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What is an IB Education like for me?

16 October 2017

Nobody Does it Better – the gift of IB

  • Jessica Low

As an international student, it’s essential that my path to further education opens up a global passport for my future. The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme that I’m studying at The British International School Abu Dhabi ticks all of the boxes for me; it is recognised internationally giving me the freedom to choose where in the world I would like to continue my studies.     

Not to be taken lightly, the IB Diploma is demanding. I’m putting in long hours and hard work. It is challenging me in more ways than I can imagine but I know the work I put in now will pay off, giving me a twice more likely a chance to attend a top 20 university than if I was studying A-Levels.

I study English HL, Spanish SL, Chemistry HL, Biology Hl, History SL and Maths SL.

However, being an IB Diploma student doesn’t just mean I’m academic. I am encouraged to develop, in many more ways, my skills as a truly global citizen and prepare me for the world that’s at my fingertips. I study six subjects plus the core, which includes service work where I will be visiting Tanzania to use my time to help others in need in a life changing project in Tanzania, as well as in my local community here in Abu Dhabi.

One of my favourite elements of the program is how global it is. Not only is the program global in its subjects, looking at issues and topics, which affect the whole world, but it also forces the students to become more aware of the great world around us. It informs us on the global community we are part of.

What I love is that I get the chance to develop by thinking outside of the box through critical thinking and empower me to enhance my powers of reasoning.

As an IB Diploma student I also get the opportunity to develop my second language learning. For me this means that I can continue to perfect my mother tongue, which are both English and Spanish.

The programme extends far beyond the classroom, as it also contains three core subjects, which expand our ways of thinking and learning. The first of these, CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) provides us with exciting opportunities to be more involved in helping in the community and also to develop skills that are life-necessary, skills that benefit not just ourselves but others also.  We are also encouraged to be better, more thoughtful learners and deeper thinkers in all lessons but particularly in the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) session, which challenges our way of thinking and gets us to grapple with abstract ideas.  Finally, we have to take on the 4,000 word challenge that is the Extended Essay.  The choice of focus for this is something that is our responsibility: we choose the subject, we construct a question and we carry out the research.  In doing so, we are prepared for some of the tougher challenges that we are going to face at university.

What I now understand having lived and breathed the IB for a term is just how challenging and fulfilling this type of study is.  It is easy to be daunted by the prospect that it presents but if you tackle it with the right attitude and organise yourself properly, it is manageable.

I am confident that at the end of this course, I will have acquired a qualification that will get me into one of the world’s best universities.  I do not know what one that will be yet but I know that when I get there, I will have had the best possible preparation and that is the gift of IB.  In the words of an old song, ‘Nobody Does it Better.’

By: Jessica Low, Year 12 student at The British International School Abu Dhabi.


*Jessica has now completed the IB Diploma and achieved an impressive 39 points and is currently studying at The University of British Colombia.