What’s your name?

Lara Schenk

How many years did you attend ISHR?

13 Years

What year did you graduate?


What are you up to now?

After graduating from Harvard in December of last year, I began my professional soccer career at Club Brugge before signing for two years with RSC Anderlecht, the reigning champions of Belgium, this summer. We will be competing in the Champions League qualification round in Poland next week, where we hope to win against the Polish and Norwegian sides and eventually qualify for the group stage. I have also started working as an education and sports consultant at Keystone Sports, an agency that helps young international student-athletes attend college in the US for their sport on a sports scholarship. I feel very passionate about offering female players the same opportunities as I had to become the player and person I am today through the unique cultural, academic, and athletic experiences that US college sports can provide.

What was your favorite subject at ISHR?

I enjoyed studying languages at ISHR the most; whether it was English and German literature in the IB or Spanish earlier in my academic career. I think through learning a specific language you are engulfed in some of the cultural ideals and customs of that country or region and get to learn much more than just how to communicate. It has also brought a curiosity for understanding new languages beyond just the ones that I already speak. I live in Brussels now, where French and Dutch are the main languages spoken and written, therefore, I have tried to pick up some soccer and colloquial phrases to help me adjust to this new space.

In what ways do you feel ISHR prepared you for what came next?

Studying with international students from all over the world in high school creates cultural awareness that has benefitted me in college and beyond a lot. I have found it easier to make friends with other internationals and have preferred to play soccer abroad before going back to Germany to stay in an international environment and live in diverse places around diverse people. ISHR’s community building strategies and global student body definitely helped to sensitize me to this.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in adapting to life after ISHR?

Moving across the world and having a lot more time to manage myself with a less strict academic schedule was something I needed some time to adjust to. While my routines were still very similar with coordinating soccer and school on the highest level, it was challenging to pick my own classes and prepare for lectures and sections with less strict homework tasks assigned by professors. Living abroad on my own was not easy at first as well, but my teammates helped me to adjust relatively quickly, since we had many international players who had gone through the same process.

What advice would you give to current students or your former self?

While it sounds like an absolute cliche, I would say setting ambitious challenges and dreaming big is advice that I would have needed to hear back in middle and high school. I was always driven but I did limit myself a lot more than I should have. In hindsight, I would have liked to develop and follow my passions outside of school and soccer a lot more to understand who I was besides a student and a player. This is something I managed to do in college a lot more but would have loved to do earlier. I never thought I could attend an Ivy League school for college and was only looking for any school that would take me and offer a scholarship. Looking back, I held my own personality back a little too much and could have expanded my interests a lot more.

What’s your favorite memory from your time at ISHR?

I would say the day I announced that I had been accepted to Harvard was one of my favorite days at ISHR – not because of my personal achievement or the spotlight that I did not want or need, but because of how happy other people were for me and how much it meant to the school as a whole. I did not tell anyone besides the teachers involved in the application process and a few of my closest friends, but I had sworn everyone to secrecy until it was official. I remember being so excited to share the news with those who knew how stressed I was about getting in and proudly wearing a Harvard hoodie that day. Rarely have I let myself be proud and soak up moments of success with such enjoyment, both on and off the field. And that day was just pure joy and celebration for me and everyone who had helped or supported me along the way.

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