A 2-year diploma program at LEAF Academy prepares students for AP® International Diploma or AP® Capstone Diploma. Students can transfer from their high school after their second year to join this program that offers 14 AP classes. Jakub, from the Czech Republic, is one of the students who attends this program and has been telling us how the studies are for him.
When you have joined the 2-year diploma program, did you already know what do you want to study?
I had the opportunity of trying out a couple of social sciences-oriented competitions before coming to LEAF, as well as being lucky enough to have had a very encouraging and active teacher of these in my old high school.
I realized I was not stellar at natural sciences but interested in humanities and social sciences. I chose my APs accordingly, taking courses in Government and Politics, Economics, and European History along with Statistics.
You had left your school and joined a new system, class, even a new country… Tell us more about your journey.
I joined LEAF because I wasn’t very content with education back home. I rarely knew why I was supposed to study what the teachers required of me and sometimes even they wouldn’t be able to answer. I also had at least a rough idea of what I wanted to do but didn’t have the option of focusing on what I enjoyed and what I was good at, yet I had to take a lot of subjects I didn’t enjoy or felt I was any good at.
Coming to LEAF was a huge relief. Thanks to spending 10 years playing chatty video games, I didn’t struggle with my English and finally I was able to profile myself according to what I thought was best for me.
How does the study system look at LEAF Academy?
It is a new system of learning, compared to what I have known before. It is based around understanding of the material instead of just cramming data and memorizing.This does not only do wonders not only for how much you learn but also makes the studying exciting.
True, I have to do more preparation outside the school, but I really do feel like I’m learning something, making it an agreeable trade-off.
Living away from home didn’t bother me too much because the community, including both students and teachers, are nicely supportive and it is easy to make LEAF your home away from home.
The 2-year program has a very specific setting combining AP courses selections, LEAF Academy curriculum, and preparation for university. How would you describe this?
Every year has a different harmonogram, but it also has similarities as well, so I will try to describe the difference between my first year (Year 3) and my second (Year 4), the final year.
We would usually start school around nine in the morning, some days later and end typically around half past three in the afternoon. The day would be spent in our chosen AP classes, which take sixty or ninety minutes.
Year 3 also consists of the Central European Seminar, which is a social sciences centered course that also teaches writing and research skills. You also take regular Character Development classes, which explore controversial ethical and social topics, but also place emphasis on such things as well-being, study skills, and relationships. Entrepreneurial leadership classes focus on soft skills such as teamwork or project design and STEM focuses on Mathematical Modelling and Statistics.
Do you have free time after school or do you have more studies to do?
When the classes are over, you can either join one of the clubs the school offers or do what you like to do individually.
Evenings are the time when most of us study and prepare for the next day’s classes.
In the second half of Year 3 and in Year 4 you can also partake in the University Guidance sessions, which help you to find a university that suits you, plan a gap year, meet the necessary admissions requirements and so on. Although it can sound daunting, they are spread out and won’t take more of your time than an hour per week.