Meeting Malala Yousafzai – the most famous schoolgirl in the world

School Reporters full interview with Malala

It's been some time since I last met Malala Yousafzai in July 2013 - both she and the circumstances have changed dramatically.

When I was introduced to Malala at the United Nations she had been giving her big speech on girls' rights to education and I felt she was personally quite reserved, while I was also timid about meeting such a young icon to millions of girls all over the world.

On seeing Malala again, I felt at ease immediately. Myself and other school reporters from Birmingham were lucky enough to talk to her about her new book which has been written for young people like us.

Although she must have spoken to hundreds of girls in education, Malala clearly remembered our last meeting and we picked up our chat where we left off.

We talked about sport - she reminisced about us both being Manchester United fans and her preference for cricket!

We found a variety of other things in common, from a fascination with physics to both liking her favourite book - The Alchemist.

School Reporters Holly and Lauren spoke to Mishal Husain live on BBC World News in October 2013 about hearing Malala speak at the UN

Once the interview was under way, the mood was relaxed but everyone was captivated by her vibrant passion for girls' education - and entertained by her jokes about her annoying younger brothers.

Fellow School Reporter Sufyan, 15, said: "Interviewing her and how normal she was - you wouldn't expect that from someone who is on the news so much.

"For example, the way she talked about meeting famous people and said they're just people."

As well as asking questions we all relaxed together and made loom band bracelets, and I was astonished at how quick she was!

I learnt that Malala continues to love her hometown in Swat Valley even though it is such a dangerous place and also of her shock at Britain's weather as opposed to Pakistan's - she says that there are four seasons in Pakistan but "here, there is only one season and that is winter!"

We were all really impressed with how normal she was and after the interview another of the School Reporters, Makalia, 13, remarked: "I am now determined to go to college and university because she talked about children, especially girls, in her country who don't have the opportunity to go to university, college or even high school.

"I always valued my education but I think this sealed it for me."

Image caption Malala (right) laughing with Kuljeet and Makalia about having annoying younger brothers!
Image caption Holly and Malala meet up again and share their experiences of studying for their GCSEs

I found a side to Malala that was like my own, a young teenage girl discovering new things. Her recent book in particular tapped into this, telling us about her discovery of fish fingers and their contrast to food that she is more used to eating.

She also revealed her nervousness about getting to know her new British classmates, saying: "At first I wondered how I could ever be friends with these girls."

My time with the most famous schoolgirl in the world was even more inspiring than I'd originally thought because of how ordinary Malala was.

It felt like a normal group of friends socialising, with the exception that Malala Yousafzai is a strong campaigner for female education and is still a great role model to many - including me.

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