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The global villagers

Noel Young and Ruth Watkins, both 18, are in the final year of their International Baccalaureate at Impington village college, Cambridge.

IB students study six subjects, plus the theory of knowledge, and must also do a 4,000-word extended essay. There is also a creativity, action and service programme where pupils can take part in music, sports and community service.

Noel grew up in Japan, where he went to an American school. He left his family 18 months ago to study at Impington after his brother, who is at Cambridge University, found out about the IB course. He is living with a local family.

He says: "My brother originally left Japan to do an IB course in Australia. The course is ideal for people like us who want to study and work all around the world. It's highly regarded in so many countries, as you learn different languages and a broad range of arts and science subjects."

Noel doesn't know in which country he will choose to do a degree.

Ruth chose the bac in preference to A-levels, as it was broader. "It was ideal for someone like me who didn't know which subjects to specialise in."

She too likes that fact that the bac is recognised in many countries. "The world is opening up and more people of my age are wanting to work abroad. I'm planning to go to Spain for six months to learn the language next year.

She thinks she'll go to university in Britain, but may work abroad in the future. "Having an internationally-recognised qualification will help me," she says.

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