Deputy Director of Boarding
The Boarding community is a lively and vibrant home to over 170 girls. Historically and certainly predominantly, our community has young women from country regions who come to Loreto Normanhurst for a variety of reasons but often because of distance and a lack of quality education choices. However, in 2016, we do also have 14 girls whose families live outside of Australia. All of these girls are Australian citizens but for one reason or another their families have found themselves living and working internationally. We have girls who come from Hong Kong, South Korea, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, The Solomon Islands and The Philippines.
When you ask any boarder family why they have made the often heart wrenching decision to send their daughter to Boarding school there are always such a variety of answers. The 14 girls whose homes are overseas were asked to give some insight into what it is like to be so far from home and why their parents made the decision to send them across the ocean to board at a country boarding school based in the northern suburbs of Sydney.
Jacinta who is in Year 12, has been boarder at Loreto Normanhurst since Year 7. Jacinta grew up in Papua New Guinea and her family lived there till the end of Year 7. They then moved to Singapore and are currently in Indonesia. Jacinta said it was “always part” of her family’s plan for her high school education to be in Australia. “The quality of education here in Australia is well worth the sacrifice of the distance between my parents and I”.
Claire, a Year 9 student from South Korea, said the decision to study at Loreto was to ensure she was immersed in Australian culture and language. She said all members of her family have studied in Australia as education in South Korea can be rigid and choices are limited. Claire goes back to South Korea twice a year and the journey takes 15 hours from boarding school to home.
Sarah, a Year 9 boarder from the United Arab Emirates, has only been boarding for 6 months but already says she is loving the experience. It takes 20 hours to get home and she is able to fly home at the end of each term.
Sophia, in Year 11, has lived with her family in the Philippines for 11 years and came into boarding in 2015. She said her parents always felt that they would send her to Australia to study. To get home she has 13 hours of travelling time and 2 flights. Luckily she has some family close to Sydney and is able to go home or have family come here once per term.
Saudi Arabia is a completely different cultural experience to Normanhurst NSW. For Lara in Year 9, who has only been boarding since the start of the year, it has been a steep learning curve but when asked what has been her happiest memory being a Loreto boarder she replied; “so far all my memories here have been my happiest”!
Suzuki in Year 9 is from Hong Kong and says she does get homesick or just feels a little sad but her new boarder friends are “always by my side and there for me”. She said she calls or Skypes her parents each night and loves how “peaceful” it is here at Normanhurst. Another student who is also from Hong Kong, Charlotte, says even though she has lived there for 8 years, she was born in Sydney and it is still considered home.
Sophie in Year 9 from the Solomon Islands has been a boarder since Year 7. She said her parents wanted a high standard of education academically along with exposure to social justice initiatives and a focus on faith life. She luckily is able to fly home at the end of every term.
Kiara, a Year 10 boarder from Malaysia, says she currently lives in Malaysia but has moved around many countries in Asia with her family her entire life. Coming to boarding school meant stability for Kiara’s high school education rather than moving schools each time the family moved for work purposes. Kiara says she doesn’t miss the humidity of Malaysia and after high school will continue on to university in Australia.
To quote Jacinta, our Year 12 boarder from Indonesia:
“Like all boarders, I feel the distance part of boarding makes the time together with family that bit extra special when you finally do see them”.
These are our 14 girls who call an international country home when they are not at boarding school – we are glad they have chosen Loreto Normanhurst as their home away from home.
Mrs Jac Adams
Deputy Director of Boarding