Freshman Brandy Riziki recently moved from Kigali, Rwanda.

No uniforms, multiple classrooms, four seasons: new Rwandan freshman adjusts to California

New freshman Brandy Riziki recently transferred from Lycée Notre Dame de Citeaux in Kigali, Rwanda.

Q: What are some differences between SCDS and your old school?

A: We wore black shoes, white socks and uniforms. We were required to shave our heads. That’s why my hair is short right now.

We weren’t allowed to bring lunch to school since they cooked for us there.

Unlike this school, we stayed in one classroom for each subject, and the teachers switched to teach their respective subjects.

Lastly, the start of school is different in Rwanda. We start school in January and end in October.

Q: What are some differences between the countries?

A: This is my first time in the U.S., but I’ve noticed an extreme difference in California’s weather. We really have only two seasons (rainy and sunny) in Rwanda, which is different than California’s four seasons.

In Rwanda, we mostly speak Kinyarwanda and French, although many schools are now switching from teaching French to teaching English.

Q: Why did you decide to come to SCDS?

A: My parents and I were planning to have me go to an American school for high school, so we applied for permanent visas. Once we got the visas, my aunt, (who lives in Sacramento) recommended that I go here.

I plan on staying here for the rest of high school and going to an American university.

Q: What’s your favorite school subject?

A: Math. I like how it concerns lots of calculations.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?

A: Probably “Le Crocodile du Botswanga.” It’s a French comedy (about two half-brothers who disrespect their dying father and then are sent back in time by their aunt to experience slavery as a punishment for their disrespect).

Q: Your favorite book?

A: I don’t have a favorite, but I love Danielle Steel books. She has a way of dramatizing her books and creating excitement that I really love. I really like Steel’s “Kaleidoscope” and “Family Album.”

Q: Were you excited for class trips?

A: Yes, this was the first time that I went on a long class trip. At my old school, we took day long trips to other districts so I’m excited to have this week-long experience.

I was also really excited to see the Golden Gate Bridge. (Freshmen go on a class trip to the Bay Area, and one day they hike to the bridge.)

Q: What did you do this summer?

A: Since I started school in January and didn’t end until October, I was still in school while the U.S. had their summer.

Q: Do you have any siblings?

A: Yes, a 5-year-old brother named Sam. He’s still at school in Rwanda, but when he’s in high school, he will probably come to SCDS.

Q: Do you play any sports?

A: I will probably swim for the school’s team this year.

Q: What’s your hometown like?

A: Clean and nice.

Q: What do you miss the most about your hometown?

A: The food (such as a special flour dough), motorbikes that people rode and my friends.

—by Katia Dahmani

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