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Today I am sharing a blog post written by my young Ambassador Sofia. Sofia was forced to leave her home because of the war in Ukraine and come to England. At the end of June, she returned to Ukraine for her graduation – I have asked her to share some of her experiences:  

The UK welcomed us very warmly. I felt the incredible support from the British people when I arrived, and I am very grateful for it. I was very pleasantly surprised because the caring British people were able to unite the Ukrainians into one big local community who also came to England as refugees.  

Thanks to the British people, we were able to find both English and Ukrainian friends. I also found friends at school who supported us during the first period of our stay in England, and I was happy about that.  

The education system in England is very different from the Ukrainian one – some things I find to be better and some things I find to be different. For example, what I really liked is that I can choose the subjects I want to study and to which I have an interest. In my country there is no such thing and we have to study all subjects, and there are at least 14 of them!  

When I came to England, I started in year 11 and would have to pass the GCSEs. I can say the preparation was not easy, especially when I had to study all these subjects in a year, and some teachers did not seem to pay much attention to us, and for a long time we did not understand the specifics of what would be required of us at the exam.  

However, I managed to cope with it and passed the exam with a pretty good grade, considering that English is my third language. Now I am studying at a college, and I am very happy with my choice because it is interesting, and my grade depends not only on exams but also on coursework.  

I recently visited my beloved Kyiv. I was very happy to be able to see my family: my dad, cousins and grandparents. It was so special and very emotional moment. I was very pleased to return home, even for a short time, but now everything has changed there, and you need to get used to the new realities of life in Ukraine because of the war. For example, blackouts when there is no light for 18 hours a day, air raids, explosions and curfews – but this is nothing compared to what is happening in other regions of Ukraine that are closer to the front line.  

While I was in Ukraine I also graduated from a Ukrainian school! I was very happy about this because I studied at a Ukranian school online in parallel with my English education and I was very tired to be honest. Now I’m happy to have a complete secondary education in Ukraine and can move on.  

My graduation went well, we received our certificates, and I had the opportunity to see my friends and teachers whom I love very much.  

Despite my joy, I was even a little sad because many of my friends will be leaving for different cities and countries after graduation to study at universities, so the end of this stage is a little scary and at the same time motivating to continue studying and then change the world for the better. It may sound trite to want to change the world, but I believe that we can do it!  

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