Close this search box.

【The Standard】Spending Easter in the UK

Study Tour


In this column recently, I mentioned that, due to the coronavirus, many Chinese pupils currently studying in the UK will not be able to return home for the Easter holidays but will instead remain in Britain.

This week, I want to look in more detail at what this arrangement will actually mean for those pupils who are not coming back.

Of course, staying in the UK for the holidays is not what most Chinese students would opt for if they had the choice.

The Easter holidays for private schools are typically three weeks long. They are generally a welcome break after a busy term and a chance for students to get back to Hong Kong or the mainland to catch up with friends and family, spend time with their parents and enjoy some home comforts and a warmer climate.

However, this year, things are obviously very different. Staying in the UK is an important safety measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Not only does it protect those students already in the UK from potential exposure to the virus when they land in China, but it also eases the difficult issues surrounding their return to Britain.

By not coming back at all, they protect themselves and avoid the need to go through a period of quarantine before the start of the next term to ensure that the virus does not spread further in the UK.

Whilst this might seem like a harsh policy, it is important to understand that the majority of students will not actually be staying in their school dormitories while all the British pupils have gone home.

What will happen is that they will go to live with their guardians.

All international students in the UK are legally required to have British guardians.

Ordinarily, the guardians provide a nice home environment for their students on exeat weekends. They are also there for emergencies and usually live not far from the school.

Guardians are generally very warm and caring families, so most have been completely understanding over recent weeks about the coronavirus situation and have been highly accommodating. What students can expect over the Easter holidays, then, is a pleasant home away from home with some extra day trips to broaden their appreciation of Britain and British culture.

The real silver lining to this cloud, though, is that staying will give students the rare chance to experience a British Easter.

The way this festival is celebrated in the UK is a bit like Christmas, albeit on a smaller scale. While some families still attend church services in the traditional way, for most these days it just means a family get-together and indulging in plenty of chocolate eggs.

For younger children, there will often be an Easter egg hunt, which involves finding chocolate eggs and sweets that have been hidden around the house and garden; in some places, there are even hunts that take place in the local village or park.

For Chinese students this year, there will also be the opportunity to attend various Easter camps for either the whole holiday or part of it.

Anglo Academy is a company renowned for its camps in both Hong Kong and the UK.

Their courses that are available this Easter in Britain will combine study and tuition with a fun extra-curricular program of activities, sports and day trips.

The course for students in years six to 10 has a focus on interactive and collaborative activities and includes workshops on public speaking, creative thinking and debating. For students in years 10 to 13, the courses have a focus on revision and consolidation in preparation for the important exams that these year groups have coming up.

The lessons are taught by experienced subject experts, with extra tuition available for English, maths, physics, chemistry, biology and other GCSE and A-Level subjects on request.