Stanislaw and Anna share their thoughts on settling in at Grenaa Gymnasium’s Boarding School
What is life as a boarding student like at Grenaa Gymnasium? We have asked two of our boarding students about their experience.
Stanislaw Kozikowski from Poland is in Pre-IB and Anna Olaru from France is in IB1. They are both aged 16 and have been boarding students at Grenaa Gymnasium since start of the school year in August 2022. They have noticed among other thingsthat school culture in Denmark is different from what they were used to in their home countries.
Becoming more independent
When I first arrived I felt a bit insecure, Stanislaw explains. – I guess that’s only natural. But for me it only lasted a few hours before I felt confident and began to make new friends.
-It helped a lot that during the first couple of weeks there were many socializing activities here, and also that some of the continuing boarders were tutors and helped us around, Stanislaw explains.
– Yes, after one week I was familiar with everything thanks to the tutors, Anna adds.
– It also helps that you have a contact teacher right from the start and they make sure, they get to know you. My contact teacher is Jimi and he is the best! He contacted me the first time after a week or so and asked if I was ok. Contact teachers check on you and you know that you can always come to them.
Anna continues: – There is not this big distance to the teachers here. They treat us as equals and I find, it helps us becoming more independent, she says.
Stanislaw seconds this and adds: – The teachers here are always nice, and they will approach you. You can also come to them for help and they will help you and not judge you. So, there are no teachers here that I do not like. To me the boarding school here is a home away from home, he says.
Mealtimes and meals
Grenaa Gymnasium has been an IB World School since 2003. In addition to that it offers Danish upper secondary programmes and have done so since 1961. During the recent few years an increasing number have applied for admission, and currently 230 Pre-IB and IB Diploma students are enrolled. The vast majority of them are boarding students who live in single and double rooms in several houses all within 2 minutes’ walking distance of the main boarding facility that houses around half of the boarders.
– The day starts with breakfast from 7.30-8.30 a.m , Anna explains. Lessons start at 8.40. When I have gaps between lessons I tend to study at the school or at the boarding facility. Lunch is at noon and in the afternoon there is a snack. I always go for the afternoon snack.
Dinner is at 6 p.m. as is the norm in Scandinavia. For some students from other parts of Europe and other parts of the world this might require some adjustment to get used to.
– The food here is good, Stanislaw says. I’m a vegetarian and I find the cooks here are good at making vegetarian dishes. They serve a variety of both Danish and international dishes, and for example at Christmas time we had the traditional Danish Christmas dishes. On Fridays it is often something extra good, like burgers or burritos.
– Yes, and on your birthday you can ask for one of your favorites, Anna adds.
– The menues are varied with both international dishes and Danish, she explains. The cooks themselves come from different countries. One of them is French, for example.
Study and leisure time
– When I have gaps between lessons during the day, I will use them for study. And in the evening I will study again. After school in the afternoon I will go for a dance lesson in the school’s gym or go for a run, Anna explains.
– Stanislaw’s priorities are alike. – After school I go to the gym with my friends, play games or just talk. All days are different here, because we have running schedules. I like that a lot, and I also feel that the need for quiet time to study during evening hours is respected among us, he adds. We start adult life here, because we have to structure our own time.
Boarding life when it is best
One highlight come to both students’ minds when asked what they so far have enjoyed the most at the boarding school: Watching matches during the FIFA World CUP last fall. It is not difficult to imagine the extra intensity added with practically every continent represented in the movie room. They both also see that in a more general context.
– I really like the way friendship groups are merging, Stanislaw says. Often in the weekends spontaneous parties arise with people meeting and talking. You get to now a least all the faces here and there isn’t anyone you haven’t interacted with at least once.
Anna seconds that and explains that the students relax in each other’s company in many different activities, some of them organized by the boarding teachers, and some of them by the students among themselves. – I like the open jazz dance activity in the movie room. One of the other students teach us. But I also like for example a casual game of pool.
Grenaa is big enough for an adventure
– Before I decided to apply for admission here, I visited several other IB schools in Denmark together with my parents. When I sensed the atmosphere here and saw the facilities, I knew that this was were I wanted to be, Anna recalls. – The dining room that we’re in right now for expample, it just felt homely right away.
Stanislaw and Anna explain how they have both come to appreciate that Grenaa is indeed a very small town. – There is space and calm here, says Anna. At night, the streets are empty! I can go with my friends and laugh and talk. I feel safe in the streets here.
– And the much bigger city Aarhus is only one hour away, Stanislaw adds. It is no problem. And our surroundings here are nice with a small forest across the road and the beach only 2 kilometres from here.
He continues: I’d say to anyone considering boarding life in Grenaa: Don’t be afraid to talk to people, for people here are happy to talk to you, and you hang out with different people during the day. So if you are an adventurous person, go here.
– And I’d add that we are all in the same boat, Anna says.- It is ok to feel insecure, as long as you know that there is always people to talk to.