Ein Schuljahr im Ausland. Ein Bericht von Jana Schöpfer.

Ein Schuljahr im Ausland verbringen, geht das? Corona, Brexit, die Aussetzung der finanziellen Unterstützung vonseiten der Region sind nur einige Punkte, die eine solche Entscheidung erschweren. Jana, Schülerin der Klasse 4A/so hat sich davon nicht abschrecken lassen und sich dennoch für ein Schuljahr im Ausland entschieden. Sie steht jetzt kurz davor, das Schuljahr in Salisbury / England abzuschließen, aber nicht ohne uns vorher von ihren Erfahrungen zu berichten.

  Jana hat viel Mut bewiesen und die Herausforderungen gut gemeistert.

Martina Rainer, Direktorin.

Vielleicht hilft Janas Bericht so manche Unsicherheiten, Zweifel, Ängste bei jenen Schülerinnen und Eltern zu verringern, welche im Herbst ein Schuljahr im Ausland angehen.

Junge Erwachsene brauchen die Herausforderungen und wie uns Janas Bericht auch zeigt, sammeln sie dabei wertvolle Erfahrungen.Unsere Aufgabe ist es, die Schülerinnen in ihren Stärken zu bestätigen und in ihren Schwächen zu verstehen, anzuspornen und zu fördern. Den Rest besorgen die Schülerinnen selbst, das Match ist ihr Abenteuer: das Abenteuer des Lebens.“ (Reinhard Kahl, Lob des Fehlers)

 

Recap of my school year abroad in England

People say one year can change a lot and that’s true. I’ve learned a lot this year. I’ve learned to stand on my own feet, I’ve learned to make my own decisions und I’ve learned to trust myself.

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An exchange year is much more than learning or improving a new language –it’s about becoming more independent while discovering a new culture - You learn to respect and to compromise different ways of living, it’s about making own experiences. It is about opening yourself and getting out of your comfort zone, meeting people, making connections. And the most amazing experience is, that after doing an exchange year you know people from all around the world.

At the beginning it might be difficult because you must get used to a completely different way of living - but within the end of the year it has become a unique experience.

Before I flew to England, several preparations had to be made. I received support from my school and ZIB. One important point was, that I may have to take a catch-up exam in human science after my arrival. My school/teachers also supported me during the year by asking me every month how I´m doing and whether I needed any help or support.

I have to say, before I left, I was really scared. I was scared of not finding friends, living with a new family I had never met before and of course of speaking a language I didn’t really know yet.  I was also scared to lose my friends back in Italy. But in the end, all that overthinking led to nothing! I found friends very quickly, my host parents welcomed me with open arms, and it didn’t take me long to get to understand people around me. At the beginning it can sometimes be exhausting but you learn to deal with all of it, and you learn to love every single moment – especially when you know that these moments are limited as you have to go back at the end of the school year.

I didn’t have a lot of expectations before I arrived in the UK, but of course I tried to imagine how it will be like when I’m be there. The culture is very different compared to the Italian/South Tyrolian culture and it was still difficult for me to fit in after 10 months. I remember my first day of school: I was very overwhelmed by everything, but people were there to help me. On that day, I met my friends for the first time – they became my little family.

I lived in the little town Salisbury for the year. Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England, with a population of approximately 40.000 inhabitants.

 

Although I made my exchange year during the pandemic, I was able to travel to lots of places to discover the country I lived in for the year. I went to Southampton, Bristol, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, London, Bath, Salisbury/Stonehenge and Keyhaven – let’s say, I made the best out of the situation. Compared to Italy/South Tyrol it has a completely different geographical composition.

Living with a different family was challenging during the whole year as they have a completely different

way of living – for example, they were very into saving the environment, which I very liked but sometimes also disliked, meaning it is great that they´re fighting for our environment but do we have to be cold by turning off the heating over the winter season? -  I survived it ;) The topics we discussed during dinner time were quite different compared to the topics I usually discussed with my family back in Italy as my host family was also very into history and politics, what was very useful as I learned a lot about historical events of the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. What I learned through living with my host family was, to respect and to compromise different ways of living.

 

A day at an English school is quite different compared to an Italian school: I went to a college called Salisbury 6th Form. From grade twelve upwards students don’t have to wear uniforms anymore. The day starts differently for each student. Each student can take three to four subjects. English schools go more in depth, while in Italy we go more in width. Most students also have a part time job in addition to school. There are different classes for each subject, meaning I had three different classes. Therefore, I had more possibilities to make friends at school.

 

It was very challenging to settle into the new school system at first, but after a while you get used to the daily routine. Also, at the beginning of the year, I had a few difficulties with certain subjects like psychology: it was difficult to follow the lessons and understand the things they were talking about. But it taught me to be patient and independent.

After about half a year, everything became much easier for me. I could finally communicate and talk fluently and was able to follow the lessons without any problems. It takes time to learn a new language and to get used to the new environment. But in the end, what counts is that you have achieved your goal and can say: I am proud of myself.