I will not lie to you… It’s not easy.

At first, you have to give up everything you’ve known all your life: your family, your friends, your home, your city, your country, your language, even your system of education. You have to leave it all behind with only a few Skype calls from now and then, and a number of trips home you can count on the fingers of your hand (one hand maybe, or two, some people don’t even need a hand). You have to accept that all you knew might change, and your mind needs to be completely open to new things, because otherwise; you’re doomed from the start.

The first days are easy. You have not acknowledged everything, the fact that you’re here. You’re quite numb, actually, and you take it all with happiness. You do fun activities with the teachers, who are; amazing, supportive, experienced and look as eager to work with you as you do with them… The only things that are different are the people, and you only understand that when you realize you do not know their names. However, you work closely with them, you go into your bed like it was the one back home, and the breakfast you get up for (at an insanely early hour) is the one you had every morning before you left.

The following days, the first week of school, that’s when it is the hardest. It hits you at once that the teachers do not know you anymore, you have to work, you have to impress, and you always have to be up on top because; everything in your life will probably depend on this. Those days are a frenzy. What am I going to do? How? Where am I? How do I cope with this? You are disorganized, jumbled, you don’t sleep because the homework you got from the very first day does not make time for itself during the daylight. You don’t know what you have actually done, because time moves so fast. You feel like you want to cry, but you can’t, because there’s people all around you and you feel suffocated, you’re going to live like this for 2 years, how will you manage? Everyone tires you, pisses you off, you do not want to do anything, why have you come here? You can’t handle this.

But then it gets better. The first weekend helped you relax and the constant veil that was over your mind and eyes is starting to lift, and you see. You can organize your time, you have time for homework and friends and family, it’s okay, you will do it.

And then other activities come in and destroy your whole equilibrium. You have to actually do stuff after school? And you have to do so many because you have to be active, otherwise who knows in which place you will go for college? And you get disorganized again and messy and you collapse physically because there is so much work.

I can’t tell you what happens next for sure, because I’m still in the phase of making time for every activity I have to do, and I’m still in a little bit of turmoil (I’m succeeding though). It’s not easy, I’m telling you again, think about going to a boarding school 10, 20, 30, 100 times before going, because it’s not for everyone, and sometimes I think that’s it not for me either, and that’s the hardest, realizing that you might not be as good as you think you are.

However, I am willing to fight. Fight for my future and for better grades, for my spiritual enrichment, for my place at this school, for education, for peace, for sustainability, because this can make a change.

If you think you can handle this, if you want a real challenge, come. Because what you need is probably right here, hidden behind work and effort. But we play as hard as we work, and what I presented you with is the harder part.

But the fun, oh the fun! The moments when we get together to watch a movie or play Just Dance in the school, when we splash each other with water because we are “cleaning the hall”, the lot of laughing involved because the sense of humor in this campus is insane; the moments when teachers join us for Capture the flag or Ultimate Frisbee, which leaves us all sweaty and exhausted in the best way. Homework is fun, actually, because the subjects we learn are incredibly attractive, and it’s even more fun when we do it together, and also when maybe it’s to a good tune coming from your room or the one next to you. The excitement when the fridge is full and everyone digs in, and the moments when we go out of campus to the best places in the city- taking silly photos all the while.

It’s a balance between work and fun, but they’re not average, because frankly, all we do is up top.

By; Maria Tirnovanu
Edited by; Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe