Student Story: Sisters in Arms

Amelia, Emily and Sophie Purseglove, Kambala Boarding students

With a history that spans more than 130 years, it isn’t uncommon within the Kambala community for a grandmother, mother and daughter to have attended Kambala. But for the Purseglove family from Trangie, New South Wales, the Kambala ‘sisterhood’ has taken on a new meaning. For siblings and Kambala boarders, Amelia (Year 12), Emily (Year 10) and Sophie (Year 8) leaving the farm, moving to Sydney and having to navigate the unfamiliar surroundings of a new school has deepened their sisterly bond.

“Boarding has definitely strengthened our relationship as siblings. When my younger sisters started at Kambala I realised the importance of sticking together and looking out for each other. Particularly in tougher times, having my sisters around makes Kambala feel closer to home,” said Amelia.

Emily in Year 10 agrees, “Now that we are all together again at the same school we spend a lot of time together and support each other through the good times and the bad times.”

Homesickness is often one of the first challenges that boarders encounter. For Amelia, knowing her younger sisters were coming to Kambala put her in the unique position of being able to dispense some sisterly advice.

“I struggled massively with homesickness when I first came to board, so when my sisters started I just tried to show them all the things I love about Kambala. I pointed out the opportunities we have because we are in the eastern suburbs and reminded them that they wouldn’t have these opportunities back in Trangie,” said Amelia.

Youngest sister Sophie agrees the sisters have become a support network for each other.

“I feel like I have developed a stronger bond with my sisters because we have to look after each other, as Mum and Dad aren’t here to look after us. Whenever we’re feeling sad or homesick we can rely on each other.”

In the Kambala Boarding Houses, girls will often liken boarding to having an extended family or a ‘sisterhood’ where support is generous and real. Amelia, Emily and Sophie have all experienced this compassion and support with their boarding ‘sisters’.

“Over the years we have all become so much closer, so much so that you could call us a ‘sisterhood’ of girls who are constantly looking out for each other,” said Amelia. “We know how to recognise when girls need space or need someone to talk to and have become a team of girls who are constantly lifting each other up.”

When asked what they considered the best part of boarding, Amelia, Emily and Sophie are in agreement – friendships and sport rank as the highlights.

“What makes boarding so special is the friendships you make in the Boarding House across all year groups and living with girls who are experiencing the same workload and school life as you – particularly having older boarders to go to for help or advice as they have been there done that. I’ve also valued the increased sporting opportunities as a result of living at school and not having to drive long distances for sport like we did before coming to Kambala,” said Amelia.

“I’ve loved meeting new friends, being offered new experiences such as sports and recreational activities, and the variety of subjects. Also, not having to catch a bus or walk very far to school is a big bonus for me!” said Sophie.

The sisters all agree being part of the boarding community has contributed significantly to their own personal growth. For Emily it has been increased independence inside and outside of school. For younger sister Sophie, it has been a growing realisation of gratitude.

“I have realised how much I miss home when I’m not there, which has made me appreciate what I have in life.”

Located in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Kambala is a vibrant day and boarding school for girls up to 18 years of age. To learn more about boarding at Kambala, download our Prospectus, or come and see us at the Boarding Schools Expo.