There are many benefits to letting your child experience boarding school for a part, or all, of their journey growing up. The immersive environment, bolstered often by a well-equipped campus and proximity to classrooms and educators, allows students to learn important life skills, from independence and managing their time to critical thinking and how to navigate social situations effortlessly. While a focus on academic excellence is a plus, various extracurricular activities at their doorstep let them fully explore their potential as artist, athlete, advocate, and more.
Should they falter or fall, expert counsellors provide invaluable lessons on how to get back up, with no shortage of friends to step in for more encouragement and empathy. With all these positive attributes to sending your child to boarding school, the real question is around which institution to choose.
Hills International College, located in the heart of Jimboomba in South-East Queensland, would be a prime choice. The Australian co-educational school has students from Prep to Year 12, with a 650-strong student body. With the warm motto of “A place to belong,” the school prides itself on offering world-class education and boarding for global citizens. “Hills International College displays many characteristics which make it unique,” says Mr Kevin Lynch, Principal and CEO. “We are committed to providing quality academic and sporting opportunities where all students can excel in an environment where language, culture and activities are shared. By enabling young people of different cultures to mix and learn from each other, the College is preparing a new generation of genuinely global citizens.”
Hills’ focus on wellbeing boosts the general friendliness of the environment. Although students come from all over the world with diverse nationalities, cultures, ages, and interests, everyone feels supported and cared for by friends, peers and staff alike. It’s the similarities among themselves that are emphasised, empowering students to develop a better understanding of culture, language and empathy for one another. “Your child will be part of a safe, supportive community, where we explicitly teach and model the fundamental values of our College: live with compassion; act with integrity; work with diligence; strive for success,” says Mr Ben Pope, Head of Wellbeing.
The on-site boarding team ensures this. They are dedicated to helping each child with their education, development, daily living, emergencies, or personal matters that arise. Clear policies on areas such as codes of conduct, anti-bullying, child protection and more, provide the research and clarity to help them carry out these crucial duties. Recently, the Wellbeing Team introduced therapy dogs into the school environment, making them one of the few schools in Australia with such a programme.
In the boarding houses, for both male and female students, the motel-style facilities are a short stroll from the College campus and each unit has two four-person rooms. The accommodation includes a shared kitchen and a large communal bathroom area with private cubicles for showers.
Each of the boarding houses is supervised by at least two adults 24 hours a day, and they also supervise study sessions three or four nights a week. Privacy is guaranteed, and student safety is paramount. While they have the freedom to leave the school, these excursions and fortnightly shopping trips are supervised (though with no shortage of fun).
Hills boasts an extensive variety of sports, including basketball, netball, golf, and volleyball. The Hills Golf Academy gives youth the chance to explore state-of-the-art golf coaching training programmes and compete on a larger level. The programme has a golf training package which works in tandem with secondary school education, which is the school’s way of balancing the game with academic priorities. You get the best of both worlds.
The Hills Golf Academy has a holistic approach to the sport which aims to maximise the strengths and minimise the weaknesses of players. Hills graduate Ashley Lau continued her collegiate golf career at the University of Michigan, ranking 26th on the World Amateur Golf Ranking. She managed to secure a place in the Q-Series with a T18 and recently relinquished her amateur status, moving closer to her dream of playing on the LPGA Tour.
Mrs Vanessa Newbery, Head of International Programs, sees the value in encouraging sports and activities outside of academics. “The Hills Golf Academy Programme takes a holistic approach to golf education, combining extensive physical and psychological training, biomechanics and technical development,” she says. “There are plans to further develop the Volleyball Excellence Programme to incorporate a Volleyball Academy, in a similar manner to the Golf Academy.”
Volleyball games are held on the new multi-purpose court. Training happens every Monday afternoon and is open to the entire student body. Students choose a sport they have an affinity for and are encouraged to try everything at least once. This expands the opportunities students have to explore a diverse array of things they can do with their future.
With a variety of paths they can undertake at Hills International College (there is even the option to explore vocational education and training), every student heads towards their goals and ambitions with ample support. Boarding at the school gives students that added layer of advantage.
“I made many friends and learnt a lot about culture and myself. I spent a lot of time learning English, practising on the golf course and making friends,” says graduate Mo Limpipolpaibul. “We still hang out to this day even though we’re from different parts of the world. I miss those two years a lot. Those two years at Hills College made me who I am right now.”
To join Hills International College, click here to apply now.