Oakham School is providing a behind-the-scenes look at a UK boarding school with the launch of its brand new interview series, The Boarding Bios.
Through talks with pupils and anecdotes from boarders, Oakham School is exploring what it’s really like to board in the 21st century and what opportunities this can present for young people.
In the first interview of the series, The Boarding Bios looks at how boarders can often grow independence quicker and find their own voice from a young age with Form 6 pupil Giulia.
Giulia, who is originally from Italy, joined the School last September because she wanted to improve her English and her parents wanted her to have the boarding experience.
There were many reasons for Giulia to board, but she was still nervous at the thought of it initially.
“This is my first time boarding and I didn’t really know that much about it, because no one from my previous school boarded and I hadn’t met many people who had done it before. I was quite worried at first because it’s a very different way of living.”
“I prefer being a boarder to a day pupil now. I think it’s a lot more fun and I feel like you grow up more quickly when you board, because you learn to make your own decisions and to be independent.”
Whilst native to Italy, Giulia had most recently gone to school in Germany and has lived in several countries over the years.
“My old school in Germany was very small compared to Oakham and there weren’t as many subjects available. I feel like Oakham is a much more rounded school and it has so many more facilities than where I was before.”
“In Germany the teaching method is also quite different to here, because now we learn in a much more interactive way and students work together more collaboratively. The relationship between pupils and teachers is a bit more established here too and you always feel like you can ask them anything.”
“British education has a prestigious reputation, especially British boarding schools, and that was definitely a big factor in mine and my parents’ decision for me to come here.”
Giulia is enjoying the variety of subjects and opportunities that are available to her.
“I’m currently studying the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma and I study Biology, English and Business at Higher Level which are all subjects I really enjoy here.”
“I find that boarding has really helped me from an academic perspective, because I can go to evening study groups and I have good access to resources and facilities whenever I need them. You feel very supported being at the School 24/7.”
“There are also teachers who live at the School so they’re always up for helping you and are around if you need them.”
In her free time, Giulia is kept very busy with activities, sports and enjoying down time with friends from her House.
“As an activity at the School I take part in the Voluntary Action programme and we work with a charity called Phab which arranges events and social activities for disabled children to. I really enjoy the volunteering side of things and it’s really nice that we get the opportunity to do this at School.”
“I’m also really into my sports, so I do football and hockey which are great fun.”
“In House, we like to chill out and watch movies together in our Common Room but we’ve also got a really nice kitchen which is a great space to hang out in.”
“We also like to go out for lunch. People say that Oakham as a town is quite small but there’s still loads to do here and it’s really nice to have the opportunity to go to new places that aren’t just within the School grounds. There are a lot of nice places to explore here and some great spots to eat at.”
“Mrs Roe, our Housemistress, buys us puzzles quite a lot which we have loads of fun doing as a House. We have a jigsaw going at the minute and everyone just adds to it as and when they can, which is really fun. It’s nice because it’s something that everyone joins in on and we finish it as a team.”
Whilst she loves being out and about, Giulia has learnt a lot from the girls in her House.
“My favourite part about the House I’m in is the kitchen – it has this really homely feeling for all of us and we love to spend time together in here. As well as that, it has to be the people, because everyone here is so nice and accepting. There’s a lot of different cultures and different people and that’s really lovely.”
“In our kitchen we’ve got different clocks on the wall for all of the international pupils so we can see what time it is back home. People you’re in House with have lived all over the place, so sometimes we’ll just sit down and tell each other stories from where we’ve been and everything. You really do learn something new every day here from the people you live with.”
Through talking about her culture and listening to stories from her peers, Giulia shares a special bond with her boarding friends.
“You spend time with people in your House every day, so even after I’d been here only a month it felt like I’d known everyone for so much longer! Because we’re around each other all of the time and we share so many things together it really helps to create a special bond.”
“I also love the fact that I’m always surrounded by people as well, because I’m a very sociable person.”
Find out more about Boarding at Oakham School.