Lena and Svea tell IELA about their experience in a new school from September 2020

We can all agree that 2020 was a year like no other and everyone wondered what it would be like to begin the Academic School Year in a “new normal”.

IELA spoke to two German Transition Year students studying in Sutton Park School, Dublin and they told us about their first few months in Sutton Park School.

1. Meeting new people:

“People are very open-minded in Sutton Park School. They know what it is like to be an international student in a different country, so they are interested in our culture and our language. It is very easy to get to know people in such a small community environment too. There are only 400 students in the school so it isn’t difficult to make friends. For example, we know students in other years such as 3rd or 5th and 6th year. That’s a big advantage of coming to such small village such as Sutton/Howth. People want to get to know you and you immediately feel welcome”.

2. Extra-curricular activities:

Extra-curricular activities are a great way to meet new people and both Lena & Svea would recommend filling the afternoons with different activities with people who have similar interests. This is an opportunity for you to get to know students from other years, practice your English in a different setting and avoid getting home sick! It is important to stay active.

Lena told us about her experience joining the choir:
“Singing in a choir during the pandemic is very strange but once you get used to it, it is actually pretty good. We sing outside and stand 2m apart but it’s still a lot of fun”

Svea mentioned that “it was great to do covid friendly activities in the afternoons and it just takes getting used to”

The “new normal” is now beginning to feel “normal” and using one-way systems in the school, wearing masks and social distancing is just a part of school life now. Both girls mentioned that both Sutton Park School & Ireland’s Eye Language Academy have handled Covid 19 guidelines and regulations very well.

3. Transition Year:

So, what do they think of Transition Year in Ireland?

Transition Year is different to any other year. It is a chance for you to get to know yourself a bit better and learn more about what you want to do in the future. We discuss the different subjects that will help to shape your future and the most suitable subjects for you to choose for your Leaving Cert, the final exam for Irish students.

There is a strong focus on work experience and the different types of jobs available. There are fantastic work experience opportunities in international companies such as Google and even placements in government departments.

The subject choices in TY are very different such as First Aid, Learning to Drive, Drama or Music. There really is something for everyone. If you have a head for Business, then you can choose subjects such as Accounting, Economics or Business Studies. There is also a chance for you to manage your own mini company! TY really teaches you life skills that will benefit your future.

4. The School:

Both Lena and Svea commented on the latest up to date technology used in the school and the use of online learning resources that can be accessed on a student’s ipad or tablet. These are great tools to motivate students to learn.

Science subjects are also taught differently, and it is great to learn how to do practical experiments rather than just learning the theory of it from books.

There is a strong focus on well-being in the school, especially now and teachers are always interested in hearing the opinions of their students.

For example, Svea mentioned “The principal stopped and asked me if I was ok, have I made new friends and if I had any questions. He was really interested in my well-being which was so nice”

The school really promotes well-being and they run various anti-bullying campaigns throughout the year. A great way to get involved.

Check out the edited version of Lena & Svea’s video below:

Nicky Rudd, IELA Co-Founder and Guardian to Lena and Svea commented:

“Ireland’s Eye Language Academy were delighted to hear Lena and Svea’s feedback and both students continue to grow and learn from their High School Programme Academic Year 2020/21 experience. They are both staying in exceptional Host Families who have supported them from the moment they arrived and they have integrated into the community as best they can under current restrictions.

We are extremely proud of how well all our current students on our nationwide High School Programme have handled this year. Well done!”