How does an IB education prepare students for their future studies and careers? Diploma Programme (DP) graduate Billy Chen tells us how exploring his identity led him to the study of architecture at the University of Cambridge.
by Billy Chen
Throughout my childhood, my least favourite question just happened to be the one that was forever prevailing in social encounters; the dreaded: “So where are you from?” One from which countless streams of responses can diverge from: Chinese, Norwegian, Chinese-Norwegian—and don`t forget that splash of Anglo-American influences thanks to years of Hollywood exposure. Eventually I stopped. Having reached the conclusion that, I could never be fully Norwegian, yet have also strayed too far from my Chinese roots to consider myself that.
This is why I chose to pursue the IB Diploma Programme (DP) because I saw that in a progressively globalized world I could be both, or neither—and a system that aims to cultivate holistic, globally-minded students could provide me the platform I needed to carry on my international journey. And the course that benefited my journey the most was Visual Arts, which gave me the freedom to explore precisely my questions about identity.
I chose to study architecture because I saw an array of social and cultural issues in the built environments I grew up in, and little effort being put forward to solve them.
As an IB student, you will hopefully have gained an awareness of some of the plethora of challenges in the world today. If you can find one that you can strive to solve, you will give your studies a purpose beyond that of just a numerical achievement.
Billy Chen is a graduate of the International School of Stavanger and is currently studying architecture at the University of Cambridge. He was a finalist in the Young Norwegian Researchers Competition for his exploration of the concept of tradition in contemporary architecture in the city of Stavanger, Norway.
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