Belmont Hill welcomes Ben Anderson from Cape Town, South Africa. He will be staying until the beginning of December and is living with James Keefe ’25 and Henry Hagedorn ’25. Ben told me that the climate in Cape Town is quite similar to here, except it is a little warmer, and the seasons are inverted. He is interested in debate, public speaking, politics, parliament, crew, field hockey, piano, and singing. Recently, he gave a Woodbury and rowed for his school, Bishops Diocesan College, at the Head of the Charles.
In Cape Town, his school is 8th to 12th grade, with around 700 boys. The classes, he said, are slightly bigger than at Belmont Hill, with around 25 students in each one. He told me that while both schools share a “similar sports in tandem school emphasis,” Bishops holds a “bigger emphasis on culture, like arts and speaking.” While Ben and his family have enjoyed vacations and he has been to camps, this is his first time boarding and being away from home for so long. Nevertheless, he has adapted well to the new situation and is integrating himself into the school culture. He and his family have been in the US since the middle of September, getting a chance to tour parts of the country. He joined the Keefes in early October and will begin his stay with the Hagedorns in early November.
When I asked about the differences between each school, one of the first things he mentioned was school security. He was surprised that we “could leave our bags on the ground,” contrasting it with Bishops. There, either things might get taken, or security would whisk them away to the lost property center. Ben also commented on the landscape and scenery. Even in the peak New England fall season, he told me that Bishop’s campus is surrounded by mountains and other incredible natural features and he prefers that setting. He added, too, that he was impressed by the culture of “wanting to do stuff, wanting to push yourself” at Belmont Hill, even as he and his peers challenge themselves at a high level.
Ben has enjoyed his time at Belmont Hill so far, whether it be singing the national anthem at Homecoming, performing a Woodbury, or just getting to know people. He was thrilled to be able to speak up against James, his host, in the Woodbury contest. Once assimilated into the schedule and topics of the classes, he is excited to be able to engage in them along with his peers and try out new clubs during his free time. He is looking forward to a Model UN conference at Brown University. Ben also mentioned that he was an avid Sheffield United fan, but that, due to his mom being British as well as the fact that he lives in South Africa and is visiting the US, he does not yet have a World Cup team to support and is “open to suggestions.”
Make sure to look out for Ben in the halls, on stage, or even on the water and get to know him better. The Panel welcomes Ben to Belmont Hill and hopes he will enjoy his time here!