Everyone’s been there. You move to a new school and you’re forced to start over, to make new friends, build new relationships, a strong reputation, and so on. Whether you’ve had to tackle the obligations that come along with the role of being the ‘new kid’ recently or if it’s been a couple of years.
We caught up with some of the new kids to see how they’ve been holding up and how they’ve managed to integrate themselves into the new school environment.
Ilinca P, Grade 9
For those of us who identify with the term of ‘third culture kid’ and have gone through the bittersweet experience of being an international student, it’s gotten easier to let go and adapt to whatever is thrown at you. This was not the case for Ilinca, one of the three scholarship students in the ninth grade. She’s a sucker for extreme sports. These include skiing, freeride snowboarding, kite surfing, rock and mountain climbing, and more. She tells us her passion for art and science has grown since her arrival to AISB.
When asked to describe her experience at the school so far in terms of peers, courses, and teachers she told us “It’s a beautiful experience. Everything is very different. I enjoy all my classes and I like all my teachers because they are unique and creative. We apply everything in real life in all my classes and I am challenged to actually understand the subject we’re talking about, filter it through my mind, and apply it.”
She says that at first sight she was shocked and amazed by the school. She follows this up saying “I am so privileged to be able to attend AISB. My old school looked nothing like this.”She adds, “This institute has a very positive atmosphere. You enter it and from the beautiful, colorful and vibrant paintings and from the wide and green space, you get a sense of lots of joy. The first time I ever entered AISB I remember being amazed at the fact that there were carpets on the floor, and kid’s drawings and paintings on the wall. It looked like more than just a school. It was so cozy.”
She continued telling us about how she managed to adapt to the ‘go, go, go’ pace at the school saying “the beginning of school I got loads of work and I wouldn’t go to sleep at proper times and I would feel tired all the time. By the third week, I started to be able to be very productive and structure my working time in a way that would magically help me get some rest. Time management is life.”
We asked her what it was like having to ‘start over’ and whether it difficult for her as a scholarship student to accustom to the international school environment. She answered this saying, “It was a bit hard in the first weeks, not because of the system, but because making friends was quite a struggle which I did not expect, but after a while, I managed to find some very nice people with whom to spend my time with. It wasn’t necessarily because I am a scholarship student; most of the people in my grade didn’t know. It was the same for me as it was for a simple new kid. It was pretty hard because in this school, most of the students know each other for years and we, the new kids, are trying to blend in with the community. If all the students in AISB were new, then I would’ve made friends really fast because everyone would seek a new friend. If your question is more connected to the international system, which is 90% different from the Romanian schools, my answer is no.” She finishes by saying, “It wasn’t hard at all because this system is very accessible. After the first 2 days, I knew where all my classes were and after the first week I was completely okay with the courses.”
Mehdi M, Grade 10
In contrast to Ilinca’s experience, Mehdi began school two weeks later than everybody else, which must have been tough considering that the third week of school is when students begin to receive assignments, and the pace of things begins to speed up.
Mehdi is 15 years old, coming from the Dwight School of London. He told us that his experience at AISB so far has been pleasant. “I think the community is very nice and tolerant, but I must say that the work is very consistent in terms of quantity, but I’m trying to keep up,” he adds. “All the teachers I’ve had so far are very nice and fun to work with, and I hope this goes on for the rest of the year.”
He says an experience that shaped his perspective and first impression of the school would be “when I went to my first class, which was Multimedia. Everyone was very nice to me, I had a very fun time working with my group, and I think that represents basically every day of school.”
We asked him a more personal question regarding some of the advantages and disadvantages of starting school two weeks later, to which he answered by saying, “It’s very hard; there was quite a lot of work I had to catch up on and I didn’t think that I was going to have a great year this year. Although even though I started late, most of the schools that I’ve been to have the IB system so getting used to this school’s system was very easy.”
One of the most difficult things about starting over would be work and his social anxiety. He followed this up by saying “I have a deep fear of meeting new people because I’m very introverted. I worry way too much about what people think about me so much so that I get depressed sometimes.”
He ended with telling us a lesson he’s learned since coming to this school. For him, this was “to be myself and try not to worry about what others think about me and stay on task most of the time,” which is a great note to end this interview on.
New 11th and 12th Graders
We found that there were no new 12th graders starting at AISB. IB schools have a reputation for being extremely arduous and challenging. Its demanding curriculum would explain this phenomenon. There are many obligations that come along with being in your final year of high school. These include college applications and essays, final exams, and many more. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when we hear of new students who are forced to repeat the 11th grade because they arrived at the beginning of their final year. In addition to there being no new seniors, the 11th graders were extremely difficult to get ahold of. This too is proof of the academic implications and responsibilities that the IB presents. So we’ll spare them and accord them the time they deserve to fulfill all of their duties.