12NBA on their last day before Year 12 study leave officially began: 4 of the 6 international students were in 12NBA.
Since September 2014, Helsby High School has been delighted to accept international students from a wide variety of different European countries, including: Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Hungary. These international students have come to the UK to stay with host families in the local area and have attended the school for between 3-12 months, choosing to study 3 or 4 A Levels. This academic year Helsby High Sixth Form has welcomed 7 international students: Agnete, Alex, Andrea, Ariane, Ingrid, Joest, and Seb who have studied subjects such as English Literature, Media Studies, Art and History to name just a few.
In most cases the students have chosen subjects they are interested in, and have enjoyed taking part fully in all the lessons, and many extra-curricular activities, without the pressure of sitting an exam. However, two students, Joest and Agnete, have decided to sit formal AS examinations; Joest being entered for AS exams in Media Studies, Photography, Geography and French, and Agnete being entered for the Theatre Studies AS exam. This means that when they return home they will already have gained A Levels from the UK (which are of course recognised internationally) to they will be able to add these qualifications to those that they will then proceed to take in their own native countries.
Many of Helsby High’s ‘native’ Sixth Form students have expressed their high admiration for the motivation and work ethic of all the international students, and their ability to seamlessly integrate themselves into the social, academic and extra-curricular aspects of school life, despite studying A Levels in subjects that are delivered in what is (to them!) a foreign language, yet still excelling in their studies.
Alex W’s experience:
When I first came to England I wasn’t quite sure how school would be. I only knew from Austria that there are school uniforms in England and that I can choose my own subjects. However, on my first day at Helsby High School I found out that I did not have to wear a school uniform since I went to the Sixth Form.
On my first day I was also able to choose four subjects out of a wide variety of subjects, including sciences, languages, arts and many more. I chose English Literature, Media Studies, Philosophy & Ethics and History. In all of these subjects I received the same education as every other Helsby High student as well as being offered some catch up material.
In English Literature I could read and analyse Shakespearian tragedy, Crime Writing of before and past 2000s writers. In Media Studies I learned a lot about how stories and issues are represented in the news, movies and magazines and why these things are positioned in a particular way, due to political bias or attempts to exert control; this was especially interesting since my school in Austria does not offer any education about media at all, yet media is such an important aspect of modern life and I am so thankful to gain a better understanding of this wide subject. In Philosophy & Ethics I could learn about different kinds of religious experiences and utilitarianism and how things can be seen many different ways. In History I learnt a lot about British history which was very interesting to understand where the culture and many other things in England actually came from.
I was accepted as a regular student in all of these subjects. I made contributions to the subject and handed in my homework as a fully integrated student at Helsby High School. The school also offered outside of school activities like a Film Club which is a great thing for every student. Outside of my lessons I got to know many different people with many different interests. Every person I met at Helsby High School, teacher or student, was incredibly tolerant and friendly. Helsby High School offered a great environment for me to study and experience the everyday culture of Britain.
Comments from other international students:
Seb: “The school has been so welcoming. Even though I am not a native English speaker it was definitely possible for me to understand the topics studied in all my subjects and I have really improved my English vocabulary. Studying Media Studies has in particular helped me to understand some of the various social and political issues of the past and present in the UK”.
Ariane: “All the students and teachers have been so friendly and supportive. I have made so many good friends and have had some great experiences, I especially enjoyed attending the York Film Festival back in November as it was a very enjoyable and educational day out of school that complemented my studies very well.”
It should also be noted that in addition to taking exams in 4 different A Levels, Joest has also represented the school at county level in football, being part of the winning team who were awarded the Cheshire Cup; Mr Bennett from the P.E. department expressed how “incredibly proud” he was of Joest and the whole team for working so well together.