Life at IB

IB offers the opportunity to focus on particular subjects. A final examination is taken in each subject that has been studied. You can choose six or seven subjects, one from each group. The subjects can be studied at different levels. At least three subjects are studied at Higher Level (HL) and others at Standard Level (SL). There are nine courses in HL subjects, which means that each period has lessons in the subjects three times a week. The SL subjects are studied over six courses, i.e. in three periods during each actual IB year.

Explore:

I’m currently

studying at the University of Worcester in England and my degree is Business Management and Economics. I try not to think too far into the future yet, but my most important goal at the moment is to obtain my degree from the university with good grades. I plan to gain a master’s degree, but I don’t know yet what exactly I’ll be studying and in which country.

IB education really improved my self-confidence and my belief that I can achieve a lot if only I try hard enough. Especially all the verbal presentations that I gave in front of the class helped in this, as did the essays and reports, which developed my writing skills. I’ve found this very helpful during my university studies. After IB, my knowledge of, and ability to write essays in, English has also been a great help. Transferring from the IB school to a university was also easy, because I was used to doing a lot of work and writing long essays, and most of my current studies rely on these skills.

IB education really improved my self-confidence and my belief that I can achieve a lot if only I try hard enough. Especially all the verbal presentations that I gave in front of the class helped in this, as did the essays and reports, which developed my writing skills. I’ve found this very helpful during my university studies. After IB, my knowledge of, and ability to write essays in, English has also been a great help. Transferring from the IB school to a university was also easy, because I was used to doing a lot of work and writing long essays, and most of my current studies rely on these skills.
I’m studying

for a bachelor’s degree in English Studies & French at the University of Nottingham in England. This is my last year. The degree consists mostly of studies in English literature, literary theory, French and French culture. Next, I’d like to achieve a master’s degree either in English literature or general linguistics. I’m also drawn towards the London Film School. In the future, I’d like to be a film director, but I’m also interested in being a journalist – what I’d like most is to do both.

The most essential characteristic of IB education and, in my opinion, its greatest asset, is how extensive it is. Although I was most interested in languages, literature and history, I had to challenge myself also with the problems of mathematics and physics until the end of my IB studies. Similarly, my classmates who were interested in science had to examine the metaphors of poems, etc. IB also encourages students to look at the world from many different points of view, which is an indispensable skill, especially in today’s world. The core of the curriculum, Theory of Knowledge, motivated me also to think more critically and to question everything I had learned, which has proven to be an extremely valuable skill at university.

In the light of my current studies, IB gave me excellent skills for precisely analysing literary texts both in Finnish and English, and a firm knowledge of the historical context of the works I have studied. The value of the practice I got in English can’t be overestimated either, because after completing IB with a bilingual diploma, I didn’t worry at all about my language skills when I came to study in England.

Already during my first year at the university I understood how much easier the transition from upper secondary school to university is for an IB student who has experience, for example, in writing university level papers. IB also infused an excellent work ethic in me and, with all its deadlines, taught me efficient time management skills, not to mention CAS, which had to be fitted in between school, but which also encouraged me to use my valuable free time in a versatile way.

I’m a student

at the University of Eastern Finland, at the Kuopio campus, and I’m studying biosciences for the fourth year. I’m majoring in Food and Nutrition Biotechnology. My studies include study units from biochemistry, biology, chemistry and biotechnology. My dream is to work in one of the larger Finnish food companies.

Already during my IB studies, my target was the field of science, although I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study yet. That’s why it was easy for me to choose the subjects I have studied at IB, and I think they’ve supported my university studies very well. My HL subjects were Finnish, chemistry and biology. Studying science at IB lead me in the right direction, to university-level research and understanding science. Working in a laboratory was also easy after the laboratory work performed at IB, and the agony of writing specifications was familiar, too. Planning and implementation of projects similar to the Group 4 Project and the Extended Essay continued at university, but, of course, the theory and practice go deeper. Especially when my studies advanced, English was increasingly the main language of textbooks and scientific articles, so it has been a great help that I’m already used to dealing daily with information in English.

