Boarding School in Belgium, Brussels

Shannon House at St. John's International School provides a warm, welcoming and well-balanced experience, where a diverse cohort of international students thrive in an active community with learning at its heart.

Students boarding at St. John's benefit from a multitude of opportunities to take part in our unrivalled visual and performing arts programme, as well as having access to a wide range of enriching extra-curricular activities.


Our Boarding School Community

Shannon House celebrates diversity, open-mindedness and resilience, with students learning to get along with people from a range of backgrounds and a variety of interests. Boarders at Shannon House are part of a wonderful community, where they learn to be themselves, become independent and live side by side with others. Boarding is an invaluable experience, building firm foundations for the future and ensuring that pupils develop a strong sense of personal integrity and make lasting friendships in a community that really is a home away from home.


We are incredibly proud of the community we have built at St. John's, which is founded on the values of Respect, Integrity, and Companionship. Being a boarder at Shannon House gives students an even greater opportunity to model these values, and during their time at the school, pupils learn to respect the diversity amongst people, languages, cultures and beliefs.

Alongside academic excellence, we see each student as an individual and provide outstanding pastoral care. Our boarders build relationships that last a lifetime and are challenged to live with purpose and find their place in the world while having a positive impact on their community.

Our expert team of practitioners challenge students to develop and commit to their passions, guiding them to build a balanced skill set that will serve them well and prepare them for a happy and successful future beyond St. John's.


At our modern and purpose-built campus, students benefit from a wide range of world-class facilities, including high specification visual and performing arts areas and a variety of sports grounds designed to offer something for everyone.

Children also benefit from Samsung smartboards, document cameras and smart screens in classrooms across the school, and a suite of VR headsets.

With extensive grounds, our campus may be large, but we are a warm and welcoming community and our students quickly feel at home here.

Just 15 minutes south of Brussels, St. John’s International School is housed in modern buildings and located in a quiet, tree-lined, residential area of Waterloo. This is a very family focused area and many students live within walking distance of the school, or in the surrounding suburbs of Ohain and Lasne. The highway that passes Waterloo makes for easy access to destinations in all directions.

The security of our community is extremely important to us and St. John’s has a closed campus with one main entrance on Drève Richelle and a pedestrian entrance on Champ du Roussart.

Students and staff wear identity badges at all times and upon registering at the reception, visitors are provided with a visitor’s badge to enable them to move around campus.

We manage the security of our school closely during peak times, events and other school activities with the help of security guards and dedicated staff members who control the flow of our community in and out of the campus.


Boarding Options

Designed to make life easier for students and for parents, St. John's International School offers a wide range of boarding options to suit every need and every household.

Full Board:
Boarding for seven days a week during term time

Weekly Boarding:
Boarding from Monday to Friday during term time

Regular Overnight Stays:
Book an overnight stay on set days of the week

AD HOC / Flexi-Boarding:
If you need to travel for work or have a family commitment, you can book ad hoc nights in the boarding house (with advance notice)

Enquire Now

Facilities and Boarding Rooms

Shannon House is split between three floors with common areas in the basement (kitchen, salon, game rooms, laundry facilities, study pods) and residential halls separated by gender. Most bedrooms can accommodate four students comfortably with bunk beds, wardrobes, closets, and desks for individual study space. Bathrooms are shared between two bedrooms with showers, double sinks, mirrors, and toilets for student use. Students are encouraged to decorate and personalise their living spaces to allow them to feel at home in their new environment.

Why Choose Our Boarding School?

Boarders at St. John’s are a part of a wonderful community in which they learn to be themselves, to become independent and to live with others. An invaluable experience, and a great foundation for their future lives.

Students studying at St. Johns consistently achieve above world average IB Diploma results, including the highest percentage of bi-lingual diplomas in Belgium. 1 in 3 students at St. John's go on to study at Russell Group or Ivy League Universities.

With a rich community of over 55 different nationalities, students at St. John's benefit from a diversity of experience amongst their peers, as well as international Summer Camps and Exchange Programmes as part of the Inspired Education Group. These shared learning experiences provide a rich background to their learning journey, enhancing their knowledge and understanding of the world.

Students at St. John's benefit from a state of the art professional theatre, which is the largest in Brussels. Pupils can participate in theatrical productions, artistic performances and musical concerts which take place regularly throughout the year, and whether they choose to be on stage or behind the scenes - the opportunities for learning are vast. We have a number of former professionals on our teaching staff and an extensive selection of curricular and co-curricular classes on offer each term. The school’s Greene Gallery also hosts a wide range of exhibitions throughout the year, and cultural trips enrich our students’ varied programme.


Boarding School Activities

At Shannon House, boarders of all ages enjoy spending time together as a family.

During the week, boarders can participate in a variety of organised activities, including film nights, international cooking festivals, board game nights and quiz nights. Boarding Staff also open up the dance studio, music rooms or weights room on specific evenings.

During the weekend students can choose to take part in an organised group activity or excursion, and also have the option of walking into Waterloo to enjoy a brunch, go shopping, or watch the latest film at the cinema. Past weekend trips have included visits to museums, shared meals out at restaurants, bowling, go karting, watching sporting events, holiday markets, and excursions to other cities in Belgium.


Meals and Other Services

Breakfast, dinner, and snacks are provided for the residents of Shannon House during the school day, while lunch is served in the school cafeteria with the day students. Boarding Staff work to cater to student preferences, dietary restrictions, and allergies. A local catering service provides balanced meals based on seasonal selections in Belgium. Students are exposed to a variety of local dishes as well as international plates throughout the year.

