I departed the San Francisco airport at 10pm on a Wednesday and arrived at 6:30am on Friday in Sydney, Australia. From the Sydney airport I took another plane to Armidale, New South Wales, where I met my fantastic host mum. She took me to the New England Girl’s School (NEGS), where I was reunited with Emily Stark! I was given a year 10 uniform, which consists of a plaid shirt, a navy blue tunic dress, blue bow tie, a navy hat with a NEGS logo, black stockings, and some…unique black shoes. There is also a hair ribbon and earrings.
I spent the weekend with Emily and her friends, who are boarders but often stay the weekend. During this time, I saw my first netball game and got a taste of some Australian culture. On my first day of school, I shadowed Emily to her classes, some of which are at NEGS brother school, The Armidale School (TAS.) The school is very different from Athenian in the way the students call all their teachers Miss or Sir and that the buildings are very close together and all look very similar. Each grade has about 40 students and there are girls from ages 3 to 18. NEGS also has an equestrian program and many of the girls have or ride horses. I recently found out I will be in Year 11, which is the grade Emily and her friends are in. This means that I will soon be replacing my plaid shirts and bowtie for white shirts and a plaid necktie.
The weekly schedule at NEGS is somewhat confusing. There are two weeks, week 1 and week 2. Each day of each week is different. The school day goes from 8:30am to 3:20pm. There is recess every day at around 11 (also called morning tea) where we are served biscuits and fruit. I am enrolled in six classes: General Maths, English, Visual Arts, Business Studies, Music, and Modern History. They’re all very interesting and very different from classes at Athenian.
Everyone whom I’ve met has been so keen to make me feel welcome. The year 11 class is very close, which is really nice.
This weekend, I will be going to Sydney to do heaps of sightseeing and see Emily’s brother and his band play at a pub on Saturday night.
All in all, I’ve been having so much fun and have met so many wonderful people.