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News > Alumni Spotlight > Mariana [Contreras] Passos

Mariana [Contreras] Passos

"The experience was truly incredible."
Mariana [Contreras] Passos
Mariana [Contreras] Passos

Mariana Contreras lives and works in London. After completing the International Baccalaureate programme at St. Julian’s School (Class of 1995), Mariana pursued a BA in History and Politics at London Metropolitan University. Later, she completed a Masters in Diplomatic Studies. After working in various fields, she moved to philanthropy in 2018 and has since worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Sir John Soane’s Museum and currently, she is at the Royal College of Music.

What was it like attending St. Julian’s?

The experience was truly incredible. I absolutely cherished it. It allowed me to express my true self, complete with my distinct personality and character. This level of freedom may be a rarity in today's educational institutions. I also took great pleasure in participating in various athletic activities.

How was the experience of attending the International Baccalaureate programme?

It was a rewarding journey, albeit demanding. While I may not consider myself highly academic, I am proud I managed to do it. It unquestionably equipped me with valuable skills and knowledge that have proven instrumental in my career and in facing subsequent challenges.

Did you have any favourite teachers?

Both Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Bailey, my former Geography teacher, left a lasting impression on me with their fantastic teaching. I had a chance encounter with Mrs Fenner-Leitão in London recently, and I must say, I also liked her very much.

What projects are you most proud of doing at The Royal College of Music?

I am naturally able to connect with people, and I take pride in the successful fundraising efforts I led for our Summer Festival. I secured significant donations that contributed to its success.

Do you still keep in touch with your colleagues from St. Julian’s?

Many of my closest friends are from my school days. Despite living in different parts of the world, we've managed to maintain solid connections and stay in touch with each other.

What advice would you give our students wanting to enter philanthropy?

To successfully raise funds, it's crucial to be deeply passionate about the cause you're supporting. If healthcare isn't your forte, don't attempt to raise funds for the health sector; instead, focus on what truly ignites your passion. Genuine enthusiasm is the driving force behind effective fundraising efforts.
Your background isn't the defining factor, but a love for interacting with people is essential. Having a broad range of general knowledge is also beneficial, as you'll engage with individuals who possess a wealth of experience and insight into various aspects of the world, including politics. Being a well-rounded individual is key, and the IB programme equips you with the versatility needed for such endeavours.


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