Meet IB student Elena: “I want to give back to the community”
Meet Elena, an ASH 11th Grade student on her way to obtain the IB Diploma. With an interest in pursuing an international law trajectory in the near future, in this interview she tells us about her journey and experience at ASH.
How long have you been at ASH?
I’ve been here since I’m three years old. When I arrived, I didn’t speak any English but the school was incredibly supportive in helping me learn the language and in guiding me to adapt to the community. Now, I’m in 11th grade and going for the IB Diploma.
Are you excited to be graduating soon?
I’m very excited. I’d really love to go to King’s College in London or to ESADE in Barcelona. I find it really interesting to know how the world works and how different countries go about legislation and try to solve global issues, so I’d like to study International Law. They both offer really good programmes.
What kind of person do you want to become? I want to be a very balanced person. I think it’s really important to be well-rounded, which means being involved in activities both inside and outside academics. In the future, I want to do something that gives back to the community.
What activities do you do outside of school?
I’ve done classical ballet since I was 5 years old. I’m also a student ambassador at ASH and I do Model United Nations (MUN), which I really enjoy. As an ASH student ambassador, we help new students integrate into the school and make them feel welcome.
What subjects do you take in the IB?
I take IB History HL. A lot of the time, we tie in global issues with history and look at historical perspectives who have been overlooked, like feminist or black history. We also look at international relations throughout history. We also look at global issues through literature in my Literature (HL) class. I also take Environmental Systems and Societies as a subject. A lot of the time, we focus on the UN Sustainable goals. A lot of the information that I learned there, I also use for MUN.
How did you choose your IB subjects?
I tried to pick the subjects that were most interesting to me, because you have to spend so much time with them. I already knew that I wanted to go into Law for college, so I also tried to take subjects that would help prepare myself well for that. I like the classes that I take.
What stands out to you from your IB classes?
In my Literature class, we study literary pieces and have a lot of in-class discussions about them. We talk about how we feel about different motifs and how certain characters perceive the world. We also see that a lot in my history class - I just think it’s interesting to find out how we got here.
Is there a way your teachers inspire you in IB?
I have Ms. O’Brien who’s my literature teacher. I think she’s a very strong woman and I think it’s very inspiring to learn from her because she’s very intelligent. You can tell that she really cares about the subject. She allows us to really voice our opinions. For example, in our oral assessments, we were able to take a global issue we really care about and apply it to a piece of literature we studied, which I found really interesting.
I also really look up to my History teacher Mr. Rix, he’s an MUN supervisor. He’s lived all around the world and is really insightful about different cultures and how people interact.
Why did you choose the IB instead of AP route?
Well, I knew I didn’t really want to study in the US, so I thought IB was a better fit. The classes in IB are quite broad while in AP they are more specific, so that’s also something that made me decide for the IB.
Who would you recommend IB for?
Probably someone who likes to do extra-curricular activities. I think the academic part is very important for the IB, but the programme is also interested in developing students into well-rounded people; we do that with courses like CAS or TOK.
For someone who doesn’t really know what to study at university yet, the IB is probably a good programme to go for because you can explore many fields of interest and discover where most of your interests are.
I would also recommend the IB for someone who is a bit more organized. Well, I’m not that organized and it still works well for me - but it’s still good to have. You’ll also learn how to do that as you go, for sure.
What are you doing in CAS?
I’m a student ambassador for ASH, and have MUN and ballet for activities. For my service hours, I volunteer at the elderly home that’s close by to the school every Friday.
Why would you recommend the IB?
Because it focuses on developing students beyond academics. It really does focus on long-term well-roundedness and there’s a strong emphasis on having balance. So while you should focus on your academics, there’s also a strong emphasis on you finding an activity or interest outside of school that makes you happy.
What does your week look like?
I usually finish school at around 15:00, and then I have after school activities. I dance twice a week until 19:30 so I get home a little late, and then MUN on wednesdays. And on top of that I still have school work to do. So I go to bed at around 23:00.
Any last thoughts?
I’m really happy. I really like my classes, so I chose them well.