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The challenge of DP prepared José for medical school in Peru


Proudly telling the world about #generationIB in our 50th anniversary year


José Luis Avilez Escribens is an IB graduate and medical student. He shares his perspective on how the IB experience prepared him for university and beyond.

In 2013,  José Luis Avilez Escribens graduated from Markham College with his IB diploma. Now a medical student, José has continued his academic career at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru. Looking back at his IB experience, José recalls the rigorous IB curriculum and extended essay as preparation for his ambitions as a medical student.

Photo Credit: José Avilez

Photo Credit: José Avilez

 Medical school professors enjoy putting students in unexpected and never-seen-before situations. So whenever I am placed into one of those situations, the skills gained during the IB are put to use.

José’s most memorable and impactful IB experience was also his most challenging experience. When José signed up for the Further Mathematics HL course, he wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. “Little did I know that every problem thrown at me during the course would be a challenge. Every second spent pondering a tough question was a well spent second.” The hard work paid off, especially in preparing José for the rigor of medical school. “Medical school professors enjoy putting students in unexpected and never-seen-before situations. So whenever I am placed into one of those situations, the skills gained during the IB are put to use.”

In addition to the IB programme instilling persistence in tackling challenges, José says he also learned about the importance of ethics in academics. When José was researching for his extended essay in Chemistry, he remembers reading many stories about unethical procedures in scientific research. As José conducted his research and performed his experiments, he could see why the “pressure might force others to fake a piece of data or exaggerate their findings.” But even with substantial academic projects like the extended essay,  José says, “I learnt that in difficult times we should not seek the easy path, but the right path.”

Now as a university student, José is studying to become a medical doctor and is focusing his interests on efficient healthcare systems. This year, he had the opportunity to debate this topic at the Harvard National Model United Nations 2015 conference. José attributes much of his success in debating to his IB English teacher and debate coach, Ms. Bentley. Because of Ms. Bentley, José says he completed the IB programme “with a more sophisticated and mature perspective of worldly affairs.”

 We hope our findings serve as a wake up call for health care professionals to both prevent climate change and prevent the health damage it will cause if left unsolved.

In addition to attending the conference and debating global issues related to medicine, José is actively researching the intersection of health care and climate change in his country. As a member of the prestigious CRONICAS Center of Excellence in Chronic Disease at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, José and his research team recently earned their first competitive research grant. “We are ambitiously trying to measure the gap between the real and the perceived effect of climate change on non-communicable diseases in a city in the north of Peru. We hope our findings serve as a wake up call for health care professionals to both prevent climate change and prevent the health damage it will cause if left unsolved.”


Contributing author Kari Lorentson is writing about the experience of IB graduates at universities around the world. Lorentson studies at American University and previously attended Fishers High School. Contact her at alumni.relations@ibo.org.

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