02 Apr My High School Programme & Guardianship experience so far…..
I‘m 16 year old Svea, a Transition Year (4th Year) student, attending Sutton Park School.
I guess I can say this Academic Year Abroad is completely different to all of the other years, however, it doesn’t mean it isn’t as good as the ones in the past.
Sutton Park is an amazing school, which offers so many different and new subjects. There were so many class trips planned but unfortunately, we had to cancel them due to Covid 19 restrictions. Nevertheless, the school did their best so we could have a fantastic Transition Year. We did scouting excursions and had bike rides in Phoenix Park. During lockdown, they offered us a lot of different projects to do online and helped us with preparing for our future career.
During Lockdown, when you can’t leave your 5km radius and you have to do remote learning, it is so important to have a host family you get a long with! IELA does their best to look for excellent host families in nice areas in Dublin and other counties. I live in a lovely Host Family with two younger siblings who are fun and quirky!
Before Christmas, they also had an Au Pair. The family is located in Howth, which is an extremely beautiful area in Dublin. I can get to all the spots in 10 minutes! I can get to the cliffs to enjoy fresh air, to the beach to go for a quick dip in the sea in the morning or down to the harbour to eat fresh fish, straight out of the sea!
From our living room, we have an amazing view towards the sea and can see Irelands’ Eye (the island the academy is named after!) Together with my host family, we go on family days at the weekend and this has definitely strengthened our bond. We play indoor board games or go on family bike rides around the area.
IELA High School Programme & Guardianship:
Our guardians regularly check our wellbeing and are available any time.
Compared to the other international students, I can just say how lucky I am, that I always have the assistance of IELA. During my 14 day quarantine period in August, we did an online IELA High School Programme Introduction course with Geraldine, IELA Programme Co-ordinator. She introduced us to the Irish culture and language and also helped us with our communication skills and taught us local slang for informal language use! It made settling in so much easier and prepared me for the culture shock! I felt “grand” on my first day!
Irish people are extremely friendly and openminded towards other cultures, which makes it super easy to make a bunch of new friends.
On my first day of school I already had friends I met through IELA and they helped to organise my first day of school. My IELA guardian, Nicky Rudd, waited for me in front of the school so i felt quite reassured.
Friendships so far…..
Sutton Park is a great school for international students. On my first day our head teacher showed me the school and we chose my subjects. In my first class, he introduced me to a group of girls who took me with them to the next class and we also spent break time together. In PE we were split into different groups. We had Zumba, tennis and squash. I decided to do Zumba. It was so
much fun and I met a lot of amazing girls who took me to our long lunch break. They introduced me to all of their friends and within one day I was part of a great group of friends.
When I came here I didn’t expect it to be it that easy! I prepared for awkward conversations between one or two people who are interested in the “new girl”. But it was far from it!
People from every year come over to you and talk to you and want to get to know you as there is a new student and the school is not very big.
Our classes are very practical and interactive which is what I enjoy. TY helps develop your personalty and allows you to explore what you want to do in the future. You learn a lot about yourself. There are less exams and homework than other years so you have a lot of free time during which you can spend time developing friendships.
Lastly, here is some quick advice: When you read these blogs and reports of student experiences, but you are not sure whether you should do it or not. You should do it! It’s totally worth it.
Deep down you already know it!!