One of the scariest aspects of an ISE Ontario 9/12 week exchange is managing attending a foreign school while also keeping up with your school back at home. It is a challenging task, but with the right level of determination, it can be accomplished.
The first obstacle to tackle is the work that you will miss at home while studying abroad. To achieve this, it is very important that you find a way to stay on top of it as soon as possible. Prior to leaving, you must discuss the work you will be missing with each of your teachers. Teachers are typically very accommodating and will give you the work required for the Ontario curriculum, whether it is the general assignments or alternate assignments. You should slowly start to work through this homework in between your other daily tasks. Hopefully, you will manage to succeed in finishing all of it before you have to leave, so you only have to worry about your foreign education. If not, you can bring the work along with you, and use some of your free time to catch up. Additionally, if the work given to you proves to be more difficult than anticipated, try to practice and study frequently, or obtain a tutor before you travel.
Try not to worry if something goes wrong in acquiring or completing the work! When you return from your time abroad, there will still be time to attend your own school and catch up with your workload then if necessary. Your teachers will understand the purpose of the exchange, and will help you to achieve all you need to in order to finish your year with great results!
Attending a new school so far away for home sounds nerve-wracking, but it is certainly manageable. Your partner will be with you every step of the way, and if they’ve attended that school before, they can help you to find your way around and help you to understand how everything functions. Try not to use your partner for everything, however, and develop your own independence. To make this easier, try to make good first impressions with your peers and teachers, get to know your classmates, and pay attention to all that you are being taught.
One of the most important reasons to have a decent handle on the language before travelling is so you can follow along what is happening in your foreign school. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and for help if you need clarification. You will be expected to participate in your abroad curriculum, but do not stress if it feels as if it is becoming too much because you will not be graded for your work there.
Keeping all of this in mind, you may be worried that your education will be a challenge, and in all likeliness, it will be, but if you manage to figure it all out, you will be in for an educational opportunity unlike anything your peers at home will ever experience.
By Sarah Zeran