As told by Marie Gaaso Rimolsronning, from Norway, a current student at EF Academy Oxford.
My first year at EF Academy Oxford is now over and that realization gives me mixed feelings. Living abroad definitely made me more independent. I now know how to do my own laundry, I’m great at making instant noodles and I (mostly) make my own doctor’s appointments now. I found myself leaving school with knowledge I never would have gotten if I stayed at home. I also left with open invitations to visit friends all over the world, which I find to be pretty cool.
When I arrived in Oxford last September, I was nervous. I didn’t know anyone, and was pretty self-conscious about my English. However, only a few minutes after saying goodbye to my parents I was introduced to two Indonesians and by the evening we were a large group sitting outside, eating pizza and getting to know each other. It’s weird to think back and realize how I met almost all of my closest friends that first day. After two weeks, we had already become good friends and by December, it was hard to leave for winter break, not being able to have them available around the clock.
The thing about boarding school is that everyone says you become just like a family. In the beginning I found this to be weird, but after seeing how we do act like a makeshift multicultural family, I get it. We have a family dynamic where we take care of each other, and that’s what family is about. A couple of weeks before we all left, I walked into my friend’s room and found myself telling her she needed to clean it before we went to dinner. I once got told off by my friend for eating chocolate before dinner. If anyone ever felt homesick, we supported each other. It’s not like a traditional family, but after living together for the better part of a year, it became more than just friendship.
It’s been a year full of experiences and impressions. Coming from a town with not much happening, it was definitely a change to live away from home, with people from all over the world. There is such a variety in languages, beliefs, and personalities and it’s hard not to learn something new each day. It’s like a constant learning process. I think all of us left with new knowledge that left us more open minded than when we arrived.