International students

A Testimonial from a Nigerian pupil

david“I chose to go to a school in the UK to do A levels because I am aiming very high. I want to go to a top university – either Harvard or MIT in America or Imperial College in London. I had the choice of going to high school in America or coming here, and I chose to come to Monmouth School for Boys.

The welcome at Monmouth School for Boys was great. I didn’t expect to fit in so quickly. In the first week, I had already made two out of my four closest friends. The boarding house was just incredible. On my first night, one of the boys came to my room to talk to me – it made a huge difference. After that I was booming with confidence. Everyone here is pretty easy going.

The first shock for me was the freedom. We can go into town, we have food in the boarding house in case we want to have snacks, our clothes are washed for us, we have our own bathrooms – it’s amazing. My housemaster is Mr Bevan. He knows everything about everyone somehow. Nothing gets past that guy – but he’s great. He gives us lots of independence, but he checks up on what we’re doing and if we’re doing well academically.

At Monmouth School for Boys, the teachers train you to pass the exams. In Nigeria, you don’t expect to get an A – if you get As and Bs you’re a genius. But here, you know A*s are achievable. We do so many practical things in science which help you learn. In physics, we ionised air and I remember everything about it, so it really works to see it. Once, we got a virus and bacteria and we made the virus attack the bacteria. The teachers genuinely care – that makes the biggest difference. They care about where you’re going later in life and how well you do. They go the extra mile with everything. I got to read the recommendation they wrote about me for university and I was smiling throughout it. The teacher/student relationship is incredible. I never saw teachers as real people before. Here you can chat with them about everything, as well as learning and that’s a huge step towards liking the subject you’re studying.

The food here is amazing. I had never tried a Yorkshire pudding or a pasty before I got here – the standards are really high. I think all pupils from Nigeria would love it if they came here.

I chose to start rowing when I got here because I knew it was something I would never be able to do in Nigeria. They take sport very seriously here. I like rowing because it’s hard and challenging and it makes you better. I had never stepped into a boat before I got here. I was at the bottom of the novice group but I wanted to get better and better. Everyone treated me like I was already in the 1st eight. I felt out of place but it was good because I felt like I could still contribute something.They made me feel like I was really good and I believed it. I turned up to all the training sessions because I didn’t want to let anyone down, and now I’m in the 2nd eight. I have been all over the UK racing and I even have a mug I won at one of the events. I’ll be showing that to my grandchildren one day.

I don’t play an instrument, but the orchestra here is so professional and elaborate. I go to their concerts because I love listening to them. You can’t replace that with chart music. My 10-year-old brother goes to Monmouth School Boys’ Prep and he is learning the saxophone. He loves it.

There are always lots of mixed boarders’ activities with Monmouth School for Girls. We go to the movies every Saturday and at Christmas they take us to Cardiff to buy presents for our families. My friend and I met two girls from Monmouth School for Girls at the Christmas disco who love dancing. Now we meet twice a week after school to dance together. This place is incredible.

Coming here has given me a new perspective on what life is like on another continent. People here form opinions on things that matter. They actually think about things that could help mankind.”

David, 17, joined Monmouth School for Boys in September 2013 from a school in Nigeria