From Prague to Downe House – Ester’s story

“I have always wanted to come and study in the UK so when I got the chance to apply for a scholarship trip to Downe House, I did not hesitate.” Ester, Global Exchange student from the Czech Republic

21 January 2020

In the second part of the ‘From Prague to Downe House’ story, it’s time to find out about the experience of the second of our two Global Schools’ Exchange students from the Johannes Kepler Grammar School in the Czech Republic. Ester spent the whole of the Michaelmas term at Downe House living the life of a Sixth Form boarder and here is her story.

“My first impression of Downe House was that it was huge with so many classrooms, boarding houses and every facility I could possibly think of, with more besides! The second impression was how friendly everyone was towards me and the very warm welcome from all the staff and students which immediately made me feel at home.

I have always wanted to come and study in the UK so when I got the chance to apply for a scholarship trip to Downe House I did not hesitate. I was very attracted by the thought of studying just four subjects as we study 12 at my school in Prague. I chose to study Maths, French, History of Art and Textiles and have really enjoyed all of them. In History of Art, which is a new subject for me, I have learned to look at artworks from a different point of view with a more analytical approach. Textiles has been my favourite subject and I have rediscovered my passion for art and being creative. In the Textiles lessons, I have made a jumpsuit using a pattern and fabric that I bought during a trip to Camden Market. I proudly wore the jumpsuit on Mufti Day and will definitely be making more of my own clothes from now on.


Boarding is great because you don’t have to waste time travelling to and from school and there is always something to do. There seems to be more time to get involved in lots of different activities and the Housestaff and teachers really encourage you to join in. I have really enjoyed swimming – although of course I could swim before I came here, my style and speed have improved, and I aim to continue to develop this skill when I go home. I have also really enjoyed the dance classes and the discussions at the Literature Societies.

I think what makes Downe House unique is the way that staff really care about every girl and try to help everyone find out what they are good at and then find ways to help them develop. The Housestaff did an amazing job making this feel like home and spending so much time in the school environment made me feel more motivated. I have really enjoyed my time at Downe House and would like to thank everyone for making it such a special experience and look forward to staying in touch with all the friends I have made.”

Discover more about the Global Schools’ Exchange Programme

Tours & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.

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