Advice from an IB 45 student

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Website Managed by Sea Yun Joung (IB 45, May 2018)

Throughout my schooling across three continents, change was both an exciting and burdensome challenge. The prospect of moving from Korea to Australia, then to Norway, then back to Korea was certainly a privilege. Yet without the constancy of a binding national identity, I had to learn to cultivate my own cultural identity through embracing something from each tradition I encountered.

The International Baccalaureate Programmes, in this sense, were greatly transformative, as the IB’s studious tradition of academics and spirit of international mindedness provided a background to write a chapter of my own, intercultural story. The IB philosophy, therefore, encouraged me to consider the concept of identity as something beyond a static, nationally-bound, rigid idea, but rather a fluid, dynamic opportunity to actively shape my own story with my own memories, conversations, and cherished beliefs.

In this globalising century, change is both an opportunity and a concern for most societies. The reactionary movements of nationalism, protectionism, and patriotism reflect profound frustrations and fears of change. I think the IB way of thinking taught me that at this time especially, constructing a collective, human narrative is vital to speak to the heart of individuals and societies. As Mandela once stated, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Through speaking through a common, human identity, the project of globalisation will allow heart to speak unto heart.

Thus, having learned so much throughout my experience within the International Baccalaureate Programmes in Australia, Norway, and Korea, I have long wanted to give back to the IB community. Especially given my great fortune of attaining an IB 45 for the first time in our school’s history, it is my hope that my website will help cultivate the next generation of IB students throughout the world, through my student-friendly advice. This was one of the projects during my gap year, before my university studies.

My high IB score has certainly opened various doors for me, and the challenge was choosing the right fit for me. Upon consideration, however, I have decided to take on my unconditional offer to reading Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford (Oriel College).

Studying Theology has been something of a childhood dream for me, as the world religions have largely shaped the identities and stories of individuals and societies worldwide. Within my own, Roman Catholic tradition, I have been drawn, of course, to the philosophical discourses of St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. However, beyond doctrine and systematic theology, the deep, allegorical readings of scripture and the profound mysticism of the Carmelite Order really seem to speak to the heart, and also serve as a reminder that religion and identity in general cannot be reduced to merely doctrine or ritual, but also contain an experiential dimension.

Through studying Theology and Religion at Oriel, I intend, in my own way, to continue the legacy of Bl. John Henry Newman, and to pray in silence, work for peace between different religions, and heal the perceived conflict between science and religion. Yet for me, the lack of religious literacy is the true tragedy of my generation, as few people seem to know much about their own religious tradition, let alone that of others, despite the enormous impact religions continue to hold on today’s world of change. In this rapid, fourth industrial revolutionary era, I intend to seek the presence of Divinity, not in the sound and fury of the fire or earthquake, but in the silence that comes with a warm breeze. I hope to seek meaning and to unite the voices of humanity in the ancient, divine precept of compassion.

The title of this website, “Non Scholæ Sed Vitæ Discimus” (We don’t learn for school, but for life) embodies the Life Long Learning, which IB has imparted on me, and which I hope to share with other students across the IB world.



Attained IB 45/45 in May 2018

Completed MYP with 7/7 for

Attended IB schools from 2005-2018