Starting boarding school is an exciting experience – moving to a new place, taking on new subjects, meeting new people – and if you’re going abroad for your studies then familiarising yourself with the culture and your new settings is important too. But don’t worry – boarding school is not an experience that you go through alone! Your school will become your home away from home and you’ll have the chance to meet diverse and interesting people who can end up becoming your friends for life!

The friends you make at boarding school will share your classes with you, be on your team when you’re learning new sports, help you choose from the varied and fun extra-curricular activities, and will be there to explore your exciting new school buildings and the beautiful grounds where you will be living.

So if you’re heading off to boarding school in the UK, it might be worth familiarising yourself with the types of people you could meet, and how they can help you make your time at boarding school an experience of a lifetime:

1. Best Friend

Every student has that one special friend who’s on exactly the same wavelength. It’s a connection that sparks instantly, and you’ll probably be able to determine who your best friend for life will be within minutes of walking through those grand entrance doors.

Boarding school is the perfect place to make friends and you can be assured you will be part of a welcoming and friendly student community. You’ll make friends from all around the globe and will get the opportunity to connect with a diverse group of people, who will support you through your boarding experience.

2. Head Boy/Girl

You’ll be able to spot the Head Boy or Girl, or your House Captain almost immediately- the one proudly sporting that big shiny badge on the top pocket of their blazer. The Head student’s job is to support the Headmaster and staff, whilst ensuring every pupil feels welcome and settled within their new environment.

The Head Boy/Girl or the House Captain at boarding schools in the UK are generally chosen for their academic achievements, on top of their all-round contribution to the school. They are a really good friend to have; if you have any issues or questions that you want to chat through, the Head student is always on hand – they will support you through anything and everything, and it’s just good to get to know someone who was once in your position. Having a caring student community means that you can ensure you are always supported and feel welcomed and safe during your time at boarding school.

It’s also good to remember that one day you could be in the head student position! International boarding schools provide you with the opportunity to build your leadership and entrepreneurship skills, helping you succeed and set yourself apart for the future.

3. The Extra-Curricular Extraordinaire

This one is easy to spot- they’re the one making a mad dash through the corridors to get to their next extra-curricular activity!

They’re highly active and are always involved in something fun and exciting – art, music, drama, debating, writing and more! They are the Kings & Queens of clubs and societies, so if you want to make the most of your time at boarding school and develop your passions they will be able to help you find something that’s the perfect fit for your interests.

Extra-curricular programmes are a fundamental part of life at boarding school in the UK. The Extra-Curricular Extraordinaire makes the most of everything on offer; broadening the student life experience through the wide range of activities, clubs, societies, courses, performances and visits – all of which you can be a part of too!

Clubs and programmes can vary depending on your school, but can include activities such as:

  • Scriptwriting
  • Literary festivals
  • Choir
  • Tech Club
  • Theatre & set design
  • Debating
  • Digital photography

As you can see, the Extra-Curricular Extraordinaires know how to keep themselves busy! Boarding school isn’t just about the things you learn in the classroom, but the fun you can have developing your interests – with so many clubs and activities on offer you’re bound to find the perfect hobby to help broaden your horizons!

4. The Sports Fan

The Sports Fan should be the easiest to spot as they’re the one always donning a sports kit. He seems to be wearing a different kit each day, ready for action in any number of different sports. This guy is full of energy, always on the move, seeking out the best opportunity for some friendly sporting competition. If sports are your passion then you can be guaranteed that you’ll be joining forces and representing the school on the track, the field and in the pool.

Sport is an integral part of the boarding school experience as it is a contest fought on the battleground of the body, the mind and the heart. The sports taught at boarding school are not only great to compliment your studies but also help keep you fit and healthy, as well as teaching you vital self-knowledge, and lessons that stay with you your whole life through. 

