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Reem Sleiman is an 11th grade student at CIS. Originally from Syria, she lived in Spain before joining CIS as a boarding student.
I applied to CIS with expectations of personal challenges that would make me more independent as a person, especially after having lived for 17 years with my parents. The experience has met those expectations; I encounter myself doing things that I carelessly left to my parents without ever reflecting on why I was never involved. Now that I am here, thousands of kilometers far from them, I am forced to do my tasks and make my own decisions. Because that's how life is, and I'm glad that I'm not only here to be prepared for the university's curriculum through the IB, which is definitely a challenge on its own, but I'm also here to be prepared for real life.

Living in the real world, outside our parents' bubble means more than just not having them one room away. It means that we, as young adults, would have to cultivate personal and practical skills that we can apply ourselves, without much dependence on our families. The experience in boarding schools is one step closer to achieving this autonomy.

Being in an international school also opens up many opportunities. I live with people from over 30 countries. The hours-long conversations have introduced me to so many different perspectives and approaches to situations that I otherwise would not have thought of. Every day I learn something new from someone, whether it's a student, teacher or even a staff member. Having such a diverse community and being part of it has broadened my ideas and perspectives in a way that I would have never achieved had I stayed back home. And for that, I'm greatly satisfied that I have made the right decision working to come here, and convincing my parents that this is better for me and my future. I have learned so much here, and still have even more to learn. I am eager to see where this experience will eventually take me.