As part of the Boarding Bios series, Form 3 (Year 9) pupil Hannah has shared her story of moving to Oakham School from Germany in September 2021. Having already formed friendships that she knows will last a lifetime, Hannah speaks about her experiences in her new home away from home.
Despite only joining the School this academic year, boarding came naturally to Hannah.
“I actually find boarding really good, because you get to know people much faster when you live with them than if you were just in the same classes.”
“I feel like a lot of people must think it’s really hard to live with your friends because you might end up getting sick of each other, but you get along really well with your House mates, and we haven’t had many arguments or anything.”
“Boarding is quite a normal concept in my country and it’s especially normal to come to the UK because it’s well known for its education and we learn English from a young age.”
“Boarding works really well because you get to know people on a deeper level right from the start and I feel like I’m already really close friends with everyone.”
Since coming to England, Hannah has enjoyed sharing her culture and experiences with her friends.
“Despite Germany being so close, there are definitely some cultural differences living in England. I love Christmas in Germany because there are lights everywhere and the markets are always amazing. I’ve also lived in America and they go really big at Halloween, so I’ve been bringing some of these traditions into my House this year and I’ve been celebrating with my friends.”
“My roommate and I like to decorate our room and make it really homely and festive which is really fun. There are some things that end up being quite similar even though we’re from different backgrounds and it’s really nice to share our cultures and traditions with each other.”
Whilst Hannah enjoys the busyness and excitement of the week, weekends are always a highlight for her.
“I would say my favourite thing about boarding is the weekends, because we still have classes on Saturdays but you’re with your friends and we have a really good time. Hanging out with my friends outside of class, whether that be in our Boarding House or when we’re out, is really fun.”
“It’s nice to have the freedom to do what we want at the weekends too; we enjoy doing everything from going into Oakham town centre to watching a movie in House and you never feel like you’re alone or are being left out. It also never feels like you’re doing the same thing so it’s really nice that we never feel like we’re bored or that we want to go home, because our House becomes our home.”
“In our House it’s not like there’s two separate groups of friends, it really is like one big family.”
With her Boarding House feeling like home, Hannah finds she doesn’t get homesick because she’s with her friends.
“I surprisingly don’t really get that homesick. Right when I first came to Oakham School I told my roommates that I’m from Germany and it was quite fun because they wanted to learn some German words and I feel like talking about my home and culture meant I was able to share it and celebrate it rather than feeling sad that I’m not there.”
“I’ve met two girls here that I travel with now who are also from Germany and I’m able to speak with them in German so it kind of makes you not miss it as much and not get worried that you’re going to forget the language.”
Oakham School has allowed Hannah to reignite some of her passions from her previous school and try many new activities.
“I really enjoy playing hockey because it’s something I’d never done before but I find it really fun. I’m also getting back into football which I’ve enjoyed playing for years back in my previous school, so that’s really exciting.”
“Since joining Oakham School I’ve also realised how much I love art and I’m looking forward to taking more lessons in the Art Department over the next few months.”
“Since you’re always living at the School as you’re boarding here there’s so much available and there’s always more of an opportunity to be engaged in lots of different subjects and activities.”
Whilst she is a boarding pupil, Hannah stays well connected with her family and sees them often.
“Travelling home to Germany is always quite easy and it’s a fairly short trip so I can go there quite regularly for Long Leave Out weekend. Sometimes I’ll choose to stay in the UK and go to London, because I have a friend there and my parents will fly over here quite a lot too because it’s so close.”
The bonds Hannah has made in her House are, and always will be, very special to her.
“You experience so much more with your friends in House, because it’s not like you’re just in lessons with them; you see so much of their lives and you get to share the highs and lows with them.”
“I have a couple of friends who also like doing tennis so now we play tennis together on Wednesdays and it’s nice because you get to experience different things with different people.”
“The bonds you make with everyone around you are so special in the House I’m in. Even if you’re not as close with some people, you always know where to go if you need to talk to someone, and you know that there’s always someone that’s there for you.”
Find out more about Boarding at Oakham School.