Category: 2015/16 Klára O. (Czech Republic)

It seems unbelievable that it’s been more than one month already! Sometimes, I feel like I’ve just arrived, sometimes it seems like I’ve been here for ages. However, I really enjoy it here.

First day of school hit me with a wave of excitement as I’ve experience all my subjects and talked to so many interesting people. That amazing feeling stayed for a long time after that. Everything was suddenly new and adventurous. Of course, when the homework and topic tests started, it wasn’t 100% fun anymore, but that’s what school is about. Because it is not possible to pick your subject in Czech Republic – you just study the same thirteen subjects as everybody else – I was glad for being able to focus on the subject I like. My biology classes are the best. I really like my teacher and the excitement with which she describes even the least interesting parts of the topic. I can’t say it’s easy, but I don’t mind a little challenge.

At the beginning, I lacked some core scientific vocabulary, but it got a lot better as the time passed and now I understand the classes without serious issues. Chemistry is also interesting, but so far we are learning things we’ve already covered in Czech Republic. It is not that interesting, but it gave a chance to get used to the British system of naming compounds. Names of the inorganic compound are created by a different system then I am used to, so it took me a while to understand it. In Psychology, we are studying research methods, which so not that interesting, basically, it mostly consists of learning key terms. However, we will start learning about core psychological studies and I’m looking for that very much. Drama is the most entertaining one. It gives me an opportunity to relax and have some fun, but also learn new skills and enhance my performance. My last subject is ESOL – English for Speakers of Other Language. Every international student has to complete this course. The main purpose is preparation for the IELTS exams.

Now, the daily routine has become automatic. I got used to the school’s building and now I can find my way around quite easily. Most days, school starts at 9am. I don’t live in Brockenhurst, so I have to get to school by train. At the beginning, I was not rely enthusiastic about that, but I soon figured out, that the half an hour long journey is great opportunity to meet with your friends and have a nice chat before the classes. To catch the train, I usually get up at 7 am. It is not ideal, but it’s still better than 6:30, which is the time I used to get up at in Czech Republic. If I feel sleepy in the morning, I stop by a small coffee stall right next to the train station and get some liquid energy in form of really good and hot cappuccino. Most days, my classes finish at 16:20. The only exception is Thursday, when I’ve got to attend only three classes right after each other, so I’m free to go at 12:35. Of course, during the time I spend in school, I also have some free periods, or (like my biology teacher likes to call them) study periods. At the beginning of the school year, I tried to get in touch with my friends and have some fun together during that time, but as the classes got harder and I had more and more homework to do, most of the time I just went to the school library and tried to use my time productively. After all, I have plenty of time to see my friends during the lunch break or after school.

In the afternoon I often meet with my friends. Our favourite activity became trying out all the coffees in Chitchurch and finding the best one. Although due to my friend’s lactose intolerance the ones with alternative to dairy always win. During the weekends, I’ve already done wide variety of activities. Our first trip was exploring Bournemouth, which is the closest big city. The reason for this adventure was simply the need to buy all of those things we’ve forgotten at home. Next day we also travelled to Southampton, which is slightly further away, but even bigger that Bournemouth. During the weekends, we also visited Brighton. During this adventure, we figured out an important thing: Always buy your train ticket online, before the actual journey, so that you don’t have to pay £70 for return ticket to Brighton, even though you’ve read online, that it costs £20 (if you buy a ticket beforehand, it’s price is reduced.) Well, you learn by making mistakes right?

Another pleasant surprise turned out to be the other student staying with my host family. She is British, but her home is quite far away from Brockenhurst, where she studies. Now you are probably thinking: Why didn’t she choose closer school? Well, I was wondering about that to, so I’ve already found out the answer. With her A levels, she is also doing some sort of sport program, which is available only in few schools. She plays rugby and (as far as I can tell) she is quite good at it. We became friends quickly and I’ve already visited her at her home in Reading. It was well-spent time and I even got to see her rugby match. However, I didn’t understand any of the rules so her mother had to explain everything to me.

Overall, I can say, that I’ve settled in. I found friends really quickly, especially among the international students and I can’t complain. Academically, there is no problem either. Thanks to the modern technology, I can talk to my family whenever I want to so I don’t even miss them much. Right now I feel happy. However it might change before the final exams.