‘I’ve come back to my second home’: International pupils reunited at Perthshire school after five months away

Perthshire schoolgirls were reunited for the first time in five months as their school reopened from lockdown.

Kilgraston School, based in the Bridge of Earn, welcomed back day pupils and boarders to the fee-paying school after a turbulent period.

The independent school rushed to help international students return home at the height of the pandemic in March.

Despite the time difference faced by pupils from countries like Mexico, China and Hong Kong, the school provided online learning throughout.

The additional break was welcomed by many pupils as it meant they were able to spend more time with their families at home.

But for some, returning to school meant coming back to their “second home”.

International students Paula, Andrea and Elisa.

Sixth form pupil Andrea, from Hong Kong, said she was delighted to be back boarding at the school.

She said: “Being back at school is just great because I get to see all of my friends and teachers again that I have missed.

“We had a lot more time to spend with our families during the summer but I also missed the productive routine when I’m at school.”

During her final year at Kilgraston, she hopes to add to her impressive exam results of five As at Higher to study computing science at university.

German student Elisa has also returned to school for the year and said she missed her seeing her friends at school.

She said: “We didn’t see our friends for five months so it’s really nice to see everyone and the teachers who actually have proper lessons.

“We were home for five months and we had online school but it was really weird to see our parents for so long and not see our second family. It was actually quite nice.”

Paula, also from Germany, said she felt like she had come back to her “second home” despite enjoying her extra family time.

Many of the international students arrived at the school several weeks early in order to complete a two-week quarantine in time for school starting.

The return to school will also see pupils take on new challenges, as Head Girl Emily knows too well.

Her first day back at school was also her first day in the new role which will see her act as a role model for many younger pupils.

Deputy head girls Issie and Libby with head girl Emily (middle).

She said: “Being head girl is kind of nerve-wracking but I’m very excited.

“The previous head girls have been people I’ve looked up to for a really long time.

“It’ll be nice to step into that leadership role this year and hopefully showcase that and work with deputies Issie and Libby to make this a really positive year.

“My first day back at school has been amazing so far, it’s really nice to see everyone again and catch up and talk about everything. It’s just a really positive day.”

Senior school pupils did not miss much schooling during lockdown as they followed a full timetable.

Now that the school has returned, safety measures put in place will limit social contact between year groups, known as ‘bubbles’ and may also see restrictions on activities such as drama and music.

Perth & Kinross – The Courier