Course and Subject Selection

Graduates share their personal stories and perspectives on choosing and
completing courses and subjects at our school

At Linden Hall High School, students can choose their courses and subjects taking into account their educational and career goals as well as interests. We asked our graduates what their classes were really like, as well as how their course and subject selections affected them.

Graduated in 2023 / IB course

Maria Tsuzuki
University of California – Davis
(#2 in World for Veterinary Science)
Animal Science

I learned to ask, “Why?” until I got to the root of the matter.

I chose the IB course because I knew even from junior high school that I would apply to study at university overseas. Another reason I chose the IB is that I wanted to gain the ability to think deeply and critically rather than accept superficial explanations.
One of my favourite IB subjects was History. In our classes, we analysed historical events such as wars and revolutions from a variety of perspectives, including economics, politics and sociology. Through repeating this analytical process, I acquired the skill of looking at almost everything from various viewpoints.
Furthermore, because Linden Hall High School is simultaneously an Ichijou-Kou and IB World School, I was able to receive both a Japanese and an international education. Through the domestic aspect of my education, I learned a vast amount of knowledge and information. Add to this the IB programme’s strength of deep inquiry and analysis into particular subtopics, and I was able to access the best of both educational philosophies. Today, I feel I possess a knack for asking critical questions across a broad array of disciplines and consider issues from a global perspective. For instance, Japan’s victory in the Russo-Japanese War is often attributed to excellent military strategies and the state of world affairs, but upon deeper consideration, it is likely that large-scale investments from the USA and UK played an important role: Japan’s winning the war enabled those countries to profit greatly. It is crucial that we analyse history from multiple points of view. Through my years at Linden Hall High School, I cultivated a curiosity about the world and came to understand that events and processes occur for identifiable reasons, and that relationships between regions and entities are too complex to be understood without taking the time for deeper analysis.

*Ichijou-Kou refers to educational institutions stipulated in Article 1 of the School Education Law in Japan, and includes kindergartens, elementary schools, junior high schools, compulsory education schools, high schools, secondary schools, schools for students with special needs, universities, and technical colleges.


Graduated in 2023 / IB Course

Rinto Morinaga
International Christian University
Liberal Arts

I loved the academic connections between diverse disciplines.

I chose the IB course because I was attracted to its philosophy, offerings and utility for university admissions. I particularly enjoyed the CAS component of my IB experience. Selecting and organizing activities according to my personal interests and needs was a welcome challenge that developed my leadership, initiation, judgement and collaboration skills. My CAS experiences were helpful in my university application process, and I predict they will continue to serve me throughout my life.
In terms of my classes, I believe TOK particularly influenced the way I think. Through TOK, I learned to ask questions of information presented and evaluate the validity of claims rather than passively absorb others’ teachings. In short, I developed stronger critical thinking skills. The many opportunities to consider knowledge from a philosophical standpoint and discuss various arguments together with classmates instilled in me the habit of deeper thinking.
I also enjoyed my Business Management lessons, where I learned a great deal about how businesses operate and approach problem solving. Importantly, I learned to measure a company’s success by not only its performance and profit, but also its ethical and moral conduct. The latter can be classified as TOK perspectives, but in the IB course, subjects complement and enhance each other.

*CAS… A component of the IB that involves the following 3 elements: Creativity, Activity, and Service. Students engage in this programme outside of class hours over the course of two years.
*TOK…A component of the IB in which students develop their critical thinking and inquiry skills through reconsidering what it means to “know” and learning to evaluate claims to knowledge.


Graduated in 2022 / IB Course

Hitoha Nagura
Okayama University

I experienced firsthand the importance of exploring one’s interests deeply.

I chose the IB course because I wanted to become a doctor who could utilize English in her practice. I studied Biology at Higher Level (HL) during the diploma programme. I found that the more specialised knowledge I gained through this class helped me greatly during my first year of medical school, when I studied Biology.
One of my clearest memories of the IB course was writing my Extended Essay (EE). I had never previously researched or thought so deeply about a single topic. I wrote my essay on medical ethics, more specifically the ethics of cloning and genetic engineering, which I had always been interested in. The EE requires students to conduct research on a topic of their choice, develop a thesis, and communicate it logically. While it was challenging to write a 4,000 word essay in English, my second language, I believe I benefited greatly from thinking critically about ethical dilemmas to which there are no right or wrong answers. Once at medical school, I had the opportunity to engage in group discussion of medical ethics. I felt both surprised and proud that I was able to contribute various ideas to the discussion fluently, and I believe I owe this to my experience crafting my EE. At Linden Hall High School, I learned how important it is to think through topics in depth.

*EE… A component of the IB in which students independently research a topic of their choice and divulge their findings in academic writing.


Graduated in 2019 / TI Course

Takumi Fujimoto
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
(#3 in the USA for Aeronautical Science)
Aeronautical Science

Several classes and events guided me toward my current path.

I have wanted to become a pilot and work in the aviation industry since I was very young. I chose the TI course and, more specifically, Mathematics and Physics as subjects, because they are relevant to aerodynamics. What I learned in these subjects has been of great use to me at university.
My experience in a Round Square tournament also influenced my university and professional choices. In this event, young people from various countries discussed topics in English and built friendships. Through the tournament, I realized that English, as an international language, allowed people from all over the world to communicate. I knew then that I wanted to utilize my English skills in my career, and I decided to enroll in university in the USA.
Japanese is the subject that stands out most in my six years at Linden Hall High School. In the beginning, it was the subject I had the most difficulty with, but my teacher took the time and energy to support my studies. When we were learning to write essays, she gave me both positive and negative feedback, such as, “Your ideas are strong, but you need to write with greater clarity,” which helped me understand my weak points without losing motivation toward the subject. Our Japanese teacher had very high expectations of us, but she was also incredibly supportive and passionate about her subject. That is why I have such fond memories of this class even today.

*Round Square ... This International Association of Private Schools was founded in 1966 to develop the next generation of international leaders. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, it has approximately 200 member schools from more than 50 countries and regions. Our school joined this organisation in 2018.