Sunday 11th Aug 2019

Interview with a Leaving Grecian: Eugene




Eugene is a Year 13/Grecian who has been a Monitor (prefect) in his final year and a boarder for the full seven years of his secondary education at Christ’s Hospital. Here, he talks about his time at CH.

For most, the question “where did you grow up” has a relatively straightforward answer. However, for many students studying abroad, myself included, their answer may have a few more caveats.

I was born in Hong Kong and studied at a local primary school until the age of 12, whereupon accepted a place at Christ’s Hospital School. The changes were vast to say the least. For a city boy like me, the rolling hills and green luscious grass of the English countryside was like another world to me, and that was only the beginning: the food, the weather, the language, the sport, the banter, they were unlike anything I had experienced growing up.

Luckily, I made new friends who would show me the ropes and helped me cope with the colossal changes. Almost everyone I spoke to were kind and supportive, and being young boarders themselves, could relate to and empathise with the struggles I faced, especially homesickness. For many students studying abroad, months can pass without the comforts of home, and having never spent time away from my parents, this was a hard pill to swallow. Video calls and instant messaging can only help so much.

Over time, I learnt cope with homesickness and became more proactive, trying things outside my comfort zone. This is the single biggest lesson I learnt during my time at CH. Too often I see international students isolate themselves to the unique opportunities that are offered by sticking to their comfort zone. By integrating yourself within the school community, you can expand your horizons and learn about a culture that’s completely unique from your own. That to me was the biggest draw of studying abroad.

Now in my sixth form, I’ve spent a third of my life studying in the UK and hope to spend another four years reading engineering at Cambridge. Having spent so many of my formative years 6,000 miles away from home, it’s difficult not to feel at least an inkling of patriotism to my adopted home. My friends are almost all from the UK; many of my milestones in life I’ve achieved in CH; every birthday since my twelfth I’ve celebrated in my boarding house. It’s no wonder I struggle to give a straightforward answer to the question “where did you grow up”.