Should Your Teen Go To Board­ing School?

Send­ing your teenager away to study abroad can be a life-chang­ing mo­ment for the both of you. So, al­ways lis­ten to your teen’s wishess be­fore mak­ing such a big de­ci­sion!

Herworld (Malaysia) - - HER STORY -

For years, par­ents have been send­ing their chil­dren to study at board­ing schools over­seas. Those who can af­ford it don’t think twice as they feel this op­por­tu­nity builds their child’s char­ac­ter, and the ex­po­sure adds to his or her knowl­edge. Some may also see board­ing schools as a step­ping stone to uni­ver­sity.

But with more and more in­ter­na­tional schools sprout­ing up in Malaysia, do par­ents still see the need to send their kids away to board­ing schools abroad? We speak to Stephanie Cheah, the spokesper­son of the British Ed­u­ca­tion and Schools Show in Asia (BESSA), to learn how study­ing abroad would con­trib­ute to the de­vel­op­ment of to­day’s teens.

HER WORLD WHAT ARE THE KEY EL­E­MENTS OF GO­ING TO BOARD­ING SCHOOL THAT WILL BEN­E­FIT A TEEN?

Stephanie Cheah: “The main el­e­ment is in­de­pen­dence be­cause in board­ing school, you have to think for your­self but within a struc­tured en­vi­ron­ment. You’re also given the op­por­tu­nity to make your own choices, from the things you study to how you spend your ex­tra time. Board­ing schools also pro­vide good fa­cil­i­ties and op­por­tu­ni­ties in terms of in­tern­ships and ac­cess to in­flu­en­tial role mod­els.”

HW: BUT NOT MANY FAM­I­LIES CAN AF­FORD THE FEES AND LIV­ING EX­PENSES. ARE THERE SCHOL­AR­SHIPS?

SC: “A schol­ar­ship is one way to get into board­ing schools. And there are aca­demic, arts and sports schol­ar­ships avail­able de­pend­ing on the school. How­ever, typ­i­cally th­ese schol­ar­ships do not cover a huge per­cent­age of the to­tal fees.”

HW: IT’S SAID THAT MORE TEENS GO THROUGH DE­PRES­SION THAN BE­FORE. WOULD STUDY­ING ABROAD AF­FECT A CHILD EMO­TION­ALLY, ES­PE­CIALLY WITH THEIR LIVES BE­ING SO DIG­I­TALLY-DRIVEN?

SC: “Men­tal health has a lot to do with pres­sure and work, and now it also links to the dig­i­tal age. Teens to­day are pretty much alone. Per­haps yes, those who at­tend board­ing schools do have to min­gle more with their peers and they’ll learn more from each other, but I have to say that it truly de­pends on the sit­u­a­tion at home. Some par­ents may feel that send­ing their kids away will help them through dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions at home, but they for­get that teens may feel de­jected from be­ing sent away. So, it truly de­pends on the im­pe­tus on mak­ing the de­ci­sion and most im­por­tantly, whether your child buy into it. Is he or she ready and is this the path they would like to em­bark on?”

HW: WE HEAR OF MANY LEAD­ERS WHO AT­TENDED BOARD­ING SCHOOLS IN THEIR YOUTH. DO YOU THINK IT’S THE STRUC­TURED EN­VI­RON­MENT IN SUCH SCHOOLS THAT CRE­ATES GOOD LEAD­ERS?

SC: “I think you do learn cer­tain skills in a board­ing school, such as be­ing tol­er­ant. And it’s great to spend parts of your child­hood abroad where the mind­set is more open. Stu­dents at board­ing schools also seem to be more aware of global is­sues and have a bet­ter op­por­tu­nity to stand out and lead, as the classes are smaller (only be­tween five and 10 stu­dents per class) com­pared to day schools. Board­ing schools also have many in­flu­en­tial lead­ers in their alumni, who come back and speak to cur­rent stu­dents about their ex­pe­ri­ences.”

HW: WHAT SHOULD TEENS KNOW ABOUT GO­ING TO BOARD­ING SCHOOL AND HOW SHOULD THEY PRE­PARE FOR IT?

SC: “They should first know what to ex­pect. Go visit the school and learn about it. Speak to past or present stu­dents to gain knowl­edge from their ex­pe­ri­ence. Par­ents should also make sure their kids are pre­pared aca­dem­i­cally, so that there isn’t too much of a shock once school be­gins. It’s good to note that aca­demic grades to qual­ify vary from school to school. Some may be more fo­cused on achieve­ments in sports, while oth­ers place more em­pha­sis on grades. It truly de­pends on which school your teen would like to at­tend.

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