Life in the Girls International House

Growing up on the tiny Island of Mauritius, being accepted into Sevenoaks School always felt like an unattainable goal. Fast forward a few years and here I am, sitting on the sofa in the common room of GIH, my boarding house, reflecting on a Lower Sixth year that has just flown by. It is impossible to encapsulate the breadth and depth of the whole experience in a few sentences and do it justice. It has been a unique mix of love and laughter with the special people in your house who soon become your second family and friends for life, combined with a fair dose of stress and occasional tears (hello IB).

One of my main concerns when moving to an environment so different from my own was precisely the fear of being too different and not fitting in. I soon came to realise that all of us at GIH had the same concerns, but it is this diversity which makes the house dynamic so incredibly special. I will admit that having a Spanish friend living just across the hallway definitely comes in handy when panicking the night before your Spanish IB oral exam!

Alongside my young, exploited and underpaid private tutors (aka my amazing friends) my real tutors, whom I have the opportunity to see daily on their evening rounds, have helped and guided me through just about every aspect of my academic life. Whether it is advice on university choices and courses, or simply my lack of knowledge at Theory of Knowledge (!) I can always rely on them to listen carefully and guide me in making the most informed choices. In this respect, I believe being a boarder has broadened my network of support.

Though there are times when a loud and vibrant atmosphere is truly fun, there are countless other times when you need a quiet place to buckle down and concentrate. The bedrooms are well equipped and conducive to study and the school library is only a two-minute walk from GIH. Additionally, after a mentally exhausting day (if you haven’t felt this way before I can assure you the IB will oblige) being able to go for a swim or to the gym at the sports centre helps me to unwind.

Boarding at Sevenoaks is definitely what you make of it. It may sound like a cliché but the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. In my short time here I have already had the opportunity to be involved in a community project working with bright and beautiful children in a remote village in Cambodia. On our trip to Berlin I have been able to get a taste of modern Germany and understand how the country has rebuilt itself, both culturally and economically, since the war. I have also had the chance to explore the Welsh countryside on my Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition (who knew there were so many different types of rain?). Though these trips reflect my personal likes and interests there is a huge and varied list to choose from.

Closer to home, I have had the opportunity to make the most of the extensive range of clubs, societies and lectures that are available. As an example, attending Anthropology Club has sparked a deep curiosity in the way societies function and evolve, to the extent that I now want to study Human Sciences at university.

From our lovely Housemistress’s passive-aggressive, ‘It’s 8:30, get up you lazy toads,’ which my roommate and I often hear when our five-minute snooze turns into a 40-minute lie in, to our weekly movie night as part of the Saturday ritual, or even to our daily Waitrose hoards, there are so many little things that make boarding at GIH special. I can safely say that I have thrived here and often tell my parents that this was the best decision I could have made.

Lucie de Marigny Lagesse