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Cooking up international mindedness

We invited IB Diploma graduates to reflect on post-IB life and offer perspectives on topics of their choosing. Alumna Lay Wah Carolina Ching is one of this year’s cohort of alumni contributing authors. She is now an educator and writes to us from her home in Ecuador. 

By Lay Wah Ching

I had the opportunity to work with the first IB students at Unidad Educativa Nueva Semilla (UENS) as their Business Management teacher, and even more exciting I was appointed to make activities that could develop international mindedness in my students.

I kept going back to my memories as an IB student on what made me live and embrace this attribute from the IB profile. The IB Diploma Program (DP) provided such a well-rounded experience, which is where my international mindedness began and the result was cultural understanding and global citizenship.

Lay Wah Ching

Lay Wah Carolina Ching is a graduate of the IB Diploma Programme at Colegio Politecnico.

I would like to share the recipe that worked for me as a student to help develop a global perspective:

One heart of Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

CAS represented a huge opportunity to get to know my classmates in another setting, the community we helped, and myself. Even though in CAS we all belonged to the Ecuadorian culture, I was able to realize that demographic, behavioural, psychographic and geographic factors can create subcultures. The local experience built a foundation to later appreciate other cultures that are different instead of creating prejudices.

Seven passionate teachers

Passionate teachers make a difference in the DP program. Knowledge is not enough but a true love for what they teach is what makes them outstanding. Learning from each teacher and “their world” meant exploring subjects with a profound appreciation of their different views and perspectives. At the end of the day, as a student you will treasure the complexity of the world and value the relationships with each other. It was truly inspiring to have a team of human beings who were committed to opening themselves up and giving knowledge, experiences, and advice.

One connection to your favorite hobby

The DP gave me the opportunity to use what I enjoyed the most as my hobby (cooking) to learn about other cultures and build around International Mindedness! The DP created an intense commitment between my classmates and me to be the best we could be and to support each other while studying. We spent countless hours in each other’s homes. That gave me the opportunity to get to know a different side to Ecuadorian culture and traditions. Subsequently, a connection with my anthropology classes in which our teacher talked about tribes and functions for eating made my love for understanding other cultures through food the open door to become a global citizen. I carried that along with me when I traveled to Texas for college. It is amazing how potlucks will help individuals to share their life as unique individuals and fellow human beings. I have been able to explore countries through food, and let me tell you that food can break so many barriers, including language differences.

One class of excited students

Surely, you cannot give what you don’t have! So, now as an educator I’m sharing International Mindedness with my own twists. It’s my goal to contribute to cook up International mindedness in my own students. Creating International mindedness in my students means providing opportunities to engage them with a global community. To expose them to exploring and living international mindedness, we have been learning not just content but exploring different cultures from a variety of angles. We do activities from learning how to make wontons to dressing in sarees, or from watching k-dramas to playing badminton. The forces of globalization are helping some people identify themselves with a world community.

The DP focus on International mindedness carries a flag to make students have a sense of belonging to a global community and how their actions have an effect on it. I cannot say there is a right way to provide my students with a perfect recipe but for sure through supporting their CAS activities, supporting the passion of my coworkers, and connecting to their hobbies our students come up with unique experiences to influence their international mindedness.

Contributing author Lay Wah Carolina Ching completed the IB Diploma Programme at Colegio Politecnico, received her BBA from Texas Christian University, and currently teaches Business Management for an IB school in Ecuador. She is passionate about individuals, cultures and challenging her students to different perspectives.

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