Life at a UK boarding school, an article by Henry Cope


Henry Cope has been working at Bright World Guardianships during his summer holiday break. 



Henry is a boarding pupil at Tonbridge, one of the UK's top schools and a school where Bright World offers guardianship to international students. We are very fortunate that Henry has taken the time to write some words about what life is really like at boarding school.  Read on for advice from someone who has first hand knowledge. 



Tonbridge School, Kent


Tonbridge School, Kent



Students from Box Hill School Sixth Form

  Box Hill School Sixth Form, Surrey

When you arrive at boarding school, it can seem very daunting and very unnerving, however, this feeling is very common amongst all new pupils and is nothing out of the ordinary.

It will take a couple of weeks to settle in completely and learn where all of your lessons are. Furthermore, it is very important not to ‘sit in the corner’ and wait for others to come and meet you as making friends will help you to settle in. During your first few weeks you maybe allocated a buddy within your house. A buddy is a name for a girl/boy older pupil who is in charge of showing you round the house and also helping you to understand your timetable and any other queries which you may have.  This buddy at school is not to be confused with a Bright World Buddy which is the  name we use for our Local Coordinators at Bright World Guardianships. 



Most boarding schools run from 8am-6pm. Within this time you will probably attend lessons combined with free time and a chance to embark on new activities.

Some days during the week your lessons may end at 4pm this gives you a couple of hours before supper to play sport and attend other activities as well as do any unfinished work. After supper there will be a period of about 2 hour’s known as ‘prep’ here you will be encouraged to do your homework and any other work. This is recommended as the best time to work as it reduces the amount of work that you have to do late at night or early in the morning. 



Whether you are an international student or a local resident to the area, boarding will be the same for everyone. It is important that you know your way round the house and recognise the important staff and pupils who are there to help you.


Casterton Boarding Room

In addition it is helpful to make your dorm feel as homely as possible; this can be done by pinning up posters around the wall or maybe just your favourite pillow. When it comes to your 'roomie' (room mate), make sure you make an effort to get to know them as well as possible as it will help to make your time more enjoyable. Furthermore, try and arrive on your first day in good time as to ensure you get the best bed and other areas of importance!!



Coming over as an international student can be very tough to start with. However, you’ll soon settle in and make new friends.

Try to arrive early and familiarise yourself with the school and the surrounding area as it will help to make the school less daunting. Furthermore, try to broaden your knowledge by exploring different cultures and also try to speak the language as your English will rapidly improve. In addition try to mingle with everyone not just those from your country as you are spending the majority of your boarding school life with those around you.    

Your guardian in the UK should come and visit you in the first few days of term to make sure you are settling in well.  At my school I know that several of the overseas boys are looked after by Bright World Guardianships who visit them, attend parents evenings and also find good local host families for them during the half term breaks when they do not go back home like the UK boys do.   Your guardian is there to help and guide you so make sure you take the time to get to know them and ask them if you have any questions.


The Bright World Guardianships Team


 The Bright World Guardianships Team  


We thank Henry for his words of advice.  More from Henry soon on Sports, Activities and pastoral care and welfare.   


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