By Aidan Maltman ’21
Flying across the world with the Atlantic Ocean underneath me was unreal. As I stepped off the plane, I wondered what I had got myself into. My dad and I landed in Glasgow on a normal Scottish day—a little bit of rain and a lot of wind. We spent the next week touring Scotland, visiting our Scottish relatives and playing golf on some of the oldest courses in the world, including St. Andrews (the birthplace of golf and home to many Open Championships). After the week with my dad I had to say goodbye, move into the residence at Gordonstoun and begin my exchange.
Being a day student at LCS meant that I needed to adapt to boarding life at Gordonstoun. I was placed in Duffus House. Duffus is an all-boys house with about sixty residents. The entire house made my first two weeks a lot easier than I could have imagined. Everyone was very friendly and accepted me as one of them. I felt included right from the beginning. The core of my house was a great group of people who have become my very good friends. Gordonstoun has a large campus and Duffus is about a one kilometre walk from the dining hall and classes.
I was placed in Year 12 at Gordonstoun. My courses included geography, history and drama. Because some of the work was oriented toward their exams, I sometimes had the opportunity to sit in the back of the classes and keep up with my studies from LCS. Gordonstoun has a beautiful campus. The 16th Century administration building has a long pond which is home to exotic geese and swans. Another feature is the main Round Square building, from which the international organization that LCS is a member of gets its name. Each subject area is housed in a separate building. This makes the walks from class to class either a rain-filled sprint or a chance to toss the rugby ball around.
On Mondays and Thursdays, I played basketball as my activity. It was a lot of fun to see the difference between European basketball players and Canadian. On Tuesdays, I went over to the golf course—on campus! This was a dream to have a few holes just outside my room. I went over every Tuesday and practiced for a couple of hours. On Wednesdays, every student does a form of community service. My service was to teach primary school children how to play golf. This was a fun way to help out and give back to the game of golf that I love.
The reason I wanted to go on exchange was to see what going to a boarding school outside of Canada was like. It really got me out of my comfort zone and exposed me to a different part of the world. I believe I learned a lot about myself, including the fact that I have the resilience to thrive in a new environment. It really took a lot to get used to, but once I got settled in, the experience was unforgettable.
I will always remember the great people I have met, the fantastic teaching staff at Gordonstoun and the life lessons I have learned. I would like to thank Mr. Baird for welcoming me to Duffus House and helping me get settled in well, as well as to Mr. Bird and Mr. Schonken, LCS and Gordonstoun’s Round Square Reps, for organizing all of this. It really made a difference to find the right school. I will always remember my time on exchange and plan on visiting Gordonstoun again sometime later in my life to relive the experience.
Editor’s Note: As Aidan points out, the Round Square association of schools, which was formed in 1966 to honour Gordonstoun’s founder, renowned German educator, Dr. Kurt Hahn on the occasion of his 80th birthday, is named for the school’s iconic Round Square building. Aidan’s experience at Gordonstoun confirms an oft-quoted belief that Dr. Hahn frequently shared with his own students – “There is more in you than you think!”