Category: 2014/15 Fernanda O. (Brazil)

My understanding of the saying ‘time flies’ has changed over the last few weeks. At first I thought that I would struggle a lot in my time here, trying to get used to the new friends, to the new school buildings, to the different kind of teaching.

Well, it happens that by the third week that I was here, I found myself completely settled in, and completely in love with this new place. The thing about going abroad on your own is not only about having fun, making friends and hanging around with international people. It is much more about realising how small your whole world used to be before having this experience.

I’m doing the IB system which is the one that fewer people take, mostly international pupils. This system allows you to study up to seven subjects, what I think is the best thing if you are here for only one term. Oh dear, only one term. I thought it was a lot, but now I see how short this time is in fact… But coming back to the subject, I’m doing History, English literature and Economics, (as Higher level subjects), Maths, Physics and Art. I’m absolutely in love with the History course and also with the Art course. The Art Department here is extraordinary. This Wednesday we are going on a trip to London to the National Portrait Gallery to choose an artist that we are going to take as a model for a project.

I am also taking guitar lessons here and participating in two different choirs: one from Kent College and another one from Canterbury. I just love the fact that we can do as many activities as we want here, and we are highly encouraged to do so. I am playing badminton, doing yoga and Zumba lessons, participating in charity meetings and in debating club, which I am absolutely fond of. What’s more, there are lectures and meetings with historians, doctors and politicians almost every week which are all very enrichment for me.

I have the feeling that there is so much to do all the time and that living here I will never get bored. I guess I’ve done more in two months here than in a whole year in Brazil. Last weekend I went to something called AIMS Weekend, which was an event to talk about worldwide issues such as sustainability, hunger, natural disasters release, charity and social justice. It was a very unique experience and I got to know many teenagers from other parts of England, as there were representatives from many different schools.

The previous weekend I went to London with my friend Eloise and we spent the whole day in Camden Town. It was like dreaming for me: being in my favourite city with my British friend getting to know new places, learning how to go around on your own, meeting people…

I’ve been going out with my friends on weekends, but during the week people are more used to going home right after school as they’ve got prep to do. On Wednesdays we usually go to town to have a coffee or do some shopping. Canterbury is such a lovely city. The architecture is from the Medieval age which makes it very charming. I love to walk around on Saturdays because students from the Kent University and many other Colleges go shopping or just walk together and you can see young people from many different countries. There is always someone playing the guitar in the middle of the streets what I find really cool.

Coming here made me open my mind in such way that I can hardly explain. I can’t help thinking that there is so much to learn and to see in the world, so many things to do, so many people to talk that a lifetime feels too short to fit everything in!

Another life changing thing that I’m experimenting here is the true sense of freedom: the freedom of coming and going, the freedom of taking the public transport without being afraid of being robbed or suffer any kind of violence. The major differences between my home country and here are in the most usual things, but things that can really improve your quality of life.

I know I am not supposed to think like that but I can already imagine how painful it will be for me to go back. I am just so much in love with this new place, I want to embrace it and enjoy it as much as I can, and learn as much as I can because can feel that I am really changing who I am here, in the best of all possible senses.