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By Reem Sleiman
Reem Sleiman is a 12th grade student at CIS. Originally from Syria, she lived in Spain before joining CIS as a boarding student.
While we can talk about the variety of academic programs that boarding schools might have, and how they can be helpful in our future studies, I would like to use this essay to focus on everything else that boarding education brings; independence, focus, adaptation, flexibility and life-long lessons are some of what comes with being here.

Although for me and my specific case, having had to immigrate from one country to another because of hardships outside my control, I had already experienced a sense of ease at adapting, which, looking at it 8 months later, has aided in some way. This, however, does not apply to everyone, and the transition from one lifestyle to another is challenging.

It was that for me, too. I initially faced difficulties at adjusting to a completely new life, where I am forced to be more independent, focused and set on my goals. Guidance no longer came from my parents - my teachers became my mentors. I'm not going to say that boarding school students are any smarter; this is barely the aim of my message.

Boarding experience, however, does develop and broaden the mind. Living away from home, having to find the closest thing to a family, making use of the resources I have to achieve my personal goals and doing the little things that make me self-reliant are just a few examples of what skills boarding schools have allowed me to cultivate. This simply makes me more prepared not only for university but for the future in general, where I had to experience things like these at an earlier age. This is the boarding school challenge.

But this is a challenge that I asked myself whether I was willing to go through in order to have an immersive and intense learning experience that I wouldn't have had back home. Witnessing myself evolve and able to adapt to the challenges and accepting them has been my boarding school reward.

I am happy to see myself and my peers grow every day. It is an experience full of surprises, but you should be well aware that you will encounter surprises. Instead of dwelling on them, embrace them and let them be part of your personal growth. Take everything that happens as a learning opportunity - whether they are mistakes or difficulties. Spending time to learn in a boarding school is the best way to be ready for life's challenges. Complaining about our plights does nothing. Here, I have learned to accept them, live with them and always look for workarounds. This is the boarding school reward.