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Study Abroad﹕Going home (1)

【明報專訊】I usually go home to Hong Kong three times a year; during Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays. I used to go back in the two-week October half-term as well, but for the last two years I went on school trips instead. And frankly, I am not that keen on going home anymore. I am sick of long-haul flights, being confused about where I am, perpetual jet lags along with a long list of other adjustments such as the weather and the language. Moreover, I am so used to my life in the UK now that I hardly, if ever, get home sick; I don't need to go "home", or rather, I don't have a fixed idea or location of "home" anymore. Consequently, I can make anywhere my home.

Don't you worry. Those are not the only holidays in the boarding calendar. We also get other half-terms, which last about nine days, and "exeats", which are long weekends. Obviously, they are long enough for me to fly back home, so instead I stay with my host family. I had never seen them before my first exeat and we found them through a recommendation by the school. In my case, I have been very fortunate with my host family. They're very welcoming and friendly, cook excellent food, live in a lovely house near my school, and have really allowed me to get a feel for what it is like to grow up British; the sort of environment in which my British classmates were brought up. All three of their children are now adults, living and working in London. They have two Labradors and two cats. The mother, who happens to be half-Chinese (but doesn't speak Chinese), takes care of the house and is an avid gardener, while the father works and often does the cooking as well...

■Writer's Profile

Alice Sze is 17 and has been boarding in the UK for four years. She loves languages. Apart from Chinese and English, she studies Italian, French, Spanish, Japanese, Latin and Ancient Greek.

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