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An international girl in an international school

Hello, I’m Sahana. I’m a 5th grade student at CIS. I came at the start of the school year in 2018, and I’ve made a lot of friends since then. I’m here to tell you about my story as an international student here in Denmark, and how I feel about that.

About me

I look Indian, but I have never lived in India, and I don’t speak any languages from there. Though I lived in Czech Republic, I forgot all the Czech that I learnt when I was living there. I have a Dutch passport, but I don’t speak the language, and I have never lived there and….for the longest time, I connected most to Australia!!! So basically, that’s me in a nutshell.
I have now lived in Denmark for almost two years, with my mother, father and my older sister, who is in 10th grade. I was born in the Czech Republic and I lived there for the first five years of my life before moving to Australia. In the Czech Repiblic, I went to an international school that went by the British system. I spoke Czech fluently with my nanny, Kveta, who was basically like a second-mother to me, as she had been around since before I was born. We lived in a white house which had a pink cherry-blossom tree out the front.
When I moved to Australia, because of my dad’s job, I must say, the atmosphere was very different, and not just because after the first few months I forgot all my Czech. Most of the girls in my class, and even in my school, were from the suburb I was living in, or just north of it. Their families had lived here all their lives and the mothers of the girls in my year might’ve even gone to the same school! I was basically the only international student at my school, aside from my sister. As I was only five years old when I moved, I don’t think that I felt the atmospheric change, but I think my sister did, and definitely my parents, which contributes to the fact that my mum found it difficult at first to make friends with the mums from my class. I’m not saying that it wasn’t a beautiful place to live, or that my school wasn’t an absolutely fabulous school, but the environment meant that it took my family a little longer to settle down. I stayed there for four years in a house right by the beach with a nice garden.
Then we moved to Denmark. My whole family agrees that that was probably our easiest move so far, because although we were certainly sad to say goodbye to all our friends in Australia, Copenhagen is a very nice city to live in. Also, it helped that we moved in the summer holidays, so we got to spend a little time in the Netherlands with our family friends, and when we came here, we had a steady stream of visitors which kept me very happy throughout the move. Also, my sister and I found it incredibly easy to just slide into CIS, because everyone there was just like me! It was a lot easier to go to learn in an international school because I had a sort of invisible connection with everyone around me. We were living in a temporary apartment, then we moved to a different apartment on a quieter street, which is where I live now. I really love the apartment that we live in. One thing’s for sure, when you’re an international girl, go to an international school!

Things I had to learn

However, there were a couple of things that I had to get used to about the typical ‘Danish lifestyle’. Something very prominent about Danish life is cycling to school and, well, cycling everywhere. Before I came to Copenhagen, I lived in Australia and no children cycled anywhere! In fact, it was rare to see a cyclist biking up and down our street. So when I came to Copenhagen, though I had a bike, I had forgotten how to cycle. It took a couple of weeks for me to get it right, but in the end, I was cycling alright, though I sometimes was a little wobbly! I started cycling to school with my sister, and it was a lot easier for me without having to worry about the cars, as Copenhagen has its own bike lanes separate from car lanes. Though in the winter I find it too cold to cycle, I’m looking forward to cycling in the spring and summer!

Friends

In Australia, I had Australian friends, either their parents migrated to Australia earlier, they had one parent who was Australian or they were just Australian and that was the end! But it’s a bit different here; different that made it easier for me to settle down in. At CIS, there are obviously students from around the world in my class, some of whom I am friends with. Most of my friends are international students, like myself, but a couple of them are Danish mixed with another nationality as well. For example, some of the friends I have in my class are American, Polish, Spanish, Japanese, and a couple others. But I do have two friends in my class that are half-Danish, one of them Scottish-Danish and the other Canadian-Danish. It helps to have Danish friends, or friends who are from where you are living, because you can always count on them to help you read something or understand something, but I feel that it’s also good to have international friends, especially for me, because I can always relate to them.

Learning Outside of School

Sports is not something I particularly enjoy, especially things like cross-country and soccer/football. However, there are a couple I do like, in spite of the fact that I am picky with what I do! I participate in other sports or activities outside of CIS, like piano lessons. I take piano exams and I’ve been learning the piano since I was five, so I am happy that I am continuing. However, a couple of the activities are also extra-curricular activities that are a part of CIS. On Mondays and Thursdays, there is an option to do swimming at 6:30am with the school from Grade 5 and up. That is one of the activities that I do. Another activity inside of CIS as an extra-curricular activity is Hip-Hop. After school on Tuesdays, or for the Advanced group, on Wednesdays, the group of students that sign up go upstairs to the Hip-Hop room and at the end of the semester, they show the dance to the parents and/or the school. There are other after-school activities like photography class, cooking and even parkour! There are a lot of opportunities that CIS offers.

My School

I think that one of the things that I enjoy most about school is the Learner Profiles that they have. The Learner Profiles are: Inquirers, Principled, Caring, Risk Taker, Reflective, Communicator and Balanced. I feel like the point of the Learner Profile is to reflect on your behaviour, to see what you’re good at and what you need to work on. I, for one, am going to use the Learner Profile all my life, because I know that it will help me think about what I need to think about. However, my least favourite thing is probably…...NOTHING! If I am really being honest, the teachers at CIS make learning quite interesting, and I especially love the Specialist subjects, though I also really like English.

CIS is a wonderful school that is really meant for children like myself who keep moving around because of some reason of the other! There are probably millions of children at CIS who can probably relate to this piece, by the fact that they moved around because of their parents’ jobs. I am really very lucky to have so many friends in this amazing school, and I love every day that I am here!

Thank you to Miss Suzanne OReilly and Mr. Simon Watkin, who both gave me this opportunity to write this article. I wanted to be a surgeon when I grow up, but who knows? Maybe I’ll become a journalist!