Here I am. "Somewhere in England”, more precisely in Worthing. In Switzerland I was looking forward to this new experience and didn’t know exactly what to expect.
Obviously the people in Worthing speak English. That’s the reason why I am writing in English now. It’s a good exercise for me and something different for you.
When I arrived at Gatwick Airport in London a driver picked me up. It was organised from the language school where I am studying and working as well. We had a good talk in the taxi. After around 1.5 hours I arrived at my Hostfamily. I expected to have a retired couple. As soon as the door opened, there was a young women who was looking at me. She introduced me to her son. He is 6 years old. They are both lovely. On the first evening we already played a game called Ludo and Jimba. Ludo is like “Eile mit Weile” and Jimba is called Jenga in German. We had many laughs and I already felt at home.
Visibly I am in another country and some things works different than in Switzerland.
First lesson in England: Always take a rain protection with you. You never know how the weather will be. Otherwise you will get wet and soaked very quickly.
Second lesson: Always waving with the hand when the bus is coming. The driver has to know that he has to stop. Otherwise the bus will pass you and you will be standing there like an idiot.
Third lesson: Say always please and later on thank you. Example: -Could I have a water please. -Thank you.
Fourth and most important lesson: When you want to cross the road you always have to wait as a pedestrian. Otherwise they will run you over.
On Monday 30th of September my hostmother brought me to school. Before that, we went to her son’s school. Everyone brought their children to school. On the way to the school it was very (!) busy. I’d never seen this before.
Every child has to wear a uniform. The children in his age are not allowed to bring sweets to school. Included syrup and other snacks. Usually they have school from 9 am until 3 pm included 40 minutes lunch break. And that’s from Monday until Friday. (To compare: In Switzerland where I went to school I always went back home for lunch and sometimes we didn’t have afternoon class, especially at his age.)
Now to my language School: The school begins everyday at 9.30 am. We have classes until 11 am, 30 minutes break than classes again from 11.30 until 1 pm and than we have lunch break. My lunch break is different. In the afternoon I work at the language school it self. Sometimes I start at 1 pm, sometimes at 2 pm it depends where I am working. I got a timetable on my first day, that I know in which department I am working. I have the opportunity to change the department and work in different offices. On my first afternoon I was introduced to the social staff. They showed the new students around the town.
In the evening I went back home and had dinner with my hostmother. We were talking the whole evening. It was lovely and very interesting.
The next day I got up and left the house around 8:50 am. Firstly, when I got to the bus station I waited at the wrong side. In England they drive on the left side. I knew that but didn’t realize in the morning. Luckily I changed the side before the bus was coming. Than I went to school and had classes in the morning. Everyone at school is friendly and like a family. At the class we have got a teacher. It’s like in the military. “Write!” He said and than he told us his story what he did yesterday: “Yesterday when I got home .... blablabla......”. Another new student and I were confused and thought it will be a dictation. But he was spelling so fast that we hadn’t any chance to write it down. After a while we realized that we only have to do some notes. After that we had to tell the story to the partner. At the first time it was weird but actually it’s a very good exercise to practise English and to remember things.
At 2 pm I started work. I was at the activity group to do some administration work. Jed, a social group staff, gave me a T-Shirt and Jumper from CES School, on the back of which is written STAFF. I had to prepare everything for the next students who are coming next week. He gave me some work and meant I should to bring my phone with me to listen to some music otherwise I get bored very fast.
Jed was always surprised how fast I was. They are probably a bit slower. Maybe they have another method. The office are not that tidy as in Switzerland. In Switzerland everything has to be in the right place and be organised. In England I found it’s not that strict. It’s also not that serious as in Switzerland. Of course the people are serious, but just on another way. They are more easy-going. At 4.30 pm I finished work and went back home.
On Wednesday, 2th of October I had Porridge for the first time in my life. It’s delicious and very easy to make. Milk and Oats have to cook. Then there can be added some sugar and fruits.In the afternoon I worked for the accommodation office. There they put the students and the hostfamily together. It’s a difficult job to match the right student to the family. Because some students wouldn’t have a dog, children or whatever. And if there is something wrong with a student or hostfamily they go to the accommodation office to complain. To work at this office the people have to be confident and strong. At this afternoon I helped to print the letter and prepare the document for the groups next week and also for the hostfamily. Every hostfamily has a document. The flat or house will be checked every 2 years to see if there is everything okay for a student. Every family has to follow some rules of the school.
In every language school is an social programme. On Thursday afternoon I went with the activity group and a group of Italians with 60 students to Brighton. It was hard to know who is from the group and to see that everyone is together. The trip was the whole afternoon from 1 pm until 6 pm. My job was to be at the back of the group and to look that everyone went over the street and so on. Although it was also sightseeing for me. It was my first time in Brighton. In the evening was Karaoke night. It’s very common in England and almost all time was someone singing. We played pool and had a good night. That was also of the social programme but I wasn’t as staff there.
At Friday 4th of October I worked at the afternoon at the Director of Studies office. A staff showed me what are they doing in this office. At the first day at school everyone has to do a test, that the student get into the right level. I copied these tests and prepared for the next groups arrival on Monday.
Than it was already the weekend! On Saturday I went to Stonehenge and Bath. Mona and Svenja were also on the same coach. They have booked the exactly same daytrip as me. That was really unexpected. Mona and Svenja are two of the students who are in Eastbourne and taking place at this “exchange”. We had good fun and were talking a lot about our experiences in England. It was very interesting to see how they are going. You will see a blog of theme in the next view weeks and you can read their experience then. Stonehenge was nice but too touristy and Bath is a beautiful city with nice architecture. Saturday was a long day. From 9 am until 9 pm.
On Sunday I went with my hostmother to Cissbury Ring. It’s very near where I live and taking place in the South Downs. That is a National trust at South England. There are many hills. That’s also the reasons why it’s called South Downs. Because everywhere it’s going up and down. The view of the top of the hill (it was obviously a small hill for a Swiss ;)) was wonderful. I saw Worthing from above and to the Seven Sisters which are in Eastbourne and over the South Downs. We had good fun. Afterwards we went to the Ferris wheel at the seafront of Worthing.
And in the evening I went to the sea to catch the sunset and ending my wonderful week with a sea breeze. My first week was very busy but wonderful. I met so many nice people and learnt about many cultures. I would recommend it to everyone. It’s an experience in your life you will never regret.
Now I am looking forward to the following two weeks!