Life at Townshend
Many threads weave together to form the rich tapestry that is Life at Townshend. Here you will grow as an individual through your life in the dormitories, through the variety of activities we offer, through the friendships you build, through the many cultures you experience, and through exploration of all aspects of yourself as a human being.
While school is where the academic learning occurs, the dormitory is where holistic education takes place. With facilities for 45 students in each dormitory, life there is like that of a large extended family.
The dormitory is a cross-cultural environment where qualities such as social skills, time management, ethical values, leadership, and spirituality are developed. We seek to create a family environment where students can find brothers and sisters who will help them grow during their time here, and will become life-long friends.
Dorm Parents & Team: Each dormitory has a set of dorm parents; a married couple who live in an apartment within the dormitory. Their full-time jobs are to look after the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of their students. They are assisted by a team of dormitory staff and service volunteers who come to Townshend to spend a year or more enriching the dormitory life.
The dorm parents and dorm staff work in close coordination with the school psychologist, school nurse, and Residential Director to ensure a safe, positive environment that is conducive to the growth and well-being of the students. Daily meetings are also held between any of these individuals to address the needs of the individual students.
Responsibility: Beneath this shade of care, safety and love, the individual students are called upon to take personal responsibility - to focus diligently on their studies, to keep a tidy room, and to do their own laundry.
Respect: Beyond responsibility to one's self, there is the shared responsibility of living in a community. Just as in a family, unity is paramount - so while appreciating each individual's self-expression, there is an understanding that respect and consideration is given to the well-being of fellow students.
Friendship: In the dorm, students learn to live harmoniously with roommates, and housemates. They learn to resolve conflicts through consultation. They learn to overlook the faults of others, to avoid backbiting, and to build meaningful relationships. The memories of the times in the dorm, the life-lessons learned, and the strong friendships formed continue to endure long into the future.
Your Home: Two to three students share a room, and roommates are rotated to give students the opportunity to make many close friends.
The centre of activity in each dormitory is the dining room. A dorm parent or volunteer is available at all times, and can usually be found in here. Students spontaneously gather here to talk, play cards, watch a movie, or just hang out. The dining room also has a kitchen where you can prepare snacks, or keep food in the refrigerator. During study times, teachers are often present and available to give individual help. The dormitories also have access to a compact weight room, available to all students.
Further information on dormitory life can be found within our Residential Handbook.
Campus and Facilities
Located on a hill overlooking a 13th-Century Castle, the Hluboka valley, and beyond to the hills of Austria, visitors to Townshend are struck by the peaceful beauty of the campus and of the surrounding countryside.
Our 5,000 square meter academic building houses our Primary and Secondary Schools, along with administrative offices, and other facilities. Dedicated to personalized attention from teachers, the classrooms are purposefully built to hold no more than 15 students each. Our main building includes all our classrooms, along with:
• Physics Laboratory
• Chemistry Laboratory
• Biology Laboratory
• Art Studio
• Drama Room
• Music Room
• Computer Lab
• Primary and Secondary School Libraries
• Two Assembly and Meeting Halls (Cabana Room and Seminar Room)
• Offices for the School Director, Academic Director and Residential Director
• Administrative support offices
• Finance Office
• Student Affairs Office
• Nurses Office and Infirmary
• Counsellor’s Office
• Quiet Room for prayer, reflection and meditation
• Editorial/Media Room
• Staff Lounge
• Student Lounge
• Snack Shop
• Hall of Nations/Dining Hall
In addition to the academic building and two dormitories, the 10 acre campus hosts a Primary School playground, a football field, a basketball/volleyball court, and a tennis court. Running, walking, and cycling trails surround the campus.
A balanced and happy human being needs more than intellectual education. At Townshend, we recognise the importance of a balanced and holistic approach to your development. This is accomplished in part through our co-curricular after-school activities, where students develop various skills, participate in sports, gain service experience, and engage in personal development. Our programme encourages regular participation in activities, allowing students to gain experience in new areas, adding balance to their daily lives and broadening their horizons.
