On Wednesday (March 6, 2013), we received back our first assignment for our Advanced Composition class. The assignment was Writing From Experience, and I wrote about the time I was in King’s Wood School. Somehow it felt easy to write about, considering the fact that I missed my friends and my teachers there. So, this essay… After much editing and revising, I managed to score a 92/100, which is an A-, and I’m pretty much happy with the marks (although an extra one mark would get me an A, but oh well). I thought I could post this up here for you guys to read and comment, if you want to. Enjoy:)
As a child, I used to dream of travelling around the world. I dreamed of visiting other countries, going on tours with my family and friends, seeing the world’s wonders with my own two eyes. However, those were just my childish dreams. Going abroad was not as easy as it seemed, and not everyone could afford the high expenses. In 2004, one of my classmates delivered some surprising news – she would be moving to Manchester as her father was transferred there by his employer. Green with jealousy and full with awe, our class had a small farewell party for her. Although nobody said it out loud, everyone was thinking the same thing: ‘Nina’s so lucky to be able to visit England!’ It was not a common thing in our small neighborhood back then, so when things like this happened, it left us with amazement. Fortunately for me, the same opportunity came rolling down my feet, as my father received a two-year scholarship to further his studies. I was beyond ecstatic as it meant the whole family would be following him. My dream to travel to another country was fulfilled. Spending almost two years in London, England during my teenage years was one of the best moments in my life as it opened my eyes to the endless possibilities in the world. It was the place where everything happened; it was where I found my passion for sports, it was where I realized the importance of languages, and it was where I learned to adapt to different cultures around the world.
One of the best things that have happened to me throughout the two-year period I spent in London was being a student of Kings’ Wood School. Unlike Nina, who joined an international school in Manchester, I was enrolled into the local secondary school a few blocks away from my house. My brother and I were two of the very few Muslim students there, so we were given special treatments in regards to our religious activities, especially during the Ramadan month. As a Year Seven student, I was placed under the care of Ms Lorraine Durrant, the school’s Physical Education teacher. Being in her class for the next one and a half year was perhaps the main reason why I was active in basketball. Seeing the talent in me, Ms Durrant talked me into auditioning for the school team. When I made the cut into the team, she coached me endlessly until I became confident with my skills. She also introduced me to a variety of other new sports such as trampolining, softball, athletics and hockey. Her never-ending care and support helped me to adapt well in a new place, giving me the confidence to explore new possibilities and develop my skills.
|My English class in 2006.|
In my second semester in the school, my head of year, Mrs Dolan, approached me about an event hosted by the school. It was a day where primary school students were invited to learn new languages. International students in Kings Wood School participated in the event by teaching the primary school students some of the basic words in their mother tongues, such as introducing oneself and asking for directions. As the only Malaysians in the school, my brother and I were asked to take part in the event, which we did with open arms. It was a meaningful experience to be able to communicate with students from various backgrounds. I also took this chance to learn some words in different languages from my friends and seniors. At the end of the day, the school had a show were students would recite a poem, originally written in English, in their own languages. As only the senior students were allowed to participate during this night, I could only watch as my brother recited the poem in our mother tongue. Nevertheless, it was an eye-opening event altogether. Not only does this event allow me to show my love for my home country, but it also enlightens me on the importance of languages as a mean of communication between people.
Last but not least, being a student of Kings Wood School has certainly broadened my mind as I have to adapt to different situations. As Islam is Malaysia’s official religion, I grew up in a community where public display of affection is a complete taboo. As a result of this, I was completely taken aback when I entered Kings Wood School, as the students there would publicly display their affection towards each other. Kissing and hugging each other were perfectly normal, even with people of the opposite gender. I still remember the time when I was waiting outside my English class with my classmates. A boy was walking down the corridor from my left, and his girlfriend was approaching from the opposite end of the corridor. They met halfway, gave each other a short kiss, and parted just like that, without any words. My facial expression must have changed, as my best friend told me later that those things were common in their community. Although it was quite a shock for me to hear that, I started to accept the fact that different communities would have different norms.
I may have missed out on a whole lot by moving away from my hometown, but I have gained a lot more during my short stay in London. Kings Wood School has been the perfect platform for me in discovering myself, as this is the place where I discovered my love and passion for sports. Even after years of leaving Kings Wood School behind, I would always be reminded of it whenever I play basketball. Kings Wood School was also the place where I met new people who, despite the differences in backgrounds and beliefs, accepted me as a friend and treated me with care and love. I felt lucky that I was given the golden opportunity to be exposed to the world outside the comfort of my hometown, as it helped me in broadening my views and perceptions on life. I became more open to other people, I stopped judging them based on their looks and backgrounds, and I learnt to accept other people’s beliefs and cultures. But most of all, London has been the place I called home, even if it was only for less than two years, and it will forever hold a special place deep in my heart.