Anyone who has moved abroad, or joined a new school, will remember that unmistakable feeling of being new. It can be an exciting time full of possibilities. There can be challenges along the way, like all great adventures. There are no shortcuts through this transition period. Still, feeling accepted and developing a sense of belonging within a community can go a long way towards building the confidence and resilience necessary to explore new horizons and opportunities in a new environment.  

A Whole School Effort  

At The British School in The Netherlands (BSN), a core part of our mission, and a thread that runs throughout the school’s over 90-year history, is our strong community. The impact of this community is felt in the engaged alumni body. Many former students and staff stay involved with the school and return to support events and share their career experiences with current students.  

We are so happy that we moved our child to the BSN. From the start, he’s felt at home, confident, and engaged. I’ve been so impressed with the school’s pastoral care – the BSN is really good at helping kids feel grounded and happy.

BSN Parent

In our international community of nearly 90 nationalities, many students, families and staff have had similar experiences and understand the difficulties of integrating into a new place. They also know first-hand the importance of a warm welcome. Every group in the school community has a role to play in creating an inclusive and supportive environment for newcomers. 

Support for the Whole Family 

The BSN’s active Family Association and International Representatives play a vital role in supporting the engaged community. Among other things, these groups organise workshops and social activities (both in and out of school) to bring families together. New and returning families benefit from the chance to share information, meet new people and build a support system across the school. These parent groups also run large community events, like the International Summer Fair, which brought the entire BSN community together to celebrate our diverse cultures through music, food and fun.  

Beyond the School Community  

To achieve our mission of preparing young people to become successful global citizens who can make an impact and help build a better world, the BSN ensures a strong community grows within and beyond our school campuses. We believe that our school should exist in partnership with the local community and broader international network. 

You can read more about some recent notable examples of community partnerships below.

NL vs DE Rugby Match 2022

International Sports  

In September 2021, The British School partnered with the Nederlandse Rugby League Bond (NRLB). The Dutch team practised on the impressive athletic field and grounds and proudly wore the BSN lion on their jerseys. The students enjoyed the opportunity to take part in coaching and refereeing courses through the partnership.

This October, the BSN hosted an international rugby match, the first of its kind ever held in Voorschoten,  between the NRLB and the German national team. The game drew a large crowd of rugby enthusiasts from the local community, students, staff and families from The British School, and fans from Germany and the UK. 

Thomas Archer, Head of Co-curricular Activities at Senior School Voorschoten, said, “Seeing so many students actively taking part in the organisation of the day and seeing the Junior School students have the chance to be mascots was the highlight of my day”. 

Connecting Internationals to The Hague  

 Recently The British School was honoured to host the first Feel at Home Fair in a community location. This event was organised by The Hague International Centre and provided an opportunity to network with the international community.

BSN CEO Heath Monk said,

This event was so important in helping members of our community to connect, which is also a key part of our mission as a school. We were delighted to welcome all international residents and organisations from across The Hague to our Vlaskamp campus.   

I had so many opportunities that came from being a BSN student, and it changed my life. Being at the BSN, you always felt like you could do anything - It opened so many doors for me."

BSN Alumna

Strong Connections Empower Future Global Citizens  

As an international school, providing a caring community, especially when students first join us, is paramount to ensuring they can explore and discover the full range of opportunities at The British School and in the Netherlands, secure in the knowledge that the community is there to support them.  

A version of this article first appeared in ACCESS magazine | In a new light (Winter 2022).

Elizabeth de Libero

Elizabeth de Libero

Elizabeth is the Digital Marketing Coordinator and Strategy Lead at The British School in The Netherlands. After living and working in the United States and Italy, she now calls The Hague home. She brings her experience in public relations and brand management to create multi-channel marketing strategies and compelling content. Elizabeth is an avid reader and loves travelling, skiing and spending time with her family and Cockapoo, Cash.

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