Thinking about sending your child to a boarding school? Australia is a popular option for Hong Kong-based families, and the iconic city of Sydney has some world-class boarding options. One of these is Wenona School, an independent, non-denominational, day and boarding school for girls in Australia. We chat with a current student of Wenona School and her family about boarding in Australia.
A Parent’s Perspective – Tarlan Amigh
What brought your family to Hong Kong?
My husband came here in 1999 and my workplace transferred me in 2000. We always thought we’d stay a few years before moving on… Well, we’ve now been here 20 years!
What made you decide on boarding for Zahra?
We’re both from Australia and had always planned for our three children to school there to help them build their own links with the country. They have understood from a young age that boarding would be a likely outcome if we were still based offshore. So, Zahra was mentally ready for it. We’re lucky she’s had the confidence to fully immerse herself with boarding and Wenona. She’s our oldest child and her success with boarding helps us better prepare our other two children when their turn comes.
Our nieces attend Wenona and we have friends who are current Wenonians. Having familiar faces at lunchtime makes a world of difference for a new boarder. In particular, Wenona’s vision and values that focus on transforming girls into empowered and confident young women really resonates with us.
Boarding has been fantastic for Zahra. She’s always been confident, but we’ve seen her become strongly motivated to participate fully in the school, set goals and work hard to succeed. Also, the structured nature of boarding has helped her develop discipline and time management skills.
What would you say to parents considering boarding in Sydney for their daughter?
Get to know the school as much as possible before you commit. Speak to past and present students and families. We found the Wenona Enrolments Team and, in particular, the Head of Boarding very welcoming, responsive and thoughtful when dealing with our frequent enquiries. This was a good indicator of how things would work once we committed, and it speaks volumes about the level of care and support we feel Zahra receives.
We miss having Zahra at home tremendously, but we ensure she’s here every holiday (if she’s not on a trip somewhere with fellow boarders!). We speak with her most afternoons. As time has gone on, she sometimes forgets to call, but we know this is because she is happy and thriving in her environment.
A student’s perspective – Zahra Chan, Year 10
How would you describe the Wenona boarding house culture?
It’s very homely and welcoming to everyone. The first time I visited the boarding house during our orientation, all the girls were so kind and helped me feel less sad about going to boarding school. Even now, if we’re feeling homesick or not having a good day, we know there is always someone to talk to.
How are you supported at Wenona to reach your goals?
Evening supervised prep provides me with a distraction-free environment, so I can reach my goals of completing my work on time and thoroughly. Teachers from different faculties support students in the evening study centre, allowing us to get help when we need it.
Wenona’s location means I can try the many different sports on offer, and the day girls and their parents help me get to the trials and games. There are also lots of different clubs and groups to join. For example, The W is a student-led magazine that gives us an opportunity to write about topics and interests we’re passionate about. The fact that I’m on campus 24/7 means I can always get things like books for evening prep, even if I’ve accidentally left them in my locker!
Subscribe to Expat Living magazine now so you never miss an issue.