One of our Ukrainian students, Anna, who came to the UK as a refugee last year, was visiting her homeland when news of her seven GCSEs, including an 8 in English as a Foreign Language, reached her. By the power of WhatsApp, we managed to get in touch with her in the beautiful Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains to talk about her experience and
Congratulations, Anna! How did you feel when you saw your GCSE results?
When I saw my GCSE results, I was happy because I was worried that I might not pass all the subjects, especially maths.
The results turned out to be quite good, so I was glad.
You have had to work so hard to achieve these results in just one year. How difficult was it to adjust to the UK education system – is it very different?
When I’d just arrived, everything in English school seemed to be very different from Ukrainian. For example, in Ukraine we can’t choose which subjects we study, and we don’t have such a thing as study periods. My English wasn’t good at that time, so I also had some problems with communication. But all the staff and students were nice and friendly. They helped me and explained everything! Teachers did extra sessions to help me catch up with some material that I’d missed from the GCSE course and tried to do everything to make me feel comfortable. I could come to them any lunch time and ask them to explain things to me.
Is your life as you expected, when you left Ukraine?
When I left Ukraine as war broke, I couldn’t even imagine where I will be now. My mother and sister and I left Ukraine with the hope of returning. My dad stayed there to do his job and help the army, so we were very worried about him. It was hard to start all over again, because we always hoped that we would soon return home. Now my mother has returned to Ukraine to her family, and my sister and I could continue our studies thanks to the help of the Cobham Hall. More than a year ago when I was in Poland as a refugee with my mother and younger sister, we didn’t even think that we might study in the UK – it all happened completely by chance after my mother saw the “homes for Ukraine” website and thanks to the caring Pepper family [Anna’s UK hosts] we ended up in England. They became our best friends during this year.
What do you like about Cobham Hall?
For me, Cobham Hall is an amazing place where you can find many extra activities like horse riding, MUN, media team and many others in one place. All the teachers are always happy to help and support you. Because the school building is in the forest you can even see little rabbits running around school. Since the war started, I’ve been to school in Ukraine and in Poland, but Cobham Hall is the best one I’ve ever been to.
What are you going to study at A Level?
I’m going to join year 12 in Cobham to do my A levels. I’m probably going to take History, Business and Psychology, and I’m already looking forward to exploring new things and meet new people soon! Anna has now joined our boarding community and calls Brooke House her new home.
We send her our congratulations and wish her good luck with the upcoming year.