UK Study Centre
En Ru Cn


Horris Hill School
In a recent interview, UKSC student Ethan shared his experience transitioning from an international school in China to a school in the UK.

Ethan is an outstanding UK Study Centre student who is currently in Year 7 at Horris Hill School. Our expert consultants supported Ethan and his family through their transition from an international school in China to a school in the UK. Since starting at Horris Hill, Ethan has thrived not only socially but academically as well. At 13+, he was offered places at top schools Brighton College, Radley College, Marlborough College and Oundle School. Keep on reading to learn more about his educational journey.


Campus and daily life in the UK

How does studying at a UK school compare with studying at an international school in China?

Ethan: At a UK school, the schedule is different every day. In China, classes are held every day, except for holidays. In the UK, we go to Chapel in the morning to meet the teacher, talk to the teacher, and take a break before class. Generally, classes at Horris Hill are shorter than classes in China. I think this type of timetable is better. Because if I have class for too long in China, I can't concentrate. In the UK, 40 minutes per class, you can learn different things, and it’s easier for you to concentrate. Then, in the afternoon, after having lunch in China, sometimes I may take a break and then continue having class to the end of the day.

At my UK school, after lunch, we will do some sports, such as football, rugby, hockey, cricket, and running. It can make you exercise a little more. If you are resting in China, you can choose to run around or not. But if you are exercising at my UK school, you have to run. I think exercise can make you more focused. In the future, you will have to be able to walk and run, so exercise is quite useful.


How do you find boarding life?

Ethan: I really like this kind of life, because the way we live in China is different from other countries. If you live in another country, you will learn new things, and then you can also gain friendship, because if you live in a room together, you will definitely talk a lot with roommates and you may play together at night, so I think it’s pretty good.


Have you made new friends?

Ethan: When I got to school, a friend of mine showed me around. Coincidentally, he was Chinese. However, I made more British friends later, and their friendship is different from that in China. I feel that Chinese people are more lively (enthusiastic), and British people are a bit quieter.

This semester, our school had a skiing activity. My classmates and I took part. I wanted to share a room with some British friends, but lots of other people want to live with them too. Then I asked that classmate, and he said «I don't know», so he didn't seem so enthusiastic, and he didn't answer like the Chinese students.


What do you do on weekends?

Ethan: Most of the time I go to my guardian's house on weekends, because I have cello classes on weekends, they take me to cello classes. But sometimes I stay in school, and there are usually 30 people in the school, but at most 70 people. There are many trips (short-distance trips) on weekends, such as going to the swimming pool, which is like a water park, sports activities, and going to the cinema to watch movies. Sometimes we will also go out to eat and do other things.


What is it like studying at a boys' school?

Ethan: Because there are no girls in our school, we can relax a little bit and say whatever we want. I think it’s easier because boys and girls might compete with each other too much. If there are only boys, we wouldn’t compare as much.


Is it stressful studying in the UK?

Ethan: I think it's pretty easy in school, because most of the knowledge can be learned. But because I have to take the middle school entrance exam (in the UK students have to sit the middle school entrance exam very early (ISEB is in October of Year 6/7)) I still have to do tuition outside of school. I feel a little pressure to complete the work.


Looking back on the past and looking forward to the future

What has been one of your favourite moments at school this year so far?

Ethan: One Christmas, there was a Christmas party in our dormitory. We still play hide-and-seek. In school, we turned off the lights, we went to hide, and then the teacher came to find us with a flashlight, which I felt was quite fun. I remember one time, my classmate hid me in a pile of clothes. The teacher found the other two students but didn't find me, and then both of them were very angry haha.


What are your expectations for the new term?

Ethan: I feel quite excited because I haven't seen my friends for almost six months, so I miss them very much. My goal for this semester is to be more tolerant and share more things with them. I feel that when I stay at home because of the pandemic, I miss my friends very much, and I think about things I’m sorry for, and that I should treat those people better.


What advice do you have for international students?

Ethan: When in the UK, you want to joke with them (students in the UK). Sometimes they don’t understand the jokes from China, and you sometimes don’t understand the jokes from the UK, so you want to learn to communicate better with them. You end up listening to English radio stations and how they communicate.

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