Bellerbys College students share their experience of life at a private school in the UK.
When it comes to making educational choices for their children, more and more families are opting for a private school in the UK.
Giving their child a high-quality private education in a country well-known for its academic excellence is an important factor, but families also care about the everyday experience.
What will studying at an independent school be like?
We tracked down some students at Bellerbys College and asked them to share their personal experiences of life at a private school in the UK.
Studying away from home can seem like an overwhelming experience. Abegail Tan felt this way when she first arrived at Bellerbys:
“I was shy and uncomfortable. As much as I aspired to study abroad, it was particularly difficult for me to step out of my comfort zone during my first few months in school. Like many international students, it was hard for me to leave the comfort of the familiar in favour of the unknown.”
You're not alone
However, one of the helpful aspects about being at an international private school in the UK is that other students are facing the same experience.
The strong independent school community was what helped Abegail to feel more positive: “I started to meet the most amazing people from various places around the world (diversity – one of the things I love about Bellerbys). Together with these friends, we explored all the interesting things London has to offer! That includes theatrical plays (especially Les Miserables), music festivals, history museums, food markets, and all the culturally rich places ranging from the iconic London Bridge to the more edgy Camden Town.”
A strong support network
Another Bellerbys student, Meftah, who comes from Libya, mentions the support he has received from students and staff alike: “I can seek help from everyone! My teachers, my classmates and my friends, there is always someone who will know the answer.”
Like Abegail, one of the first things Meftah noticed about attending private school in the UK was the diversity: “One of the best things about studying at Bellerbys is being surrounded by people from all over the world. Not only does this mean that I learn about different cultures and traditions, but it also means that I can collect knowledge from many different sources to help me with my study.”
A chance to gain independence
While independent schools offer a nurturing environment and strong sense of community, students also have an opportunity to learn independent skills they need for the future. Meftah said: “Before I came to the UK, I didn’t have to think about finance, cooking or making big decisions by myself, but now I do everything on my own.”
A community of like-minded high achievers
Achievement is always at the forefront for independent schools, and students often benefit from being in a high-achieving environment. As Meftah says: “The students here are high achievers and big dreamers. When I see people around me dreaming of big things, I can’t help but dream big too. When you’re surrounded by the best, you will be better.”
At private schools in the UK, these high levels of aspiration and achievement are boosted by the range of additional resources available. Meftah says: “There is a Medical Club which gives us extra support in studying to become a doctor as well as advice on how to get volunteer work to support our application to medical school.”
Abegail is a great example of the positive effect this has – she is now a final-year BSc student at the prestigious Goldsmiths College in London. And she credits her time at Bellerbys for her success: “I’m enjoying the whole university experience both academically and socially. I have Bellerbys to thank for that.”
A great decision
For many students, studying in the UK is one of the best decisions they ever make. While the experience may be daunting at first, the schools are well equipped to help new students settle in and really make the most of their time in the UK.
And while it’s often the highest achievers who choose to study abroad, independent schools don’t simply let them rely on existing success, but provide the tools they need to excel even further, and continue into a prestigious and fulfilling university career.