Studying at Bellerbys College (Cambridge), I shared a room with an Asian student from Hong Kong: his name was Shek Chun, but like many students from Asia, he took on a more "English" name - Chose Heaven (Haven). I came before him, but this is normal practice: I just waited for my neighbor, although I did not know in advance who he would be. Haven is ambitious: he wants to enter Cambridge at the Faculty of Economics.
On the first day, having met, we went to the post office: I needed to get Biometric Residence Permit, and Haven got the certificate already in college. Biometric Residence Permit is something between the student's card and the visa: it has information about you, terms of validity, working conditions (if possible), etc. The map was fast enough, so the rest of the time was spent for a walk around Cambridge.
We went to a place I already know - the Butch Annie's pub: here, in my humble opinion, the best burgers in the world, the relaxed atmosphere of the US bar of the 70s, many beer taps on Stand - it's not my part, but it looks impressive. Prices for Russia (and for Hong Kong, as it turned out, too) seem high, but for Britain it's quite normal: for a burger of the order of 7-9 pounds, for a full dinner with drinks - 10-20 pounds. Not cheap, but this is the country.
We went to the bookstore: we managed to buy a new book "Harry Potter" in a terrific edition, and then went home - usually the road takes about 25-30 minutes by bus , But in the conditions of "rush hour" - about an hour.
On the way we went to the Tesco hypermarket: it stands very close to our house, which is very convenient - here and all kinds of products , And little things for the house, and even clothes and shoes. Of course, prices are higher than those we are used to, but on the other hand, there are a lot of discounts in the spirit of "take more-pay less": 24 cans of Coke, for example, cost only 7 pounds. Particularly amazed by the assortment - of course, such in most Russian stores, even large ones, no: any meat, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, snacks, fresh pastries, different delicacies - anything your heart desires. And all this is as fresh, clean, neat and beautifully decomposed, never to find an expired or rotten goods. A fairy tale for housewives and amateurs to cook!
On the 14th we were given the first meeting at the college, and for the introductory period - Introduction - it was allotted for three days already. The road to Bellerbys College took about half an hour by bus and 10 minutes on foot: on the first day our host, Veronika, even escorted us to the bus stop so that we would not get confused - it was very nice of her.
The college building was built in 1891: for Cambridge this, of course, is not such a long time, but for us Europeans, the majesty of buildings and the spirit of olden time is simply unmatched!
We were met personally by the director, Nick Waite: a stunningly friendly, friendly, constantly smiling person: answered all questions of us and parents (many Decided on the first day to accompany their children). Gradually arrived students convinced me that I will study in an international - and, to put it mildly - the situation. Most of the students were Asians, and only six were citizens of Russia and the CIS. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the only Russian, except me, also came from my city, from Perm!
The first day was devoted to the course of team building (team building and development of leadership qualities), filling out medical insurance and listening to general information about the college, rules of conduct and safety. On the second day, we were told in detail about our training program - then the most interesting thing began. I entered the A-level course - and they made it clear to us that we are waiting for 2 years of real Spartan tests. So, in brief:
A-level - the program is a two-year one. The first year, AS, we will study 4 selected subjects and take exams in May-June. The results of the exam are not so valuable as the results for the second year, but many universities also take them into account, so it will be necessary to try from the very beginning. In addition to the basic subjects, we will prepare a research project (Extended project). The project can be performed in any form, from the literary essay to the model of the building, the main thing is that the topics correspond to the area in which you plan to advance at the university. It's like a semi-exam, adds credits to your diploma.
The second year is A2 - and for successful admission to the university you must pass a good level of at least 3 exams (that is, some items can be deducted from the original list). Also, those who need to pass more and IELTS, also prepare for the exam within two years. For each subject, 4 classes per class and 6 hours of homework are put on a weekly basis, in total it will be necessary to do 50 hours a week.
I can tell about the course itself after the first school week has ended. My group is scientific, AS Science. In the classroom there are about 10 people, most are again Asians, nothing surprising. Acquainted with our tutor, Claire, she's also an English teacher, though not with us. Lessons are in pairs, for an hour and a half hours, but all at school we spend a lot of time - until 15:00, and sometimes until 17:20. Well, they warned me that it's necessary to be ready for such intensity ...
