Deciding where a child should receive their education is one of the hardest decisions a parent can make. All things considered, it’s a formidable choice that can be made incredibly tough by each school’s unique offerings. One has a strong network for student support; another is in the ideal location; but this one has outstanding facilities, so… which one should you choose?
The first thing to do is take a step back and remember that it’s not actually you who is jetting off to an international boarding school. This is your son or daughter’s education, and it really is a decision you should be making together. A good place to start is to consider your child’s hobbies and interests and compare them to the facilities and activities each school has to offer.
The economic boom that’s surging through regions of Asia has resulted in changes in a number of social and cultural practices. As Asia’s economy swells, so too does its investment in infrastructure and educational facilities.
Educational institutions play an important role in promoting the health and wellbeing of their students – a fact that’s especially true within a school where the children live, as well as work. In 2001, China implemented its eighth PE curriculum reform in schools; this was in accordance with the country’s more general education renovations, enforced to meet social demands and current international trends. It wasn’t long before the initiative to get Asian students more interested in sport swept the entire continent.
When it comes to a child with a talent for sport, the facilities and extra-curricular activities offered by a boarding school should definitely influence your decision. With the right support, tuition and top-class facilities, students have the ability to grow into the champions of the future.
Here are 5 international boarding schools in Asia that are shaping the sports stars of the future:
Established in 1996 in the heart of Phuket, Thailand, British International School, Phuket (BISP) is a co-educational day and boarding school that houses 850 students from 40 nationalities. Dubbed ‘Paradise Island’, this tropical getaway, with its international airport and world-class beaches, serves as the ideal location for the 44-acre, purpose-built campus, housing one of the most prestigious independent schools in Thailand.
The world-class facilities at BISP allow students to excel in every aspect of school life, including in sport and physical activity. The School’s amenities are spacious and extensive, and freely available to all the school’s students. In addition to formal, well-equipped classrooms, BISP boasts 12 grass playing fields, a sports hall, gymnasium, modern fitness centre, an outdoor basketball court, two swimming pools, six tennis courts, and an on-site golf short game centre, complete with greens, bunkers, chipping and driving nets.
At the centre of the School’s sporting offerings are the two swimming pools, and its very own professionally coached BISP JSA Swim Academy, supported by the Flying Fish junior development programme. Both pools are outside, one being an 8-lane 50 metre Olympic pool that’s enough to inspire anyone to go for gold. In just the last year, Academy swimmers have variously competed at and won a total of 6 gold, 6 silver and 7 bronze medals in the South East Asian Games in Singapore, Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa, FINA World Championships in Russia, and Asian Age Group Championships in Bangkok. The squad has also set a remarkable 74 National Records in seven countries, and has two swimmers who have set qualifying times for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
BISP currently has four high-performance sports academies, all led by professional coaches: the BISP JSA Swim Academy, where the student-athletes are already competing major international competitions; the BISP RPT Tennis Academy, the Thailand centre for the Registro Profesional de Tenis and home to two of the top-ranked junior players in Thailand; the BISP Cruzeiro Football Academy, a partnership with Brazilian Champion football club Cruzeiro EC, from which students have gone on to join the England schoolboy squad and sign professional terms with a Brazilian side; and the newly launched BISP Golf Academy, which is spearheaded by the best junior player in Thailand, who came 3rd at the golf Teen World Championship 2015, held in Pinehurst, USA.
Alongside the four academies in swimming, football, tennis and golf, there are growing, high-level programmes in basketball and athletics, all of which aim to produce world-class athletes with the ability and confidence to compete at the highest level. The School will be opening the onsite BISP Golf Centre in January 2016, with the BISP Ice Arena – an Olympic-sized facility with spectator seating, which will be capable of hosting international-level ice hockey matches, figure skating, and entertainment events – opening in the near future. With other soon-to-be-announced major sporting venues, continued investment in academic and arts facilities and academies, and one of the largest and greenest campuses on the continent, BISP continues to lead the way for boarding schools in Asia.
