Awareness of international cultures, languages, and experiences is a prominent aspect of an IB education. We asked Diploma Programme graduates to discuss the impact of language, words and actions on their lives and studies. This is part of a short series of stories we’re calling Mindful matters and the second story by Diana Ton.
by Diana Ton
I am a firm believer in travelling and having the desire to learn new things and consider myself to be a world traveler by choice and luck. From a young age, my love for travel grew and my curiosity was driven by willingness to learn new things. Throughout my time taking IB classes, I was able to learn subjects that were set in a global context and thanks to the global-minded outlook that the IB promotes to students, it has instilled in me one of the many reasons I love to travel: always keeping an open mind.
Life is a series of arrivals and departures. I truly believe that the IB Diploma Programme is a great start in forming and guiding the outlook of today’s global citizen. Being a part of the IB Diploma and taking a variety of classes within the program has certainly been a challenge. Fortunately, the skills that I have learnt have transferred to my professional and current personal life by being able to keep up with current trends and development as the global interconnectedness grows. I found that although the IB Diploma Programme is a demanding secondary education program, it is flexible enough to cater to all types of students and helps to gain a broader perspective. I truly enjoyed my time with IB.
Behind every human there is a story; a principle that I find very useful in business and life to connect with customers, employees, and the people around myself. In my life, I have been fortunate to be able to travel to many countries, including Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan, the US, France, England, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, Mexico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Germany, the Netherlands and many more. I loved travelling so much and still do that I wanted to make travelling part of my undergraduate degree; therefore, I enrolled in an international business study tour to Western Europe.
Having the ability to access and experience different cultures, traditions, and languages in an instant has really helped with the wealth of knowledge that can be acquired.
With the group of students I travelled with from my university, I can say that the experience will be priceless because we were all going through the same experience: taking the knowledge from back home and bringing it over to another country to experience it on an international scale with the rich cultural mosaic. I would consider my fellow students from my study tour to be life-long connections professionally and personally. The connections you make today can become lifelong friends or acquaintances, but it is just as important to keep in touch.
My story shows that I don’t like to stand still, and that I don’t hold all the cards yet; but by trying to connect the dots and being open about my experiences, I hope to connect with others in the quest of becoming a better leader day by day. My parents made sure my brother and I had the chance to see as much of the world as possible. They wanted us to see things from a different perspective, not take things for granted, and to be very humble.
As you embark on a new journey away from secondary school and the IB Diploma Programme, ensure to keep on learning and experience new things. The world is one global network, in which every human is interconnected and it is important to be aware cultures, food, and/or practices that occur throughout the world. It’s beautiful to witness and observe the way people lead their lives. Having the ability to access and experience different cultures, traditions, and languages in an instant has really helped with the wealth of knowledge that can be acquired. With this knowledge, I really believe that it helps us to build sympathy and understand each other’s viewpoints. Remember that there are endless possibilities to reach a goal, a goal which is different for everyone.
Stay eager to learn new things, be persistent and have the tenacity to never give up, and expect only the best of yourself, while having enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is contagious and wins every time. People will forgive if they see that you are trying your best, even if you fall short sometimes. Regardless of what you study in university or what career path you may choose, remember that learning is a life-long journey and is never complete. Always try to understand why people do what they do. Be sure to always improve on yourself and by doing so, you’ll learn a lot about yourself, your strengths, the morals you identify with. Each path that you choose will embrace your personality to put your best foot forward to help society.
I guess my point is to – get yourself out there! You are a citizen of the world. Enjoy everything you have and experience life to the fullest.
Diana completed her IB Diploma Programme courses at Victoria School of Performing and Visual Arts, Canada in 2012 and obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from MacEwan University in 2016.
She is hoping to start a Master’s in Business Administration in 2017 with a focus in economic development. She is passionate about travelling to gain more insight and to have a better understanding on how people lead their lives in various cultures.
Learn more about the IB Alumni Network at ibo.org/alumni.