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Graduate voices throughout 2017

These IB diploma graduates wrote about their experiences throughout the course of 2017, sharing stories that are unforgettable. Don’t miss our stories from last year and get ready to welcome a new cohort of authors in 2018. Learn more about the IB Alumni Network at

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Aseel Al-Naser

In her essays, she guides students through preparing for IB exams and international mindedness.

“I had to learn how to take off my cultural lenses and wear those of others.”

Aseel recently finished her Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at Hochschule Furtwangen University (HFU) in Germany.

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Rachon Sweiss

He writes about what he learned failing calculus (twice) and offers advice on pushing through the DP.

“Failing calculus wasn’t my first or last failure but the experience fundamentally shifted my mindset and approach to learning.”

Rachon is currently pursuing a BS/BA in Biology and Psychology at University of California, Irvine.

Ishanee Chanda

Her stories how to see through the smoke and gold gilded tongues are great reads!

“Communication is what crosses borders, oceans, and even intangible things like prejudice.”

Ishanee graduated from Texas A&M University and is passionate about helping those in need, shaping public policy, and studying the effects of politics on a sense of identity.

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Lachezar Arabadzhiev

He writes about the third culture generationthe influence of his parents and continuing to learn throughout life.

“It is amazing how a place can come alive in your mind just after hearing someone say, ‘I’ve been there, I’m sure you will love it too.’ ”

Lacho studied international business at the University of Toronto Scarborough. His ultimate goal is to build technology that has a positive impact on people’s lives.


Diana Ton

Her stories explore sources of inspiration and creating room for self-growth.

” … my advice is to remember that it’s all about personal development and to always keep an open mind.”

Diana obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from MacEwan University in 2016.

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Byron Dolon

His essays cover lifelong learning, managing free time, and motivation.

“Choose to do whatever it is you enjoy doing with your free time, and you will be happier.”

Bryon is currently a student at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

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Kristen Leer

She shares her perspective on the topics of empathy and listening.

“Empathy is a gateway to developing a connection, a relationship.”

Kristen is a Wisconsin, US native, where she both received her IB diploma and is now completing her undergraduate degree in psychology.

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Benjamin Reid-Howells

He  shares on his motorcycle journey from India to Scotland, the Vasudhaiva Ride.

“What emerged was a model for affordable, sustainable, locally sourced and beautiful design.”

Ben his undergraduate studies in sustainability at Dalhousie University after the IB at UWC Pearson.

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Nicole Wambui

Nicole’s stories  are on the perfect post-exam holiday and her experience taking online IB courses with Pamoja.

“Remember to give yourself the much-needed break and a giant pat on your back for having completed your diploma.”

Nicole is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree at the African Leadership College in Mauritius and is a trained classical violinist and pianist.

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Ocie Marie Grimsley

Ocie shares her stories, which talk about finding confidence and time management.

“The lesson I learned was confidence is the best color to wear, so long as it’s humble.”

Ocie is are currently pursuing a BA in English at George Mason University.

Tammy Do

“The DP was the first major opportunity in my young life to make a difficult decision: to challenge myself or accomplish high school with ease.”

Tammy Do followed her interest in design by earning a bachelor of landscape architecture and later becoming a landscape architect in Maryland, US.  She wrote an inspiring open letter to students about the impact of the IB diploma after six years.

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