Ever Wonder What an ODA British Student Story Is?

(From left to right) ANgus Martin, Matt Murphy, Tom Wiles, Tom Young

(From left to right) ANgus Martin, Matt Murphy, Tom Wiles, Tom Young

Wyatt Page, Staff Writer

You may recall a previous article featured in The Bolt, “Ever Consider Hitting the Books Under the Union Jack” that presented the advantages of going to college in the UK.  But did you know that thousands of British students seeking this same type of drastic change in circumstances have come to the U.S. for their high-school education, and a few of them landed here at ODA.

The two towering Brits, Matt Murphy and Angus Martin, coming in with an average height of 6’5’’ are the most noticeable of British students at our high school, but their stories are very different.

Angus moved here at the raw age of five, but has not lived a typical American childhood.  His dad, an avid player of the stock market, “gets cold feet when he is in one country for too long,” says Angus.  In fact, the United States was not the first place Angus called home after England. For a short period of time, he and his family lived in Spain before moving back to England.  From there they went to Florida, then North Carolina and for now they have returned to Sarasota.  Evidently his dad’s feet aren’t just cold, they’re freezing!

Despite the wide range of Angus’ travels, he still intends to embark on his collegiate education in the United States, but like a true Englishman, up north in the cold weather. This inclination to cold weather emerged as a common theme among English students at ODA, with Matt Murphy being no exception.

Englishman Matt Murphy is living his first year here in the U.S.  As a fresh immigrant, Matt has a keen eye for differences between here and his home country. The most surprising difference was his reference to ODA’s dress code as being “less strict.”  This was somewhat refreshing, as this debate amongst teachers and students has perpetuated since the invention of the polo shirt.

Unlike Angus, Matt does not live with his relatives.  He boards at IMG.  “Living at IMG is different because everybody is international.  On the weekends we go off campus to the beach, etc.  And their athletic facilities are unmatched so I like to take advantage of them in my spare time.”  Unfortunately for the ODA community, the burden of getting rides to and from school influenced him to enroll at IMG full time.  He will be missed as a student and an athlete.  As will Tom Young, an avid swimmer and soon-to-be ODA Alumnus.

Tom Young, a senior, lives with his sister-in-law and brother on Siesta Key.  Coming from the grey English landscape, this made for a drastic change of scenery. These changes suited Tom’s search for a “different experience” in coming to the States.  However, Tom retained his loyalty to the Queen in saying he preferred the landscape in England when compared to Florida, and the food as well,  “With the exception of cheeseburgers.”  Tom considers this the one food American’s have mastered.  Food and landscape aside, the single most missed thing right now for him is his family.  Despite this, the “lobsterback” intends to stick it out for another four years and complete his college education in the U.S.  But not all Brits are alike in their loyalty to England. Thomas Wiles’ preference for  the U.S. over the UK would deem him an enemy of the state.

Perhaps this preference comes from being born in North Carolina.  Despite this fact, he didn’t live an American childhood.  He and his family moved back to the Queen’s land when he was just two and have resided there for the past thirteen years.  Unlike the many presumptions of England as a cold land, Thomas recalls there never being any snow to speak of, “but that didn’t keep people from hoping for it.”  Similar to Tom Young, Wiles misses his friends in England very much, but the welcoming he’s received in Florida has quelled most of his anxieties.  The only criticism of the States Wiles had was of our fish and chips, a personal favorite dish of his.  This is hardly an insult given his comparison is to that of the fish and chips at a “chip shop” near his house in England, a colloquial English name for a restaurant specializing in fish and chips.

Despite our country’s fish and chips being below par to England’s, the English students at ODA all have a positive impression of the U.S.  Despite the ODA family’s loss of two fellow Brit’s, as our program goes, ODA is certain to continue to attract international attention.