Joining EF Academy itself is a big step to take in your life. It is an experience that you will never forget. You will have the chance to make friends from all around the world, immerse yourself into their cultures and gain an upper hand for university and your professional career. The individuals you meet will provide you with so much more than you could imagine. Before arriving at EF Academy, I was extremely nervous. This would be my first time living away from home in a new environment with no one I knew, however my worries immediately vanished upon walking through the front doors. The campus itself is surrounded by beautiful greenery, it has a lake nearby and plenty of deers. The buildings and layout make you feel as if you are in a town within itself since it resembles a university campus.
The main thing that made me feel more comfortable was the incredible staff members. My House Parents, Lisa Brix and Sarah Weeks, allowed me to feel at home and assured me that I wasn’t alone. Our Activities Director, Emily Aquina, can make anyone smile even when you have three assignments due at the same time. Our various classroom teachers are always available for extra help or if you just want to chat. During my first year, I was timid and didn’t allow myself to take full advantage of all that EF Academy offered, but I quickly learned from that mistake.
In my last two years, I joined numerous clubs, worked alongside the sporting teams, and gained various leadership positions on campus. By becoming a part of these activities, I got to strengthen my relationship with staff members and see them as friends – allowing me to work harder and achieve higher grades. My main advice when you arrive to campus is to talk! Talk to everyone who wants to speak with you and join campus activities. Be a part of a sports team, whether as an athlete or a manager, join in with community service activities around the local area and look for leadership opportunities within clubs or the Student Council. The more you force yourself to leave your comfort zone and join in with the school community, the more you will be prepared for the real world. By being a part of the activities and going to events you will be able to meet some amazing students from around the world, and by being an active member in the community, you will make life long relationships.
So when you arrive to campus, do not sit in your room and watch movies or play games, go to the Club Fair, represent your country in the Culture Fair, go to the dances and other events, talk to staff members (I guarantee that they are different from your old teachers and want to get to know you). Make the most of your time here, and remember everyone is going through the same transition as you. When you begin to miss home, get into an argument or are just upset about something, don’t disconnect yourself from the community, go see your Guidance Counselor and get to know new people. Keep in mind this is a difficult experience, there are so many different personalities on campus, you just have to find your place here, which you will!
Written by: Gizel Gedik, IB Diploma Y2 Student at EF Academy New York
Think this could be the school for you? EF Academy international boarding schools open a world of opportunities for high school students by providing them with a superior education abroad, thorough preparation for university and a future that knows no borders.