By Sarah Le - CIS Alumni, student of St. James Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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.
Sarah was an extraordinary leader notably in in the H4H Club school year 2015-2016.
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.