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International Students - What to Expect at a UK Boarding School

Moving to a whole new country can be an exciting time and a great character building experience. It’s certainly a time of adventure and new opportunities; one that should be embraced for overseas students who are looking to enrol with a UK Boarding School. Our culture may be different to that of your home country but there are many benefits and learning experiences to be had - especially at a renowned institution such as Rendcomb College with its excellent reputation. According to the Independent School Council 2021 Survey, 40% of overseas students whose parents live abroad attend independent schools, and 5,000 of those international students are enrolled at British boarding schools. For parents it can be a nervous time, but rest assured there are many advantages.

British students will already be familiar with our country and traditions; things like changing seasons, differing culture from city to city and our love of fish and chips. As for students coming from overseas you might think of it like Harry Potter where there is a house system in place, you make great friendships and become more independent.

Open days are always the best way to get a true insight into what a British School is like and we’d always encourage pupils and their parents to attend one if possible. We understand that with long distance travel this isn’t always easy, therefore our website and testimonials provide a great view of what to expect. Whether you’re an overseas student from Hong Kong, Germany, the Middle East or Nigeria (just to name a few), the application process is straightforward and made easier with our agents and consultants who can provide first hand assistance. Alternatively parents can apply directly through the admissions team who will be able to guide you through the application process. We welcome pupils from across the world to Rendcomb College and can discuss the fees for boarding education accordingly. If required, we can also assist with administration such as Visas, permits and transfers from airports too.

When packing your suitcase to embark on your new adventure, there are a number of ways you can prepare for boarding school or college in the UK. It is advisable to take a wrist watch with you as you might not always have access to smart devices, learn how to tie a tie and make sure you don’t get caught out in the British weather by investing in a raincoat or umbrella. Chargers and international adapters will be essential for your laptops, as well as headphones and items that remind you of home. Comforts such as photos of friends and family, toiletries, bedding and bunting to make your room feel cosy will give you an instant boost. It’s also worth checking how much storage space you have as you wouldn’t want to overpack! But if you forget something, there are plenty of shops around to pick up items.

In the lead up to the start of term, an induction programme will be put together so you’ll get to find your feet in the first few weeks of your studies. We’ll invite you and your family to Rendcomb College to show you around all the facilities, receive your timetables, meet members of staff and answer any questions you may have - and we also put on a great afternoon tea! As time goes on you’ll soon feel at home in your boarding house; make friends with both British and international school students, enjoy social events and extra-curricular activities. This includes sport and music inductions as well as the Duke of Edinburgh Award. You’ll also receive a cultural introduction where we can assist with setting up a bank account or UK mobile phone, and ensuring that you’ll be able to communicate easily with family back at home using Skype and Wi-Fi facilities.

As well as the usual British education system, national curriculum Rendcomb College also provide a number of bespoke courses for international students from IGCSEs to English as an additional language, and an American Studies Programme to ensure that students from the USA don’t miss out on SAT and ACT testing in preparation for university or other international study centres.

Boarding education is a really fun environment to be in, as many have come from diverse backgrounds and all students are in the same situation where they are willing to learn and make new friends. There are plenty of people on hand to give advice, guidance and pastoral care if you’re missing home. Schools and colleges in the UK have great support systems in place for international students, especially at Rendcomb College, and we take each and every individual’s welfare to heart from the heads of departments to teachers and houseparents. We appreciate that living away from home isn’t easy, and we do our utmost to ensure that everyone’s boarding school experience is one of fun, friendships and finding out more about yourself. When families come to visit we have a wealth of local accommodation recommendations and thrive in showcasing our beautiful surroundings. Plus we like to keep in touch and update families on how their children are progressing academically and how they’re settling in.

We celebrate the diversity of our students and their heritage with our Cultural Enrichment Programme where we’ll host events for American Thanksgiving, European Day of Languages and Chinese New Year. We understand the importance of paying homage to important annual dates and also the variety of languages on offer. We also host our weekly International Cafe where pupils gather in a welcoming environment where they can make new friendships and try a selection of refreshments, all whilst taking part in topical discussions and tasks. As listed in The Good Schools Guide and accredited by Leading Independent Schools, our renowned reputation for providing an outstanding level of care and support to international students is one we take pride in.

To find out more about enrolling your child, speak to our team.