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International Work Placement

Italian student Caterina shares her observations about British school life.


I’m Caterina and I live near Venice, in Italy. Some months ago I won a scholarship and now I’m taking part in the Erasmus Project here in Brighton. I’m really grateful for this opportunity because I could experience a new lifestyle and a different culture.

I’m doing my internship at Varndean School in the Marketing Office and I’m really enjoying it because I study Business and Marketing in my school.

Working here gave me the opportunity to notice the many differences between England and Italy, starting from the school system.

Varndean School students have to wear a uniform and they attend lessons from Monday to Friday. In my homeland it’s very different: we have no uniforms and we go to school from Monday to Saturday.

Another big difference concerns the exams: every month we do short exams of all the subjects and at the end of the last year we sign up for the high school exam which is the most important one. After that, we can attend the university.

We have written and oral exams: in our oral exam we have to choose an issue and link it to the topics of other subjects. It’s quite difficult but you can express yourself and your creativity.

I have to say it was interesting and strange to see that the English school system is so different, but I like it because here there’s a distinct teaching method, everything is more organised and the staff is always present for the students.

I’ll surely miss Brighton and my work placement because I felt part of another family during these five weeks and I met loads of new people from all over the world, but on the other hand I’m happy to come back home with my increased wealth of experience.


Caterina came to Varndean School through Greater Brighton Metropolitan College. As well as the fantastic help she has given the Marketing team Caterina will also be working with some of our students on Wednesday 28th June for Learning Enhancement Day. Year 7 will be indulging in a languages day so some native-spoken Italian will fit in very well!

We wish Caterina all the very best with her future studies.