Ladiba Said is a UWCRCN student from Western Sahara who has joined the Foundation Programme, which will enable her to study at the College for three years. She grew up living in a refugee camp for Saharawis in the Algerian desert, where she always dreamt of a better education. She studied very hard at school and her desire to know more about life outside Algeria never ceased.

Ladiba is a curious, open, enthusiastic young woman who was very excited to learn that she could study English in her new school. She sees English as the global language of communication and connection and realizes that if she knows more English then she will be able to understand people from all around the world. In the beginning she did not understand much of what people said but now, after a period of immersion in an English-speaking environment, she feels that she is starting to improve and understand. She wants to smile at people, she wants to listen to different stories, she wants to be friendly to everyone; she wants to represent her country and bring Western Sahara closer to friends from around the world. In July she joined the RCN Summer Course to get used to her new environment and her English skills improved significantly during the Winter Break Programme, when friendships were made and deepened through the medium of her new language. Living in a small, supportive community gives Ladiba confidence, and she is using this new-found confidence and her rapidly expanding language skills to get to know people, to express what she has learnt and to practise what she has been taught.

When Ladiba was offered the chance to join the Foundation Programme, she was hesitant, as she thought 3 years would be too long. She confesses that she was only thinking about her feelings, not thinking about the reality of her life in the future. Ultimately she realized that the Foundation Year would be very good preparation for the IB Diploma Programme, which was a scary prospect. She is now happy to have more time to learn English, to construct a foundation so that she is ready for the IB next year. She feels grateful because she knows that the teachers are willing to support her a lot. “They make me strong,” she explains. She has become very active in extracurricular activities (EACs) and is glad that she has the opportunity to spend 3 years at the school. With a big smile on her face she adds, “If they allow me to stay for 5 years, I will do that!”

Written by Mai (Vietnam) and Angie

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