Chien Ser completed the Middle Years Programme (MYP) at Nanjing International School, China and the Diploma Programme (DP) at the International School of Penang (uplands), Malaysia, before starting her university studies at Monash University. She went on to launch her career as a marketing executive with a specialty in corporate social responsibility. She recently finished a nine-month working holiday in New Zealand before embarking on travel throughout Australia and Thailand.
How has your perspective changed since your days as a DP or MYP student?
I believe my days as a DP and MYP student resulted in an added interest in community service, hence leading me to pursue a career that relates to volunteerism, charity and doing good for society. Since my MYP years, I have continually involved myself in community service, and it has shaped a part of who I am now.
Being educated under the MYP with students from different cultural backgrounds also opened my eyes and mind to becoming more accepting and curious about other cultures. I now crave to explore more of the world and to learn more. I believe knowledge can be found anywhere, if one pays close attention. This is one of the skills that I believe the MYP has managed to foster very well. As students, we were always taught to view things with the bigger picture in mind, and to consider different perspective in all subjects, encouraging us to link the taught subjects to global issues.
How well did the MYP prepare you for future study—especially study in the DP?
The MYP and the DP are similar in the sense that they both promote self-learning and exploration based on one’s interests. Research-based assignments were common during the MYP, so it wasn’t a giant leap going into the DP, or continuing on to university for that matter.
“Research-based assignments were common during the MYP, so it wasn’t a giant leap going into the DP, or continuing on to university…”
The extended essay, required during the DP, was like an advanced version of the personal project I carried out during the MYP. Having gone through the process of completing both the personal project and extended essay, university assignments didn’t seem as intimidating to me compared to many of my fellow course mates, especially during the first year.
What do you think is different about learning in the MYP?
By being mainly assignment-based, it greatly differs from studying the O levels or with the local government school curriculums in Malaysia. I personally feel that a curriculum that focuses on research and self-learning is more beneficial than one that focuses only on exams, because it enables students to explore what they are interested in with regards to particular study area or subject and allows students to have a more holistic learning experience in general. It also helps students to be more aware of related current issues, instead of just learning everything from the textbook.
What was the topic of your personal project?
I am a huge foodie and had a great interest in chocolate, hence I decided to learn more about confectionery around the world for my personal project. I researched different confectionary from different countries and dedicated a portion of my research to chocolate as well. I did a survey on chocolate preference using students and teachers from my school as my research subjects. For part of my project, I also learned how to make Scottish tablets and served them to visitors during the personal project exhibition.