benefits of an international education

The Benefits of a Truly International Education in the UK

There are many benefits of truly international education in the UK. Tim Fish, the Principal of Earlscliffe’s Sixth Form, and Henrietta Lightwood, the Director of International Marketing and Admissions at Dukes Education shared valuable insight on this. 

benefits of an international education

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About Earlscliffe

Earlscliffe is the only international school in Kent and has a stunning seaside location only one hour from Central London. The college offers an environment that is sympathetic to the needs of overseas boarders. 

Earlscliffe’s Principal, Tim Fish, has extensive experience having started his career at St Clare’s in Oxford in 1990. Furthermore, he shared that “When opening Earlscliffe, the College was never going to be anything other than international in composition as energy, ideas, and cultural dynamism are everyday aspects to life in an international school”.

Henrietta Lightwood has worked at some of the top traditional British boarding schools as well as international schools; she has also sat on the Board of the British Council and Metropolis Group

She had this to say about international students; “I really enjoy meeting students from all over the world and interviewing them and their families in their home countries. I personally have learned a lot. In many ways, teenagers are teenagers the world over. However different nationalities can have a different outlook. They end up bringing individual views together and coming to mutual understanding and respect. It is extremely stimulating for young people in our care.”

The college offers an environment that is sympathetic to the needs of overseas boarders. This includes the amount of extra help available in English language to not operating exeat weekends. Lastly, the college also stays open during half-term periods. These aspects are often not taken into account by the traditional boarding schools where the majority of pupils are from the immediate locality.

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Life at Earlscliffe for International Students

Mr Fish, the principal of Earlscliffe shares some of the features that makes Earlsclife a perfect setting and school.

According to him, when setting up Earlscliffe, he took examples of best practice seen in public, independent, UK, international, and US colleges. He was determined that they would only operate an excellent school. 

“Here we help international students with transport, extra teaching support, integration, and food choices for example. The first week for new students is our Orientation Week which culminates in a night away in Oxford for our Year 12 A-level students and in London for our Year 11 one year GCSE students”. 

In addition, the House Managers, who operate our boarding, foster a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Academically the class sizes rarely exceed nine in number.

“We have also looked at the extra-curricular activities we offer our students to ensure they appeal to an international; rather than a purely British audience. There is a wide variety on offer, suitable for all teenagers irrespective of nationality. This ranges from football to yoga and the Model United Nations to Cooking Club”.

Dukes Colleges

Mrs Lightwood adds that “all the Dukes Colleges are international and Colleges like Rochester and Fine Arts are predominately British with fewer international students and Cardiff Sixth Form College attracts top students from all around the globe”. 

Furthermore, she shares that what she really values about International schools is that they understand that students are coming a long way. And as a result, they need extra pastoral care and support. In addition, they provide support such that students can stay at school during half terms and some holidays.

This reduces the need for expensive airfares home and requires more imagination when it comes to food. These schools have made significant changes to accommodate students coming to the UK and communication with parents is often much better.

Boarding Experience

While some boarding schools segregate the UK and international students in their boarding; Mr Fish shares that in his experience, there are more similarities than differences among an international student body.

“However we do offer a varied menu, trying to take into account certain groups’ tastes. Whether that is soups, types of meat and indeed ensuring we offer noodles and rice.  Chopsticks are provided in our dining room for example”. Mr Fish shares

“I have teenagers myself who have been to a wide variety of schools. And indeed are now fortunate to have friends from Hong Kong, Spain, Korea, and Australia.” Mrs Lightwood. 

“Young people are really adaptable and share a lot of commonalities from a social perspective.  They connect online, listen to music together, watch the same fashion or food blogs, or enjoy the same sports. What is special about international schools is that there is no dominant nationality. As a result sharing of culture, ideas and interests happen more naturally.”

International Diversity

Earlscliffe also encourages its students to share their cultures.  The College is a UNESCO school and very much adheres to this mission with Model United Nations; UNESCO Society and Global Affairs. These are just three of its weekly clubs.

benefits of an international education


Furthermore, Mr Fish shares that, all rooms are en-suite singles or twins. Mixing students up helps them to make friends quicker. This ultimately improves integration within the year group. Some of the benefits of international education in the UK definitely includes the bonds and friendships formed. 

“All our international students improve their English skills significantly at Dukes Education Colleges,” said Henrietta Lightwood.  Furthermore, she shared that the colleges offer lots of extra support lessons geared to individual students’ abilities. According to her, when students have to speak English every day to communicate and are living in an English environment; a student’s command of the language significantly improves. 

Finally, she advises parents to support their children with learning the English language.  Doing this before they come, makes the transition easier when they arrive.


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Advantages of an International Education

International education webinar

“International education really does give a young person a global perspective on everything. This really helps them to prepare for successful global careers and it’s really exciting!” adds Mr Fish

 “From my perspective, an international education gives students the ability to speak to a wide variety of people. The ability to connect to people from all over the world, an understanding of different cultures, religions, and backgrounds. It also provides them with friends from all over the world.”- Mr Fish

From my own personal perspective; I find it extremely rewarding to see young people interacting naturally with their peers from different countries. And growing as individuals when they are open to new ideas. This is one of the elements I most value about my own children’s education.” adds Mrs Lightwood

 “It is not that international schools are better than traditional English boarding schools. It is just that international schools are always relevant and appropriate for international pupils; while providing an environment of mutual respect”. – Mrs Lightwood

Indeed there are several benefits of getting an international education in the UK.

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Read Also: How to Choose the right UK Boarding School 

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