Austin Aung Hein Htet, Class of 2019, Myanmar

Studying in HCIS was undoubtedly one of the biggest turning points in my life. The IB curriculum has, dare I say, perfectly prepared me for my undergraduate studies, not only in terms of workload but also the soft skills I gained over the course of two years. I have always thought I am a science person and that reading and writing essays are not things I would prefer to do in further education. Unexpectedly, I found myself drawn to both science and arts subjects by the end of my IB journey — subsequently leading to my choice to pursue a joint degree in English and psychology at the University of St Andrews.

Prior to studying at HCIS, international-mindedness has always been an abstract concept for me. As an international student, I was elated that HCIS provided boarding facilities, where I met peers from various nationalities, and some of my most memorable moments were formed during these interactions. If I had to choose one of my favourite parts of HCIS and the IB, it would definitely be CAS. Apart from merely fulfilling the requirement, I found myself volunteering for causes I care about: environmentalism, helping the disabled and elderly, as well as cancer research. CAS has pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me to ‘just go for it’. So now here I am, virtually involved in several co-curricular activities at my university despite not being physically situated there.

I felt a sense of closure and relief at having completed the IB when my examinations were over and I received my grades. However, everything that happened in HCIS — the giggles, the whimpers, the challenges, the epiphany — have accompanied me till now and become an asset, or rather a highlight reel which I can always look back upon.