Student Case Studies
Cobham Hall girls go on to study in all manner of fields. Some leave the School with artistic parting gifts, others return to share their experiences - from big business to Olympic success.
Here are a few recent student case studies. You can find more on our Alumnae pages.
Anh Thu Dam - Art Student
Anh Thu came to study at Cobham Hall from Vietnam with almost no artistic experience.
“Before coming to England I didn’t actually have any art class at school and I didn’t know any artists and when I came here the art teacher at Cobham Hall taught me everything. She taught me how to paint, how to do research and to get inspired by different artists from different countries and cultures.
“She helped me a lot to develop my art throughout the two years because before I didn’t know anything,” she said.
The only art classes possible in Vietnam were those taken outside of school time and did not encourage students to investigate their individual artistic talents.
“You didn’t really have the chance to explore yourself, and do things like sculpture with your own ideas,” said A.T.
Following the culmination of her IB Examinations, A.T. spent her last few days at school creating a two by four metre painting of the area surrounding Cobham Hall to donate to the School. She painted for a week almost non-stop, sometimes painting for more than 12 hours a day.
“Time passes fast when I paint, I don’t really notice,” she said.
Watch the video below to see A.T.’s painting in the making. The finished product now proudly adorns the wall in Clifton Common Room.
Clara - Art Student
"Thank you for challenging me, for making me have a passion for learning and a desire to discover the world. Thank you for giving me the best education I could have ever had for Sixth Form."
Clara joined Cobham Hall for her Sixth Form education, and went on to do an Art Foundation course at Oxford Brookes University, followed by a Liberal Arts degree at King's College, London, with a major in Politics. Writing to the School after her first year at King's College, Clara reflected on her time at Cobham Hall.
"This year," she writes, "made me realise that what I had at Cobham Hall - or what we had at Cobham - was truly special. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of my course, each individual tailors his/her own course and the cohort of Liberal Arts students is fragmented, which makes it hard to build a sense of community. I still very much miss Cobham Hall and everyone who made my time there so magical."
Following a description of her activities since leaving school, which also included setting up her own business during her first term at university, Clara summarises why she wrote to the School. "Thank you for believing in me, when I did not believe in myself. Thank you for challenging me, for making me have a passion for learning and a desire to discover the world. Thank you for giving me the best education I could have ever had for Sixth Form. Thank you for teaching me the importance of learning outside of the classroom. And thank you for helping me become who I am today. I will never forget those two years at Cobham and it is thanks to you and my fellow students there, that I am now able to have this incredibly amazing life and the opportunities that come with it. Whenever the topic of school comes up in conversations with people I meet, I mention Cobham with pride and joy!"
When Clara left Cobham Hall in Year 13, she created a parting gift to the School: a LomoWall of pictures taken by Cobham Hall girls.
The pictures, called “lomographs” are produced using special Lomography cameras. Clara borrowed a number of cameras from the Lomography store in London and initiated a “Lomography Challenge” in which girls, teachers and staff were encouraged to borrow a camera for 10 minutes and take as many snaps as possible of school life.
“We want to capture what Cobham Hall means to every single girl here," Clara explained on the day of the challenge. "….what makes Cobham special to the girls here and we also want to include the Round Square IDEALS, Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service. That’s what we’re trying to achieve.
“We want to capture all the little details that make Cobham, Cobham. It’s also a metaphor for the school itself because the girls here they come from every single country, they have different religions, and you know, everyone’s different, but together, we are one,” she said.
The wall, now adorning the wall by our ILC, is indeed a blaze of colour, a myriad of images, full of smiling faces, the historic landscape and girls in PE kit. A wonder for the eye. A space for the eye to wander.
Speaking at the time, Clara said, "I think Cobham Hall gives you the opportunity to be who you are and just enjoy being who you are. You do not have to be anything else. You do not have to fit into a specific mould or be something you’re not.
“The building is amazing but just…there’s a very nice community here. Everyone’s very nice to each other. We’re almost like a family. A big family. So I really like that. And you do not necessarily get that at many schools.”