Why I needed an IB Education from St. Dominic High School

Why I needed an IB Education from St. Dominic High School

Shun Ying Shun Ying

REWARD - This year marks 50 years of the International Baccalureate Diploma Programme. St. Dominic High School is marking that event by profiling two of its IB alumni – Shun Ying Tsui, an alumni from the first cohort of IB graduates in 2010 and Tatia Makinee Brunings who completed the programme in 2016.

Shun Ying Tsui Class of 2010

I am an ardent supporter of the IB program for two main reasons: first, it allowed for me to develop my own curriculum, which put me in charge of my education. I was able to pursue my interests and gain confidence as an independent learner. 

And second, in addition to the interdisciplinary approach of the program, the emphasis on holistic learning via the incorporation of CAS alongside the academic curriculum has had a significant impact on my understanding of what it means to be a 'student'. Being able to pursue non-academic activities such as working as a chocolatier and volunteering alongside my studies have added a richness to my student life that just books and assignments could never offer. 

I have certainly incorporated these two lessons as I reflect on the impact that IB had on my life and academic pursuits until now. After IB, I ended up doing a highly interdisciplinary humanities undergraduate program and was able to seamlessly shift between ways of thinking across disciplines (philosophy, history, sociology, etc.).

Being able to keep in mind that a single discipline does not fully explain an issue allowed me to foster critical analytical skills. I was well-prepared not only to successfully tackle college-level coursework but also was able to look at real-life issues with more nuance by acknowledging their complexity. 

As I mentioned, on a more personal note, the CAS aspect of IB has fostered a professional work ethic and a drive in me to pursue activities outside of the books of my curriculum. I was a member of the university's debate club, I have volunteered to guide new Bachelor and Master students through their new environment, I have tutored students for exams, and have participated in numerous research projects.

My experience as a university student, and an individual, has been significantly enriched by being active in my community.  The lesson of "going beyond what is expected of you" is what I will always take with me, both professionally and in my private life.

Tatia Makinee Brunings Class of 2016

Currently, I attend the University of Groningen where I am working towards graduating with an LLB degree in International and European Law. I obtained my propedeuse certification after the first year and now I am in the second year of this three-year program.

Furthermore, I am a member of the Seminars and Conference Committee of the European Law Student Association in Groningen and a research assistant in The Global Health Law Department at the University.

I completed the IB Diploma Programme at St Dominic High School in 2016. My overall experience with the IB program was phenomenal; this program has benefited me in achieving my endeavors concerning higher education.

I would recommend the program to anyone who is willing to explore various subjects from a different perspective and is willing to develop skills that are appropriate within a university and professional setting. 

I have developed various skills such as being able to write effective analytical essays, hold argumentative conversations on controversial topics, conduct effective research and obtained basic day-to-day skills such as time management, planning, and professional communicative skills. These capabilities that I have developed throughout my IB career will give me an advantage in my future legal career which I am currently working towards.

First of all, when solving case studies, I found it easier than most students to target core elements that were worth discussing in favor of the position of the applicant or vice versa. In the study of law, you have to produce essays arguing your position within a time and word limit and be able to hold an open debate about various topics.

Professors are concerned with the structural development of your arguments and want you to produce analytical arguments. I found this skill to be developed within my time in the IB program. As well, I believe this ability will help me during my current and future research seminars and aid me in writing my thesis within my third year.

Secondly, the IB Internal Assessments that were required to be done for each of the subjects I studied contributed significantly in the development of my research skills. Improving these skills in the IB Diploma Programme gave me that step up when encountering university assignments.

I was well prepared for working collaboratively with my university peers, and even assisted me in being qualified to take part in an external research seminar with PhD students and professors in the Law Faculty. I can confidently write research papers on various topics such one I am currently working on - regulations concerning unhealthy food and the effectiveness of tobacco control legislation within the Netherlands.

Moreover, the IB Diploma Programme has provided me the opportunity to explore various extracurricular activities that I believe students would be interested in at an academic level.

Many universities are not only looking for students who have specific grades, but those who are interested in helping out in their communities and are involved in various activities. In interviews, extracurricular activities are usually discussed and the interviewer would like to know your experience.

Overall, the IB Diploma Programme was challenging; however, the transition from the IB program to university was not difficult. The work loads are comparable. Actually, I needed the IB Diploma to gain admittance into the University of Groningen.

All in all, this program has aided my development within the field of law in various ways. I would suggest this program to anyone because it really does prepare you for higher education and your career.

Tatia Brunings

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