Meet Student Ambassador: Youssef from Egypt
Meet Youssef Awad, one of our 2020 student ambassadors from Egypt who is studying at Springbank School in Kerikeri.
We asked Youssef a few questions about why he decided to come here and his time in Northland, New Zealand…
What made you choose Northland?
“My parents wanted me to receive an education outside of Egypt and because I attended a school that taught Cambridge, they searched the internet and found Springbank. They contacted Jill who told them so much about Springbank School, Kerikeri and the Bay of Islands, my parents believed that this was the best place for me because it was not too big and it seemed to be really safe and really beautiful.”
What do you love most about studying at school in New Zealand?
“Having good friends and being made to feel so safe and so welcome as Springbank School does not have any bullies, and it does not matter where you come from, everyone is your friend. I do so much with my class mates like, get together, play basketball, go to town, hang out. I also like the feeling of being a part of Springbank School, and feeling like I belong and am at home here.”
What are your favourite experiences in Northland?
“It has to be the trip Jill organised to the Bay of Islands Sky Diving centre, which is close to where I live with my host family. It has to be one of the best things I have ever done in my entire life and what made it more special was because my host brother and I decided to do our sky dives together. We went to 12,000 feet in the air, and my host brother exited the plane first. Next it was my time and oh my gosh, I was so scared.
It was such a crazy feeling, free falling from that height, but it was also, so cool to be able to see all of the water in the Bay of Islands, as well as my home from the air. Now, I absolutely loved the experience. At the time – I was screaming ! Also Paintball in Paihia is so much fun. I went there with my host brother and his closest class mates. We had so much fun each team versing each other and thank goodness I was in one of the winning teams.
Another thing I really love to do here in Northland is having the opportunity to spend as much time as we like at one of the many beautiful and local different beaches that are close to where I live.”
What is it like living with a homestay family?
“At first I thought it would be a very hard adventure but over time I have got used to life in New Zealand because my host family helps me so much to learn the “Kiwi” way of doing and saying things. Now after only eighteen months of being here I really feel that I am also a “Kiwi” / New Zealand citizen. My host family also usually hosts another International Student which I really enjoy as we are company for each other, and more importantly, I now have host brothers from countries other than my own.
As I have been living with my host parents for just over 18 months, I do not really consider them “host” any longer, I believe we are family. I even have the incredible experience with the arrival of my new baby host sister, and as we are family, we are all very relaxed and very comfortable living with each other. I really enjoy living with my host family. We do lots of things together and one of the things I really enjoy doing for my host family is cooking dinner.”
What are your interests, sports and hobbies?
“Basketball is my favourite sport. I love playing basketball, and I play every day with my class mates in the school gym. We all enjoy it so much, we now all play in the same Springbank Basketball team. We compete once a week against other Northland schools and are doing ok in the competition. The other thing I enjoy doing is going for one of the many walks that are freely available all over Kerikeri as the nature is so beautiful and the nearby Rainbow Falls track is one of my favourites. I also enjoy drawing. It makes me very happy and I draw quite regularly.”
Cambridge Curriculum School
Springbank is a Cambridge School and this also played a part in Youssef choosing to study there. Here’s what he said about school subjects…
“Because I went to a Cambridge curriculum school in Egypt and Springbank is a Cambridge curriculum school in New Zealand, curriculum, subjects, etc are the same so walking into their classroom my subjects and curriculum etc were the same as what they were for me in Egypt. This made my transition much easier for me.
I had good teachers in Egypt too and with the same style of teacher / student relationship to what I have here.”