Everyday life at our Boarding House
How does a place become a home?
Our boarding house is located on the top floor of one of our school buildings directly on campus. The open living, cooking and dining area and a large bright window front with a roof terrace create a cozy and friendly feel-good atmosphere. However, a great living space alone does not make a place a home. Rather, the community life in the multicultural boarding house family, which is not only a living space but also a learning space, must also fit one’s own ideas and needs.
Everyday life at the boarding house is openly structured. It encourages the young people to organize themselves as independently as possible, if needed with the support of the boarding school pedagogues, who encourage and support each resident with their individual needs. To ensure that community life runs harmoniously, the young people debate the rules of living together at the beginning of each school year. Here, everyone can have their say in what is considered important for the well-being of the community. The jointly developed rules are then hung up in the living area for all to see.
Apart from that, as in every household, there are tasks that need to be done, but also these are shared by the boarders and the boarding house staff and integrated independently into everyone’s individual daily lives. Through these duties, the young people are trained in their sense of responsibility, in self organization and self-structuring and, of course, in domestic skills.
Typical everyday life at Boarding House
The typical school day begins at 7:30 a.m. with a varied, international breakfast, which is set up in the form of a buffet. A team consisting of two boarders is responsible for helping prepare the breakfast at 7:15 a.m. for one week at a time, thus supporting the supervisors. For example, they set the table and provide breakfast ingredients. The buffet is also supplemented daily with a speciality, such as scrambled eggs.
Independence already starts in the morning because the students themselves are responsible that their alarm clock rings on time. The back-up wake-up by the staff is only given shortly before the start of lessons. This means that everyone can enjoy the breakfast buffet according to their own preferences. Some are ready for breakfast punctually at 7:30 a.m. and enjoy it in peace and quiet, while others just grab a sandwich shortly before school starts. In addition to the existing breakfast offer, some residents prepare their own dishes, which they know from their home country, for example. During school hours, the boarders stay at school and eat lunch there.
The students may often freely plan their afternoons and evenings themselves. The boarding house supervisors regularly offer a range of activities in the school’s large sports hall which is available to the boarding house students and is used, for example, to play basketball. Students interested in music can also practice their favorite instrument in the music rooms outside of lesson time.
However, the academic part should not be neglected either. There are supervised learning times in the boarding house, where the residents are supported in their learning or also support each other. Together with the school’s pedagogues and teachers, current learning goals are regularly formulated for the students to work towards. Students who already have good learning methods and can organize and structure themselves well are also allowed to design their learning plan completely independently.
Particularly interesting: All boarders have their own key to the boarding house and can therefore pursue their hobbies or meet friends on their own. Once a week, the so-called student meeting takes place in the afternoon. The residents can and should actively participate and help shape boarding house life. They can discuss their own topics or ideas, plan and, if possible, finally implement them. This may result, for example, in a new coffee machine for the boarding house, a change in the community rules, or an addition to the breakfast menu.
A fixed part of everyday life is the mandatory dinner at 6:30 p.m., for which the entire boarding house community comes together. During the week, the boarding house is supplied by a caterer; on weekends, the residents cook for themselves together with their supervisors. For the main meals, the boarding house staff does the shopping and fills the pantry. Wishes for the shopping list are gladly taken into account. In addition, the residents also share another refrigerator, which they can fill independently with their own purchases and use at any time for cooking outside of or in addition to meal times.
During the week, the curfew begins at 10:00 p.m., but on weekends this time may vary. A room and its bathroom are shared by a maximum of two people, although single rooms are also available. There is a lot of freedom here. However, there are also obligations as the residents take care of their rooms themselves (with assistance, of course, if needed) such as regularly changing the bed linen and doing the laundry. Once a week there is a big cleaning day. On this day, the students clean their rooms and bathrooms properly. At the same time, the rooms can be decorated according to everyone’s own wishes and made into a home. Of course, this also means that friends from outside the boarding house are allowed to visit and even come over overnight. After all, anyone who lives in the boarding house should not have any disadvantages and should still be able to invite friends over.
Except for the summer and winter holidays, all other holidays and of course the weekends may be spent at the boarding house. The staff offer a varied program with excursions to the Jump House, movie nights on the big screen in the school auditorium, Mario Kart tournaments and much more. In any case, it will not be boring!
We promote a modern boarding house life
The stereotype of a strict life in a boarding house has long been outdated. Modern boarding house life means that one can actively participate in shaping community life. One learns to act in a self responsible manner and to deal with others in a tolerant and considerate way. By taking into account the individuality of every single one and through the connectedness of the community, the boarding house can become not only a living and learning space, but also a home.
So if you want to live in a multicultural, diverse community and practice self-responsibility, democracy, domestic skills and lots of social skills, our boarding school is the right place for you. Become a part of our international boarding house family and school, we are looking forward to each and every one of you!
Noa Hülsmann, Alumna of Cologne International School