Why study in the UK?
For over 100 years, students have been coming to the UK to enjoy the benefits of a world-class boarding education.
You’ll see them everywhere. Poised, confident, socially assured, they have an aura of brightness, smartness and success. And whatever job they are doing, you know they are giving it everything, achieving in it and leading a successful life. Once you know what you are looking for, it is not difficult to spot people who have been educated at a UK boarding school. There is a quality about them, a cool, individual, sometimes quirky, self-assurance that perhaps more than anything makes them a pleasure to meet and to get to know.
Tradition and ethos
Schooling of course is about more than just preparing students to be successful in examinations or preparing them for a particular range of career paths. Perhaps more than anything else, UK boarding schools are characterised by the traditions and ethos that they seek to instil in their students. The specifics of these traditions will vary among schools, but there are a number of common themes at their heart. First, UK boarding schools always look to develop the whole person and not just a single aspect of them. However good a boarding school’s academic results are, it will also be striving to create a rounded learning experience by encouraging self-expression, creativity and individuality in its students. Success in sport, the arts and in other areas, such as debate, may be less tangible than examination results, but it is one of the ways in which a student’s independence, confidence and faith in himself or herself is built up.
Another key to instilling self-belief and self-confidence is an emphasis on allowing students to form their own judgment. UK students are encouraged to think about issues on their own and to read widely and then to discuss and defend their points of view.
This concentration on developing the whole person is part of the reason why students who have been to a UK boarding school are so prized by employers. By instilling self-confidence in their students, UK boarding schools teach them to be adaptable, to show leadership and to trust their instincts. In a globalised world in which success is significantly dependent on dealing with large amounts of information and multiple points of view, being able to trust one’s own instinct and be confident in decision-making are very valuable skills.
Finally, at UK boarding schools there is always an emphasis placed on developing social skills. Living together in a multi-age, multicultural community requires that students be helped to develop qualities like kindness, tolerance and responsibility. It is no wonder that the students of UK boarding schools are so recognisable in the outside world.
UK boarding schools offer a wide variety of choice, with every school creating its own unique atmosphere from the combination of academic approaches, facilities on offer and the traditions that each maintains.
To name just a few of the choices, parents and students can select from co-education or single-sex schools, from those with many boarders or those with few, or from those that place an emphasis on, for example, sport or those that are more religiously inclined. Some schools can be very formal, with students, for example, wearing traditional uniform, while others emphasise self-expression. The range varies enormously, but one thing that is certain is that a very good match can always be found to the needs of an individual student.
An excellent investment
All of these qualities contribute to making a UK education an excellent investment. For those boarders who choose to stay in the UK to go to university, the higher education courses here tend to be shorter and more intensive than those in other countries, so they’re more efficient. In addition, international students who are enrolled on any full-time course in Scotland or any full-time course lasting for six months or longer in the rest of the country are often eligible for free healthcare through the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), and can also apply for some of the scholarships and bursaries offered by schools and colleges.
Although some UK boarding schools will offer non-UK qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate, to students who want or need to follow a particular qualification pathway, the general benefit of having UK qualifications is well known internationally. Qualifications such as A-levels are not only recognised throughout the world, but, as a result of the stringent quality assurance systems of UK education, they are also respected.
Multiculturalism and the international language
Another advantage is that students can experience a genuine multiculturalism within boarding schools as well as more broadly in UK society. UK boarding schools are used to welcoming people from all over the world, and the experience of sharing life and study with both British and international students creates a lived multiculturalism that is still quite rare, even in today’s globalised world.
Then, of course, there is the English language. English is the international language of business, of science and of the internet, and there is no better way to learn a language over the long term than to immerse oneself. Boarding schools are also well aware that international students might need short-term help, and they will provide specific tuition courses for new students and support for students experiencing communication difficulties.
Finally, there is the excitement of growing up as part of the UK’s dynamic youth culture, a culture which is famous for its creativity in whichever sphere of life a student may be interested in, with world-famous music, media and sports events to attend and participate in. It is no wonder then that students who have boarded here are so recognisable.