Who: Samanta Baraševičiūte
Age: 23 years old
Current Status: Student – Tromsø Arctic University – 3rd year Masters Program Major: English / Minor: Sociology
Q: What brought you to Norway?
A: “My dad got a job her in Norway and a year afterwards he moved the rest of the family to Norway. I’ve lived in Norway for about 12 ½ years.”
Q: What made you decide to study in an IB school?
A: “I’ve always been a fan of English and I heard about the program while studying the first year here at Finnfjordbotn. I heard that it was a challenging program but I felt that my English was good enough to take it on therefore it didn’t scare me.”
Q: Was the IB a challenge?
A: “No and yes. No mainly because the work load throughout the year wasn’t as demanding as it had been in the first year of regular school. We didn’t have as many tests and quizzes because most of the work was focused on our exams which were at the end of the second year. However, it was challenging once we got to our last semester. But again, if you do not procrastinate and you do the work as the semesters progress it isn’t any more difficult than the regular Norwegian curriculum.”
Q: In the Norwegian system 3rd year students have 3 written exams and one oral exam – is it the same in the IB system?
A: “Well, I personally had 13 exams and I was also one of the unlucky few that had four exams in one day. Each exam was two hours each which was fine because compared to the Norwegian exams that last for five hours this was a piece of cake as I felt prepared and the IB coordinator served us pizza to celebrate completing so many exams that day!”
Q: How did you do on the exams?
A: “Luckily I passed all my exams and I received my IB Diploma. I wasn’t at the top of the class but I wouldn’t have been at the top in the regulary Norwegian system either. Fortunately for me, the IB evaluates exams on what presented and adjusts the scale for everyone.”
Q: What do you mean?
A: “For example, I only managed to finish half of my mathematics exam but I still got a grade of five because the exam was more difficult than anticipated therefore they adjusted the scale.”
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of taking so many exams?
A: “The IB has fewer subjects to focus on over a two year period. Most of the courses are completed by the end of the third semester allowing us to review and train for the exams. All the exams have two or three parts which means we have breaks in between and therefore it was easier to concentrate when exams were short and focused.”
Q: What did you like most about your time as a an IB student?
A: It” was a very multicultural class – that made it exciting because I got to know a lot of interesting people. We also went on a school trip to Russia which was a highlight of the program especially for me. In the IB courses everyone is openminded and welcoming.”
Q: Are you happy with the choices you made to study within the IB system?
A: Yes, I focused on languages as I had three – English, Norwegian and Russian. I even enjoyed mathematics class. A lot of curriculum in University is in English – Medicine, Law, technology, and electronics. Most courses have textbooks in English so you need to be able to communicate in English at a high level and haven taken the IB helped.”
Q: How has your experience with the IB courses helped you afterwards?
A: Choosing the IB has helped me to keep an open mind to future possibilities as a lot of tasks we had – even though I don’t think about it on a daily basis – have still helped me to get where I am today and also to increase my passion for English.
Q: last question – would you recommend the IB to others?
A: “Yes. Choosing the IB not only helps you get into university but it also opens up the rest of the world and everybody should have that opportunity.”