Hannah Stewart: Scotland Speaks

On the 13th of August, groups of jetlagged kids from all around the world arrived on the campus of Western Reserve Academy, nervous and excited for what was to come. Now, one month later, our perceptions have changed and these new international students feel at home, immersed into WRA’s way of life.

When I first arrived here, I was blown away by the size of this campus, not quite believing that it could take a whole fifteen minutes to get from one side of it to the other — and I used to think climbing three flights of stairs to class was bad! Arland Zatania Lojo ’18 remarked on how class sizes here compared to his old school in Spain, where there were roughly 30 people per class. This means teachers at WRA are much more accessible and lessons are much more interactive and engaging.

One thing that has struck not only me, but others too, is the amount of diversity at this school. Denver Soekawan ’20 says that this is one of the main differences from his school back in South Korea, as there are so many different people from a wide variety of places. We are used to being surrounded by those who are similar to us, and being able to learn about the diverse views and beliefs of others is amazing.

Adjusting to boarding life has also been a challenge, especially as most of us have never lived away from home before. I am still getting used to doing my own laundry, but apart from that, everything is great! The teachers and dorm-masters are such a huge part of feeling at home, and having this support system has helped our integration into the WRA community.

However, the one thing that keeps on coming up when I talk to my fellow new students are the people at WRA. Everyone here is really friendly and open to meeting new people; we all managed to make friends on our first day here. Lojo says that he is grateful for the large range of activities that happen at WRA — roller skating trips, the Green Key, and various socials — as it allows for people to make friends regardless of your grade. My school had nothing like this, and being able to socialize with friends outside of school hours is great. Preseason was also a positive time for us new students as it helped us become friends with the people on our team, and it meant we felt much more at ease when classes started.

We want to thank everyone at WRA for making us feel at home over the last month, and cannot wait for the rest of our time here. Being on a different continent from family and friends is not always easy, but always feeling like a part of WRA is the best way we could ever wish to deal with it. You guys are the best!

– Hannah Stewart ’18

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