Jia Jun Tan, 18, reflects on the last two years of his Sixth Form experience at Charterhouse School in England, describing it as “eye-opening and enriching”. Jia Jun is now serving military service in the Singapore army.
Having lived my entire life in Singapore, I experienced the many different cultures and people that Charterhouse had to offer. Charterhouse is a very traditional British school which provides you an experience that immerses you not only in the British culture, but also in other European cultures through its diverse and cosmopolitan student population.
The accommodation at Charterhouse helped me to focus, and often I felt the competitive environment I was put in helped me strive. However, do not be mistaken that Charterhouse is an overly competitive school – the competitiveness is one that drives you to do better through the camarderie built, instead of feeling shamed. This was demonstrated through the continuous help that I received from both my teachers and other students. For example, during my exams, I sometimes sat with my teachers all afternoon to go through material I was unsure of. They were extremely helpful. In fact, they were excited to share their knowledge with me on certain issues. Each teacher has their own speciality that allows you to get a true and deeper understanding of certain topics.
The extra-curricular activities in Charterhouse were phenomenal. There are activities ranging from music ensembles to interest groups to sports. Football is was invented here, and there were no less than 6 football teams in year, all playing on the countless football pitches. I was also in the basketball team and enjoyed travelling to other schools for matches. Fret not if your desired activity is not on the list, as Charterhouse makes it easy for you to start your own club with the help of a teacher.
Our lives centred a lot around the House – I was in Bodeites. The Housemaster is welcoming in every way possible. Even though I was a new student in the Sixth Form, it barely took a minute for me to be integrated into Charterhouse society. This was thanks to all the Housemasters who had organised events for us to socialize with the rest of the students, many of whom I found to be incredibly extraordinary people. Your House within Charterhouse is very important, as it is where you stay throughout your Charterhouse experience. At the end of my time there, I felt a part of me was so attached to it, it was like a second family to me that I felt saddened to leave.