Jerudong International School guarantees an excellent boarding experience for every student
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Jerudong International School guarantees an excellent boarding experience for every student

As a parent, it’s important to choose a school that not only excels academically but will offer your child the care and support they need to grow. For Malaysian mother Boon Hong Ng, it was imperative to strike the right balance for her son, Isaac. After living in Texas for a period of time, she and her family moved to Brunei and were searching for a school that would offer their children a well-rounded, international academic experience.

Jerudong International School (JIS) was at the top of her list. Established in 1997, JIS is one of the best choices in Asia for a British international day and boarding school education. It’s achieved the Patron’s Accredited Member status with the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) and recently became the first school in the world to gain three Beacon School Status awards — a prestigious prize that marks a “truly exceptional” institution. JIS received awards in student welfare, boarding, and extracurricular enrichment and engagement.

JIS is also renowned for being inherently international. Currently, it is home to 1660 students from 55 different countries. Benjamin Hinoul, a JIS graduate who is now a student at the University of Cambridge, became well-accustomed to meeting like-minded students from all over the world as a boarder here. “It was pretty easy to meet new people,” he shares. “If you make the effort to talk to and be around people — which is fairly easy when you’re living with them — you’ll quickly realise that everyone is open to accepting someone new into their lives.”

Benjamin Hinoul – proud to be studying at Homerton College, the university of Cambridge. Source: Jerudong International School

A comprehensive boarding environment

Hinoul graduated with an IB Diploma JIS in July 2022, now in his first year at university, he feels well prepared after boarding at Jerudong International School in Brunei — which he says closely mirrors that of his boarding years. The most valuable skill he gained from JIS? Learning to manage his time around other people’s schedules.

“Time management is important as an IB student, but when living with your best mates, you have to structure your life around them as well,” he explains. “It is easy to manage your life when it is just you, but now you have to account for when your friends might be practising music, having an important online interview, or the fact that you promised the year eight kid to help him with his homework.”

It’s something he still practices at university. “You are trying to meet new people, join clubs, and do a degree,” he continues. “You might want to schedule your day by the hour, but if you schedule your one-hour organic chemistry revision at the same time as when your next-door organ player is practising, that is ineffective time management. I now know just as much about my neighbour’s schedule as I do my own because of this.”

Like his experience in Boarding at JIS, Benjamin has found a close cohort of friends in Cambridge. Source: Jerudong International School

Head of Boarding and Boarding Housemistress Beenal Roberts says cultivating an accepting environment is critical. “Boarding provides an opportunity for students to be part of a community who experience different cultures, activities, and opportunities that are different from day students,” she says. “They are able to develop skills and learn independence in a safe and secure environment that will help them when they start at university.”

Part of this is cultivating an environment that prioritises the student’s well-being. Roberts states that they have implemented an open-door policy, ensuring their availability to students whenever they require assistance in addressing their daily concerns that could potentially affect their overall well-being. In addition, JIS organises various engaging activities such as crafts, baking, sports, and trips to facilitate meaningful conversations among students, foster stronger bonds with their peers, and allow them the necessary time and environment to recharge and refresh.

All the while, they keep in close contact with their parents — something Ng greatly appreciates. “We have daily phone conversations with Isaac just before he turns in his gadgets,” she says. “For everything else, the housemaster is very approachable. We always communicate through emails. This open communication helps parents understand what happens in school.”

Boarding parent Boon Hong Ng and her children are satisfied with the JIS experience. Source: Jerudong International School

A rigorous academic experience

JIS has an excellent academic reputation that spans IB, A-Level and IGCSE examinations. In 2022, IB scores at JIS averaged 35.4 — three points above the world IB school average. A-Level results are just as impressive: 43.5% of all grades awarded were A* to A.

Hinoul was an IB student who was naturally drawn to the physical sciences — something he now pursues at university. During his IB years, however, he picked maths as a higher-level (HL) subject and found it slightly more rigorous than his science courses. It was his pure maths teacher who changed his perspective.

“She was really good at showing you where your weaknesses were,” he explains. “The level of understanding and attention to detail expected in her class has helped me form good revision habits that still help me with my studies in university.”

When classes end, boarding tutors actively engage with the student’s academic progress by providing both structure and balance in their daily lives. “The structured schedule makes Isaac more time efficient, and he manages his school work and after-school activities without wasting any commute hours,” says Ng. “It is also pleasant to see how he learns to be independent in his learning and also has a nice group of friends in the boarding house.”

The result? Bright, high-achieving, responsible and empathetic students who are ready to take the next step in their lives. “I would say that the boarding experience has prepared Isaac for future university life,” Ng says of her son. “We are confident that he is ready for college.”

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