Fish Out of Water - New Students at GZAAT

Updated: Oct 17


Changing schools is famously nerve-wrecking. Nothing can possibly prepare a student for what is to come in a new school: new people, new teachers, new program. Your entire world seems to change overnight. The familiarity of the environment you spent a decade coming back to every September vanishes, and you suddenly have to spend months trying to adapt. This year, GZAAT received eight new juniors and one new senior. The gazette interviewed two juniors, Amiko Nikoleishvili and Barbare Mikiashvili, and Troy Toidze, the new senior, who shared their thoughts regarding their new school.

The new senior, Troy, moved schools and countries. When asked about this subject, he said that even though moving countries is never easy, “this is the third time I'm moving to a new place and I am yet to regret anything. I'm always happy to meet new people.” Senior year is the final year of school before moving onto higher education, but as Troy says “honestly it doesn't make much of a difference that I'm a senior. The only thing that feels weird is that everybody already knows each other pretty well and I kind of don’t know anyone.”

When it comes to new students, it’s interesting to hear from them the differences between their old and new schools. As Amiko said, one of the changes he faced was that his “previous school was a Georgian private school where everything except English was taught in our native language.” A change that Barbare mentions is the difference in the teaching techniques between GZAAT and her old school. As she says “For instance, in my old school we had to memorize everything by heart (that was essential) and they paid less attention to how much of the homework you actually understood; but in GZAAT it's the opposite. I believe the Harkness lesson plan is quite the unique and effective learning technique.” Troy thinks that “It's very unusual and pretty different from any other school I've been to. But so far I am very happy with the curriculum, the classes are far more interesting than other schools. “

Apart from the learning techniques, both students were asked how they fit in with their classmates and what their feelings were about the existing social dynamics. Barbare told us that she was sure she wouldn’t fit in, but was proven wrong when she arrived. “ Everyone was so welcoming and amicable that I didn't feel like an outcast; the kids made me feel like I was a part of the class, which I’m truly grateful for.” Amiko seems to agree - as he told us “ I find my class very friendly.” He also said that even though he knew some people before, he didn’t have “much difficulty getting close to those I did not know.”

Both of the students said the school exceeded their expectations. Barbare only had glowing compliments:“The education is amazing, as well as the teachers, my classmates and everything else, to say the least.” Their complaints? Amiko said he wouldn’t change anything, but for Barbare the double blocks are “quite tedious,” and the food cost is a bit high.

Overall, the new students are highly enjoying GZAAT. Despite having some difficulties at first, with the help of their new friends and teachers, they are adapting to the teaching techniques and environment easily. It’s never too late to switch after all!


Find the full Q&A below:



  1. Is this school different from your old one in terms of learning techniques? How are you adjusting to these changes?

This school has different learning styles than the old one.


Amiko: To start with, my previous school was a Georgian private school where everything except English was taught in our native language. In American Academy the lessons are conducted in the form of discussion, which is very effective. I am getting used to these changes from time to time.


Barbare: This school and the learning techniques are radically different from my old one. For instance, in my old school we had to memorize everything by heart (that was essential) and they paid less attention to how much of the homework you actually understood; but in GZAAT it's the opposite. I believe the harkness lesson plan is quite the unique and effective learning technique. At first adjusting to these changes was quite a challenge, but I’m getting used to it now.


Troy: Definitely. It's very unusual and pretty different from any other school I've been to. But so far I am very happy with the curriculum, the classes are far more interesting than other schools.




  1. How does it feel to be inserted into the social dynamics of people who’ve known each other for 3 years?

Amiko: To be honest, it was not difficult establishing myself among these people. Before I passed the exams, I already knew some people who actually helped me a lot. I did not have much difficulty getting close to those I did not know. I find my class very friendly.


Barbare: When I came to this school I was almost certain that I wouldn’t fit in easily, but I was proven wrong. Everyone was so welcoming and amicable that I didn't feel like an outcast; the kids made me feel like I was a part of the class, which I’m truly grateful for.



  1. Do you find this school to be fulfilling your expectations? Why or why not?

Amiko: This school actually fulfilled my expectations. The environment that I worried about a lot turned out to be much better than I expected. The learning style also satisfied me very much.


Barbare: It truly fulfilled my expectations, exceeded them even. The education is amazing, as well as the teachers, my classmates and everything else, to say the least.


Troy: To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect coming into GZAAT. But I am definitely happy with this school. Everyone has been extremely nice and the teachers are great at what they do.



  1. Is there anything you’d change about our school?

Amiko: At this moment, I think I would not change anything

Barbare: Actually, yes. I find double blocks quite tedious; it's a bit much for me, especially at 9 in the morning. Also, I believe that school lunches are pretty expensive. Everything else is perfect.


  1. How does it feel to move to another country, especially in your senior year?

Troy: Moving to another country is definitely not the easiest thing for anyone, myself included. But this is the third time I'm moving to a new place, and I have yet to regret anything. I'm always happy to meet new people. The fact that I'm a senior now doesn't really make much of a difference to be honest.


6. Do you think it’s harder to move in the senior year, given it's the final year of your high school education?

Troy: No, honestly it doesn't make much of a difference that I'm a senior. The only thing that feels weird is that everybody already knows each other pretty well and I kind of dont know anyone. But I'm sure with time I'll get to know everyone.


7. Does the language barrier impact your social interactions with your peers or your education?

Troy: No, not at all. Everyone knows English very well so even when something is said in Georgian, I can ask anybody for a translation.


Edited by Mariam Kalandadze



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