A day in the life of an international boarding school student
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A day in the life of an international boarding school student

A day in the life of an international boarding school student

If you’re crossing borders to head to one of the world’s many excellent boarding schools, be prepared for the time of your life.

A key part of boarding school life is freedom like you’ve never known it before, away from your home (perhaps for the first time ever) and surrounded by creative, inspired and like-minded individuals in just the same boat as yourself.

It’s your first TRUE TASTE of adulthood, cut off from the strings of parental support and instead relying on the qualified staff that is ardently rooting for your all-round success.

You will LIVE, LOVE and LAUGH with friends who’ll remain for the rest of your days as you begin to carve the path of your future just the way you want it.

BUT

Boarding school life is like nothing you will have experienced before, and that can take some getting used to…

Structure, discipline and a rigorous curriculum are just some of the core principles that underpin daily life at an independent school. You will have to WORK HARD, but the best thing is that you can PLAY HARD too, in some of the largest, safest and most stunning school grounds that the world of education has to offer. Boarding school is the perfect environment to help you grow into a well-rounded individual – a characteristic that will put you on the road to success for the rest of your life!

Believe us when we say that these years will be the best of your life, but don’t let it leave you feeling overwhelmed. Everyone in your new family is in the exact same situation as you – there’s an entire network of support around you and no one is going to let you fall.

But we know that taking our word for it is much easier said than done, so to help you on your way, and not leave you feeling like you’re flailing in the deep end once you’ve reached your new home, here’s what it’s like to live a day in the life of a boarding school student:

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7.00am – Wake-Up call!

Rise and shine sleepy head, there’s a busy day in front of you. Rush for the shower- or someone will beat you there – then you’d better dress up smart in your brand new uniform.

The boarding school uniform is one that emits pride and respect. It’s all about looking neat and tidy so you can become a respected member of the community, both in and outside of the school.

  • Day Dress – This is worn the whole day through, from breakfast right up until the last period of class. This will often consist of a shirt, a tie and a school blazer; smart trousers for the boys and a reasonable length skirt for the girls.
  • Formal Dress – Many schools have extra clothing items for special occasions, such as ceremonies or celebrations.
  • Town Dress – Outside of school hours, in the evenings and on weekends, you’re free to flaunt your own style!

7.45am – Breakfast

A yummy breakfast buffet held in the school’s grand dining hall. Hogwarts, eat your heart out!

8.30am – House Meeting

Not every school is the same, but in most independent schools, students are assigned Houses. If your school is like this, it’s likely that every morning a House Meeting will be called, where your leader will discuss announcements and take the register.

Houses are a great way to make it really feel like a community, with students working together to encourage friendly inter-house competition. Just know that the members of your house are more or less your team, and they’re always on hand to help you whenever you may need it.

8.45am – Chapel

Some schools will hold services on a daily basis, while others might do it weekly. Either way, Chapel means it’s time for hymns, prayers and a short address from the School chaplain. You won’t find Chapel at all schools, but many boarding schools are built upon religious values and therefore revolve around faith.

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9.00am – Classes Begin

Boarding schools offer some the most rigorous and comprehensive academics in the whole school system – it will definitely be a challenge, but that’s also what makes so REWARDING. A typical boarding school will offer a traditional core curriculum of humanities, science, math, foreign language and the arts.

  • Fine Arts – This includes subjects like Applied Music, Music Theory and Studio Art. Students are taught perspective and the basics of composition, and are then encouraged to develop their own personal styles.
  • Foreign Language – Language studies at boarding school can include subjects like French, Spanish and Chinese. It is becoming increasingly important to learn a language as the world becomes more globalised.

11.00am – Break

You’ve worked hard up until now, and deserve a well-earned break before powering through the next part of your day. Head back to your house and power-up on a light drink and a snack – and be sure to eat some healthy BRAIN food!

11.20am – Lessons Continue!  

  • Humanities – Subjects like English, History, Art History and Music form the Humanities. All of these classes are fairly writing-intensive, teaching you to communicate in a clear and concise manner.
  • Mathematics – Including subjects like Statistics and Quantitative Reasoning.

12.40pm – Lunch

Back to the glorious dining hall to munch some top-notch grub!

13.15pm – Activities

Boarding schools offer plenty of extra-curricular activities, as well as the finest facilities in the educational realm. There are just so many to choose from!

Maths, Photography, Computer Programming, Sewing, Improvisation, Chess, or you could even use this time to work on the school newspaper!

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14.00pm – Back to the Classroom

  • Science – Including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science, and Anatomy & Physiology. These classes are filled with critical thinking and analysis, as well as more hands-on lab work.

15.20pm – Break Time

Tuck into some tea and cake, drink some juice or blow off some steam in a run around the field.

15.30pm – Back to the House…

Change into your kit – get ready for sports!

