Sarah Le - CIS Alumni, Former Leader of H4H Club School year 2015-2016

 Hello! My name is Sarah Le; and I used to prefer to be a CIS student than to be a CIS alumni. However, keep in mind I said “used to”; you will see why… I am currently an eleventh grader at St. James Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

 Before ‘flying’ out of my own nest to continue my education overseas, I had been a member of the CIS family for nearly four years. At CIS, I had become close friends with and learnt a lot from some of the most amazing and supportive people I know. I involved myself in learning through extracurricular activities, including GIN. All of the things that I experienced at CIS helped to shape the person that I am today.

 At the same time, this meant that leaving such a community was a very big step to take, in my schooling and life. At the time, I was feeling what I guess any of our alumni abroad would feel when they leave: a strange mix of emotions - excited but nervous, with countless of questions in mind. I was thinking, imagining, and wondering about everything. “What will school be like?” “Will I make new friends?” “It’s kind of like the first day of elementary all over again!” “I hope my friends don’t forget me” “How cold is it over there?” “Will I be able to adapt?” One after another, questions constantly popped into my head. I was simply wondering if I was going to be ok!

 Once I began school in Winnipeg, I eventually found answers to every one of those questions. Eventually, not immediately. Things weren’t just naturally perfect, or pleasant, not right away; and they most likely weren’t meant to be. I was a fifteen year-old, heading overseas and leaving the only place she’s known her whole life for the first time.

 The first week of school was far from perfect, and so was my first month here. I was homesick, for Ho Chi Minh City, for CIS, for the people that I have known for so long - some, for my entire existence. That didn’t mean that it wasn’t normal, or that going abroad wasn’t for me. Not knowing nearly anything or anyone at a place you spend eight hours studying almost everyday isn’t a pleasant feeling. Still, I had to keep going, and I did; and as I kept going, things got better - I finally made friends, knew how to work my way around things at school, and discovered interesting things about living here.

 Now, hear me again: My name is Sarah Le, and I used to prefer to be a CIS student than to be a CIS alumni. I am now more than glad to be a connected part of the CIS Alumni Community. Not that I love being away from the CIS community any less than I love being a part of the community that now surrounds me, but I have learnt to adapt and enjoy my time here as much as I enjoyed my time at CIS.