Adelle, 18, joined from Singapore
“We first decided on HMSG after taking a tour around the School and looking around Monmouth. Monmouth is a beautiful, safe town where everyone is incredibly friendly. Coming from a bustling city (Singapore), it was a bit difficult to settle in the silence. However, it was the same silence that gave me time to focus on my studies and think about what I wanted to do in the future. My parents and I definitely recommend taking a tour around the School, if you get the opportunity, as well as to speak to students or members of staff.
HMSG is an ideal school to prepare your daughter for the demanding university life that awaits her. Although you have to be independent in boarding school, HMSG provides a safety net when you need help and is a safe environment for you to learn from your mistakes. HMSG helped me grow in terms of confidence, not just externally, but also internally. Confidence is not just about being able to speak in front of a large crowd, but is about voicing your concerns or worries, as well as actively pursuing the things you enjoy. You may have concerns about being a new student in a completely new environment, which is perfectly normal and understandable. When I first entered HMSG, my plan was to simply study and leave after two years. Today, I look back and laugh at that idea, thinking about what a waste it would have been if I had stuck to that. I did a lot more than simply studying at HMSG; I became one of the Deputy Head Girls and the Equestrian Prefect. I discovered what I truly wanted to do in the future and I began to enjoy my subjects. I no longer studied for others, but for myself. I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go, and these served as the best forms of motivation.
In terms of being far away from home, the boarding staff at HMSG gave me all the support I needed and were always there to listen. My boarding house (Augusta House) became my second home and it was nice to know that there were always others by my side during the tough times. Ms Morse also often cooked Chinese food for us to satisfy our cravings for home cooked food. There were plenty of activities lined up over the weekends, such as shopping trips and archery, so you don’t have to worry about being bored. Another plus point would be the fact that in Augusta House, we all had our own ensuite rooms. This is particularly good for those of you who like to study alone or in complete silence. As much as I enjoyed my privacy, I would often go to my friends’ rooms to relax after a long day of studying.
The truth is, it is really difficult to describe our experience at HMSG in a few paragraphs. There are many things that words cannot convey effectively. I would have loved to mention all my teachers’ names but it would have been too difficult, as there were so many members of staff who have supported me in many different ways.”
Rhiannon, 12, has been a boarder since January.
Her father works for Aramco in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
She said: “I was worried about being away from my mum and dad, but the girls were really nice straight away and the boarding house feels like home now.
“The staff are really nice and down to earth. They are fun and talk to you regularly to make sure you are alright.
“It’s an adventure coming to boarding school.
“I’ve decided I want to stay for my whole school career.
“I like the routines they have and the food is really good.
“We have film nights with the boys in our year at Monmouth School. On a Saturday night they come up to the boarding house. It’s good fun.”
Hadiyah from Saudi Arabia is also in Year 8.
Her father works for Aramco and she has boarded at HMSG for just four weeks.
She said: “My brother Usman has been boarding in Monmouth since the beginning of the year.
“I had no idea what it was going to be like. I was quite nervous about it.
“But the staff are almost like second parents.
“They are entertaining and they know what kids are like.
“Whenever you feel homesick they always help and we can call our parents whenever we want to.
“At the weekends there are so many things to do that you don’t feel homesick.
“There’s swimming, climbing, we go to town, play laser tag. The weekends are the best thing about boarding.
“We have social time with the boys in Year 8 when they come up here to watch films with us.
“It’s good to mix with boys now and then – it prepares you for real life and they are always quite funny and silly.
“Boarding is a lot more comfortable for me knowing my older brother is here.
“It’s good to know that even if my parents have to move around, I always have this base.”
Angel, 11, joined from Nigeria
Alison, former boarder
I moved to HMSG sixth form, having previously been at my local comprehensive.
The decision, made harder by the fact I would be boarding and consequently away from home and family, has been one of the best decisions I have made. The opportunities that it has opened up for me have been endless. From my first visit to the School on an Open Day, a prominent feature is the number of co-curricular activities you can become immersed in.
I have been able to continue my piano lessons with a fantastic peripatetic teacher and carry on playing netball and hockey for both school and regional teams. I was very keen to continue with sport and music wherever I went, and I felt HMSG provided me with a huge array of sporting, musical and academic possibilities.
Inspired by my teachers, my academic studies towards my A levels have also furthered my interest in all the subjects I take. Taking science-based subjects provided me with the opportunity to take part in Monmouth Science Initiative as part of enrichment – an interesting course and one I am very glad I took part in.
I will be extremely sad at the end of term when I will no longer be a pupil at HMSG, however my time so far has been incredible and I have loved every minute. The girls I was so nervously waiting to meet two years ago, have now become the best of friends who I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life.
Becky, a boarder from Germany
“The teachers and students do everything to ensure that you feel comfortable here. After a few weeks, you get the feeling you ‘ve lived here for years together, like a small second family.
I think HMSG gives you a great opportunity to gain new experiences you never forget.”
Alex Lodge, former boarder who is now a reporter for ITV Wales
“HMSG provided me with friends for life and a belief that if I worked hard enough, I could achieve anything I wanted to. As a boarder, I learnt life lessons about independence, organisation and working and living with others. I think this moulded me into a person who is suited to a career in journalism as you’re constantly having to adapt, communicate and get the best out of the people you’re working with.”
Rainie, 15, a boarder from China
“My English has improved a lot since I got here and I’ve made a lot of friends. I started acting at school last year and it has really helped me to become more confident. I do pretty much all the sports, I love lacrosse – I’m a defender in the A team. My friends all make me laugh. Everyone in boarding is really funny. We wake up together and go to breakfast. We do everything together. Teachers and friends always help me when there are words I don’t know. All the lessons and clubs help me to improve myself in every way, especially with confidence and English.”
Temilola, 16, is a Year 12 boarder from Nigeria who joined HMSG in September
“It’s my first time coming to a boarding school in the UK. I was very excited but nervous as well.
“When my mum and I came here to look at schools for A levels, I felt really comfortable here. It was the people – everyone was really welcoming and very friendly. The girls are all really nice. If you’re lost they will help you.
“You can personalise your room, it’s not too strict. You can make it your own. Half of the girls are new as well – I feel like I can talk to them about anything. It doesn’t feel like I’ve only known them for three weeks, it feels like years because it’s so natural.
“I want to study medicine at university because I’ve always liked helping people. I’ve done work experience with a physiotherapist and at a hospital in Nigeria.
“Here there are so many opportunities and the teachers are willing to help you, you have the support that you need.”