Mitansh, Class X (aged 14) tells us about his exchange to Wrekin College, Wellington, UK this summer – “I remember every single thing about that week because it was one of my favourite weeks ever.”
As usual the year started and everyone came back to school with different aims this year because many came back to school after a long gap of two years (*our hostels stayed open though). The Director had a talk with my parents last year about sending me to Wrekin college on an exchange and now it was time for me to decide whether I want to go or and of course I was ready to go and my confidence was very high after getting this opportunity but as said everything doesn’t work as per plan and so happened with me. I was supposed to fly on 8th but due to the delay of my visa I had to delay my flight and then I flew on the 21st of May.
The night just before I had to board my flight, I was a bit scared thinking how will I manage to stay with so many new people not knowing anyone and also so far from where I belonged. When I reached Wrekin on the same day at night, I was shocked because they did not have an entry gate. That night I met some of the year 12 boys and the house master who also acts like a warden there.
The first morning there I got up as usual and I was again shocked seeing no one around and later I got to know that on Friday students go home on weekends and come back either on Sunday evening or Monday morning. This was something which was very new for me and during my first week I made some friends, had a good conversation with teachers but the only problem I faced was talking with girls in the beginning because I have been in a boy’s school for the past 7 years with only boys. After some time, I got comfortable with talking to girls also and I had my first cricket practice session indoors and it was an interesting one because I got to meet my u-14, 15,17 team mates.
My first match there was an average one but the second went well and I was able to show some of my skills there. I was also selected for playing the school’s first elevens and the second elevens. I attended the class there and I found it to be very interesting and I noticed that every single child in the class wanted to try answering the questions asked.
I had only heard that students abroad don’t have books or notebooks but I never believed it, after being part of their classes I actually saw that no one uses a book or notebook. They either used a laptop or an iPad/Tablet. They had certain rules and regulation which to be followed strictly while using the devices in the schools. Every student had to submit devices before 9:55pm and they got it in the morning before breakfast.
While I was there the Queen had completed her 80 years and the whole of England had a holiday week. I was prevailed to have stayed with one of the Old Cottonians during the short break, we had interesting talks about the school and Himachal Pradesh during his time and compared it to the present times. I got to know a lot about school and Himachal Pradesh. After a good time spent with him and his family I headed back to Wrekin College. On my way to school I sat in a wrong train, there was an old man sitting next to me who I started a conversation with, later on it was he who helped me and told me that I was in the wrong place. I was back at Wrekin with new aims as there were many upcoming matches and it went well and I was able to show up what I had practiced for.
As planned the BCS team had arrived in the UK (for the June schools’ Cricket tour) and I was eagerly waiting to get free at Wrekin so I could join them and when I got free for a small period, I left to join everyone and play with them. I spent 3 days and it felt good to be with my BCS team we played nail-biting matches especially the one we played against Eton.
I left back for Wrekin after playing 2 matches with them. I had some of my important county games, we kept crushing teams that came in our way and reached finals. Everyone was ready and confident to win the match. We did start well I bowled 3 overs in the opening spell giving only 8 runs and then suddenly the opposition got an important partnership and everyone kept trying to get him, I was standing at the square leg and the bowler had given me the sign to catch it. Exactly the same thing happened he hit the ball in air and I was under the ball and I dropped that batsman at 32 and later on that same guy smashed century. We had to chase 275 in 25 overs and we lost 2 wickets early I went into bat and I was rotating the strike and doing good. The match had something more to show and my team players they kept coming and going, I still kept trying until I fell as the 9th wicket. Ultimately, we lost but that tournament taught me a lot about cricket.
The next week we went back to normal with some friendly matches and practice sessions. It was time for the final week and it was going to be a tough one because I had plenty of matches and in addition to that my half-yearly exams every morning. Every morning I started my paper by 8:30 so I could reach the field by 11:10 before the match started and I remember every single thing about that week because it was one of my favourite weeks ever. I also got the opportunity to play against the MCC although I was used as a substitute player but I still did good at fielding took an important catch and proved my worth again in the team. I had some very good discussions with headmaster there at Wrekin and I was also privileged to
hand over an INDIAN FLAG and an INDIAN BADGE to Wrekin College. The coach’s I played under taught me a lot and also helped me improve with my game. I met some of the kindest teachers I ever saw.
I would like to thank the Director who gave me this opportunity and also my parents who supported me especially my grandparents and my beloved sister. This trip all the way from Delhi to Wrekin and some other places boosted my confidence, I learnt a lot of stuff and also taught some of my mates some life lessons. I got to make friends from all over the globe which I never assumed of and the best part of all this, Wrekin College has invited me next summer back to their school, I hope to go back again and do better than this time. I also learnt self-independence which I gained from this experience, I got to participate in their school’s sport’s day and I did pretty well. The headmaster congratulated me for taking part and not running which increased my confidence more.
I have always heard “Expect the unexpected” but never seen or felt it but this trip showed me a lot of unexpected stuff and taught me how to go through all the circumstances that come our way.
After all, is said everything comes to an end but with lots of memories and lessons, I hope to meet all of them again that side next year!
Mitansh, Cottonian 2022