The first of Eton’s two annual state school exchanges took place from the 5th to 9th of February. Eton welcomed six exchange students from Parmiter’s School, a co-educational state comprehensive school based in Hertfordshire, and our Press Office team took the opportunity to speak with two exchange students, Rob and Christie, about their experiences here.

What classes/societies/other events did you participate in this week?

R: I visited The Entrepreneurial Society talk from the heads of Depop on Monday, and it was amazing to see someone successfully build their own brand. I attended the Sports Society with Tony Adams; I'm an Arsenal fan and football player, and I thought the bit on his addiction was very inspiring. I took Economics, History, Chemistry and Politics. Politics was interesting, especially since everybody seemed to have some controversial views! There were also two options I took, Sports Psychology and Defense against the Dark Arts, the second of which was very cool and completely different to what I’ve done before.

C: I also went to the Tony Adams talk, and the Entrepreneurial Society talk from Depop. They were both really good and insightful. There was the House Harmony, and everyone sang incredibly well. I also went to the JMO’B House theatre production, 12 Angry Men. It really surprised me as an extremely liberal play, but it was very enjoyable as well. For classes, I took Further Maths, Physics, Biology, and Design and Sports Psychology options. The experiments in Biology were interesting stuff, and the teaching was good.

What differences do you see between our two schools? Any similarities?

R: I’m used to having a huge commute after school; we usually end at around 3:20 but I don’t get back before 5. Walking to lessons is a bit of a trek, as there is definitely a big difference in the size of the campus, but it’s a lot easier than back home. I can see some similarities in the standard of teaching in that both are engaging and interesting.

C: The boarding aspect is different, but that’s the same with a lot of public schools. You probably get closer to your friends since you see each other so much. Also, we have 5 one-hour lessons, while you guys have 40 minutes. Like Rob said, the learning in both of our schools is similar, especially with the more modern use of computers and iPads.

What did you think of Field Game?

R: I don’t actually know, It’s confusing. I got to play in Sine today, and I think I got called off for cornering. (Is it some kind of horizontal offsides?) I did assist a rouge today; not sure how it happened, but it worked!

C: Field game was really fun, and I had a great time. I wasn’t too sure of the rules, but I could definitely play it for the whole day, to be honest.

Any surprises from your time here?

R: The language is a bit of a surprise. You have words like messing, beaks, chambers and divs, which none of us are used to. It’s a bit of a maze to get through the school as well. When I walk into a department, it’s a completely new environment from the next. Everyone is also really down to earth; you come in with the expectation that everyone is really posh, but that’s not the case.

C: The traditions and language are surprising. You have your own games like the Field Game, which have rules you don’t usually see or hear about. We’re used to playing football, and it’s interesting to see where it started from. The houses also bring a surprisingly good atmosphere, especially the house that we were both staying at.

What will you take away from the exchange program?

R: I made some friends, especially in the house we stayed at. There was a really good community in the house and I enjoyed it a lot. It's amazing to see people like Tony Adams and the societies definitely were amazing.

C: The lessons, especially Biology, were fantastic, and I’ve taken away some new interests from the exchange. It was especially good to experience new sports and societies that we wouldn’t have had without this exchange.

The Press Office Team thanks Rob and Christie for their interview and wishes the Parmiter’s School students best of luck in the future.

Oscar Bannock-Priest and Vernon Li

Photo of Depop heads: Jasper Sodha