what do international students do in the holidays?

international boarding school students - what to do in school breaks

passport and flight tickets

UK boarding schools have been welcoming overseas students for many decades. Renowned for their history and high quality, every year international parents from all across the world choose to send their children to one of the many top independent boarding schools here.

When school boarding houses close for half term, exeats and longer holidays, where do our international students go?

exeat weekends

girls with host family

For those students studying at a UK boarding school, the first exeat weekend will occur at the end of September. This means for many schools that the boarding houses close completely and everyone has to leave school for two or three nights.

Students using a guardian agency will go their host family, while their British friends go home to their parents. When you are choosing a boarding school, it is worth checking their term dates carefully, to see if they have compulsory exeat or leave weekends, so you will be prepared. Our team of Guardianship Care Managers communicate with parents throughout the year to confirm arrangements for each of the school holidays. This helps us to ensure we have everything in place when our students need to leave school.

half terms

boy and lady teacher

Boarding schools usually have three longer holidays - one in the middle of each term. These are usually called half terms. The boarding houses close completely for between 9 and 16 nights. These holidays occur in mid October, mid February and mid May.

There are various options available to international students who are intending to stay in the UK for their school holidays. Some students may be invited home to a classmate's house while others may opt for a host family or a residential study programme.

host family stay

host family

Overseas students who do not have a family friend living in the UK, will traditionally stay with a host family close to school. This should be arranged by the guardianship organisation taking care of them. For many, this is an excellent experience and they really enjoy joining a British family and experiencing UK family life in a home away from home environment.

Using an AEGIS-accredited guardian gives parents peace of mind, as they will ensure that the hosts are properly screened. Bright World Guardianships staff carry out full home inspections and revisit families every year to ensure they meet our strict safeguarding standards.

Christmas & Easter

Girl painting Easter egg


Christmas is a time when British families are usually unavailable to host students, as they are visiting or hosting relatives. Again, most students usually travel home for this holiday, but there are options for those that choose to stay. These include host families or residential study programmes arranged by Educational Guardians, like Bright World or language school providers across the UK.


The Easter holiday usually occurs in mid April and ends in early May. It usually runs for 3 - 4 weeks. The majority of international students fly home, but some choose to remain in the UK and either stay with a guardian arranged host family or enrol on a holiday course. This is particularly popular with students that are preparing to sit their GCSE or A level examinations. Easter revision courses are usually either small group or 1:1 lessons on tailored study programmes.


students sitting on grass

The annual summer holiday is the longest break for students studying at UK schools, marking the end of the academic year. The holiday normally runs from the end of June/early July to the last week of August or first week of September.

Due to the length of the holiday, the vast majority of students will return home. Some however choose to enrol on a summer language or revision course. There are a dizzying array of options, depending on what subjects a student wishes to focus on; whether they are hoping to improve their English, revise a particular subject or get a head start on topics that will be covered in the next academic year.

Bright World can help to place students onto a range of different programmes and you can find out more information by clicking the link below.

the choice is yours

"Students at boarding school study really hard all term and at Bright World we are conscious that they need a really good break and a rest during their valuable holidays. Our focus as guardians is to ensure that they are safe, comfortable and happy and to help them to find the ideal solution for these important times. "
Su Warren, Director of Guardianships and Operations, Bright World