Bright World students, Melissa and Jacqueline Lau share their experience of boarding life at St Mary’s School, Cambridge.
Bright World Guardianship students, Melissa and Jacqueline have studied and boarded at St Mary’s School, Cambridge since Year 9. The girls are now 15 years old and 18 years old respectively. Jacqueline talks to us about their experiences of boarding away from their home in Hong Kong.
“Bright World gave us the best host family ever”
St Mary’s School, Cambridge is a welcoming environment to live and learn in. As an Upper Sixth student, it is important to me to be able to have a space where I can continue my studies outside of the classroom, so having my own room gives me the space I need to study. I have been at St Mary’s School, Cambridge since Year 9, as has my younger sister, Melissa, who is now in Year 11. We both enjoy the atmosphere that the school community has.
We lived in the previous boarding accommodation before moving to the newly refurbished Mary Ward House in January 2017. The new facilities provide plenty of communal spaces that allow us to socialise together, without having to necessarily be restricted to socialising only with our own year group, which is nice as it means we can spend time together and with other girls in various years. The accommodation is perfectly situated for looking around the historic and vibrant city of Cambridge, with most amenities being a short walk away.
Melissa and Jacqueline with their Bright World Buddy, Lesley Sutton
Cambridge provides both a cosmopolitan atmosphere, whilst also having a traditional English countryside feel; it’s the best of both worlds, especially with London just 45 minutes away! The bedrooms are spacious and modern. Up until Sixth Form students have roommates, which Melissa enjoys as she prefers having other people around, but it is nice to have the freedom and space when you get to Sixth Form, especially around examination season.
We both appreciate being surrounded by such a caring community: the boarding staff and our fellow students make the school feel more like home, which makes for an encouraging learning environment. When I first arrived at the school I was apprehensive that I’d miss my family, especially as I came on my own before Melissa joined the school. However, I have been lucky enough to have my family visit regularly, and most importantly have felt so comforted by everyone at Mary Ward House, I’ve never felt isolated or bored, and there is always something going on to take part in. The boarding activities are a great way to take your mind off school work whilst keeping active: a personal favourite of mine was visiting the Harry Potter Studios in London, and Melissa loves the annual boarders’ weekend away, most recently visiting Bristol.
Our teachers and boarding staff have always been supportive and accommodating and although I am excited to move on to read Architecture at university, I will undoubtedly miss St Mary’s School, Cambridge, and living at Mary Ward House. Most of all, I will miss being part of the St Mary’s School, Cambridge community.
St Mary’s School, Cambridge achieves ‘excellence in every possible area of educational provision’, according to the latest Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report. The school cherishes each student’s individuality and, recognising the world that students will inhabit when they leave its nurturing environment, St Mary’s School, Cambridge works to support each student in becoming the very best they can be. Bright World can offer a programme for international students studying at boarding schools and colleges in Cambridge. Click here to find out more about our leading UK programme.
"Bright World is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment."
The second winner of the Bright World WOW Award 2018/19 goes to our Accommodation and Travel Manager, Fi Williamson for outstanding work in successfully placing students with host families.
With students from the UK, Africa, China, Hong Kong, Korea, The Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, Bournemouth Collegiate School A-Level Boarders have achieved record breaking results this year with a fantastic 74% of grades at A*-B, and 96* A*-C.