These co-curricular activities are a mandatory part of the residential programme. They are integrated into the daily schedule, and are organised by experienced staff. The activities change from year to year, based on the interests of students and staff. Some of the activities in each area are listed in the paragraphs that follow.
The Townshend Youth Award
The Townshend Youth Award recognises the achievement of students who have been active participants in residential school life. It emphasises the importance of a holistic approach to human development, and rewards commitment and perseverance.
To achieve the award, a minimum number of hours must be accumulated by students in each of the three sections below:
Service, Sports, Skills, and Personal Development.
International Youth Award
Students may also participate in the International Youth Award (Duke of Edinburgh Award) by having simultaneous credit awarded. Thus, upon entering or leaving Townshend, students can continue working towards their Bronze, Silver or Gold International Youth Award.
Integral to the Townshend curriculum are the outdoor education camps for all secondary school students. Each class departs for a week-long camp, where the focus is on the development of different physical skills and strengths and gives students exposure to a range of outdoor leisure activities.
Rain or shine, the camps provide a wonderful opportunity to develop teamwork and positive group dynamics, personal confidence, leadership, joy of the outdoors, resilience and courage. Of course there’s also the fun of seeing the teachers taking risks and trying out new things!
Each year in winter you have the opportunity to sign up for the school ski-trip. It’s a popular event. Students and staff break out the skis and snow-boards and are accompanied by qualified winter-sport instructors so even beginners can learn and have fun. Throughout the year there are regular outdoor excursions such as cycling trips, and cross country running.
Hluboka and Beyond
A defining aspect of your experience at Townshend is the peaceful and serene environment, nested in beautiful Hluboka nad Vltavou. Hluboka, a town of 4,600 people, lies on both banks of Vltava river, and draws visitors from around the country. The history of the town is closely related to the Hluboká castle, founded in the 13th century by king Přemysl Otakar II.
Hluboka, though small and quiet, has a wide range of amenities and activities including hotels, guest houses, restaurants, tennis courts, fitness gyms, and sports fields, alongside a swimming pool, cinema, ice skating ring, baseball complex, riding hall, golf course, rope center, and a network of bicycle paths, which students often take advantage of.
On any given day you may walk to the local market in Hluboka to shop for a few items, go for a run with a friend along the trails that surround the campus, bicycle around the many lakes dotting the valley, have a picnic on the campus grounds with a teacher and your class, go with friends to eat at one of the local restaurants, or when the weather gets warm, head to the swimming pool to cool off.
On Friday afternoons, many students head to the nearby town of Ceske Budejovice, just a 20 minute bus ride away. Ceske Budejovice, a city of nearly 100,000 people, was also founded in the 13th century. At its center is the beautiful town square, lined by buildings with gothic, baroque, and renaissance elements. The square is said to be the largest regular medieval square in all of Europe, measuring a full hectare. Radiating from the square are narrow cobblestone streets, lined by shops and restaurants, and are a favourite place for students to explore. Within the city, along the bus route, are also several shopping centers with stores familiar to those coming from European countries.
Beyond our immediate area is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cesky Krumlov, another popular destination for classes and staff, and just 40 minutes away. It is an outstanding example of a small central European medieval town, whose architecture has remained intact thanks to its peaceful evolution over more than five centuries.
Within two to four hours drive of Townshend are the cities of Linz, Salzburg, and Vienna, in Austria; Nuremberg, in Germany; and of course, Prague (just an hour and a half away), in the Czech Republic. All cities are of cultural and historical significance, and you may visit them on school excursions, or on day trips taken by the dorms.
The Czech Republic is a warm-hearted, kind and welcoming nation, open to new ideas and generous in friendship. The majority of the older generations speak German, in addition to Czech, while the younger generations are learning English.