Alejo Croza – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Alejo Croza completed the IB Diploma Programme at the Escuela de Educación Media No. 6 in Vicente López, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was one of the first IB students from Argentina to receive a full scholarship to participate in the IB World Student Conference that took place in Canada in 2014. Croza is currently studying sports journalism at the Instituto Sudamericano para la Enseñanza de la Comunicación (ISEC).
I learned about the Diploma Programme through my mother, who encouraged me to study it at Escuela de Educación Media No. 6 in Vicente López, Buenos Aires, Argentina. My sister, who is in the sixth year at the same school, also plans to pursue it.
I chose Literature as the topic for my extended essay, and I remember that mathematics was the hardest subject for me because of the hours of work and the number of exercises that we had to do. Theory of knowledge was the DP subject that was the most fun for me, because it develops critical thinking, which I later implemented at academic level and in my daily life.
One of the activities that Escuela de Educación Media No. 6 has offered since 1973 is helping at border schools in the provinces of Jujuy, Mendoza and La Rioja. This project is also used as part of creativity, activity, service (CAS). I would meet with my classmates each Saturday and once a year a group of current and former students and teachers would spend one week travelling to each one of the border schools that we sponsored to distribute the clothing, food, toys and other donations that we had collected during the year. I still participate in this project to this day.
My participation in the IB World Student Conference that took place in Canada in July 2014 left an important impression on me. The event brought together more than 500 DP students from the most recent and previous years.. This is an annual conference organized by the International Baccalaureate, and I was able to participate thanks to a scholarship awarded by the organization that included lodging, expenses and registration. It was a very important experience for me because it was the first time that I had travelled so far away from my country, and also because of the language, because English was used during the entire conference. That same year the IB organized two other conferences: one in Australia and another in the UK.
“The grades are useful for entrance to a university abroad, for example, but they are nothing compared to all the enriching learning you gain through the programme”.
During that week, we had a number of different activities scheduled: in the morning, there were lectures given by representatives from UNICEF and the UN, the story of a man who had been a child soldier in the Congo (Michel Chikwanine), among others, and in the afternoon we participated in workshops in groups of approximately 15 students. I remember that we worked on a socially-themed activity on raising awareness about the purchase of mobile phones, since they contain cobalt, a mineral that is extracted through child labor in Africa and is used in touchscreens. On another day we worked on gender violence. We also had some breaks with social and cultural activities during which we took tourist excursions organized by the IB.
I made great friends during this trip. Until last year I was still in contact with some of them, like Waseem Shabout from Texas. We exchanged English-Spanish translations when we had doubts in our foreign language subject.
What stood out to me about Canadian culture was that they ate dinner very early, at six in the evening, and at six in the morning we were already starting our day. Everyone who participated in the conference agreed that these types of multicultural events foster multicultural respect because we start to learn about other customs and traditions.
To current DP students I would say: The effort is worth it! I would tell those who have doubts about the DP that it’s normal, and that they should remember that if a subject is not going well, they can balance it out with another one that they like more so that they can do better. I would tell those who are not doing so well that everything they learn will be very useful for starting university: they will have already acquired a lot of tools for studying, researching and carrying out practical work. The grades are useful for admission to a university abroad, for example, but the main thing is all the enriching learning you gain through the programme.
What I would highlight as a benefit of the DP is the development of personal attitudes; for example, learning to manage my time more efficiently and work under pressure. On top of that I think that through the DP you learn to be perseverant and to never give up.