From AUS to SG: Charlotte Reimer

As she walked through the door, she saw an entirely different universe. Loud American voices bounced off walls, conversing energetically about ‘prom’ and ‘mocks.’ Long lines of students inched toward Subway and Baja Fresh. The atmosphere couldn’t be more different from the private girls’ school back in Sydney.

This is the overwhelming scene that junior Charlotte Reimer experienced when she stepped into the SAS cafeteria for the first time. “I walked in the door and thought I was in ‘Mean Girls,’ ” she laughed. “Not saying that the students are mean, but it’s everything you think about for American schools.”

Charlotte Reimer, a new student this year, has had quite the memorable academic transition after previously attending a private all girls school in Sydney, Australia. Leaving a very different schedule and a house system that was a long tradition behind, Charlotte remembers “being proud to be part of the community.”

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Charlotte at a performance at her old school in Sydney. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Reimer.

Funnily enough, Charlotte also added that Chris Lilley’s popular comedy series “Ja’mie: Private School Girl” was based off of her old school. “Chris Lilley, the guy that plays Ja’mie on the show, went to the brother school of my school,” she remarked. “His sister went to my school, and so Ja’mie is based off of my old school and is a complete exaggeration of private girl schools in general.”

For her junior year, however, she set aside her striped dress, blue tie, Aussie slang, and glamorous formals for the exciting and contrasting American academic experience SAS strives to provide. However, the biggest difference wasn’t the fact that there were boys attending her classes and the amount of valley girl accents present that she learned to master. Instead, the explosion of American culture was the main shock factor when it came to attending SAS.

“The American factor was massively different, it was so much different than the culture of a traditional Australian private school,” she said.

The first few weeks of Charlotte’s new school experience at SAS were filled with “huh’s?” and “what’s?” regarding most of her Australian etiquette. “If I didn’t hear someone say something I’d be like ‘pardon? and everyone would be like ‘what did she just say?’ When I was little, my grandma would put me in the naughty corner if I just said ‘what’ to every question.”

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Charlotte Reimer and a friend on their way to school. Photo courtesy of Charlotte Reimer.

Prom, IASAS, and a whirlwind of other activities bewildered her with the amount of excitement and nerves they all induced. Academically, GPAs were just jumbles of numbers, with no real sense to them at all. “At the end of last semester I got my GPA back, and when I showed it to my parents proudly,  they just replied with is that good?’ Back in Australia you just get grades for each subject and your ranking in the course out of the class, and my parents didn’t know what was good or bad. I literally could have failed this year and been like Mom, Dad I got a 1.0 gpa!and they would’ve been like woah good job!’”

Yet the academic lifestyle of SAS and her old school were alike in rigor. “Both are very academically rigorous. My old school was quite competitive, and here, kids also work extremely hard.”

Charlotte’s high school experience will continue to differ from the typical SAS student, as she has decided to graduate a semester early during her senior year. “Originally when I came to SAS and started as a junior, I’d already done a semester as a junior in Australia because of the way the calendar works,” she said. “I’ve already gotten all the credits from repeating half of year 11, so I can graduate in December, meaning that I can start [university] with my Australian friends and all the kids my age.”

The spunky Australian blondie, although nostalgic about the memories she created back in Sydney, has seen the transition to SAS as memorable. Singapore has already offered many noteworthy experiences, but Charlotte is eager to reunite with friends and the sunny Australian skies soon.

Author: Ana Chavez

Ana Chavez is a Senior and one of the co-editors of the Eye. This is her second year as a reporter, and she has been attending SAS since kindergarten. Some of her hobbies include baking cookies, organizing her room, and annoying her older brother. She can be contacted at chavez30348@sas.edu.sg.

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