Since August, many people have asked how things are going for Geeta, one of AIC’s oldest Residential Program children, at her new school in Germany. This week, we we finally managed to pin down this busy girl for a little blog “interview” about her new life, her favorite things and hardest parts of living abroad, and her future plans. Enjoy!
Hey Geeta! Tell us what you’re up to these days.[Laughs] That’s sort of a vague question, but okay…I started my college, Robert Bosch United World College, in Germany. I got a full scholarship and I’ll be attending for two years. I’m really enjoying my time at UWC interacting with students from all over the world.
What does an average day look like for you?
Well, I get up around 7 or 7:30…ok, probably more like 7:45, but let’s say 7:30 so I don’t look bad! I have six subjects – History, Anthropology, and English Higher Level, and Biology, Math, and German Standard Level. We have school from 8:00 to 3:00, but some days I finish earlier. Wednesday is the worst day because I have my CAS activities (Creativity, Action, Service) from 8:30 to 12, then lunch, assembly, tutor meetings, then four hours of English, then dinner from 6 to 7. It’s pretty exhausting and hard to focus on homework by the end of the day. My CAS activities are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. For Action I’m doing soccer, Creativity is making campus videos, and Service is working with kids who have immigrated from places like Iraq and Iran. At the end of the day I do some homework and socialize. Then I TRY to go to bed early – but it never happens. But I’m working on it! I’m working on going to sleep before midnight.
How has the adjustment been?
Well, when I was at home, I was thinking it was going to be really difficult to handle, but I knew it would be a good chance to be involved. Now that I am here, I really feel like I am a part of this community. Everyone here is always there to support me.
Are you enjoying the experience?
I love it. It’s a bit challenging but I want to challenge myself. Not only in academics, but other skills, like taking initiative. I’ve learned a lot of things…being here has taught me to be more responsible, and take initiative, especially the CAS activities we’re doing at school.
What’s the best part?
There are so many things to talk about! I have some close friends and I love how they support me, and I really love my roommates too. They’re always there to give me emotional support. And the teachers – they’re great. They invite us to their houses for dinner and they’re always there to talk about whatever we want to talk about.
And surely there must be some negative parts too?
Well, obviously nobody loves studying all the time. Some days it feels like all we do is eat, sleep, and study. Sometimes it’s been frustrating if I don’t get concepts, but I think that with work, it will become easier for me.
What are some differences between the UWC model and your previous high school experience in India?
Well in India, you don’t really get to speak much…there’s no class discussion. But at RBC it’s all about interacting with students from around the world and hearing each other’s ideas. And you don’t have to memorize! I was really bad at memorizing and that’s something you don’t have to do here in the same way. And when I went to boarding school in India, we weren’t allowed to talk to boys, so I was really reserved. At RBC, it’s completely different – we can even go and sit and talk in each other’s rooms. And some of my really good friends are boys. I feel like I’ve become so used to this culture now, I think it will be hard for me to go back to a different way of behaving around guys. When I go back, you’ll have to remind me how to behave like a traditional Indian girl – that’s something I’m a bit afraid of!
Tell me about some of the trips you’ve been able to take.
Well I spent my Project Week traveling in France. And I’ve been to Switzerland several times, and spent my Christmas in Austria with Julia didi and her family. And I think if I’m able to save my money, my next trip will be to the UK. I want to visit some of our old volunteers and do some sightseeing. I’ve been to lots of German-speaking countries and it would be fun to travel in an English-speaking country!
One time in Switzerland I missed my train and my phone battery was dead and I didn’t have Julia didi’s number with me. I had to try to communicate with people to ask to borrow their phones to log into Facebook and send Julia didi a message to tell her what had happened. That taught me to take initiative and work on my German. And to always remember to charge my phone!!
Do you miss your AIC siblings?
I really do miss them. I get to talk to them sometimes when they’re home on vacation, but I get really frustrated when they’re not online to talk to me at the time we are supposed to meet! I’m trying to talk to them individually about applying to UWC. It would be really nice – not just because they are following in my footsteps, but because they could be living up to their dreams as well.
What’s something you don’t miss about AIC family life?
CHORES, of course! Cat litter was the worst chore, even though I love cats. And Kitchen Team – especially when my partner was Tushar or Santosh – I used to have to call them a hundred times to come help!
When will you be heading back to India?
Well we have summer break starting at the end of May. And my plans are to go back to India for a couple weeks to see everyone, and then come back to Europe and get a part-time job and study for the rest of the summer. Or maybe stay in India for a month and do some SAT prep before going back. Now that I’m 18, I mean, it’s not like I’ve been kicked out of the house, obviously, but it’s like, I want to be independent!
What kind of future plans do you have in mind at the moment?
Oh boy. My priority for now is applying to colleges abroad next year. I would love to be a social worker and photographer at the same time. I am taking Anthropology Higher Level, and I’d like to continue that as well because I think it will help me in my goal of becoming a social worker.
It’s funny that you want to be a social worker – as a child at AIC, instead of playing pretend “House” or “School,” you used to play that you ran an orphanage, and you would pretend to talk on the phone with the social workers about taking in new children and things like that.[Laughs] I used to play your role: “Main Didi!” …Man, it’s kind of embarrassing to hear these sorts of stories when you’re grown up!
Thinking back to your first day at AIC –[Interjects] Oh man, I was the WORST kid!
Well, you were pretty…wild, that’s for sure. Thinking back to those first days, would you have ever imagined that this international experience was in your future?
Honestly, I didn’t even know I would survive. That’s probably why I was such a wild child. I had no idea what to expect. I thought I would get to go to school, learn a little bit of English…no, I definitely never thought things would end up like this. This is like a dream come true.