By: Jackie Kovalcin, a former CATS Boston Student
I made the jump across the Atlantic (actually, more like a seven hour flight), about three months ago as I transferred from CATS Boston, USA, to CATS Canterbury, UK. It was three months ago that I boarded a transatlantic plane with a new, never-before-stamped passport and a heart full of hope. I had never left the USA before, although after living and studying at CATS Boston for a year, I felt as though I had travelled the world vicariously through the lives of my international friends.
CATS Boston opened my mind to the international world, and my travels to CATS Canterbury allowed me to immerse myself in it. Like CATS Boston, CATS Canterbury is a melting pot of young people from dozens of nationalities. You can’t walk through the halls without hearing at least three different languages. The staff is just as welcoming as CATS Boston, and upon arrival help you move in and get settled in the lovely accommodations. This was a nice touch to my first impression of the staff and facilities. The dorms, or “accommodation”, at CATS Canterbury differ from the three dorms of CATS Boston in that they are much smaller, more intimate, and further scattered (with only a handful being on campus). I was quite lucky in the accommodation placement and now reside in the “Knights” dorms- a selection of luxury apartments just a brief walk from the main campus. I am a “head of house” (a leadership position comparable to a dorm prefect). I was lucky and got a large, well-lit room with a spacious closet, a comfy memory-foam mattress, and my own bathtub. I live quite comfortably and have enough more than enough space to relax and study after class.
Here at CATS Canterbury there is a wide range of different courses offered. Prospective students have the option of five programs: the IB (which I am currently enrolled in, and am enjoying very much), A-levels, University Foundation Program (UFP), GCSE’s, as well as Pre-program. Although the courses of the students differ, there is still a certain cohesion to the school community. We are divided by accommodation, and not “house colors” like at CATS Boston. Through “well-done” cards handed out by teachers and dorm parents, students here at CATS Canterbury are able to compete with each other’s’ accommodations and earn “house points”.
As much as I appreciate the effort of the “canteen” as they call the cafe where they serve student meals here at CATS Canterbury, I would have to say that the selection of food at CATS Boston was much wider. There’s a part of me that misses waiting in the sandwich line or being able to make a salad as I pleased. And I’ve got to say, I do miss the warm chocolate chip cookies at the meals at CATS Boston more than I’d like to admit. Both CATS Boston and CATS Canterbury have helped shape my international perspective in a real-life manner. They individually have their highlighted features, as well as their limitations and areas for improvement.