Alumni – Oriana Ng
I was part of the English 31 programme between the ages of four and sixteen, after which I went on to taking the Option Internationale du Baccalauréat in English (OIB). After I got my French Baccalauréat, I chose to go to preparatory school, and a few months ago, I finally got into the school of my dreams, HEC Paris. As math was never my strong suit, my knowledge of anglo-saxon literature and very high English level were my entrance ticket to HEC. Yet the reason why I feel so grateful for English 31 isn’t so much that it helped me get to where I wanted to go. It is because, long before that, English 31 helped me find out where it was I wanted to go. Ultimately, my experience in the programme involved as much a discovery of self as it did of anglo-saxon history and literature.
The teaching methods at English 31 aim to destroy the sacrosanct barrier erected by the French system between the object of study and the student. The text becomes yours, no matter how old it is, no matter how many times it has been read or interpreted. The teachers give you the key to understand it and the freedom to relate to it, to criticize it, to hate it, to relish it. Classes involve a lot of group work, debate, drama, creative writing, and projects I will never forget – the most original being perhaps the creation of a miniature Armada fleet my class then sailed in a swimming pool.
My English 31 teachers never gave me answers to learn, they taught me to question. They never told me how things should be done, they encouraged me to be creative. They did not only teach me that « we are such stuff/ as dreams are made on », they inspired me to pursue my dreams. Throughought their classes, I also discovered my love for literature and film, and I have hopes of working in the film industry in a few years’ time. This has prompted me to participate in an exchange programme offered by my school with the University of Southern California next year. I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t taken part in this programme, and more importantly, I wouldn’t be who I am either.