One of the major motivations for students to enrol in the IB program is probably the opportunities they hope to gain after gaining the IB Diploma. This was the only point that made me curious about IB, but the program definitely helped me in this respect. Thanks to my IB Diploma from the Felix-Klein Gymnasium Göttingen in 2010, I was given the chance to study at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University – with a full-time scholarship.
Of course, this opportunity was not automatically provided to me. However, during my studies for the IB I experienced again and again the need to look for my own solutions and to try them out. Surfing the web, I incidentally found some information about Hong Kong and decided to contact all universities there. Finally I successfully applied to one of them – although the deadline had already passed.
Thus, what I have gained from the IB is not only an internationally renowned diploma. Indeed, it is primarily the insight that, as stated in the IB learner profile, I should be a "risk-taker" enough to "step out of my comfort zone" – while not forgetting to take care of the details. To be honest, receiving the scholarship was actually quite 'easy' – but it's all about taking this first step! Since I had good predicted grades for my IB (this was before the release of the final results), the program leader was already impressed. Further, the university was actively looking for international full-time students. Also, there must have been little competition for the English department, because not many Westerners decide to study English linguistics in Hong Kong. Yet, I believe exactly this experience provides me with a unique perspective!
By now, I have stayed in Hong Kong, "Asia's world city", for 1.5 years. While I had spent 1 year in Texas for high school exchange prior to IB, coming to Asia has completely changed my worldview. I realized that previously, my perspective was always very Europe-centred and beyond that only oriented to the US. For instance, concerning music and movies, in Germany we rarely look beyond the West. In Hong Kong, however, Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese entertainment is extremely popular. Most importantly, I learned that Asia is extremely rich in a great diversity of cultures.
Entering university provided me with further chances to broaden my horizon; I had the opportunity to join the world's largest youth-run organization, AIESEC. This platform enables young people to "explore their leadership potential" by stepping up for roles as team leaders and organize projects. Accordingly, I have joined youth conferences in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Taiwan and completed an internship of teaching English to migrant children in Beijing. Also, I have gotten in touch with the corporate world in Hong Kong, by promoting international AIESEC interns to them.
What I want to express here is that the experience of going through the IB has encouraged me to grab opportunities that I can find. In the age of globalization, chances to explore the world are abundant. This doesn't mean we all have to leave our home countries to develop ourselves. In fact, the IB also emphasizes awareness of the local community by requiring students to join community service projects for the CAS program. It simply means to pay attention to your surroundings and become more proactive. Also, I don't want to say that taking the IB is better than taking the Abitur. However, making the decision to take the IB is a first step to deliberately choose a unique path for your future.