My parents attended a LagosMums Parenting Conference in October 2017 and listened to presentations made by representatives from different schools in the UK.
At the end of the presentations, a parent asked if any of the schools offered scholarships to students. Mr. Daniel Emmerson from Felsted School said he would offer a free place to one student on Felsted’s International Summer School programme.
However, it would be competitive and the parent should write an essay on why her child would be the best candidate to receive the scholarship.
My mother wrote the essay and received a favourable response about 4 weeks later. At first, my parents didn’t tell me about it because they wanted it to be a surprise. When they did tell me, I was very happy and excited about my upcoming trip to England.
I started preparing the week before I was to travel because I had no free time to do so before then since I was in school. I left Nigeria on Saturday, the 28th of July 2018 at midnight local time, which was one hour later than when the flight was actually supposed to take off, due to a delay from Paris, France, which is where the airplane was coming from. I landed in Paris at 7:50 am local time which was the time my connecting flight to the UK took off.
I was stranded in Paris for almost 8 hours because there were no other Air France flights going to the UK. I left Paris at 3:25pm local time that day and got to the UK at around 4pm local time went through Customs, collected my luggage and went through the Arrival Gate where I was met by two summer school staff from Felsted School. My experience in transit was not pleasant because it was unexpected and I was alone. I was pleased when I finally got to London.
We rode on the train from Heathrow Terminal 4 to Terminal 1 where a Felsted School minibus was waiting for me. I was the last passenger to get onto the bus. The journey from Heathrow to Felsted was about 1 hour but to me it felt like a whole day’s journey because I was very tired. I slept and woke at intervals during the one hour journey.
Later that evening, we arrived at Felsted. We were taken to the Music Room from where we were taken to our various houses where we would board throughout our stay at the Summer School. I was put into Follyfield House (the best house!) and met my house parents Izzy and Beth.
I was welcomed by both of them, briefed on how the summer school operated and asked for my passport and my money. I was then given my line yard which had my name on it. I was also given a brown paper bag which contained a sandwich, an apple, a chocolate bar, a bag of popcorn and a bottle of water for my dinner as dinnertime had passed. Beth took me to my room which was to be shared and I met my roommate Tomomo who is Japanese.
The next day, I woke up feeling strange due to the change in environment. I showered, dressed up, went down to the common room for roll call and went to breakfast in the LRH (Lord Riche Hall). After that we went to the Gringnon Hall and the students who had been there from the previous week were sent off to their classes. The rest of us who were new were taken to a class to write a Placement Test – the results would determine which English class we would be put in. After this, there was an orientation during which we were showed around the school.
The programme ran from 7am to 10:30 pm daily. There was a time table written on a board in the house every week. Each day after breakfast, we had 3 hours of English lessons with a 20-minute break after each hour.
After this, there was lunch then Assembly then we had Academies and Clubs for 4 hours with a break after the first 2 hours 15 minutes then later went for dinner. After this, we had Homework for 1 hour 25 minutes. Then another hour for us to relax then we had to go for a social activity which varied every day
Every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, we went out on trips to like the British Museum, London, Camden Market, Cambridge, Brighton Beach, Westfield’s Shopping Centre, Adventure Island and Convent Garden just to name a few places. Every Tuesday and Thursday there were optional activities of going trampolining, golfing, roller skating, and paintballing just to mention a few. Every Saturday, there was a disco held in a hall.
All the activities I participated in were fun and I really enjoyed them. I got to meet new people from different nationalities cultures. During my 3-week stay, there were students from 15 countries but the whole 6-week programme had students from 31 countries. Throughout my stay at Felsted, I felt like I was part of a family. The most challenging experience I had was seeing a lot of foreigners and not meeting any Nigerian during my first week.
My time at Felsted was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. I learned so much from the people I met. I will never forget all I gained from my stay at Felsted and I am very grateful to Felsted School for giving me this scholarship.