Diana, A-Level student

Homeschooled since the Russian second grade, fifteen-year old Diana has just finished her AS exams in Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Chemistry. Now, Diana has her mind set on applying to some of the top international universities.


It’s a funny story. When I was in second grade, my parents wanted to move abroad. My family wasn’t sure where I should study and decided to change my form of education to homeschooling. Since then I’ve been homeschooled for 7 or 8 years. I don’t have a background in studying at an international school, but I changed a number of schools in this time. This year has been completely different for me, because I started an international programme. I hadn’t done anything similar, so it was a new experience for me. I had to get used to a lot of new things; first of all, to studying in a different language, getting new knowledge in the subjects I picked. I think it was the right decision; I really enjoy studying here. This is my first experience of studying in English. I studied at CITO from 2nd up to 9th grade, and graduated with an OG certificate.

After completing her Russian OG examinations, Diana decided to opt out of the Russian programme and focus all of her attention on her A-levels.

It was not an easy decision for me; I was so used to the Russian programme and I was planning on going to a Russian university. But at some point my parents decided that it would be better for me to study abroad, in terms of more opportunities and better prospects in life. We decided to try it. I had been learning English since I was eight with a private tutor, because I didn’t have English classes. I didn’t pick the Russian programme this year, because I found it difficult to combine two programmes together and also a little risky. I think, if you know for sure that you’re going to go to a British university, then you don’t really need a Russian diploma, and it becomes kind of redundant.

There are lots of universities in lots of countries which are great. Of course I’d love to go to England. One of my favourite subjects is Mathematics and I’m going to study it further at university. I’d also maybe like to go to the US or to Canada, as they also have good universities, but they’re very far away and I’m not sure I’m ready to go that far from my family and my home. My dream university is Oxford. Last summer I went to Oxford to take two courses: in Mathematics and English Literature. I stayed in Oxford for four weeks, in the absolutely marvelous Lady Margaret Hall, and it was a fantastic experience. The city is just so beautiful; all the buildings, the people, the shops, everything. The colleges seem to be from some other world. It’s very inspirational.

I don’t really have much time for hobbies and hanging out with friends. I do have hobbies, but they’re not “hobbies” in the traditional sense. I am interested in everything and I enjoy listening to lectures on different topics from various fields, from poetry to different languages. For example, recently I was doing an online course dedicated to Chinese culture. I found out why Chinese paintings are different from European paintings, about their philosophy, about how they perceive the world. It was very unusual, but very interesting. Another course was about pre-Socratic philosophers, which I also enjoyed. I think philosophy is strongly related to Science and Math’s, in particular. I think these two disciplines, Philosophy and Mathematics, are strongly related. Philosophy is the study of knowledge, about collecting knowledge, forms of knowledge, while Math’s also has great philosophy hidden inside it. Even numbers are not just numbers, they contain something more than simply mathematical terms. I think its beautiful how different disciplines can combine together. That’s basically part of the reason I like Math’s, because it can be applied to any field.

Another reason I like Mathematics is because I like to challenge myself and try to do things I find difficult, or at least try doing them. It can stress me out, but the good thing is that Mathemtics can develop your thinking and make you more logical when approaching other things.

Last year was quite challenging because I had to take my Russian exams. They were my first official exams. It was quite challenging for me in terms of my emotional balance and my academic knowledge;. It’s different when you just study to learn something new, and when you have to sit serious exams. When you’re told to take exams you start to think you don’t know anything. You have to calm yourself down and tell yourself that you’re ready, and you do know everything. That was challenging for me.

In the future, Diana would like to share her knowledge with others.

I think I’ll be happy if I have the opportunity to do what I like. I think I’d like to have the chance to teach students at university, I think it’d be a nice experience. It’s always fun and interesting to share your knowledge with someone, especially with people who are about to go through something that you went through a few years ago. When you work in a school you have to like children, and have a specific attitude to your pupils, it’s a different psychology that you have to deal with.

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