Security at our Boarding School

Security and child safeguarding are of the utmost importance at St. John's. Shannon House is staffed at all times outside of the school day, with a team who continuously prioritise student safety. Shannon House is also equipped with alarms and security systems to protect students, while boarders and boarding staff perform regular drills to practice emergency evacuation procedures throughout the year.

Boarding in Belgium FAQ

This will, to some extent, depend on the characteristics that one is personally looking for, of course. However, the quality of infrastructure, cultural diversity, academic excellence, pastoral care, depth of extra-curricular offerings, and the range of opportunities afterwards are all things to look for.

Boarding at St. John’s International School is a well-balanced experience with a perfect environment for our diverse cohort of international students to perfect their study habits and focus on achieving top grades.

Equally important are the myriad opportunities to engage in our unrivalled visual and performing arts programme and make the most of access to specialised sports through our extracurricular offerings. Boarding students are encouraged to fully embrace personal and community responsibility while developing lifelong learning, independence, and leadership skills. Boarders develop their personal integrity, live in a respectful community, and make lasting friendships.

They learn to get along with people from diverse backgrounds with different interests

It can be challenging for parents to decide whether their child is mature enough and emotionally ready to leave home for boarding.  This is an important conversation that we are happy to discuss further with individual students and their families.  To cater for the wide variety of student and family needs we offer full, weekly and flexi-boarding options.

At St. John’s, we accept boarders from the age of 11 when they enter middle school and the Middle Years IB Programme.

There are multiple reasons to choose a boarding school in Belgium. The multilingual and very diverse country lies in the heart of Europe, and other exciting cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Cologne are only a short train ride away.

The town of Waterloo itself, made famous by The Battle of Waterloo (not to mention the Abba song), is a student-friendly town of about 20,000 inhabitants in the French-speaking Belgian province of Brabant-Wallon. It is a pleasant and easy place to live that provides all the conveniences of a large town while maintaining a small-town feel.

Everything one needs in terms of services, stores, medical facilities, and cultural opportunities is available in town. As a result, there are all kinds of free-time activities: from cinema trips and days at the local aquatic centre to visiting the many historical sites and going on bike rides in the countryside. After all, Waterloo is surrounded by the 10,920-acre Sonian Forest, which offers extensive walking, biking, and horse-riding paths.

St. John’s International School is the top boarding school in the country. It is the only international school offering premium accommodation, an extremely varied extra-curricular experience, and an IB continuum education.

If your child holds a passport of an EU or European Economic Area [EEA] nation, it is straight-forward  and does not diverge much from our normal application process.

You can contact us directly here, and one of our admissions officers will be in touch shortly with answers to your questions and any other information you request. You can also book a personalized private tour of our campus and the boarding house just across the street.

Should you not be able to come to Belgium, we can also arrange for a virtual tour beforehand. And finally, you apply for admission, conveniently and paperless, online.

We find those students who settle most quickly into boarding life have a clear understanding of the routine and expectations of the boarding house. It can be helpful to make a list of things needed for the boarding house and to make your child feel at home. In anticipation of the experience, prepare your child to be more independent. Ensure that your child can accompany you when visiting St. John’s. It is not unusual for a child to feel some element of homesickness when they begin boarding.  Our boarding team and friendly experienced boarders will support and engage your child with numerous activities as they settle in and become comfortable in their new home-from-home.

St. John’s offers more than 30 extra-curricular activities in which the majority of the school’s population participates. For this purpose, we boast two multiple sports arenas, outdoor fields, and even a 400-seat professional theatre where we stage large all-school musical drama performances with more than 100 participants.

Additionally, boarders can enjoy the large common area and weekend trips during their stay.

Most boarding schools in Belgium offer weekly and full boarding, whilst at St. John we also offer fully flexible options for modern internationally mobile families that reside in Belgium.  We also cater to foreign students at St. John’s. 

Most Belgian boarding schools will either use French in the Walloon south or Dutch in the Flemish north of the country. There are some multilingual boarding schools, but St. John’s is the only one with a long history of language learning.

French is taught throughout the school in the form of a dual-language programme in the primary years and with advanced and beginner options in middle and high school. Many of our teachers are fluent or native French speakers. This expertise is reflected in a record-breaking 50% of our whole cohort achieving the prestigious Bilingual IB Diploma.

Belgian boarding schools will follow the national curriculum. St. John’s International School is the only boarding school offering the IB continuum programme with over 40 years of experience and a history of academic excellence. Our IB DP results rank consistently and significantly above the world average.

Some will indeed offer football, and so does St. John’s. However, St. John’s is the only one that is also part of the International Schools Sports Tournament, offering competitions with other international schools and trips to exciting locations around Europe.

They generally don’t. But at St. John’s we have an established partnership with one of the top golf academies in Belgium at the renowned Golf de Hullencourt and we are surrounded by some of the country’s most beautiful and established golf clubs.

Some will, but the Visual and Performing Arts Programme at St. John’s is unrivalled with a myriad of opportunities for artistic expression.

Whilst some might offer it, at St. John’s boarders will have the support of a dedicated team of Academic and University Counsellors; we facilitate placement at the best higher education institutions around the globe.

The average teacher-student ratio in secondary education stands at 1:9. At St. John’s, that figure is 1:7.

Contact Us Today

Our Boarding School in Brussels has a reputation for excellence, built on strong foundations of exceptional academics which support our students to achieve their full potential. Discover how your child can benefit from a world-class boarding education that will lead them towards long-lasting success.