Myriam Piguet―Geneva, Switzerland
Myriam Piguet received her IB Diploma in 2011 from the Mutuelle d’Etudes Secondaires in Geneva, Switzerland. She studied History in Belgium and Denmark and worked in journalism in Belgium and France, and she is currently a PhD student studying the history of international organizations and teaches at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.
Why did you decide to pursue the Diploma Programme?
I had rather serious academic difficulties when I was around 15 years old, and, despite my motivation, the Swiss system did not offer a path that would have given me access to higher education. I was too unruly and had dyslexia. That was when I joined the Mutuelle d’Etudes Secondaires. From the very beginning, the IB programme, which allowed me to focus on the subjects that I liked the most, seemed like the best option to me and my parents (as opposed to, for example, the French educational system).
What advice do you have for current IB students?
Choose the subjects that you enjoy the most. The IB allows you to choose from among lots of different subjects (depending on the school) and is not limited to the idea that students have to choose either science or literature. I personally chose History and Art as my main subjects. Currently, I am working towards my PhD in History, and I think that these two subjects taught me a lot, especially Art which requires students to create projects over a long period for the final exam.
How did the IB broaden your horizons and impact your career and your beliefs?
I currently teach at a university. The IB and the Mutuelle d’Etudes Secondaires taught me independence and empathy. I am attentive to my students but at the same time take care to give them as much freedom as possible. Since I was a student who had difficulties I am also able to quickly spot students who are in a similar situation. I also think that the IB prepared me well for university. I have a bachelor’s degree from the Free University of Brussels, a country that I didn’t know very well, however, I adapted very quickly to the Belgian system. This is most likely because the IB system teaches students just that: adaptation. I think that it also teaches students how to be open-minded.
What was the most memorable part of your IB experience?
The greatest advantage of the IB, for me, was the possibility to take certain exams one year in advance. Since school was sometimes a source of anxiety, this option allowed me to work more calmly. In this way, I was able to pass the Biology final exam (which was—at least for me—one of the hardest subjects) at the end of my second year.
Without a doubt, the most memorable part was the long hours spent in the art workshop working on my projects. If I remember correctly I took 8 hours of art courses per week during my second and third year. It was cool! Once I graduated, however, I decided not to continue on that path. And still, despite all the hours spent painting instead of writing essays, I was just as prepared as my classmates when I started my bachelor’s degree in History, and I generally had no difficulty.
Finally, know that I am immensely grateful to the IB system, and I think that I wouldn't have been able to obtain my diploma without it!