5 benefits of studying at an international boarding school

Posted on 15th May 2017 in Boarding, International Schools, United Kingdom, United States, EF Academy

A boarding school experience with a multicultural environment has many benefits for students, writes Amy Cullen, Head of Admissions for Europe at EF Academy...

There is no doubt that with increased access to transportation and technology, the world has become more connected. Universities, workplaces and cities are becoming more and more international – and this globalization is making a mark on secondary school education, where international schools and international boarding schools are increasing in popularity among families around the world. The benefits of attending a boarding school may be obvious: a familial feeling in an academic setting, 24/7 supervision, and opportunities for increased independence and responsibility. But when you combine a boarding school experience with a multicultural environment, there are several more benefits for students:

Enhanced classroom lessons

Teachers at international boarding schools know that one of the best ways to help students get the most out of their lesson is to invite them to share their opinions and ideas. Spurring discussions in classes such as history or literature lets students talk about their perspectives, and how these may be shaped by their culture, background and the education they received in their home country. In a multicultural classroom, this means students learn about countries, events and news from people who have lived in the places being discussed. In an international classroom, subject material is flavored with students’ varying experiences and lessons go far beyond what is written in the textbook.

New worldviews

Often, these classroom discussions continue outside of class, perhaps in the dining hall, during clubs or in the residences. The continuous exchange of ideas, experiences and culture lends itself to the evolution of perspectives and worldviews. Students learn new languages from friends and begin to understand their roommate’s religion. Not only do students expand their horizons this way, they also become more tolerant of people and cultures that are “different” and they become much more open-minded. An open mind is a very valuable thing to have in the globalized 21st century.

Improve English fluency

At international boarding schools like EF Academy, English is the language of communication and instruction. And when students from around the world come together to learn, and live, it is likely that their common language will be English – as it is in today’s international offices and companies. Being surrounded by English in class and at “home” promotes fluency in English, which helps students who want to attend a top university in the UK or U.S. or pursue an international career abroad.

Share the experience of being away from home

Moving away from your family can be a difficult decision to make, especially when you consider that you will be in a new environment and perhaps even in a different country. Contrary to being an exchange student or enrolling in a boarding school, at an international boarding school, you will not be the only one who is far away from family and friends. You and your classmates will bond in this shared experience of being away from home and engaging in this progressive form of education. Many EF Academy alumni have said that realizing that they were not alone in experiencing homesickness or culture shock helped them feel more settled and happy at their new school after they arrived. Yes, there are always differences among individuals, especially when they come from different countries, but a common understanding and shared experience can go a long way in helping you feel comfortable, confident and ready to succeed, and it will definitely help you make friends.

An international network of friends

Studying with peers from different corners of the globe means that you will not only have an international network when you graduate high school, start university and enter the career world, it also means that you will have friends wherever you go! The experience you shared is a strong foundation for a lasting friendship, and after studying at an international boarding school, you will have a personal tour guide in virtually every country you visit.

Amy Cullen, Head of Admissions for Europe, realized her passion for international education during her undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the UK, Denmark, Switzerland and Germany. Since then, she has worked on the Admissions Board for Hult International Business School, run her own language training company and has been a member of the global EF Academy admissions team since 2015.

EF Academy Oxford, UK, is a coeducational boarding school for pupils aged 16-19.

EF Academy Torbay, UK, is a coeducational boarding school for pupils aged 14-19.

EF Academy New York is a coeducational boarding schools for pupils aged 14-19.