Alumni Profile: Xenia Skarbye

Alumni Profile: Xenia Skarbye

Where are you from?
I am from Denmark. WAB and China was my first expatriation.

When did you attend WAB? When did you graduate?
I attended WAB from 2006 to 2008, and graduated as the second class of seniors in 2008.

Where are you now? What are you studying/working on?
I am currently in Chongqing where I recently started a traineeship/internship at the Danish Consulate General. I will be here for six months until the end of January 2016.

Which University did you attend? What's the major?
I did my undergraduate and postgraduate degree at Oxford Brookes University, UK. For my bachelor degree I studied Economics & International Relations, while for the masters degree I studied International Management & International Relations. I graduated from Brookes in May 2013 and can recommend it well.

However, due to pressure from the Danish employment market for a Danish postgrad degree, I started my second masters degree at Aalborg University in Copenhagen in September 2014, only a year after finishing at Brookes. The degree in Copenhagen is a two year course in Global Refugee Studies which I am set to complete in June 2016, unless employment options open to me before then.

How did WAB influence your career choice, if any?
It will sound corny and sugar-sweet, but WAB taught me to dream. Seriously! My time in China and at WAB was challenging, especially in the beginning and adjusting to everything that was new (i.e. all!) was quite difficult. However, during my time at WAB I grew more academically and personally than I ever had thought possible. My striving was taken seriously and I felt believed in and validated. Something that came as a big change from the Danish school system. The strong community at WAB and the feeling that we were all in it together, is a feeling of community and belonging that I think has no equal. Graduating from WAB with an international high school degree, good results, and a great China-adventure richer I felt like everything was possible. That's what I mean about WAB teaching me to dream. What I have done subsequently in my life; the chances I have taken, choices I have made, places I have gone, and my love international diplomacy, all comes down to WAB and my first China-adventure, I think, and the power of being allowed to dream big and outside the box. Whether my pursuit of my career dream in international diplomacy will ultimately materialize is another thing a Time has yet to tell.

What are your best memories of WAB?
I was in the WAB-X group that started Pro Farmer Project and although it was a small project and its scope and effect limited, it felt like one of the wildest ventures I've ever been part of. We were students and we were running our own non-profit that was going to save the world! I also remember the always-happy guards at the HS gate greeting us in the morning. The water fountains where the ayi's kept switching off the cold water cooling, as to give us the pleasure of lukewarm (and healthy!) drinking water a And the feeling of extreme relief and overwhelming happiness of having finished my last IB exam.

What's your advice for current seniors?
Dream. Dream big. And then go for it! If you believe that something is right for you, it probably is, so don't let it go when the first obstacles arise. If they have survived their "China adventure" and have their time at WAB in the baggage, chances are good that they are well equipped to take on the world and the pursuit of what ever makes them come alive.