Hello everyone! This is Jubilee Au Yeung, from Hong Kong.
I am currently taking the International Baccalaureate program at EF Academy Oxford. As I left my comfort zone to study here in Oxford for the past year, I have found myself in three different kinds of experience that I’ve never had in my life.
1. Different cultural exposure
It is amazing how a tiny place can gather people from all around the world. Before coming to EF, I already had a general idea about the cultures of different nations. But after meeting all these amazing people, I’ve gotten to build my knowledge and have made personal connections with them.
During my stay in Oxford, I’ve met and built intimate relationships with people from all over the world. The cultural diversity gives me the opportunity to learn about their cultures, which is invaluable because it has broadened my horizons as an experience I couldn’t have had elsewhere.
This unique experience has allowed me to be more open-minded and to not only appreciate the backgrounds of others, but also my own.
In this international environment, we’re all comfortable speaking English, despite mistakes we might make. We respect and understand that we are all English language learners, and we have been courageous enough to walk out of our comfort zones to come to a country we know little about and explore it.
2. A different way of living
Living in a boarding school is quite different from what I was used to. Although staying in the residence means that we are away from our families and friends in our hometowns, we now get the opportunity to embrace a huge new family – our schoolmates and the EF staff. My life here has not always been easy, due to homesickness and pressure at school, as we are all going through a transition period. However, I know that I’m not alone, and I have massive support from my friends. Especially during the exam period when we study together and encourage one another through desperate states.
My friends and peers are patient and keen to help. This has made my life and learning a lot easier. As the school environment is always filled with good vibes and students who genuinely want to learn, this inspires me to have a positive attitude towards my learning experience. Therefore, not only has the boarding school experience trained me to be responsible for myself and thoughtful as I share my space with a roommate, it has allowed me to learn different people’s unique living habits. I’ve built really close and tight relationships with them, as I interact with them every single day.
3. Different learning styles
I’ve just completed my first year of IB and I would say “wow”. There is no doubt that IB is a challenging and highly demanding course. However, with the support of my teachers, this enables me to unleash my full potential for learning. I am very grateful that I’ve had an amazing academic tutor, as well as my History teacher, Jason, who was very supportive and gave me guidance along the way.
Using History as an example, I’ve improved a lot since the beginning of the school year. I have learned things I never realized before – like, in order to see the whole and greater picture of the historical story, I have to balance and acknowledge different perspectives. Moreover, as I’m a shy person who doesn’t always dare to share my thoughts in front of a big group of people, the small class teaching method of EF Academy really helps me to be more attentive. I even raise questions in classes now.
In conclusion, my experience at EF Academy Oxford has been plentiful that I realize I have been growing day by day when I look back at the beginning of the year. What I’ve learned the most here is to embrace and see every challenge as an opportunity to learn, and make the most out of it. I am looking forward to a new fresh start for the coming school year!
At EF Academy, our students use their different experiences to broaden each other’s perspectives.