Starting a new school, in a new country, is a huge change for anyone. However, you’ll always have the tingling excitement on your first day when you walk in and see all the faces of your classmates you’re going to spend seven hours with five days a week!
High schools following the international baccalaureate (IB) are very different from your usual public high schools. Comparing it to Scottish education, school is a more laid back place to be. I have joined theInternational School Almere in MYP4 (Grade 9), this is part of the middle years program. The middle year’s program is for students aged eleven to sixteen. The MYP encourages students to be open-minded, reflective thinkers.
MYP uses ‘continuous assessments.’ This is where you are graded in many different ways over the whole year. This could be through debates, investigations, experiments and reflections. Exams aren’t sat until you’re in the diploma years. The Diploma program (DP) is for students aged sixteen to nineteen. DP is taught over two years and prepares students for university.
During the IB, students are encouraged to develop community awareness by taking part in a community and service project. Community and service projects help to show you the importance of taking responsibilities and allow you to find new skills and talents while making a positive difference on others lives.
This year for my community and service I had to complete twenty hours. I helped at Zumba lessons with four to six year olds. Zumba is dance and aerobics. It includes hip hop, samba, salsa, martial arts, and some bollywood moves. It showed me how hard it is to look after young children and I have much more respect for teachers after being in their position! It was a really enjoyable activity and I plan to continue helping next year too. I also helped in the flevoland hospital and the school science lab. This showed me that even the smallest things like changing the magazines in the waiting rooms and cleaning a class room can make a huge difference. Writing this blog is also part of my community and service project which I hope attracts more expat teenagers and show adults how we see Almere.
Everyone at school has different backgrounds and cultures and you make friends from all over the world. Knowing that the majority of your school have all gone through the same experience as you is really comforting. Everyone is really accepting. I visited my school for an afternoon before I moved here almost a year ago and after the visit I couldn’t wait to start.
For me, moving country and school has improved my geography. It was never my strongest subject but I now know about countries such as Indonesia, which I had never heard of, and I can even say a few things in Russian and Japanese!