PROSPECTIVE (INTERNATIONAL) STUDENTS
frequently asked questions and inside information
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
DO I NEED TO WORRY ABOUT MY ENGLISH PROFICIENCY?
You might be asked to complete an English and Maths proficiency test before you join - but I really wouldn't worry about your level of English once you get accepted! Both teachers and students are understanding and supporting so don't worry about making mistakes.
HOW CAN I MAKE NEW FRIENDS EASILY?
Generally, the school will have a school induction for all new International students, which is really helpful to get to know some people before school starts, otherwise, Co-Curricular activities such as Sport, Music or Drama are your best friend when wanting to meet and talk to new people! Generally, my advice is: make the most out of your time and try out as many things as you can even if they're some things you haven't tried.
WHAT IF I GET SICK?
Every school will have a Medical Centre with trained nurses and doctors that will take care of you when you are sick or provide medicine should you need it on a regular basis.
If you feel unwell mentally you could also talk to the medical centre, your house parent - some schools even have trained peer counsellors if you don't feel comfortable speaking with an adult.
WHAT IF I WANT TO COOK FOR MYSELF?
Generally, the schools would prefer you to go to the school provided meals, especially if the food you want to make is unhealthier. However, particularly for the International students, there is often the freedom to cook on Weekends or between mealtimes. Most schools will also have supermarkets close by, otherwise, teachers organise trips to supermarkets on weekends.
IS SATURDAY SCHOOL BAD?
Not all Boarding Schools have lessons on Saturdays, most do though. I have gotten used to it by now and it feels natural but I would say it takes a couple of weeks to adjust to it then it will feel like you've always had it.
DO I GO TO CHAPEL EVEN IF I'M NOT RELIGIOUS / CHRISTIAN?
In my experience yes. Personally, I would mostly consider myself an Atheist but I enjoy chapel, particularly the singing aspect of it. If this as is a difficult thought for you, you could maybe try to see it as a whole school gathering rather than a religious service. If you are particularly concerned I would recommend speaking to your tutor or house parent.
WHAT DO I WEAR OUTSIDE OF LESSONS?
Doesn' really matter as long as it's comfy! The essentials for an evening at a Boarding School are definitely sweatpants and hoodies - generally, you will rarely find people wearing jeans or dressing up. Of course, you also need nice dresses etc for Formal Dinners or going out on Trips, which I explained a bit further in the following question.
WHAT IF I WANT TO SPEND MY FREE TIME OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL?
Schools usually organise Sunday Outings / trips to various places: shopping malls, ice skating, theme parks etc
Depending on the year group you are in you could take the bus /a taxi and go somewhere by yourself or with friends - this depends on your house parents and your parents' permission. From my experience, staying at a friends or guardians house should always be possible.
HOW EXACTLY DO LESSONS DIFFER FROM YOUR PREVIOUS SCHOOL?
Of course, this strongly differs from whatever school you previously attended. I would definitely say that the teachers make all the difference. They are so supportive and are willing to give up parts of their free time to support you!
Please feel free to contact me for any further questions, I am happy to answer them
HOW DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
Obviously this questions depends on the school itself. At my school (depending on the day of the week) the schedule looks like this:
Breakfast 7.45 am
Register 8.15 am
Headman's Assembly / Chapel 8.25 am
Lessons 1 & 2 8.50-10.45 am
Break (in house) 30 mins
Lessons 3 & 4
Lessons 5 & 6 / Sport
4.15 pm Activities for Yr 9-11
Evening Registration 6.50 pm
Prep / HW time 7-8.30 pm
WHEN SHOULD I BEST JOIN?
& what school is the right fit for me
Going to a Boarding School, if only for a year is something I can highly recommend as I myself was only planning to stay for a year and ended up wanting to finish my IB diploma in England!
Some important factors to consider:
Course availability (GCSE subject offers, IB or A Level options etc)
Co-Curricular focus (Are you most interested in Music and Drama or Sports? Find out the main focus of the school - co-curricular activities will play a big part in your school life)
Co-education Yes or No
Fees & Scholarships (compare fees and check whether a scholarship would be available for you)
Lastly and most importantly: VISIT THE SCHOOL, it is so important for you to see if you feel at home at the school you will potentially be living at!
my personal advice if you're looking for staying longer than one year would be joining in year 9 or ten. in year nine many new people join and it is easier to make friends than if you join when everyone else is very close already. i personally joined in year 10 which was the best decision for me personally, however it does take some times to get to know everyone.
HOW IS THE FOOD?
As with all of the categories above, I can not speak for all schools, but mostly I really enjoy the food they offer. The breakfast is usually typically British (Baked Beans, Bacon, Potatoe Smileys...) Lunch and Dinner vary a lot, some of my favourites are Sweet and Sour Chicken, Duck Gyoza, Hunters Chicken, Mushroom Ravioli...
There usually is Salat, Soup and Desert available for every Lunch and Dinner - so there is plenty of choices.
When you visit a school, schedule your tour during lunch time or ask to have lunch with a student - most schools will be happy to, and you get to talk to people you will be potentially studying with.
Privileges of different Year Groups
Yr 9, 10, 11: school uniform, hair must be tied up during lesson time, no jewellery or nail polish (except for cross etc), backpacks for lessons, hand in their phones during the day & before bedtime
,takeaways once a week (bedtimes vary eg Yr 9 9.45 pm, Yr 10 10 pm)
Lower 6th: no school uniform (business wear), hair does not have to be tied up, jewellery and nail polish allowed, phones can be kept all day, takeaways once a week, bedtime ca 10.15 pm
Upper 6th: same as lower 6th, prep time until 9 pm, takeaways every night
HOW FREQUENT ARE THE HOLIDAYS?
The English school year is divided into three terms that are not always of equal length. The first term starts in September followed by an Exeat weekend (where there is no Satuday school) after three weeks in International pupils either fly home orstay in school. Three weeks after that there usually is Half Term (a one-two week holiday) followed by another three weeks of school that usually contain an In-weekend (weekend during which all boarders stay in school).
After the In-weekend and three more weeks of school we reach the end of term that is marked by either
three weeks of holidays for Easter and Christmas or nine weeks of holidays during the summer!