Of course, most students, parents and teachers understand that they will gain a world-class education by attending an international school. However, the experience offers individuals far more than just fantastic academic opportunities; it enables them to develop personal qualities which they may not have been able to elsewhere. We believe in nurturing well-rounded individuals, and arguably, this is equally as important as academia.
As the leading British international school in Hong Kong, we place heavy emphasis on developing personal qualities. While some of the virtues are taught, others develop naturally thanks to the environment within the school and the activities available. The school always endeavours to employ the best teachers, teaching assistant, and pastoral staff, all of whom should fit into our culture, a culture that we have worked hard to establish and maintain. So, what personal qualities an individual expect to gain from attending an international school?
Almost all students would say that they are afforded more independence and freedom than they would be in the UK, for example. Naturally, this is even more relevant for those who board with us and are perhaps living away from home for the first time. Some students, especially younger ones, can find this challenging at first but grow to become far more independent, which in turn brings with it other valuable personal traits.
Less reliance on others
Naturally, greater independence means that students are far less reliant on others which tends to boost their emotional awareness. Being able to trust yourself and not always needing to turn to others for guidance and reassurance is a quality that will remain with students throughout their school life, into university and then in the workplace. It is a quality that admired and will reap many rewards in the students’ personal and professional lives.
Increased self-confidence and assertiveness
Arguably the most valuable personal quality that students gain from attending an international school is increased self-confidence. A lot of this comes from the increased independence, but it is something that we try to teach all pupils and indeed place a great deal of importance on this. Students who display higher self-confidence levels are usually more assertive, another valuable character trait and one which will be well respected throughout their life. It has often been noted that students attending international schools have this quality in abundance, indeed when compared with peers at government-run and state schools.
Increased flexibility and adaptability
In the modern world, we all need to be flexible and adapt to continually changing environments. Students that attend international schools develop this naturally to a certain degree as often they will have lived in different countries, attended different schools and been required to make new friendship groups more frequently. We actively encourage students to show flexibility and adaptability throughout their school careers, stressing their value. Having this character trait in your repertoire usually means that students are more emotionally balanced and able to deal with the challenges that life throws at them.
Greater tolerance and empathy of others
Being able to relate to others and having the ability to show tolerance and empathy for others, even in the most testing of situations, is a valuable skill. Students who attend international schools will mix with individuals from different countries, different religions, and different cultures. Also, students of different ages mix together, meaning that pupils learn to mix with people of age ages from a young age. Having the capacity to relate to and tolerate others, even when they may disagree with their opinions, will help them through their school, university and work lives.
An ability to mix with different races and cultures
Connected to the point above, students will mix with a broad cross-section of society, and indeed, often, pupils don’t identify themselves as being from a particular culture. This broadminded attitude will be an asset in many different areas of their lives. Exposure to such a wide range of influences and cultures would be almost unheard of in a state school in the UK and can play a vital role in a student’s perspective of life and attitude towards others. We actively encourage students to mix, promoting diversity and understanding wherever possible.
Recognising the value of hard work
A common theme which we frequently refer to in our articles is the superb work ethic that our students display and is common amongst students of top international schools around the world. Students are willing to learn and actively encourage other students with their studies. Generally, we would say that behaviour levels are superior to that of most schools in the UK, so this, when combined with the work ethic, is an excellent platform for students to build upon during their life. When students work hard, they typically realise their potential, and most recognise this from a young age.
Students at international schools tend to encourage their peers to a far greater extent. Although there are potentially several reasons for this, it is perhaps because they can relate to one another more and recognise other’s situations. The mere fact that students are happy to offer encouragement also removes some of the barriers to asking for help and guidance. A willingness to ask for help and ask questions helps students gain a broader understanding of subjects. It is a transferable skill that can be utilised throughout their lives.
Appreciating opportunities that you are given
Another personal quality that students tend to gain from international schools is an appreciation that they have been handed an excellent opportunity to develop as an academic and as an individual. Being grateful for this opportunity and recognising that some are perhaps less fortunate than themselves is an admirable character trait and one that can be evident in all aspects of their lives. We find that most of our students never take their education for granted and, as such, go on gain outstanding grades.
Students who have attended an international school are often relatively easy to spot and have some unique personal qualities. On the whole, these are admirable qualities that will stay with them forever.