An experience that changes your life

Primer premio en la categoría Junior del I Concurso de relato corto

Hello, my name is Amalia and I am going to tell you a little bit about my experience in England, I’m going to start from the beginning:

Since the beginning of last year (2011) my parents offered me the opportunity of going to study abroad a whole school year in England. At that time I liked the idea of going, because some of my friends had already lived the experience, so they encouraged me to go, so I accepted.

At first I was really excited and looking forward to the moment, as it was my first time that I would be for so long and far away from home… On the one hand that made me coward, going there and find myself alone, with a different culture timetable different from mine in Spain, with different and new friends, and especially with another language. At first I came with a too low level of English and it was hard for me to communicate and make friends… I could hardly grab the rhythm in the lessons… especially I made a great mistake which I now regret, since the first day I met a group of Spanish girls whose I was going to spend the whole school year. The point is that we gathered all because we did not know anyone, and we were going to go together to be easier to adapt ourselves to the boarding school, at timetables, to make friends…

We end up being very close friends of each other, we spent the day together, having breakfast together, and we ate, and even had dinner we also went to the same house together … that gave us more difficulty at the time to make English friends… To live far of my family and my country cost me a lot to adapt because I did not have my parents, whose tell your problems, your sorrows, your anecdotes, your joys, there was no people who will support you in the good moments as well as bad there were the Spanish girls, they were already adapted they could live away from his family, so I never told what was happening to me and my parents either, because I thought if I told them everything that was wrong with me they were going to worry more about me.

Especially my mother and mine which cost us more to apart, to do not have us for a long time was really hard for both of us, and this has cast me appreciate everything I have, the fantastic family I have, because in my family they have always given me all. And now is when you most valued it, this experience is making me appreciate it and I know I will never lose everything that I have, and they will always be there. I learned to become a strong girl and responsible… I’ve also learned how to do things by myself, to take care of myself and others, to have an independent life without anyone that have to be telling me what I have to do. In most situations I have had to earn a living on my own, to study alone, to wash my clothes, sort and clean my room…

The truth is that I have always been very lucky, the first term they put me in the room with a very nice and open English girl that helped me a lot to make friends, the second term they change the roommates and I shared the room with a girl even better, I made even more friends, until the afternoon she teach me English, and at night at the time of “light out”, we were spending all the night talking.

We used to go everywhere together, although I keep seeing my Spanish friends, between us we noticed that we had made a big change to our English, and also I noticed it too.

The second term is when I most enforced, and this term I will do it better than ever because it is the last and the easiest.

I have just come back from my Easter holidays, which have been the longest, but have become quite short, I’ve been in Madrid three weeks, but I have realized that if I had not chosen this experience, coming to England, it haven’t happened such fantastic things that have happened to me, I would never have had so much fun moments, I would not ever, meet a fantastic new friends, that now I know that they will be my friends forever.

Either I would not get a good level of English that now I have, I also would not have as many holydays as I had, I think that there are all advantages… this experience seems to me the best gift they’ve done in life. I would like to repeat the experience and now I have nothing left to the end, I’ve done the longest term, coldest season and stressful… and now I have to complete the end, my last term, the one that I would not ever repeat again, the shortest one, and it is starting the nice weather and I’m surrounded by people I love and I know recently and that makes me feel proud, because a lot of people would want to have a chance to study out, like I am doing. Because before I came, I heard some of my friends that also have studied in England some about her experiences, and all of them sounded great. And I always thought “they are really lucky to go to study by themselves to another country because there are all advantages, there are some of them:

–        Surely in Spain what you always do when you finish school, is to go home, have a snack and get immediately to study, and you spend the evening listening to your parents telling you what you have to do all the time: “study, study, study” that was the word used to listen every afternoon. But it has nothing to do with England.

–        In England when school finish you can go to do activities such as hockey, rounders, tennis, horse riding, art, athletics, table tennis…

–        What I usually do is to choose me 3 activities for the entire week, and the rest of the days, I’m relaxed in my room, with my friends, chatting, advance overdue homework, I talk to my parents, etc…

–        After the activities of afternoon, I am going to dinner, in all the English schools they usually have dinner at 6 pm (a little early and little appealing) but once you get used it gives it same…

–        After dinner they give us half an hour before starting the prep (which is called the hour of study) that compared to what we have to do in Spain, there is much difference, because here we almost homework and we have tests once a month, we have a month without exams and all you do is homework… We would like all children in Spain to have the same kind of school work… every lesson lasts a little more than half an hour, unless if we have double period, which is 1 hour.

–        The Level of our course is not very difficult, I am studying year 9 (which equals in Spain to 2º de ESO) and the level is high but the material is easy to study, what most I find hard is the physics and chemistry, this is my first year studying it, and the English girls have been already 2 years studying physics and chemistry, but for the moment so I’ve been well.

–        On the other hand one of the other advantages is that here I am developing my potential and I have expanded my knowledge more, I learned a culture of learning and integration to other forms of life. I am also very safe because I know that in the future, this great experience will serve for my personal, academic and work performance. Here I have learned to develop to the maximum my skills that had not been developed before, and also attitudes, I have become a person more mature and responsible, I have taken every good opportunity offered to me and that have benefited me .before coming here I was less open and sociable person, It cost me more giving me to meet new and different people.

And with this I finish, this is my story of my experience studying in England, an experience that I have not finished yet, and I have a long way to be done, I hope you liked it and you all enjoyed, and also I encouraged you to take opportunities as this, because not everyone has this kind of opportunity, an experience that changes your life, that helps you to grow and helps you realize that amazing people that you always have had around you.

And all of you, whom will offer experiences like this, accept it, really, I recommend it also to those parents who have doubts to send their children, because this experience enriches the maximum! And that is all, and I will tell you how will I finish the course, but that when the time comes. Also I want to thank Astex very much, thanks for making this a very special year for me without all of you I would not have come so far and had not improve my level of English, many thanks!!I also want to thank my family, for all the support they have given me while I was here, thanks for convincing me to accept this opportunity and thank you for being by my side supporting me at all times.

Amalia Provenza (cursando un año escolar en Inglaterra con Astex durante el curso 2011-2012)

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