Boarding students stories: meet Leaf
Leaf came to Saint Michael’s last year to begin studying for her GCSEs. Leaf is part of a growing community of Thai families who are now considering education at boarding schools in England as an alternative to institutions in Australia and New Zealand. Although these English speaking study destinations to the East of Thailand are a lot closer, more families are coming round to the idea of sending their children further away to a boarding school in the UK in pursuit of a prestigious British education.
Leaf grew up in Chang Mai, Thailand’s second city and a bustling business hub. When she came to King’s College Saint Michaels, the calm and peaceful environment took some getting used to but now she says that the relaxing and beautiful scenery that surrounds the school is one of her favourite things about studying at a boarding school in England.
As an international boarding school in the UK, all of the students at Saint Michaels sleep on campus in the residential accommodation. Although the school is small, the fact that all students live on campus means that the boarding houses play a major part in forming a students’ experience whilst they study here. In order to ensure students are happy in the residences, each house has a dedicated student representative who make up the boarding committee. Leaf is the head of one of these residences and her job is to ensure students are happy and comfortable in their home whilst they study at boarding school in England.
“I really enjoy living in the residences. When I decided to move to a boarding school in the UK I wasn’t really sure exactly what to expect and felt quite anxious, but when I arrived I made lots of friends really quickly. We have residential assistants here who are adults that are responsible for the residences. They make sure that everybody is happy and feels at home during their time at Saint Michaels. This year I was elected as the head of residence for my house and one of my responsibilities is to report any problems or issues that the student in my boarding house have during a monthly residential meeting. We sit down with the principal, the Head of Boarding and the rest of his team, and the head student of each residence. These meetings are usually very productive and it means that the students get to voice their opinions on what is good and what needs improving. One of the things I really like about boarding school in the UK is the way staff and students can interact freely with one another.
I also like how multicultural the boarding houses are. Our school is a bit different to most boarding schools in the England because all of the students are international and come from different backgrounds and cultures. Although there aren’t British students here, there aren’t many Thais either so I have to speak in English all day and in the evenings with my friends. My best friends are from Bulgaria and Columbia so we have to speak in English in order to understand each other.
One of the other really great things about being at a boarding school in England is the opportunity to travel. I have been all over the country and seen lots of really interesting places. All of the trips have an educational focus so we get to learn about the places we visit as well as go sightseeing and visit shops and restaurants with friends”