• Gabriel Mendonça

A bit about me: How transitioned from the American to the British system

When I was around 12 years old my parents gave me the news that we would be moving to Dubai. Naturally, I started to think about how this move from Los Angeles to this strange place would impact me. I didn’t even know Dubai existed, I knew that my parents had travelled there a really long time ago but I didn’t understand how much the city had grown in such a short amount of time. Little 12-year-old me didn’t quite process how big this change would actually be until it finally happened.

Obviously, as I started to grow older in this new place, adapting became something that wasn’t actually a task but rather something that just came along with the deal of living in such a place, however, adapting to the new school is something that I still struggle with today as it is a quite challenging task.

While I lived in LA, I went to a public school and while I do believe that public schools are great, my content basis was really strong due to the school that I attended in Brazil therefore I kept a 4.0 GPA for the three years that I studied there without struggling to achieve those grades. I missed out on all the years that you have to experiment on what is the best way to revise: I pretty much had no clue on how to do it.

I know that the older you get; the more school requires from you but I can tell you that these schooling systems are very different. For any of you that aren’t familiar, the British schooling system consists of two separate diplomas, GCSES and A-Levels or IB. I am currently in year 10 hence I have experienced the first of two years that the GCSE diploma consists of and while that may not seem like a big deal, for someone who doesn’t really know an effective way to study, it is fairly challenging.

Also, while the American schooling system taught me knowledge that was helpful during my first years of school here in Dubai, I found myself having to adapt to mark schemes and what those actually are. Even though I still struggle with them today, I have come to understand that while the content is important, my way of applying that knowledge in a test is important as well.

Even if I did face a lot of challenges when changing from one side of the spectrum to the other, the biggest tip I can give is to persevere. Both experiences have definitely opened my eyes to the way in which things work in two completely different parts of the world and it is pretty safe to say that I have managed to deal with them both.