Students from all over the world have been living and learning at Woodstock for more than 150 years. The School is located in the northern state of Uttarakhand, home to some of India’s finest yoga havens, trekking spots and wildlife. Situated between 2000 and 2300 metres above sea level on south-facing slope, adventure is never far away for all the young athletes at Woodstock.
Woodstock’s Himalayan location serves as both classroom and stomping ground, providing authentic learning experience and challenge far beyond the walls of the School. Activity Week presents students with a trial they’ll never forget, as they explore frescoes in a thirteenth century Jain cave, rope up to cross a glacier, raft the white waters of the upper Ganges, cycle the Doon Valley, and hike the rugged landscape.
Through academic outdoor learning, extended expeditions and an emphasis on healthy living, Woodstock students develop a special relationship with the natural world as they grow into active, hardy leaders. The landscape is a resource that offers such unique physical challenge that Woodstock students leave ready to face any hurdle that stands in their way.
ASIJ has a rich and successful history spanning more than 100 years, placing it among the world’s top international schools. Situated in Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital, ASIJ students can take advantage of the city’s amenities as well as the School’s state-of-the-art facilities.
With a 5.8 hectare campus, ASIJ offers the widest range of facilities of any international school in Japan. It boasts two all-year artificial turf athletics fields, three fully-equipped gymnasiums, a 25m indoor pool, six multi-use tennis courts, a dance studio, fitness centre and wrestling room, as well as a specially designed play room for younger students. All facilities are freely available to students, meaning no matter what their sporting passion, ASIJ has the ability to accommodate it.
ASIJ offers over 100 co-curricular activities for students of all ages, giving them the chance to develop physically and socially amongst like-minded friends at the School. About 85 percent of ASIJ students take part in School activities, from ballet and basketball to competitive athletics and golf.
PREM is a leading co-educational boarding and day International Baccalaureate World School. The School is located in Chiang Mai, which is Thailand’s second largest city after Bangkok. Seventy percent of the region is mountains and vegetation, and the city is home to Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s tallest mountain, making it a truly inspiring backdrop for any young learner.
The PREM Panthers sports program promotes co-operation, fitness, personal responsibility, teamwork, school spirit and a healthy dose of competition amongst all students. All are encouraged to become part of a team, as the staff knows too well that getting students to work together encourages both camaraderie and commitment. From the very beginning they are taught that the real fun doesn’t lie in winning, but in the participation.
PREM students can play: badminton; basketball; cricket, on the school’s own grounds that are maintained with tremendous dedication; cross country on the School’s running track; football; futsal; golf on the freely-accessible putting, chipping and driving range; they can swim in the Olympic-sized pool; play table tennis or tennis on the School courts; and they can even play volleyball with friends beneath the Thai sun.
Whether it’s a student with a genuine talent, or one who plays sport just to have fun, the facilities and support on offer at PREM will fill them with drive and ambition.
HIBS employs a comprehensive educational approach that inspires every student to strive for excellence. Located 3,000 feet above sea level in the Genting Highlands, home to the Genting Skyway Cable Car, the School’s exceptional backdrop is one that can never be forgotten. HIBS is just 40 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, meaning the School’s budding athletes are never too far from the cosmopolitan facilities.
HIBS students can participate in volleyball, swimming, basketball, football, badminton, athletics and many more activities in the School’s purpose-built facilities. There is a fully equipped gym on campus freely available to all HIBS students with a keen interest in personal health and fitness. They also have access to the Wushu Club, allowing them to delve into Chinese culture as they develop the maturity and control that all martial arts require.
This year, two students represented the school in the MSSD Bentong Athletic Competition, both coming home with gold and bronze medals. The School inspired the girls to push for the limit, as its stunning backdrop and excellent facilities will continue to do for many years to come.
Main image via British International School, Phuket (BISP)