 lesson at 8:00am and I’ll have three lessons, before a 20-minute break followed by tutor time and another two lessons before lunch. Lunchtime, and Period 5, is when I train for football. Sometimes, I’ll have a Period 6 or 7 lesson, so I will be at school from 8:00am to 5:30pm.


Have you been involved in any sports matches yet?

Every Wednesday we have a football match scheduled, which could be at home or an away match. We have travelled as far as London for our matches and play a variety of different teams.


Any football games that stand out to you?

We played against the F2 Academy, an impressive team from London, which was created by two former professional players. I really enjoyed the challenge of playing against that team.


Have you got a favourite subject?

Economics. It has opened my eyes to the world and I have a much broader understanding of terms, such as ‘unemployment’ or ‘inflation’.  I like the practical element of Economics and how I get to use my classroom learning in real life situations.


Have you got a favourite teacher?

Ms Offord – Director of SEND and Pastoral Care.

I didn’t formally apply to IIC; instead, I visited the College during the second week of term and ended up in her office, she offered me a seat and we were talking for about an hour. It was a beautiful moment because I was so worried about the pandemic and what I was going to do. She registered me as a student and I’m incredibly grateful to her for doing that. Being accepted into the College has changed my life for the better. Even though I don’t see Ms Offord much, I’d like to tell her I appreciate her for the opportunity she gave me.


Why would you recommend IIC to students who are considering the college?

Personally, the diversity is my favourite aspect of the College. I have been exposed to so many political persuasions and ways of living. It’s cool when you can bring all of these different people together and be sociable and polite to one another. It can open your eyes as you might have a preconceived notion of people but I feel like when you’re with them in real life, it changes everything. It’s what I love about IIC and I don’t think you can find that easily anywhere else.


How would you sum up your experience of IIC in three words?

Rigorous, passionate, and diverse.