The Sports Fan has found his home in boarding school because there are just so many sports on offer to get involved with, and if you want to develop your sports skills too, or take up a new sport then there are plenty to pick from:

  • Rugby
  • Swimming
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Cricket
  • Hockey
  • Athletics
  • Basketball
  • Shooting
  • Archery

Boarding school sports teams often attract the best; the most superb young competitors who go on to represent their county or their country. But of course, not everyone is brilliant at sport, and the thing about the boarding school environment is that those who aren’t as good are just as important as those who are. Boarding school coaches never lose sight of the fact that there’s not really any point to sport if it isn’t any fun – so even if you’re totally new to a sport you’ll have the opportunity to get involved and learn those skills you’re looking for!

5. The Artist

The Artist is also relatively easy to spot – they just love to express themselves, and boarding school is the perfect environment for them to develop their talents.

Their hobby and absolute passion lies solely with their art, and one day they hope to be able to make it their full-time job as well. The Artist is a member of every single extra-curricular art club, and her dedicated teachers will do everything they can to get her onto the creative course of her dreams. If art & design is where your own dreams lie then your boarding school will give you the chance to develop as a unique and intelligent individual, offering you opportunities to explore your creativity alongside your academic studies.  

A UK boarding school will open a world of possibility for the Artist. Work in visual arts will allow you and your arty friend to pursue and explore a wide range of interests and activities. The facilities in the Art Department will be second to none, and you will able to develop skills in fine art, fashion and textiles, digital photography, multimedia forms and sculptures.

6. The Outdoorsy One

The Outdoorsy One might be the most difficult one to recognise because chances are, he’s going to be outside. Born a rugged country lad, this chap just can’t get enough of a thrill from the great outdoors, and nothing can ease his mind like fluttering leaves and lungs full of fresh country air. He’ll love exploring the beautiful boarding school grounds with you; so much room to roam free, but the opportunities presented by the school’s extra-curricular programme are where you can both really start to enjoy the outdoors!

The Outdoorsy One can’t believe how amazing boarding school has been for outdoor activity. He’s achieved his bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh award, and plans are in place to start working on his gold. He has been given opportunity for voluntary work within both nature and the community, which has not only enriched his whole school experience, but also his whole life – voluntary work is a positive attribute he can add to his CV, and who knows where that could see him as he progresses through his future. These opportunities will be open to you too if you want to join him – there’s always more to get involved with!

Outdoor pursuit programmes are incredibly popular in the UK, so the majority of independent schools in the country have something great to offer. Programmes have been developed within the United Kingdom and beyond, with overseas expeditions to places like France for canoeing, Guyana for trekking, and the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. For any outdoor enthusiast, boarding school in the UK is the ideal way to discover exactly what the landscape has to offer.

7. The Teacher

Well, even from the beginning, it’s going to be pretty obvious who the teachers are…the grown up ones? You know, the ones not wearing uniform stood at the front of the class? For any student moving to a whole new environment in an entirely different country can be a daunting experience, but the teaching staff at boarding school are on hand 24/7 to make the transition as comfortable, safe and fun as possible. Not only are these staff your teachers, they also become your friends, as sharing your thoughts and feelings in and out of the classroom means you can’t help forming a close and special bond. Boarding school teachers are committed and professional, on top of genuinely caring for each and every pupil under their supervision.

Teachers at boarding school in particular play a very special role; most UK boarding school students benefit from a team of tutors (or similar), who oversee the development of the pupil in every aspect of their school life. Teachers, with the help of a strong pastoral team, work to offer a safe and friendly environment that you can call ‘Home’.

So there you have it; a quick guide to all the wonderful folk you are guaranteed to meet at boarding school in the UK, and how they can help shape your time at the school. Be sure to get to know everyone you meet and, above all, appreciate their differences, because they really are what makes life interesting! You’ll have the chance to make your greatest friends for life at boarding school, and you’ll all build precious memories that you’ll ever forget!

Prepare yourself for a very British adventure, it’s going to be a lot of fun…