My Semester In Marymount London

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Source: Pixabay Images

After attending school in Los Angeles for my whole life, I found it hard to imagine what international schools were like and how they differed from what I was acquainted to. However, during my six months abroad at Marymount London last year, I noticed a myriad of differences in almost every aspect of my school life. Some were minuscule, and others took me the entire visit to get used to. Experiencing a different culture and a new school atmosphere was incredibly enriching; I miss the excitement of discovering new things every day. There are so many things that stood out to me in at your school. Let me tell you about them!

#1- School supplies. One of the first things that I noticed after starting school at Marymount London was, as silly as it sounds, the size of the paper. I had never written on A4 paper before, and to have all of my notebooks be that size was so different from what I was used to! In the US, our standard paper is ‘US letter’, which is 8.5 inches by 11 inches (or about 22 cm by 28 cm). I made sure to take as many of my notebooks as I could possibly fit in my suitcase back home with me, because I couldn’t wait to show all of my friends. Another paper-related difference I noticed is that in the UK, papers are only hole-punched with 2 holes. This was not hard to get accustomed too, however, here we only have 3-hole-punch binders, so having a 2-hole-punch binder was very unique.

#2- “Miss”. This is probably my favourite thing that I was able to participate in while I was at MMI: calling teachers “Miss”. When I went into my first class on my first day of school, English A with Miss Hickox (the queen), all of my classmates addressed her as “Miss.” It was the cutest thing I have ever heard. I had heard British students say that in the movies, but I was so excited that it happens in real life! I, of course, immediately joined in because I felt like I was in a movie every time I said it. Addressing the teachers as “Miss” was very convenient because I was still struggling to learn everybody’s name, but even once I learned them, I continued to say “miss” purely for the fun of it.

#3- IB vs American System. The most significant difference, and the one that was the hardest for me to get accustomed to, was the IB (or MYP) system of schooling. I had never heard of the IB/ MYP in my life, and I had to ask my teachers to explain the course multiple times before I understood it. ( I am so sorry to all of the people I pestered about this!) In Marymount LA, every grade is given as a percentage of the total score. The concept of getting a maximum grade out of 7 when the criterion is marked out of 8 was tough for me to understand. I was also able to take a much broader range of classes under the MYP system. During the first half of my sophomore year (Grade 10) in LA, I took a total of 7 courses. Some were AP classes, and others were honors. I took each of them over an alternating 2-day schedule, but at MMI, however, I was taking about 14 courses, throughout a 2 week schedule! This was difficult, but I was able to take interesting new classes like Philosophy, PSHEE and Geography.

Those were just a few things that kept my life spicy in London! There are so many more where those came from, but if I listed them all, you’d be reading this all day!