Mit Round Square ins Ausland! My gap year in England
What shall I do after school? Will I go straight to university, work and earn money, or will I go traveling? All of us are more or less faced with these questions. And in year 12 nothing worried me more than my future.
My plan has always been to live abroad for a while after graduating, to get to know a new culture, meet new people and to improve my language skills. However, the current Covid situation did not make these plans easy. For a long time, I didn’t know where my path would lead me after leaving school.
Through the Round Square organization, Mr. Retter recommended the Ryde School on the Isle of Wight in England to me. I was immediately enthusiastic about this idea because Issy, a good friend of mine, attended Ryde School herself and the British accents just sounds beautiful. For this reason, I applied for a gap year at Ryde School and was accepted in May.
Unfortunately, due to Brexit and the pandemic, it was not exactly easy to enter England. I had to apply for a visa, which was only issued to me at the end of September. Therefore, my journey started on October 1st, 2021. I flew from Berlin to Southampton and took the ferry to the Isle of Wight.
When I arrived, I noticed straight away that the island is really beautiful. The climate here is milder than in Germany and the weather can change pretty quickly. If it rains in the morning, it is very possible that an hour later the sun will once again begin to shine. Since Ryde is located right by the ocean, the beach is only a fifteen-minute walk away and it’s really wonderful to take a walk here. The Union Street is full of English pubs and restaurants as well as small shops selling handmade souvenirs.
I live in one of the boarding houses on the school ground and work as a German, Spanish and Sports Assistant teacher, as well as helping out around the boarding school. The age range here at Ryde School is quite large – the youngest start at the nursery when they are around two years old and the oldest sixth form pupils are around nineteen years old.
Luckily, speaking English was relatively easy for me and since I speak it every day, I don’t even think about it anymore. I also quickly settled in at the boarding school, as everyone here is very open-minded and friendly. A lot of international students live in my boarding house and it is absolutely amazing to get to know so many people from different countries.
The biggest change for me, however, was moving out of home because for the first time in my life I was completely on my own. During this time, I have become much more independent and have gained valuable life skills.
On the weekends we usually do a lot of fun things. For example, we travelled up to London to see a rugby game, visited a Christmas concert and watched the musical “Grease”. We also had a little Christmas party with a bonfire.
In my free-time, I enjoy going to the beach and meeting up with other teachers. We even swam in the Ocean on our last weekend before Christmas break, which was cold but very funny.
All in all, I would definitely recommend a gap-year as every day is a new adventure. It is important to bear in mind though, that dealing with the necessary paperwork can be time consuming and occasionally stressful. Starting a completely new life in another country takes a lot of courage and anyone thinking about doing the same must be willing to step out of their comfort zone and embrace the challenge.
For me however, it was the right decision. I have learned so much about myself, have become much more independent, have gained a lot of experience and made many new friends.