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Home Away From Home: Ten top boarding tips from Taunton international students

Posted: 15th October 2021

A child laughing at the table

Taunton School International Graduate Resident Assistant Ben Wilkinson speaks to a number of international boarders about their experience of joining a UK school and what advice they would give to prospective new students

International students who join a school in the UK have a lot to be proud of: landing in a new country with a different culture, language and food is no small task. While learning in an unfamiliar environment can be unsettling at first, schools like Taunton can become a true ‘home away from home’ for boarders. They are, of course, supported by many caring, diverse friends and dedicated staff, but the cultural challenges they face cannot be underestimated.

I spoke to a group of our international boarders, including Shynar from Kazakhstan, Camil from France, Gabi from the US, Bryan from Switzerland and Costanza from Italy, who helped me collate these tips to understand how they came to settle in their lives at Taunton School: some are new to these challenges, some far more experienced. All are hardworking fascinating young people, and all have something to give to our world, whether big or small.


I asked them this; if you could give yourself one tip before coming to Taunton School that would have helped you in one way or another, what would it be?’

  1. Set up a sleeping plan, and stick to it! It will be hard enough to get used to the routine; you need to plan it out.
  2. Don’t worry about trying to fit in. Eventually you will realise everyone finds their place in the house and becomes a part of the diverse whole.
  3. Learn how to tie a tie (yes, both boys and girls!). Everyone wears ties, and they’re harder than you would think!
  4. Get yourself a clock or a watch (not a smart one!). You won’t always have your phone on you, and ‘time flies when you’re having fun!’ Don’t run out of it!
  5. Don’t lose contact with your friends back at home. They love you, remember them and keep in touch.
  6. Make friends with someone who doesn’t speak your language, and speak English! Those ‘L1 Home Language Demerits’ aren’t there to catch you out but to help you get better!
  7. Get into the habit of studying early; your exam period will be much easier if you already have your ‘groove’.
  8. Realise that the British weather isn’t great. You always need to carry an umbrella or rain coat; you never know when you’ll get caught out!
  9. Always concentrate fully in lessons. You will appreciate it enormously when it comes to studying for exams.
  10. Set goals, create habits and always work hard. You’ll look back on an amazing time studying if you do.

Time at school, whether home or away, is very important: not just for your academic grades, but for the friends you will make in the process. Take time to enjoy these moments in your school, especially if you’re a part of another culture, and give as much as you are given. You’ll enjoy your time all the more if you follow a few of these tips.

Learn more about boarding at Taunton School here.

Do you have any specific questions about life as an international student at Taunton School? Email our friendly admissions team on admissions@tauntonschool.co.uk to find out more.

Categories: Blog International Senior Sixth Form
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