Irene Jiménez Barranco was born in Spain and moved to Luxembourg with her family when she was 13 years old. She learned French in a welcome class with other foreign students and a few years later she received an International Baccalaureate Diploma before moving again, this time to Belgium. Irene studied translation and interpretation in Brussels, the profession that she currently practices as a freelancer, amongst other activities, in Luxembourg.
Why did you decide to pursue the Diploma Programme?
I chose the Diploma Programme because it seemed to be the best fit for my aspirations and my profile at the time. I was the type of teenager who loved school, but I hadn’t really chosen my profession yet and the Diploma Programme was both comprehensive and specialized. It had the distinctive feature of being general enough in its course offerings to leave all opportunities open to me, so that later on I could undertake higher studies that were more focused on my preferences.
What advice do you have for current IB students?
The Diploma Programme is quite demanding and requires a lot of independant and individual work from the students (which is quite unusual at that specific academic stage). I would tell students not to be disheartened because efforts will always pay off, I would also add that when you really want to do something, you can (which is true of everything in life). Finally, I would say don’t forget that you can count on the Diploma Programme teachers because they are highly qualified, understanding professionals who will always help when needed.
How did the IB broaden your horizons and impact your career and your beliefs?
In many ways. The IB has always emphasized the cultural diversity in our class, always ensuring that we viewed our differences as something enriching. I think that when a young person suddenly finds themselves in a foreign country, where they don’t speak the language, are far from their friends and sometimes even their family, it is even more important to encourage them and make them understand that the school is there to lend a helping hand and to give them a chance. I think that this is one of the most wonderful things that the IB has been able to accomplish.
What was the most memorable part of your IB experience?
I think that it’s the gala dinner that we organized together for a good cause. The activity was a beautiful project in itself, but we also experienced some unforgettable moments while organizing and running it, I still smile when I remember it.