While the world is busy mobilising resources to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the mental health of those who have not contracted the virus but have been affected by lockdowns and other social changes is also attracting increasing attention. Recent medical research has shown that negative feelings can weaken physical health: it can take the immune system up to 6 hours to recover from the aftermath of 5 minuets of stress or frustration. On the contrary, positive emotions can strengthen one’s health.
Schools have a responsibility to safeguard students’ physical as well as mental wellbeing, and one way to do this is to equip them with a range of skills that help to increase emotional intelligence. For example, young people can gain resilience through their academic routine so that they are not easily defeated and can make efforts to overcome challenges. By engaging in projects that require leadership and teamwork, they acquire the social capital needed for effective communication with their peers. Collaborating with a multicultural cohort, they learn to respect differences and be compassionate. There is no doubt that cultivating these qualities is an aim already shared by numerous schools around the world, but more specifically, it is not difficult to infer that an international boarding environment is a means most suited to this end – the boarding element also carrying with it the merit of promoting better self-management and independence.