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Visit by former IB DP student Sofie Krogsgaard

Sofie Krogsgaard, who graduated from the IB at Nørre Gymnasium in 2019 and is now studying biomedicine at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, came by recently to give an inspirational talk to the present IB DP students. When she studied at Nørre Gymnasium, Sofie was a very active student especially within the area of Biology. Among other projects, she built a database of the school’s biological collection and represented Denmark in the International Biology Olympiad. Here you can read Sofie’s own words from her visit.

About myself
My name is Sofie Krogsgaard and I am an IB alumni who graduated in 2019. I am a Danish national and learned about the IB by pure coincidence. A classmate of mine at my “Efterskole” was planning on applying to the IB, as his English was better than his Danish, and we got to talking about it one evening making small talk. How he presented the IB sounded interesting, so I decided to look a bit more into it on my own. That being said, I am extremely grateful for that coincidence and that I choose to do the IB, because it turned out to be right for me. I am academically ambitious and as I want to pursue a career within science, I need to be international, because science, research in particular, is. The IB is a programme geared towards an international path and helped me reach it. One of the great experiences of my school time was when I participated in the national rounds of the IBO (“Internationale Biologi Olympiade”) in 2018-2019. This is an annual international contest for students with a passion for biology, but since the qualification rounds in this country are in Danish, not many international IB Students take the challenge. I was the only participant from Nørre Gymnasium among thousands of students from other Danish schools but managed to qualify all the way to the finals and thus had a chance to represent Denmark on the national team in Szeged, Hungary. Even though I did not make it all the way to the national team, it was a great experience and I learned a lot. As a reward I received the Science grant at the graduation ceremony last summer.


My CAS-project
I used my passion for biology in one of my CAS-projects, where I build a homepage and a database to create a better overview of the school’s biological collection ( collection contains everything from whole specimens, such as stuffed birds, pickled fish and pinned insects, to bones, eggs, beaks, antlers and teeth, and date back to a time when biology had a much larger component of taxonomy and natural history than it has today. At that time, learning biology was very much about inspecting, analyzing, interpreting, naming and comparing structure and function of all kinds of biological materials, and I believe that only students of IB Biology know about the treasures at our school because we use it to build a “Tree of Life” showing the phylogenetic relationship about all the different types of animals as part of our education. It is my sincere hope that other IB students will continue developing the home-page as their CAS-project so that it can also include other groups of organisms, such as living trees, flowers, mosses and insects around the school and also other kinds of information, such as key-features for identification and links to websites containing information about distribution, behavior, classification etc.

Sofie and her fellow classmates with 'their' Tree of Life 


What I do today
Today, I study biomedicine, specifically molecular biology, at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. As an IB student I have a significant advantage when applying abroad as I am used, not only to being taught in English, but also to having to manage my time well, study hard and I have experience with the examination type. That being said, studying in Scotland, or anywhere in the UK for that matter is a bit questionable at the moment due to Brexit. While the Scottish government has promised that visa and tuition status does not change for my year, that is students starting 2019/2020, and quite possibly the following year as well, what will happen in the future is uncertain. If you make it to the UK during these years, I would apply for a pre-settled scheme that allows you to remain in the UK as before, if there is indeed a hard Brexit. It is what I did, and it guarantees my right to stay and study int the UK for the foreseeable future. For future students and as for the future of Brexit there is nothing more to say than to follow the news and remain alert as no one knows anything at this moment. Otherwise there are many good things to be said about studying abroad. For one it brings a maturity level that I do not think I would have gotten in Denmark as you are on your own in an entirely different way when you are abroad. In addition, it allows you to experience a different culture and a different way of teaching. In my case, I want to work abroad as well and possibly do research and in that case being international is a must and I believe that studying abroad and actively seeking out an international path will help me attain that goal.   

My recommendations to the new IB-cohort
The very first thing I would recommend is sticking with interests. Biology has always been a major interest of mine and my interest and passion for the subject has been highly determinate of my subject choices and extra curriculars during the IB. During December 2019, my IB biology teacher asked if I would want to come talk to current IB students about my experiences with the IB program, which I accepted. During my talk I focused on the importance of CAS and sleep. As for CAS, it is a way to pursue other interests or, perhaps more importantly, allow students to work with non-academic matters during their time in the IB. The time spent away from books is important as it allows for better focus when time is spent with books and it allows for a more balanced student. That being said, academic interests can of course also be used in CAS as I did with biology and the website and Olympiad. Beyond my semi-individual endeavors with biology in my spare-time, I was also an active member of UNF, an organization that works to promote the interest and knowledge of science amongst youth primarily. This allowed me both to deepen my own knowledge about science, biology in particular, but also meet and engage with others who shared my interests, something I can highly recommend, especially if they can be found both within and outside of the classroom. UNF can be an excellent way to do that, but it requires a proficiency in Danish. 


Thank you Sofie
Many thanks to Sofie for taking the time to visit and give her inspirational visit. We also recommend a couple of articles about her in the IB News at Nørre  G’s website describing some of her activities and achievements:

Nørre G’s website: May 2018January 2019

Sofie receiving a Certificate for qualifying for the semi-finals of the 2018 Biology Olympiad in Aarhus