Before deciding to spend her grade 10 school year away from home, Anna Pronnet was 100% certain she would stay in her home country of Germany for secondary school. However, her plans changed quickly after meeting Johanna Ziegler, Fulford Academy’s current Director of Admissions, at a school presentation in Germany where she became interested in the idea of attending boarding school in Canada. Anna made a great connection with Johanna and decided to switch her plans and attend Fulford Academy instead of staying in Germany.
Her instincts were on point and she looks back on her year at Fulford as a time that prepared her well for life. In her own words, Anna says, “Fulford was my family, not just my school. Here the students become your siblings, not just other students. The bigger ones take care of the smaller ones and the school really is a community.”
As is often the case with young students away for the first time, her first days were hard. Fear and nervousness overtook her and she wanted to go home. To support her, her father made a deal that she complete the first week then make her decision. By the end of that week any thoughts of going home had long passed. She made friends and easily settled in for the rest of the year.
When her grade 10 year ended she wanted to stay longer, but Fulford Academy did not yet offer grades 11 and 12. Ultimately she decided to return to Germany to finish high school concluding that, if she couldn’t stay at Fulford there was no point staying in Canada as she did not want to transfer to a different boarding school.
Today, Anna’s recalls one of Fulford’s strengths as the connection the teachers make with the students, something unfamiliar to her. “The teachers really cared about us and built good relationships with us,” says Anna. “They always were concerned how we were doing and were always checking about any challenges or issues to make sure we were doing well and were successful.”
Weekend activities and trips are among Anna’s best memories. These events gave her a chance to explore Canada, try new experiences, and spend time with her new frinds outside of the classroom. She recalls her favourite weekend excursion being an overnight ski trip to Quebec. However, her most memorable experience was taking a fall while tobogganing on a local hill, which led her directly to the local hospital where she was diagnosed with a broken wrist. This did not stop her from participating in the school spring break trip where she enjoyed celebrity attention from strangers who wanted to sign her cast, something she had never experienced before!
Anna credits Fulford for giving her confidence to embrace new opportunities, including a half-year study term in Bolivia and an Internship in the Czech Republic. She even completed a solo global travel adventure after finishing high school in Germany, where many students take a year off. At 18 years old she journeyed over multiple continents on her own, visiting Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, and Australia.
She acknowledges being more confident and organized and less reliant on her parents when she returned to Germany after her study year in Canada. Her English skills improved significantly. In fact, English was her best mark on her final report card at Fulford Academy.
Today, Anna is studying Forensic Analysis in Germany and plans to take a year to travel between completing her Bachelors next year and starting her 2-year Masters degree program. She still keeps in touch with Fulford classmates in Japan and Russia. Her enthusiasm for the school spread to her family, and Fulford Academy had the pleasure of welcoming her younger brother, Nico, in September 2019 for his grade 10 year.