The International Baccalaureate program, or commonly known among students as the IB, is a program that is made entirely based on a student’s worst nightmare. Having to take a high amount of courses, the workload is overwhelming. At the same time, you are required to complete 150 CAS hours of Creativity, Activity and Service. If I have to be honest with you, those 2 years were the most stressful time I ever had to go through. However, its benefits were rewarding and trust me when I say this: After the IB program, doors of opportunities opened for me. The IB credits are recognized worldwide and facilitate the access to all the most prestigious universities worldwide. In my case, it led me from New Zealand to Germany, specifically to the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. As a person who has gone through the decision and application process, I wanted to condense my experience into four challenges and four ways the IB helped me overcome them.
1. Language Barrier
If you don’t speak a word of German, this might be the first problem you think of. It was the same for me. I did my IB Diploma entirely in English and when it came to university applications, I could not utter one word in German. So when I found out Frankfurt School offers Bachelor and Master programmes in English, without any German requirements, I knew this was my chance to go to another country to explore the new education system.
2. Vietnamese, Kiwi and German
I have never met anybody else with this combination and yet I am lucky to have my identity shaped through these three different cultures. My IB journey was the door that opened me to the Kiwi culture and pushed me to explore other cultures. IB students come from all over the world. In one class, we had American, Japanese, Australian, Korean, Chinese, Kiwi and Vietnamese students. Frankfurt School is also proud to have students with such diverse backgrounds. In my year group, we have people who come from all over the world. Diversity, interestingly, doesn’t divide people. Diversity embraces everyone and yet, strives to bring out the best in each culture. Embrace all new things that different cultures teach you. I have done so and now have Vietnam as my roots, New Zealand as my soul and Germany as my home.
3. Knowledge on the subject
As I mentioned before, the workload of the IB program is quite demanding but it equips you with basic good knowledge for university. Moreover, it taught me how to manage my time and build on my essay writing skills. I now never feel lost when I have to write a scientific paper for one of my classes!
In case you didn’t know, Germany is exactly on the opposite side of the world from New Zealand. Moving to Frankfurt was a big decision for me to make, as it meant I would move to a new city again and would, once again, be far away from home. Nevertheless, after my experience in such a diverse environment with enthusiastic friends from different cultures, I was urged to expand my horizon. The IB taught me to keep my options open and strive for great things, even if it’s half the world away.