Skip to content

Making the most of a truly international Diploma Programme Education : A brief guide for students and parents

Share this post on social!

Given the rise in the number of IB schools around Brazil, it is perhaps an exception rather than the rule that parents have not at least heard of the International Baccalaureate Organization. It is an honour and a joy to be able to say that St Nicholas Alphaville is now one of the schools in Brazil to offer this world class educational framework, that offers so much to our students while giving so much back to the world. 

However, while we look forward to having our students join the ranks of IB alumni around the world when our first cohort graduates in 2026, we are aware that entering the Diploma Programme means taking on two rewarding yet tremendously challenging years of rigorous study and determination. 

This can be a daunting prospect for many students and their families, let alone at a school such as St Nicholas, that offers a veritable international school experience with a range of choices and responsibilities put in the hands of students. We are therefore pleased to share with families a brief guide to navigating such an experience so that everyone feels ready and excited to join us on our unique learning adventure.

How to embrace rigour

The word “rigour” conjures up a variety of mental images, often of mountains of homework to hours upon end of testing and revising and related stress, but rigour is not, or does not have to be, synonymous with sacrifice or suffering. Instead, rigour encompasses the idea of setting ourselves ambitious goals, and applying the self-discipline, hard work, and motivation necessary to achieve these goals within a supportive yet demanding environment. 

At St Nicholas, we see rigour as the expectations we confidently place on our students to succeed in their endeavours. These expectations are high, and not just because we know our students are capable, but because our education framework moulds their capabilities by nurturing skills such as time management, self-reflection and the ability to assume responsibility from an early age. How best to embrace this? By believing in yourself, and taking the initiative to make the most of the opportunities for personal growth at your fingertips at St Nicholas.

How to manage the “responsibility of choice”

Have you ever stood in front of a breakfast buffet or a supermarket aisle, where the options appear endless, and the prospect of settling for just one or a few options feels nearly impossible? That’s what it may feel like for students faced with the task of putting together a suitable combination of subjects for their studies as part of the Diploma Programme, but at St Nicholas, we see this choice as the culmination of a process that starts as early as in the Primary Years Programme. 

At St Nicholas, students are given frequent opportunities for choice and voice in their learning, both in the classroom as well as through school improvement opportunities such as the student council, student wellbeing representative committee, and our House Captain programme, where they engage in reflection, negotiation, and learn about the steps towards thoughtful decision-making. Managing the responsibility of choice for our students therefore means to plan carefully, seek various perspectives from teachers and family, and to take advantage of all of the resources at their disposal at our school, be it our wellbeing team, university counsellor, outstanding teachers, or a supportive community of families and friends who all work together towards ensuring the best possible outcomes for all our students.

How to make the most of the St Nicholas experience

At St Nicholas Alphaville, we commit ourselves to ensuring that each student lives and learns in accordance with our vision of a unique learning adventure for all. What this means for students and families entering the Diploma Programme, be it by way of the IB continuum offered at our school or otherwise, is that we put the responsibility of crafting an unforgettable experience in the hands of our students, while simultaneously ensuring we open new horizons through a truly international, multilingual, and culturally diverse environment. 

By providing students with a thought-provoking curriculum that challenges students to open their minds and hearts to different perspectives, opportunities for service on a local, regional, and international level, and the state-of-the art facilities for creating original works of art, technology, or scientific feats, we ensure that each student finds a home at St Nicholas for their talents and aspirations, and a place in our welcoming community.