Friday, January 05, 2007

You went to the finest school alright

On a nostaligia trip, I looked at my school’s website. For those of you who don’t know me personally, you must know that I went to an International School in the South of France: Le Centre Internationale de Valbonne. I did a normal French education with extra classes in English and then went onto do the International Baccalureat in my final two years which consisted of classes mainly in English.

It was nice, set in the hills of a technological business park called Sophia Antipolis. There was forest all around. It was in the south of France, on the Riveria, near Antibes which had over 300 days a year of sunshine. So I guess I was lucky. Although it is shit to be a teenager, wherever you live.

They have a section on the website detailing the typical day of a border. Now I was a border for a year while my parents moved to Belgium. They felt, and I agreed with them, that changing school in my final year was pointless and would cause me difficulties. So I became a border for my final year at the school.

The typical day as described by the website:

6.45am – Wake-up and breakfast.
8am to 12pm – Lessons.
12pm-1pm – Lunch.
1pm – 5pm – Lessons.
5pm – Gouter (or snack in English).
5.30pm to 6pm – Study hour or activities.
7pm – 8pm – Dinner.
8pm – Study in your room.
9.30pm to 10.30pm – lights out.

Here’s what really happened on our typical day:

7.15am – The guy looking after us comes around once to wake us up by knocking on the door and letting himself in. I roll over and go back to sleep.
7.50am – Wake up, frantically put clothes on and get bag ready.
8.10am – Arrive in class ten minutes late.
11.00am – Class cancelled because of strike and/or absence by teacher (this is the South of France remember).
Shun lunch in the cafeteria which was absolutely foul – not all French cuisine is superb, remember. Go to the local shop and buy a sandwich and crate of beer to share with friends.
14pm – Go back to class, quite often drunk. Sleep in the back of the class and write down one thing – get notes from the spod at the front who is copiously taking down everything the teacher is saying.
16pm – Skive off the last hour because I can’t be bothered. Miss the gouter which consists appetisingly of stale bread left over from breakfast and cheap chocolate.
5.30pm – Say hello to the guy looking after us. Go to mate's room and play computer games.
7pm. – Go to dinner and eat another pile of crap. God it was awful and is making my stomach turn just thinking about it.
8pm. – Sit at desk waiting for guy to come around to check on us, listening to football on the radio and/or music.
9.30pm until 2am – Wait for the guy to come around in the evening. Sneak out and go to mate's room for more booze and computer games.
2am – Sneak back without getting caught by security guards passing by another three people’s rooms to see what they’re up to.

And at the weekend it was even better.
Saturday - Get up. Drink. Visit girls' dorms. Get thrown out. Go to bed.
Sunday – Get up. Drink. Watch football in the bar or visit girls' dorms again. Go to Bed.

But I enjoyed my short time at boarding school. I was old enough to realise that it had its benefits. In many ways it was as if I had been to university a year earlier. It certainly helped me adjust to the student lifestyle very quickly, and I didn’t look as much of a tit when compared to those people who had never been let out of the house on their own and who got hideously drunk after two Smirnoff Ices on Freshers Week.

So the lesson here is parents: never believe what a school tells you. The truth is always going to be far different.

1 comment:

Paolo Vites said...

hopefully your parents dont have a link to your blog

Check me out, if you dare