The world unfolds: The International Baccalaureate is a gateway to exploring the world

by Nathalia Hentze Nielsen

The following article is an advert.

Many young people dream of travelling and exploring the world, and an international baccalaureate can be a gateway to this dream.

At Hasseris Gymnasium & IB World School, the world unfolds in the International Baccalaureate Programme where IB students take the outside world into the core of their secondary education.

Taught in English, the IB is an attractive alternative to Danish secondary education for both Danes and foreigners who are academically ambitious and want an international study environment.

IB students come from all over the world, but a large proportion of them have their roots in the Danish primary schools and have chosen the IB because they want to combine a broad, general secondary education with an international perspective, while at the same time keeping all doors open to study and work in Denmark after graduation.

For the vast majority of students, the IB is a three-year programme, beginning with the PreIB followed by the two-year IB Diploma Course, after which they celebrate their IB Diploma Exam – “Studentereksamen” – in the traditional Danish manner, but with a lot of international elements.

Personal development beyond academics

The IB programme is structured to develop both academic skills, study skills, and more personal skills to prepare the students to participate in a globalised world. It does so through a broad, individual choice of subjects, which gives the students a personal design to their upper secondary education. 

One of the distinctive features of an IB Programme is its CAS (Creativity-Activity-Service) programme, which focuses on strengthening personal skills in creativity, physical activity and charity.

The CAS programme extends beyond the school curriculum, teaching students to be project leaders in their own projects, both for personal development beyond academics and to engage them in the world around them – globally, nationally and locally.

This could be doing Christmas activities at the local care home, helping with homework, organising sports runs, learning to play the piano – it’s pretty much only your imagination which sets the limits here. 

Emma and Tobias

A broader perspective of life

For Emma and Tobias, who will put on their international graduation caps in May, choosing the IB has also meant a daily focus on open-mindedness, because everyday life with many different nationalities in the same classroom makes it necessary to be both critical and open to different traditions and cultures, and to learn to appreciate diversity.

Before joining the IB, Emma attended the local primary schools in Blære and Øster Hornum, and then did an exchange year in Japan.

She was still attracted to foreign countries and therefore began her IB course when she returned home. Her interest in culture and language had been strengthened by her encounter with a foreign country.

She came to understand the importance of different values, for example the collectivist view in the family and in groups of friends. It was different from the European, individualistic life she knew at home.

In the IB programme, she has found her way home while retaining a sense of being outside, because in her classmates she has met people from all over the world, often with completely opposite traditions and values.

Tobias went to Vejgaard Østre Skole in Aalborg. After a year as an exchange student in the USA, he got the courage to take an international secondary education.

In Colorado, he had many good experiences and friends, but also obtained a new outlook on life. Before his exchange year, he had had difficulty understanding people, cultures and attitudes which were different from his own.

Experiencing life in the US gave him a better understanding of other people’s views and a broader perspective – even on things he didn’t understand – and it’s this view of the outside world that his IB classmates have helped him develop.