Downe House

Founded in 1907, Downe House is one of England’s leading independent girls boarding schools set on a 110 acre estate in Cold Ash, Berkshire.

Our first exchange with Downe House was in 2016.

Approximate Exchange Timing

  • Dio - Downe House: Oct-Dec 2018 (7 weeks)
  • Downe House - Dio: March-April 2019 (6 weeks)

Alanah Robertson and Laura Shute

"Coming from New Zealand all the way to England has been an adventure and a half for both of us. The long flight alone was something neither of us had ever experienced before. However, arriving at Downe House and being introduced to the girls and new culture, was well worth the time spent flying halfway around the world.

We have both experienced many different walks of life since we have arrived here, and over the past six weeks. From clay pigeon shooting to admiring London from the London Eye, going to Paris, indulging ourselves in the wild part of the Saatchi Gallery, to living the life of an all-around British family. We have loved every minute of it.

Not only have we enjoyed exploring the country, we’ve absolutely loved experiencing full boarding school life. The traditions at Downe are nothing like those in New Zealand, and we were so happy to be welcomed into Downe life so wholeheartedly. We know we have made lifelong friends here and are so excited to see where these friendships lead.

Our exchange buddies are at the top of the list for our lifelong friends and together we are super pleased with who we got paired up with:

Laura - Being paired up with Fran on this exchange has been amazing. We have grown so close in such a short amount of time, which is something I never expected to happen so quickly. We share the same sense of fashion, the same humour and the same almost everything. She has been so great welcoming me into her school and introducing me to her friends, who I am happy to say, I now consider close friends. I am beyond excited for Fran and Emelia to come over to New Zealand, as I would love to introduce them to my friends and family, as well as my beautiful country.

Alanah - Being paired up with Emelia was really great. She welcomed me into Downe with open arms and a happy smile. We have become really good friends and we will certainly keep in contact in the future. She introduced me to the English lifestyle and her family has been so nice to me throughout my stay. Emelia has given me the opportunity to make the most of my time at Downe by introducing me to extra-curricular activities. I can’t thank Emelia and her family enough for their hospitality and kindness. The Dio Exchange gave me the opportunity to go to school in a country on the other side of the world, which I’m sure I will never get the chance to do again.

While being at Downe we have had many experiences within the school that we haven’t had before. For both of us, it was our first time playing lacrosse and our first time taking history classes. Both these experiences made us feel very "British" and we loved immersing ourselves in the culture of Downe.

Laura - I have discovered that I love chemistry since attending Downe House because my chemistry teacher has been so incredible and enthusiastic about including me in the class learning and his teaching makes you love chemistry. Alongside this, I have never taken a drama class before so getting to be a part of a drama class and getting the opportunity to go and see a play in Bristol was absolutely amazing.

Alanah - All the teachers were so welcoming. They made sure that I was up-to-date with what the class had been working on earlier in the first half of the term, and they also made sure to include me in class discussions whenever possible. School has been a blast, and I would like to thank all my teachers who made the effort to include me in all aspects of the academic life here at Downe.

It was nothing like what we expected, and everything we expected all at once. It was that good. We are thankful to all the teachers who have helped us and motivated us to express ourselves while we are here, and have organised everything in order for us to come and experience this once in a lifetime experience.

A special thank you to our house parents, who have been our step-in parents while we have been here and have helped us fit right in. Again, it has been an adventure and a half and we are so incredibly grateful to have experienced this once in a lifetime opportunity."

Important Information for Applicants and her Family

School Exchanges Coordinator

For all enquiries regarding school exchanges, please contact the School Exchanges Coordinator.