At the recently-held CGA Global Open Day, our students talked about their personal experiences of studying with our online school. CGA offers both full time and part time enrolment options for students to tailor their academic journey as needed. Two of our full-time students, Yuko and Taya talk about socializing with their global peers while being completely online.
Yuko is CGA’s head student currently studying full-time in Japan. In her most recent exams she got a perfect score in more than half of her subjects and top grades in all five A-Levels. Yuko chose CGA to give her an edge on achieving her dreams and goals. She’s launched Shequality, a social platform to empower young women globally, with more than a hundred articles posted about intersectional feminism from different countries around the world.
How has CGA helped you with your success?
As a student at CGA I feel like I’ve really been able to work to get closer to achieving my academic goals and also my passions that aren’t academic. I am part of the A-Level curriculum and I am currently taking five subjects and I really feel like the through CGA’s A-Level curriculum I have been able to dive deep into this by taking subjects that I am most interested in. I also feel like I have a little bit more time throughout the day and also access to a global community so I have been able to start extracurriculars that really focus on the global aspect. For instance, Shequality which really hits all my passion about women’s rights advocacy.
How would you describe the CGA community?
I would describe it as being very active, vibrant and also global. A pretty big misconception that if you’re online then you can’t be social at all and that you’ll have a really hard time making new friends. I have found it to be pretty easy to make new friends and through Slack or through class projects since there are so many CGA students it’s almost always possible to find someone who shares similar interests as you. For instance, I have been able to find people who are passionate about LGBTQ+ rights and so we have the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Slack channel for that. I have made a few friends who are interested in scuba diving which is a hobby of mine and also the women’s rights advocacy group. I messaged the Slack community about my interest in women’s rights and a lot of girls at CGA around the world responded and that’s how Shequality got started. One of the other students, Taya, made the website look way cooler than I could have ever made it.
One of the great things about having an online model is that you just have this bigger pool of students and so you can get students with all variety of different talents and interests and that means that when you’re building your own extracurriculars there’s already this community of talented students and with all these different skills to choose from to band together with.
What is a day in your life like considering the number of academic and extracurricular activities you do?
It completely depends on the day of the week. My Thursdays are a lot busier than my Fridays. I have around three to five real-time Zoom classes per day, but on Fridays I only have one class. Sometimes I go out after my very first morning classes, but usually I try to get all of my studying done in the normal school hours from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. This usually includes studying for my classes, doing homework that I need to submit, and working on more long-term assignments. I always get to add in some exercise in the middle of my day which works well because I am sitting on my chair all day for classes. Usually in the night time I’ll get to work on my extracurriculars that includes Shequality, and Coding club, where we’re currently organizing a global hackathon. My last two hours I can usually dedicate to whatever I couldn’t completely finish on that day so sometimes that means revising for an exam or working on more extracurriculars. Usually I also have one meeting a day for my extracurriculars.
Taya Hawkins Rangihika
Taya is a full-time student from Australia. Being able to study the international A-Levels this year with CGA while living abroad has given her the ability to have a flexible schedule, work at her own pace and let her spend time and effort on extracurriculars, jobs and non-profits that she’s passionate about.
What were your reasons for joining CGA?
My family moves a lot so having constant academic support and schooling was awesome. Just being able to have a constant school that I can go to and not have to like quit my other schools to find a new one in the new area was the main reason for joining full time at CGA. Another big reason was the curriculum and the awesome academic support from the teachers. All the staff at CGA is really helpful with your journey to university.
Did anything surprise you about the social aspect of online learning?
Definitely. I think my expectations were a lot lower than what you actually get at CGA. I have made a lot of friends all around the world it’s just awesome meeting a bunch of really cool new people and it opens up a lot of opportunities as well such as Shequality where I help with marketing and design which has been a great experience. CGA is really different to the experiences people had with their schools suddenly going online because CGA is designed to be online and so a lot of those things are thought through really well.
What is it like to join a virtual classroom?
The expectations that you have are very different to what CGA actually has to offer. The connection that you can have with your teachers is a lot more than what you would normally have at a normal online school where you’ve just come on to online learning because of Covid. It’s a lot easier to focus. There’s less distractions and you’re totally open to open asking your teachers questions and I find that really nice to just know that you can always get your work done. It helps you as its very accessible. Your computer’s always right there in your room and it’s a lot easier to just join into classes than have to make your way all the way to a physical school which is really good in terms of accessibility. It’s honestly surprisingly similar to a normal high school where you still do your classes every day, you still have teachers and other students in the classroom and you’re still learning the curriculum.
If I have school exams going on or external examinations then I spend my weekend revising for those. Sometimes I travel from Friday to Sunday. CGA has really given me a lot of flexibility to work on everything that I am passionate about outside of school.