Globalisation has transformed our world and being an active global citizen has never been more important. Living within the diverse Downe House community gives girls the opportunity to understand and appreciate different cultures and to learn to value and embrace diversity. Our full boarding community welcomes girls from 26 different countries who account for around 20% of the total pupil body, which gives everyone the opportunity to build an international network of friends and connections. .

A global outlook is a high priority and the Higher Education and Global Initiatives (HEGI) Department has established a network of 16 partner schools across five continents allowing girls in the Fifth Form to take part in an educational exchange immersing themselves in another culture for two to six weeks during the holidays. Find out more about the Global Schools’ Exchange Programme here. In turn, Downe House warmly welcomes girls from those partner schools to experience the full British boarding school experience.

Over 400 staff from all four corners of the globe bring their own perspective to enrich the community and the girls’ education. The HEGI department has also established a global staff exchange programme which started in 2018 when teacher of English, Dr Andrew Atherton travelled to Australia to partner school, Melbourne Ladies College (MLC) and in return, we welcomed Lauren Maserow, an English teacher from MLC for two weeks in January 2019. The aim is to give staff the opportunity to observe best practice on a worldwide scale which can then be shared with colleagues back at Downe House
Each House is linked to an overseas children’s charity which provides a basis for the girls and staff to raise money for disadvantaged young people and provides an educational opportunity to learn more about their lives. Every other year, each House organises a trip during the summer holidays during which the girls are able to see the work of their charity for themselves and complete volunteering work such as teaching, organising sports and craft activities or mentoring children. In 2019, trips are planned to Malawi, India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
As a community, we celebrate other cultures through a series of days devoted to learning about that country and culture and in recent years, these have focused on India, China, Australia, Italy and Germany. On these days, girls learn about the culture, language, history and politics of the country as well as enjoying specially-themed lunches, musical and sporting activities. Special guest speakers have included the Australian High Commissioner, the Honourable Alexander Downer, Jonny Massey, Headmaster of the New School in Rome, and Katharine Carruthers, Director of the IOE Confucius Institute for Schools.
To encourage the girls to take responsibility for raising awareness of global issues and promoting global citizenship wherever possible in everyday school life, a team of Sixth Form Global Ambassadors is appointed each year. The ambassadors’ duties include giving global news reports in Assemblies, welcoming overseas girls and helping them to settle into life at Downe House, and taking a special interest in the visiting exchange students from our partner schools.
Once a Downe House girl, always a Downe House girl. We have a strong worldwide network of alumnae with whom we keep in touch. Regular reunions are held for year groups around the world and networking is facilitated through our specially-designed alumnae website which shares news and contacts within a private network. A global community indeed!