This last academic year has been one of the most critical in my life so far.
I have just finished Year 9 and looking back it was truly eye-opening sparked vivid aspirations for the future. I discovered a lot about myself and had the most amazing opportunity to travel to Korea in an unaccompanied school trip. This year I’ve also visited my home country of Ethiopia, discovered literary figures who mean so much to me, worked to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, visited old people’s homes weekly and even embarked on school investment games. It was my year of saying “yes”.
I have always been a “straight A” person- working really hard to fulfill my academic potential. But with extra-curricular opportunities, I would always think there’s going to be a “next time”.
One of the important decisions I had to make this year was choosing my IGCSEs. I had no clear career path and didn’t know exactly what subjects I excelled in. I pretty much enjoyed them all. I had no idea if I wanted to do law, medicine, business, etc. But during the IGCSE talks we would have, I spent many nights thinking and realizing the closeness of the future. Simply by being aware of the necessity of looking forward, I discovered my passion for languages and writing spoken word. This created confidence within me.
However, the one thing I have known ever since I was a child is that I wanted to make a difference. I was accustomed with the unfair fact that poverty exists, I visited Ethiopia and Eritrea when I was four years old and I always identified as an African, wanting to make a difference to my culture. In the future I want to own my own charity, and that is something I still want to do in the future. But that was a thing of the future, I couldn’t make the connection between aspirations and actions I can take now.  

Another life-changing event was the 3rd April 2016: take your daughter to work day. It was the day after submitting my IGCSEs. I travelled to Bloomberg alone, and I remember thinking during the train journey what I thought office life would be like. My cousin met me at the station, and walking through Morgate and seeing all the huge offices around me… it simply excited me for the future. Throughout the day I got to talk to people from different departments and everyone I spoke to were enthusiastic, fun, determined people. It was my first experience and truly inspiring. The day before our headmistress said that it was going to be one of the most important days of your secondary school life: I simply laughed, not believing it. But that day made my aspirations seem both tangible and achievable- I am so grateful for having received that experience. Bloomberg is an amazing company, interviewing people there and listening to their advice just made everything a reality. I can’t describe it, but simply: the ball dropped.
Just two days later, my exchange from South Korea arrived, and that again broadened my horizons further. At the end of the exchange, my friend wrote this, capturing the essence of the exchange perfectly.


"I just want to thank everyone who made my exchange so beautiful . Just a few weeks ago I had no concept of the eastern world , and now I am sitting in a room in Seoul with the broadest cultural knowledge I have ever had . Not only have I made a fantastic group of friends from all different countries across the globe , I have also opened my eyes to the horizons which stretch far and wide from the UK . I have seen how different societies function and why they function . I have seen how different schools operate and which ways are more effective . I have seen the American influences on eastern countries and I have even seen how the UK leaving the EU has had a domino effect on Korea . Our world is beautiful , our people our beautiful and our cultures our beautiful . I have realised that even though we may look different and have differing political views , we are all humans . We can all sit down and have a nice meal and interesting conversations , we can all comfort each other and read other people's emotions . My main message to everyone is , please don't put yourself in a bubble , broaden your horizons , take risks , take yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things because you never know what might become of it and who you might meet and what you might learn . Give everyone and everything a chance . And please please remember , we are the same and we all have feelings even if we don't have the same skin colour or the same nationality .
Thank you for everyone who gave me this opportunity : …
Thank you for making my past few months so special grace , even when we were apart by sending me daily messages . I will see you again soon . Goodbye for now , and only for now . And never forget that you have one of the most stunning cultures and countries !
I also want to thank my parents and the six other exchange partners who travelled with me and hosted us in Jeju . Please send my love to {everyone} and mulchat girls and all the wonderful , passionate and enthusiastic teachers who helped me see the bright side of education !
Thank you for changing my life ! Xxx
❤️The beauty of this world lies in the diversity of its people ❤️"

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