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"A serene life with an inevitably unforgettable experience..."
Reem, 11th grade, talking about her studies at CIS
Reem Sleiman is an 11th grade student at CIS. Originally from Syria, she lived in Spain before joining CIS as a boarding student.
I have a few words to contrast two worlds:

My grandparents are in Russia, my uncles are in Jordan and my relatives have just arrived to Sweden, all running from one thing: our broken Syria. That's what I was supposed to see, but I'm lucky that what I'm seeing are the peace and tranquility of the colorfully vibrant and green Karlovy Vary. Every day, I wake up to the birds' harmonious choirs, right from the comfort of my own bed.

What I'm sleeping through is the calm sound of rain which I stare at through my window. A few weeks later, I already saw something I never thought I'd see - snow. I ran downstairs and carelessly made my first attempt at making a snowman because I was never granted this opportunity.

My parents impatiently wait for me to show them what it's like being here. What surprises them is that there is always something for me to show and tell. I was supposed to be on the other end with my parents, but I'm lucky that I'm living a serene life with an inevitably unforgettable experience that makes me do nothing but appreciate my new chapter in CIS.

I was supposed to be sick, unable to do anything, but I'm now restlessly running through the long beautiful trails around CIS and the town with the magical scenery making me not want to stop to even catch my breath. I am here now, doing something I never thought I would do. I always wondered whether I would one day feel healthy, experience happiness and enjoy myself and the new life that I am eagerly willing to explore further.

I had been in two different worlds. Being in the first made me think that there was nothing more to life, but moving on to the second has made me aware, and this has given me a sense of awareness and responsibility. This kind of life, where one can be educated and live in peace, does exist. It's only a matter of finding a way to get there. I realized my responsibility being here. I will take advantage of all the resources that CIS offers me, take advantage of my education and eventually get my people to experience what peace is like - and I'm starting now.