My exchange at Kavanagh College, By Fabiane Da Paz Silva, Year 12, Brazil 

By Nicki Ridden-Angus | Posted: Monday June 26, 2017

Fabiane departed our school this month with the other five students from the "Win the World" program. Before she returned to Pernambuco, she wrote about her time here at our school.

"To get the exchange was something very desired by all Brazilians and complicated by the number of students who were competing for the few places available.

Leaving America with the basics of American English and coming to Oceania and listening to British English was a shock and even a cause of despair. I lost count of how many times in the first month I cried because I did not understand what the homestay or teachers were talking about. But I also remember how people from both the school and my home reassured me that in time everything would be alright.

At first, I had a hard time believing that it was really true, but from the third week on, everything seemed simpler and the words were getting easy to use, the irregular verbs and rules were part of everyday life and were not so strange here; how they spoke “better” and “see ya”. I confess that I was impressed by how living with a language all the time can do this; teaching us calmly and intensely at the same time. How quickly we knew the words and how to use them was simply unbelievable. I thank everyone who spoke to us and asked us to use our English in some way, just to listen to each sentence of people was worth more than three years of English in Brazil.

The Kavanagh College and its teachers who turned our American English into British English with absurd ease, the ability to understand us in the first weeks was incredibly wonderful. The interest of the homestay and all of those who use English, plus the attention of the exchange and all our expectations were surpassed. It was magnificent.

My heart is completely grateful, first to God and second to the teachers at Kavanagh for all the efforts so we felt at home. Especially Mrs Ridden for her kind way of teaching and saying that everything was going to be okay somehow. To Mr Peter (Drury), American Pedro, for being the best Tutor Teacher of this school and making my mornings super fun by shouting my name and wishing me a great day. And of course the wonderful Mrs Heinz who teaches maths with her heart, the wonderful way of showing us to solve problems by paying attention to details.

It was not meant to be a farewell text, I do not know why it took this course, maybe it’s because that is really happening. It’s the last days of a wonderful and unforgettable journey. Thank you all for making our exchange so special and full of feelings and learning. New Zealand’s charm, ranging from clear English to the best scenery my eyes have ever seen, 2017 will be an unforgettable year for us and you are a part of it. Thank you"

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