Victoria Than – Quebec, Canada

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Victoria Thân completed the Middle Years Programme (MYP) at École secondaire de Rochebelle, Canada and the Diploma Programme (DP) at the Cégep Garneau, Canada before beginning her university studies at Université Laval, Canada.

Victoria ThanHow has your perspective changed since your days as an MYP and DP student?

Honestly, choosing to do my MYP at the De Rochebelle and my DP at Cégep Garneau are the best decisions that I’ve made! Where and who I am today, I owe in part to my experience with the MYP and DP. Currently, I’m a student in kinesiology at the faculty of medicine of Université Laval in Quebec City. My experience and the benefits that I acquired in the MYP and DP have made me a better leader. I am currently the president of Enactus Université Laval and head of the department of communication of Université Laval’s Young Philanthropists Association, the first student association of philanthropy in universities in Canada. The values, that the MYP and DP have taught me, have made me a better person and I still live by them every day.

During my DP years, being president of the Jeune Coop Roue-Libre du Cégep Garneau allowed me to attend press conferences, meet entrepreneurs and Olympic athletes, collaborate with national organizations and to improve entrepreneurship in my community. I was also head of the communication department of La Salle des Nouvelles, member of different executive boards and head of Cegep Garneau’s student department of international relations and sustainable development. I had the chance to have national and local recognition and become a national semi-finalist of the Loran Bursary, national finalist of TD community bursary, winner of other prizes including being a scholar of Université Laval. My DP experience has contributed to my success and even today, it makes a great difference in my professional and personal life.

How well did the MYP prepare you for future study, especially study in the DP?

The MYP prepared me to develop a whole range of working and studying methods that helped me be more productive. It also prepared me to have better global comprehension and understand many perspectives. The MYP allowed me to know what criteria and elements were to be expected in the DP. With all the projects and activities that are specific to the MYP, I acquired an effective work process and a way of structuring my ideas and thoughts.

What was your MYP personal project?

On my last year in the MYP at the De Rochebelle High School, my personal project was on the culture of Norway. We were allowed to choose a subject of our choice and we can present it as an essay, creation or an event. I really liked the fact that we could choose our subject. I did a creation and the subject was the Norwegian culture and the impact of the tragedy of Utoya on Norway’s community. I made a 3D mock-up of the Borgund Stavkirke church and the path that leads to the church that contains quotes from citizens, ministers and students after the Utoya tragedy. Also, I made a video that presented all the aspects of the Norwegian culture and the impact of the Utoya tragedy. I was really honoured of the fact that my project was sent to Norway’s embassy. I never thought that this project would lead me to collaborate with Norway’s consul in Canada.

My personal project was one of the things that I liked the most. The MYP has brought me so much and prepared me well for the DP. Through the personal aspect, I learned to be a leader, an innovator and creator of impact and projects in my community.

Why did you originally decide to pursue the DP?

I chose to pursue an IB diploma because I knew that it is a programme that would me give strong knowledge and enriched contents. Also, even though I decided to do my DP in health sciences, I wanted to develop my curiosity, knowledge and culture in English literature, philosophy and French literature. I knew that I would be able to learn and understand a larger field of subjects. Furthermore, one day, I would like to work internationally and I know that the IB diploma has given me a strong background to be able to do this.

As a creative and engaging person, I knew that the IB diploma and its creativity, activity, service (CAS) programme would give me an opportunity to improve my abilities and my leadership through the different categories of activities. I acquired skills in different areas from science to business. Also, CAS was an opportunity, for me, to be a balanced person. These qualities certainly made me a better person, thinker/writer and leader, but mostly, a better future health professional. As I look back, I see that MYP and DP students are really like family, we all knew each other and even today, we are still friends.

Did the extended essay, TOK or CAS prepare you for university? Are there skills you developed that you still use today?

Now that I am a student in Université Laval, I look back at my extended essay, theory of knowledge (TOK) classes, and CAS and can tell you that these were extremely useful personally and academically. It made a big difference! TOK was the course that I liked the most in the DP. It prepared me to become a better thinker.

I chose to do my extended essay in modern issues. I wrote about the Olympic Games, one of my passions. My essay led me to explore other perspectives, to familiarize myself with the process of writing an academic paper. This included research, verifying facts and expressing my ideas in a clear way. These elements are keys to success in life and in university.

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