I’m studying

International Business at the Turku School of Economics. I’m about to go to Macau as an exchange student and my goal is to go and study at one of Europe’s Top 20 business schools, because I’d like to complete my master’s studies in a slightly more international environment. I hope to be able to create a great career in international companies all over the world.

IB education was very useful to me, especially for my English skills. I’ve also found the analytic quality of the studies very beneficial for my university studies.

This winter

I got a chance to participate in the Comenius Project with two other third-year IB students and two pupils from the Mansikkala upper level comprehensive school’s international class. Two teachers from the schools travelled with us. The project was organised in Fulda, Germany from 28th November to 5th December 2010 and its theme was “Old Age – A Positive Experience.” In addition to Finland, four other countries participated in the project: Germany (the host country), Great Britain, Holland and Sweden.

The journey to Germany with its buses, trains and planes was very long, but when we finally got there it was well worth the trouble! We had host families with the students of the German Eduard Stieler Schule and stayed with them which allowed us to acquaint ourselves with their culture and the activities of their school. We also got to see the sights in Fulda and its neighbouring towns, which gave me a chance to see and learn more about German culture. Officially, the most important part of the project was to divide into groups consisting of members from each participating country, and to prepare presentations within these groups. There were five groups and each one prepared a presentation that was to be held at a different old people’s home or corresponding institute. The purpose was to acquaint old people with the Christmas traditions and cultures of different countries and, in this way, to bring some variety to their day.

From the point of view of a student, though, the best part of the trip was not organising the presentations, but meeting new and interesting people. I really enjoyed getting to know people from different cultures, discussing the differences of the countries and having fun! If the international character of the trip at first made us feel a little nervous, we soon found out that communicating in English was really easy and natural with the skills we had learned at IB. The week went really fast and was a fantastic experience. I think it’s great that IB offers its students opportunities like this, because, apart from being beneficial for studies, travelling and seeing new places is just so much fun!

Second and third-year

IB students made a CAS Project journey to Zurich, Switzerland at the beginning of September. The project took place at the Schule Altweg lower level comprehensive school, which has many immigrant pupils. The students told the pupils about Finland and acted as assistant teachers and school helpers in the classes.

In addition to the CAS Project, the students had an opportunity to get acquainted with Swiss IB studies at the Realgymnasium school in Rämibühl. They participated in lessons and spent some of their free time with the Swiss students.

Students’ comments

The best parts of IB are the flexibility of teaching, focusing on a few subjects and the group size. It’s much nicer to study in a small group than in one with 25 others. It’s also possible to concentrate more fully on just a few subjects.
– Ville-Valtteri 2IB

The IB Diploma programme is generally considered frightening and challenging. No doubt there are challenges, but you have to remember that you can’t graduate from any upper secondary school without studying, at least not with good grades. The great team spirit in my class encourages everyone to better achievements in their studies. This school emphasises work for the common good which is almost a duty in today’s global world. In IB, we don’t miss out on the traditional upper secondary school events either, like the school dance during the second year or the student party in the spring of the third year. In other words, we share the same upper secondary school everyday life, it’s just that IB makes many new experiences possible.
–Joonas 2IB

The greatest concerns for applicants seem to be knowledge of English and the demanding level of the studies. You will do just fine with a normal knowledge of English. You get so good at the language during the first year that it’s a natural part of your life in the following years. As far as the demanding level of studies is concerned, I have to admit that there’s a lot to do. However, the workload is not an insurmountable obstacle, and there are friendly teachers and schoolmates to help you in this, too. All in all, IB is a good choice if you are interested, for example, in internationality and gaining a strong command of English. I myself warmly recommend IB studies!
–Jenni 2IB

My main reason for applying to IB was to try my own limits. I wanted to find out if I could manage with the language, and I’ve done well. So with my friend’s encouragement, I decided to apply to IB and right now that decision seems great.
–Riku 2IB

At IB, you notice your own development clearly.
–Iina

We know how to have fun, too, at IB!
–Ville

The class is a tightly-knit group which creates a relaxed atmosphere, because everyone knows each other.
–Anton

B’s teaching methods prepare students for further studies and, because of the language proficiency it provides, it’s easier to go abroad. IB has an interesting approach to subjects. We have a lot of discussions during lessons and critical thinking is emphasised.
–Matilda