Tatia Makinee Brunings
PHILIPSBURG–Former St. Dominic High School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma students Shun Ying Tsui, an alumni from the first cohort of IB graduates in 2010 and Tatia Makinee Brunings, who completed the programme in 2016 underscored the importance of the programme.
The former students shared their sentiments about the IB programme in commemoration of IB’s 50th anniversary observed recently.
Tsui said she is an ardent supporter of the IB programme 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 programme, the emphasis on holistic learning via the incorporation of CAS (Creative, Activity, Service) alongside the academic curriculum has had a significant impact on my understanding of what it means to be a student.”
She said being able to pursue non-academic activities such as working as a chocolatier and volunteering alongside her studies have added a richness to her 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 programme, 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.”
She said the CAS aspect of IB has fostered a professional work ethic and a drive in her to pursue activities outside of the books of her 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, and 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.”
Shun Ying Tsui
Brunings attend University of Groningen where she is working towards graduating with a Bachelor of Laws LLB degree in International and European Law. She obtained her propedeuse certification after the first year, and she is now in the second year of the three-year programme. She is also 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. She completed the IB Diploma Programme at St. Dominic High School in 2016. “My overall experience with the IB programme was phenomenal. This programme has benefited me in achieving my endeavours concerning higher education. I would recommend the programme 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.”
Brunings said she 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 thorough IB. “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 favour 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 programme,” she said. “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.”
She said the IB Diploma Programme gave her an opportunity to explore various extracurricular activities that she believes 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 programme to university was not difficult. The work loads are comparable. Actually, I needed the IB Diploma to gain admittance into University of Groningen. All in all, this programme has aided my development within the field of law in various ways. I would