Exchange students have a taste of British boarding
During the Lent Term, we were delighted to welcome six Global Exchange students from our partner schools in Australia, Netherlands and China.
The girls spent between two and four weeks living in the Upper School boarding houses and following a full academic timetable, and took part in a host of extra-curricular activities in the evenings and at weekends, including trips to London, Bath and Oxford.
Opportunities to travel bring the benefits of discovering many aspects of a different culture and, as no two countries education systems are the same, students often find themselves studying subjects for the first time.
Titi from YK Pao School in Shanghai said, “I really liked the Design and Technology classes which I hadn’t done before and I enjoyed making a small light by myself. The teacher was very friendly and gave me lots of help and I felt as though I had really achieved something when I finished the project.” Girls are encouraged to join in with everything and sporty Char from the Methodist Ladies College played in an U15 Hockey match and took part in two swimming galas during her stay, whilst Anna from Dr Nassau College in the Netherlands enjoyed horse riding during the exeat with Tilly, her equally horse-mad Exchange Buddy.
Many of the visiting students attend day schools back home and so Downe House is their first experience of a full boarding school which is often very different from their experience, and provides more time for extra-curricular activities.
Ruby from the Methodist Ladies College in Melbourne said, “In Australia, I go to a day school which starts at 8.15am and finishes at 3.30pm so one of the highlights of my trip to Downe House was having time after lessons to spend getting to know the girls in my boarding house. Everyone was so lovely and we had a lot of fun, especially when we all went out to play in the snow.” Another of the students, Emma, also from Dr Nassau College in the Netherlands agreed, “Downe House is so different from my school – I don’t normally wear a uniform, I’m in a mixed day school and I noticed that the students here ask a lot more questions but it was a wonderful experience to be in such a different environment.”
Depending on the timing of their visit, students often spend time with their Exchange Buddy’s family and visit their Buddy’s home and other places in the UK. Belinda, from YK Pao School spent an exeat weekend with Vasilisa, whose family took her to see the West End musical, ‘Les Misérables’ and to the Natural History Museum in London which she really enjoyed. Anna from Dr Nassau College said, “The highlight of my trip was the exeat weekend when I stayed with such a lovely family in Dorset who were amazing and looked after me so well.”
Ms Marya Akhtar, Director of the Higher Education and Global Initiatives Department said, “We have thoroughly enjoyed welcoming all of the girls to Downe House and without exception, they have all made friends and become involved with boarding school life. The girls were fortunate to be here for our House Music competition which is really quite a spectacle and I know they all were impressed with the event. They also had a wonderful time over the exeat weekend and I would like to thank all the Exchange Buddies and their families who hosted our visitors. In this second half of term, we are hosting a group of girls joining us from Germany, Sweden, South Africa and USA.”