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First Day of School in a New Country

By Adrija Bhaduri

In the October of 2018, I went to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, for a month. My father, a Software Developer, often works on projects in different countries. I spent 5 long years of my life in the United Kingdom due to this. However, this time, it was a small project, which would only take a year at most. So, I left with my mother after a month, with my dad settled in at the two-bedroom flat we had rented. We had stayed in two hotels before the flat. The flat was located on a small island called Störa Essingan. There was a small French high school on the island, with not more than a hundred students. It was thus quite small.

After I came back, I spent the rest of my school year in India. I was in fourth grade at the time. However, right after the final exams ended, my mother and I left once again for Stockholm.

You see, before, my parents thought it would be a big project, and since Sweden has a policy that states that your child has to be in a school and can stay at home, my parents had already enrolled me in an International school there. It was quite expensive, and they had paid for an entire three months at the school. They didn't want the money to go to waste, so I was to spend those three months there, even though I had to miss three months of fifth grade back here. Despite me having finished fourth grade, in Sweden the syllabus was entirely different and quite difficult, so I wouldn't say it was a waste of time. I learnt quite a bit of Swedish.

I reached Sweden on a Sunday, and proceeded to start going to the school the next day. There was no school uniform at this school, so I just wore a graphic T-shirt and jeans. Since it was my first day, both my parents accompanied me. It took over 40 minutes to reach, and we set out a bit late in the first place, so we reached 15 minutes late. We went inside, and a teacher told me to change my shoes and keep my bag in the rack, which she then proceeded to put a label on, with my name. Thankfully, I had not forgotten to bring a pair of spare shoes to wear indoors according to the handbook I got. After that, I waved goodbye to my parents and the teacher took me to the indoor PT room. I was given a small welcome and the PT teacher told me to find a partner for the PT activities. Everyone had already chosen their partners, except one girl, who had no option than to be my partner. She seemed nice and we soon became good friends. After class, a few Indian girls and a Canadian girl also approached me. We clicked instantly, and they took me into their group. Our class teacher was also pretty cool. We were allowed to listen to music on our ipads while doing our research work about the Mayan civilization. I was new so my newfound friends quickly summarised what we had been taught so far. After that, we had our snack break. I had brought apples and marshmallows. However, unhealthy food such as marshmallows were not allowed, and though I had brought it, the teacher let me off since it was my first day and I was unaware of the fact. After the break, we had two Art classes. I didn't have any art copy so one of my friends gave me a sheet. We had to draw a pattern based on some references the teacher provided. I was struggling with it, and I gave up in the end. My friends' art looked amazing and I was quite jealous, but I appreciated them anyway. Then we had our Long Break, which I had at first confused with the Lunch Break. My friend's thankfully told me that Lunch Break was one class afterwards. We played on the swings for the Long Break and returned to class right on time.It was Maths, and nothing interesting happened.

During the Lunch Break, me and my friends stayed in the class for 10 minutes so we had to run to the Lunch Hall. Lunch was provided in a buffet style, with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, unlike my school in India, which was strictly vegetarian. I ate spring rolls and a glass of milk. We then played Hide and Seek in the playground. Randomly, two boys of my age came up to me and said that I would never have real friends. I felt sad about it, but forced a smile at them, saying, “Yeah, I know.”. I then went back to class.

We had two free classes, and then in our last class, that is, Swedish, the teacher gave me a textbook, according to my level, which was quite obviously, 1, as I had no knowledge of the language. I studied quietly and before I knew it, the school day was over. I went outside and waited for my mother to pick me up. She soon arrived and we left for home after a long day for us both. As we walked to the metro station, I saw this dog daycare, with so many adorable dogs. They let me pet a few and I was in a great mood. After I went home, I ate a waffle and slept for a while. Then I watched a movie with my parents. I was extremely tired, so I ate dinner quite early, and retired for the night.

The days after the first all blended into each other, same routine everyday. On weekends we went to the old town, or as they call it, Gamla Stan. We’d roam around and go to museums and all. It was quite fun.

I truly miss Sweden, with it’s calm atmosphere and pleasant population. I miss my friends and I miss my house. I plan on going back there someday. Maybe I can even be a teacher at that school. But such is in the distant future, so now I have decided to focus on my studies. Getting such a position will not be easy, and I know I will have to work hard for it.

By Adrija Bhaduri

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