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The importance of international experiences in a globalized world

Each year we invite IB alumni to share their experiences, interests and advice with our global community in the graduate voices series. We welcome Diploma Programme (DP) Eduardo Flores Linares reflects on the importance of internationalism in today’s world. Eduardo graduated the IB from Colegio San Agustín, in Peru.

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By Eduardo Flores Linares

“In our last few years of high school, we are provided with the ideas and the vision to help us go out and make this happen”

The world we live in is becoming more and more globalized and internationalization is no longer the plus or the luxury that it used to be but rather an absolute necessity. We need to go out and encounter and experience situations that are unlike those we are accustomed to and we need to be open to both new knowledge from diverse societies and the opportunities of today’s world. Enrolling in the IB Diploma Programme (DP) means taking the first step towards today’s current reality in which interacting, understanding and accepting new cultures, truly being a part of a larger global society, caring for it and drawing roadmaps for the future are the new challenges that students whose intention it is to become future citizens of the world need to assume.

I come from a country where development is measured by small, daily actions and where the privilege of having a true quality education that meets international standards is something that is both hard to come by and available to very few. The IB has shaped up to be one of the solutions to our deficient educational system, providing a good standard of educational quality against the backdrop of the current public education taught at schools across our country. The DP clearly provides underprivileged students with a better understanding of the world around them, one that goes beyond just their basic needs and one that is in line with the IB learner profile. This understanding will also lead to the building of a better world in the near future given that IB students, who are taught to appreciate, understand and take part in this world, are poised to become factors of change for their own communities.

I am happy to live in a society that is becoming more and more globalized and in which more and more of us are being included. It is fantastic to see that true standards of educational quality are being implemented without the need for creating additional obstacles and whose only objective is for us to become truly international. And though we have taken the first step towards internationalization, the true challenge, the one inside each and every one of us, continues to loom large.

When I graduated from high school, I felt the need to seek out ways to continue to experience other international realities, to continue to learn about other societies and understand them, to contribute my experience and offer my commitment. This is the only way for anyone to really get to know the world that surrounds them and to help build a better future. In our last few years of high school, we are provided with the ideas and the vision to help us go out and make this happen, but the true challenge is always found within us and in the choices we make at university and in life beyond.

“Thankfully, no matter what profession or field we choose to pursue, we can have an impact on the building of this better tomorrow.”

There are now many ways to experience realities which once seemed far off. Coming from a developing country, I understand that encounters with developed countries and impoverished countries alike can at times be difficult, but the experiences gained from this type of contact ultimately help us help the world that we now know better. We should not be afraid to journey far from home to experience other realities or situations that we may not be accustomed to in our country, to be exposed to problems that may often be difficult to understand. As St. Augustine once said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

We need to take part in any and all experiences beyond the boundaries of the societies that we were born into, including going to university abroad on a full-time programme or as exchange students to volunteering in vulnerable areas around the world. Doing so allows others to get to know us and gives us the chance to get to know people and realities that we might not have otherwise ever learned about. And this is important because it is the only way to be able to interpret the world around us and to begin to know it well.

Although there are without a doubt realities that we are unfamiliar with, and possibly some that we did not even know existed, thanks to globalization and the internationalization of societies, we can finally all begin to join together, experiencing other situations and becoming aware of these other, sometimes distant realities. Education allows us to not only assimilate existing cultural differences but also to engage with the rest of the world. By applying what we have learned, we are capable of building a better tomorrow, something that is absolutely necessary given the needs and the deficiencies of our current world. Thankfully, no matter what profession or field we choose to pursue, we can have an impact on the building of this better tomorrow.

“It is important for us to seek out experiences that help us understand the true breadth of the world we live in”

Those of us who become writers can fill pages with our impressions of the world and raise awareness of the importance of building a better one; those of us who become television producers can present images of hardship and move viewers to see the need for a better future; and those of us who become doctors can either take part in or help encourage social projects in underprivileged areas, making sure that quality medical care is available around the world, and we can speak out about improving the quality of life globally.

It is important for us to seek out experiences that help us understand the true breadth of the world we live in, to understand its societies and for us to begin the process of bringing about real change. It is not enough to learn about globalization and internationalization in the classroom; we need to get out and have real-world experiences. It is also important to note that a global education goes hand-in-hand with fully understanding both the world we live in and our global societies, irrespective of the needs, deficiencies and problems they may have. Even though we can sometimes become overly complacent in the comfort of our own societies, we must still apply the values and the visions that we have learned and treat our one-and-only world as our one-and-only home.

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Eduardo Flores is a graduate of Colegio San Agustín, Lima, Peru. He continued his studies on Journalism at the Universidad de Lima in Peru and Universidad CEU San Pablo in Spain. He loves to write so you probably going to find him doing so. You can find him on his website (eduardofloreslinares.com) and connect with him on his LinkedIn here.

To hear more from Diploma Programme (DP) graduates check out these IB programme stories. If you are an IB grad and want to share your story, write to us at alumni.relations@ibo.org. We appreciate your support in sharing IB stories and invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and now Instagram!

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