Sixth Form Foreign Exchange Students on Life at South Wirral
Read our Sixth Form Foreign Exchange students’ fascinating accounts of their ‘new lives’ in South Wirral High School.
Lola Canibe Anderson
My Exchange Year 2015/2016
My name is Lola Canibe Anderson, and I am 16 years old. I’m an exchange student from Hobro, a little-known town in the north of Denmark. Around this time last year, I made a huge decision: I decided that I wanted to study one year abroad. This decision was to be the most significant decision I’ve made so far in my life. One of the reasons I chose to be an exchange student was that one of my friends was going to study one year in America. She talked so much about it, and I quickly gained interest. People tell you that an exchange year changes you; makes you more independent; makes you more mature and makes you stronger. This all sounded appealing to me, even though I’ve never had a problem with any of these things. I decided to go to Great Britain (this was the only influence I had on where I was placed). The organisation that I’m here with chose Prenton and South Wirral High School. I’m very happy with how everything has turned out for me.
In school, I’ve made some really good friends. I found it a bit odd in the beginning that an A-Level student only has three to four subjects, but I quickly understood why. The small number of topics gives the student more time to focus on the individual subject and can specialise more within these three subjects. Also, the opportunity to choose three to four subjects, based on interest, is incredible! I’ve chosen Maths, Chemistry, and History as my three subjects. I have a high interest in these subjects, and they are of much use for my further education. History, especially, has improved my writing skills. This is because I have to speak English all the time and do all my school work in English. I’ve become more independent because I now have to do almost everything by myself, where it was easy for me before to seek help from my parents. I would highly recommend everyone to study abroad. You change so much and become a better person who’s capable of much more. On top of that, you become fluent in another language and continue your education.
My Exchange Year
Hi, my name is Silvia Canaletti, and I am an exchange student from Civitanova Marche, a city of the seaside in the centre of Italy. I came to England to be an exchange student for six months because I wanted to do this experience since I was 14 years old, the year in which I started high school in Italy. My aim was to improve my English so that I could have a wider range of experience for my future academic career and my life. I have always loved to travel, and all this experience introduced itself as one of the biggest opportunities my life could give me. I have chosen England because I like English Culture and I wanted to have a British accent for my English, but also because London is my favourite city and I hoped I could visit at some stage of my exchange programme.
How is it to be an exchange student? It is too many words for me to describe. I don’t think I could choose the right one if I were asked to.
As an exchange student, you are alone. It’s your experience; you are out of your comfort zone, where your parents are always there and you have friends and you know where you are and what you’re doing. When you start this experience, you have to start again; you have to make new friends, to feel comfortable and get used to a family and a life that is not yours, or, not yet. You go to a new school in which there are new and different rules, new teachers, new people. Everything is new.
You start to fit into this new life, you start to know the people and make friends, you start to get used to the new school and the environment you’re in, and suddenly this life becomes yours. You start to recognise all of those things you do as yours, like, the new you that came to England.
People look at you, at the moves you make, they sometimes also judge you and the way you live your life, because it’s different, it’s distinct from the way they live theirs. It can be hard sometimes; I’m honest, sometimes you just need a hug from your mum and best friend and you can’t have it. On the other hand, it’s wonderful, one of the most beautiful experiences that you can have. You find a new family; that start to become your second family, a lot of wonderful new friends that are real friends, that are going to be friends, even when you’re not going to see them again. You find a new school full of teachers that are always there to help you and resources you can use. There’s a new world just in the school environment. It is a big jump in the dark at the beginning, but later on, it turns to be one of the best choices I’ve made in my life, and I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad I’ve met so many amazing people, who I have built strong friendships with. I have it’s good and bad times, but if I could choose again, I would choose it every day.
Louise Passke Joergensen
Exchange Year at South Wirral High School
Hi, I’m Louise, I am 17 years old and I am from Denmark. I am currently doing an exchange year in England, and I live on the Wirral. I live with a host family, including a mother, and daughter. I also live with another exchange student, Sylvia, from Italy. We like to call each other sisters.
I go to South Wirral High School, where I am taking the subjects: BTEC Travel and Tourism, Mathematics and Photography. At South Wirral High School, I have been meeting so many students who are all lovely. I now have friendships with people, that I hope I will stay in touch with and visit them. Taking Travel and Tourism has opened my eyes to a whole new world. There are so many things in the industry that I did not instinctively know. I hope that I will be able to work within the industry in the future, as I find it interesting.
Taking an exchange year was a dream I’ve had for three years. I got interested in how other countries were run, and how people in other countries got on with their daily lives. If I were not taking an exchange year, I would go to Danish High School for three years, but that was a big step I was not ready for. I thought taking an exchange year was something that I could do and was more ready for. Even if it meant travelling across the ocean and live without my family for ten months.
Exchange year is hard, without a doubt, staying away from your family for ten months. It will give you experience; you will remember it for the rest of your life. It’s a whole new life you are going to get, in a new environment. I have learned so many things about myself, but also other people in the last eight months. Of course, I have missed home, but I am having a real time here. This was a dream for me, so I would not give up on that. I think everybody should get the opportunity to take an exchange year because you learn so many skills. I am so thankful that I got the chance, and that people at South Wirral High School have been so open to me. I am also grateful that I now have some amazing friends over here and I will come back to visit them.