In my previous article, I discussed useful preparations involved before boarding to allow you a smooth start. So what about once you start school? In this article, I will share with you my tips on surviving boarding school.
First of all, you will get homesick.
It is unavoidable, but it is okay and completely understandable! Moving to another country, living in an unfamiliar environment with no friends (yet!) at a young age is not easy and can be extremely stressful. It is important to be aware of your feelings and be open about them. Don’t be ashamed to share that feeling with others: fellow boarders are a great start as they have all gone through/are experiencing it and I assure you that they can 100% relate to it and give you great advice on how to overcome it. Plus, it can also be the start of a great friendship! You can of course also seek help from the staff members of the boarding house as they have dealt with many homesick students before and can therefore provide you with a different perspective.
Secondly, step out of your comfort zone to achieve your goal.
For example, one of my main goals was to speak fluent English so I really made the effort to talk to everybody. Don’t be discouraged if you lack the confidence or the ability to speak ‘perfect’ English. Just remember that there is no magic (i.e. no non-English speaker will just wake up one day speaking fluent English) and it is something that you have to work towards. Additionally, knowing that my parents worked so hard to give me this opportunity to study overseas was my motivation to move forward.
Thirdly, embrace the cultural diversity.
You will be surrounded by students from all over the world so embrace the cultural diversity and make friends with them! It is so tempting to just hang out with students who speak the same language from the same background and I have seen too many students (both school and university levels) fall into that trap. Note that I am not saying don’t become friends with others from your country, rather, I am suggesting don’t ONLY become friends with others from your country. You will learn so much from other students about their cultures and experiencing a different custom will widen your horizon. You might make mistakes along the way (e.g. not culturally aware of what’s appropriate and what’s not) and upset somebody. Just be genuine and apologetic if it happens, and try to understand it from their viewpoint so that you can become more culturally sensitive.
Finally, don’t break any school rules. DON’T.
As condescending as it sounds, don’t break any school rules. There is a reason why these rules were established in the first place. Don’t sneak out in the middle of the night, don’t stay over at your friend’s place without permission, etc. Breaking a school rule looks bad on your record and in the severe case can lead to suspension or even withdrawal. I’d however argue that the worst influence of such behaviour is the damage of the mutual trust between you and your head of house. Whether you like it or not, you will be most likely stuck at boarding school for some time so why would you make your whole life more difficult?
There you go! Here are my tips on surviving a boarding school. Boarding schools are great fun and they do try their best to give you a great study environment as well as fun activities over the weekends, so take advantage of them! I wish you all the best and make the most out of boarding school!
Educated at Badminton School, Kitty obtained a First Class Honours degree in Biomedical Engineering, followed by a MSc degree specialising in Medical Physics, both from Imperial College. Kitty has experience teaching students subjects such as Maths, Sciences, as well as educating young children Programming. As the former Departmental Representative of her degree, she also understands university admissions and is well placed to assist with school and university applications.
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