College – Issue 36

EXCHANGES More formality, growing independence

You have to go away to appreciate what you have! Year 11 student Hamish Patterson discovered the truth of this after spending seven weeks at Tonbridge School, Kent, England, as one of the first two College boys to take part in a new international school exchange. The 15-year-old set off in October and boarded at the famous Tonbridge School, immersing himself in its 400 years of heritage, culture and traditions. “The people were friendly but more formal than we are. There were a lot of similarities to life at Tonbridge and life at College, but there were also a lot of differences,” he says. “For one thing there was a lot more discipline in most classes than we’re used to, and there was a lot more homework. You were expected to spend two hours a night doing homework, but mostly I got it done in about one and a half. It’s made the time spent on our homework at College seem easier!” Jonas Freeman, who spent a month at College in 2018, was Hamish’s host, although his parents were living in Spain. So instead of leaving the boarding house at weekends, he often lived in. “They did come over a couple of weekends and I was also able to spend some weekend time with my uncle and aunt who live in London.” Hamish visited the London Eye, the Shard, galleries and other tourist hot spots, and away rugby games meant

he played at world famous schools like Eton, Dulwich College, Harrow and St Paul’s. “It was amazing to see those places, and I would really like to live in a city like London for a while at some stage in the future. It would be very exciting.” On the huge campus at Tonbridge Hamish’s school life involved studying Chemistry, Biology and Physics, Mathematics, English History and Biology. “I thought they were ahead of what we were doing. I was quite impressed at the level they were working at, and how disciplined they were.” He found “cadets” or “territorial training” another very different facet of school life – compulsory military training once every fortnight which taught him map reading, coordinates, and how to assemble and disassemble a gun. And, of course, there was the cold. It was winter. The sun went down about 4pm and it was dark. It was cold in the mornings and often cold all day, he recalls.

“Each boarding house had its own chefs and own dining room. The food that was really good was a kind of potato hash brown at breakfast!” All these experiences have made him thirsty for more. “I’d love to do another exchange. It’s an insight into another society, another culture, and I now appreciate how good New Zealand is to live in. It’s also helped my independence. I’d definitely recommend this exchange to anyone.”

And the best food at Tonbridge?

“ I’d love to do another exchange. It’s an insight into another society, another culture, and I now appreciate how good New Zealand is to live in. ” Hamish Patterson

College Issue 36 2019


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