The first lesson was economics. It took a little time to get used to the pronunciation of our teacher, Ian Hunt, but he explains it really cool. The course itself is similar to my 9-10 grade in the previous school, only the degree of study is more profound, more thoroughly everything is learned. But all the same I want to say thank you to my former school, because on the economy, I immediately felt more confident! The first lessons - in general, practically the repetition of the course of social studies: methodology, the main problems of the economy, types of resources ... Ian tells all in detail and interestingly, with a bunch of examples, trying to ask every student at least once a couple. It is very convenient that a separate time is allocated at the end of the class (outside the lesson), when the teacher can personally discuss with the student one or another difficult topic - this is called the strange word Surgeries, but in general a cool possibility.
After lunch, we had a psychology: we were given a lot of tasks, and if at first I had a certain prejudice about psychology, after the first tasks and lessons (for example, Zimbargo experiment was analyzed) I began to penetrate and be interested in such science .
The third lesson is computer science. Here everything is simple: we write programs on Visual Basic, promised and lecture classes, I will wait.
The fourth is mathematics. Well, the view was confirmed that in England mathematics is much simpler than in Russia: no difficult parameters and trigonometry, geometry. I liked the teacher very much: he was so calm, with measured speech, very friendly (well, the last card in general was a card by Bellerbis). Now we pass a parabola and square equations, soon there will be inequalities. Surprised that even the approach to the solution of tasks differs from Russian: for example, the interval method or the discriminant is practically not used, although it is not forbidden.
There are separate classes for preparation of projects - they are conducted by our kind teacher Andre (in fact, this is a soft and affectionate female name): she is very attentive to each of us, and I am sure that in future she will be It's easy and fun to work with.
I want to talk about the features of the application to the British College - UCAS application form. There are several "parts" here:
In the course of acquaintance (Introduction), we were also offered to have an account in an English bank, and I gladly took advantage of this opportunity. Firstly, the very phrase "I have an account in an English bank" sounds cool, and secondly, it allows you to transfer money to a card without commission (I have a Santander bank) and buy a local SIM card at a discount: it cost me 17 pounds Instead of 20.
The third day in the new college was dedicated to city tours: pouring rain (here it is England as it is!), So everyone was I'm glad that the tour bus. Especially memorable was the memorial complex in memory of the American soldiers, who significantly helped Cambridge during the Second World War.
On Saturday I went to Nelson: it was in his family that I lived during my first A trip to England, and it was necessary to happen that we met with him literally on the first day of my current training! I stayed with him all evening: we drank tea with a delicious pie, talked about current affairs, told who had what happened in the year. You can not imagine how pleasant it is to think that even in another country, not in Russia, there are your friends and people who are not indifferent to you!
Sunday I devoted a walk to Cambridge (this time alone). Autumn here is the most beautiful time of the city: ancient architecture, fallen leaves, cozy streets, cool clean air, a legendary university that is visible far away ... it is unusually beautiful! I also visited Fullborn (a suburb of Cambridge about one and a half kilometers from Cherry Hinton, where I live). Here, the fields and hills, as well as incredibly colorful mills, were remembered, as if from pages of books.
Without hostility, the host, of course, did not, I'm such a person. Veronica freely allowed us to cook in her kitchen, and I decided to fire steaks - in Tesco there was a magnificent marble meat. The steak turned out to be the most delicious, but now the smoke, traditional for cooking, caused the fire alarm to work: she squealed so that we all slightly lost the hearing for about 10 minutes.
I also realized that I probably do not like to live with representatives of Asian culture (I remind you, this time my neighbor from Hong Kong, and once again I lived with a neighbor from Taiwan). Their culture is very different from ours and seems alien: beginning from the norms of behavior at the table (champing and so on), the lack of an elementary, seemingly politeness (the words "thank you" and "please" are not accepted at all) and ending with the non-observance of the norms of personal space And time. For example, he decided to chat with his girlfriend on Skype at 9 am, and it's at full volume! Well, we'll have to get used to it, because we live with him for two more years, the entire course of training at the A-level.