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15.45pm – Sports

The sports will change with the season, but no matter what time of year, enjoy the game and make use of some of the outstanding facilities on offer.

You can play basketball; join the swim team; have a go at wrestling; delve into the baseball team; join in lacrosse; work the field in soccer; play a game of tennis; challenge yourself at track; join the hockey team; have a go at football; or even work it out in volleyball!

17.30pm – Back to the House…

Wash away the sweat and competition and put on some fresh clothes!

18.00pm – Supper Time

Choose from hot and cold dishes, as well as healthy eating options, in the school’s magnificent hall.

18.30pm – Clubs/Activities

Challenge your mates at the Debating Society or make harmonies with them in Choir. Play some sweet, sweet music in the orchestra or let it all out in the Drama Club.

Dance, sew, gaze at the stars… take advantage of every opportunity!

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19.30pm – Study Time

This is the perfect chance to get some of that homework out the way. Staff are close by to offer guidance and advice, so you might as well make the most of the help that’s at hand before it all starts piling up.

20.00pm – Study Break

Okay… now breathe…

20.10pm – Study Time Continues

Time to tie up all those loose ends!

21.00pm – Free time!

Now’s the time to do whatever you please! Chat with your mates, catch up on your favourite TV shows or spark competition once more in a friendly game of table tennis. Remember, you have all these fantastic facilities (the courts, the gym, the pool etc.) so get out there and USE THEM!

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22.00pm – Bedtime

Now’s time to head back to your room and get ready for bed.

22.30pm – Lights Out…

Get some much-needed shut eye – the fun starts again in the morning!

Sounds good? Read on to learn more about some of the UK’s best boarding schools offering a full student experience and high quality, well-rounded education:

ASHVILLE COLLEGE, HARROGATE
Ashville College is a co-ed independent school for both day and boarding pupils aged 3 to 18. It’s situated in Harrogate, one of England’s most attractive towns. Ashville boarders, aged between 8 and 18 years old, benefit from outstanding facilities and a nurturing and caring environment. The opportunities at Ashville enable students to find their niche, be it academic, sporting, musical or artistic. Each one of the four houses at Ashville is home to around 30 students. Pupils enjoy the structure of their days and living with their friends, as well as being part of a community which cares for them and puts their interest first.

DULWICH COLLEGE, LONDON
Dulwich College is an academically selective independent boys’ school in south London. Dulwich has a distinguished tradition of inspired teaching and genuine scholarship; it benefits from historic buildings and green open spaces in a delightful environment. Boys proceed from Dulwich to the most competitive of universities, in the UK and in the world, and thereafter into all the major professions, with a high number choosing to work in Medicine, Engineering and the Law. The College has a long standing reputation for producing some of the finest actors, musicians, sportsmen and writers in the country.

BRIGHTON COLLEGE, BRIGHTON
Brighton College is one of Britain’s leading schools. Described as “Britain’s most forward thinking school” by The Week, it was named UK Independent School of the Year 2013-14 at the Independent Schools Awards, having previously been awarded the coveted title of England’s Independent School of the Year 2011-12 by The Sunday Times. Richard Cairns, Head Master, was named ‘England’s Headmaster of the Year’ by Tatler magazine in September 2012. Academic results consistently place Brighton among the top 10 schools for boys and girls in England; provision for art, music, dance and drama is exceptional, and the College’s sporting prowess is nationally renowned.

FETTES COLLEGE, EDINBURGH
Fettes College has a highly talented and dedicated team of teachers who are passionate about their subject. Teaching staff aim to make learning exciting and stimulating for all pupils, and they pride themselves on the quality of their academic teaching. All pupils receive support from their Housemaster and Housemistress. A tutor is allocated to each pupil and, during weekly tutorials in House, tutors make sure that all is well on academic (and other) matters. Twice per term, pupils receive grades for effort and attainment. This close monitoring, together with appropriate support, means that Fettes brings out the best in all its pupils, whatever their academic abilities.

WYCLIFFE COLLEGE, GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Wycliffe College is a thriving day and boarding school for boys and girls aged from 2 to 18. It is set in 52 acres of land within the heart of the Cotswolds, in Gloucestershire. It comprises a Nursery School, a Preparatory School and a Senior School. Wycliffe College celebrates diversity, and student individuality is valued and cherished, celebrating individual success in a wide range of abilities. Blending the best of the traditional and modern, and the advantages of a contemporary environment in a beautiful rural location, it has excellent links to London and it is close to the amenities offered in Cheltenham, Bristol and Bath.

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NOTE: Each boarding school timetable will vary from the other, so your routine may not be exactly the same as the one listed above. But regardless of that, they are likely to be very similar, and this is just to give you a taste of the excitement that lies ahead! Please also note that for younger students the timetable will be different.

Pictures courtesy of Ashville College  and Wycliffe College