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National Boarding Day 2019 – Wilhelm Emmrich

30 Sep 2019

As we prepare for National Boarding Day (5 October 2019), we will be showcasing a number of Barney boarders in the run-up to the initiative this weekend.

Our first profiled boarder, Wilhelm Emmrich, is currently studying at the University of Cambridge who joined us in 2014. He wrote the following about his experiences at Barney.

Wilhelm Emmrich OB

Studying at Barnard Castle School has been one of the most formative experiences of my life – and this is no exaggeration. For international students who wish to study in the UK, the sheer number of excellent independent schools is simply overwhelming. I was lucky enough to find a fantastic school and I would like to share some reasons why Barnard Castle School was the perfect place for me.

I grew up in rural East Germany. My family had no experience of studying or working abroad, but always had the desire to explore the world. When I first came to England, Barney was one of the schools I visited before starting my year abroad. All of them were very impressive, but what made me choose Barney was the welcoming atmosphere at the school. This impression became even stronger once I started studying there in September 2014. Speaking English all day long, of course, is not easy when it is not your first language, but the friendly support from peers and teachers alike helped me enormously to adjust.

After a few weeks at Barney I felt very confident speaking English. Any school can offer good EFL courses (English as a Foreign Language), but very few schools are able to provide a friendly atmosphere where improving one’s language skills feels comfortable in all situations of daily life.

I joined Barney in Lower Sixth (Year 12) and I particularly enjoyed my subjects because the small classes facilitated learning and helped me to deep-dive into matters I was passionate about. I also had the opportunity to develop my talents: I successfully took part in public speaking and poetry competitions. I had the chance to take on responsibility as well and became a chapel warden. I had always loved cross-country, but here in the beautiful scenery of Northeast England, long distance running became a real passion.

On top of that, Barnard Castel School gave me plenty of support and freedom to unlock my academic potential: I completed a long essay (EPQ) on the Ukraine crisis within six months. I had a personal tutor who guided me through the process of academic research and writing. More generally, I had many opportunities to discuss my thoughts and ideas with teachers and students. It was this experience, which also inspired me to apply to Cambridge. The support from my teachers during the application process was simply outstanding. Now, I am in my final year at Cambridge, Girton College, where I study History and Politics.

If it had not been for Barney, I would not even have thought of applying. In short, what distinguishes Barnard Castle School is that it helps students unlock their individual potential and shows students how they can use their talents to move forward.

All the very best for the future, Wilhelm!