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Old 24.01.2010, 16:08
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International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

Hello all, I'm Gianmarco, an Italian citizen currently studying in Ireland. For the longest time, I've been a fan of Switzerland - even though I've never actually set foot in the country. But I am looking to change that, as I've been looking for International Schools in Switzerland. I am aware of the fact that IS are usually for families that move to a country whose children don't know the language, but my motivation is that I want to continue my education in English.

Now, I've been to many of the schools' website, looked through the various documentations and whatnot, and, from the list of 10+ schools I had, only three remained. This is because some of them have 'limitations' (e.g.: I cannot apply to the International School of Berne, because they don't normally accept students in Grade 12, expect those coming from an International Baccalaureate program, nor the International School of Geneva, since pupils must stay with their parents or close relatives that can be nominated their legal guardians.) that would prevent me from being admitted. The three remaining are: the International School of Lausanne, Zurich International School, and John F Kennedy International School in Saanen.

The problem is, the average annual fee for most of the schools is 30,000 CHF (roughly 20.000 ), along with admission fees and staying (wether it's in a host family or in campus, the latter being the option I'm mostly considering.)

What I want to know is: is there an alternative way that a student who is motivated to continue his education in English in Switzerland can do so, but without having to pay such amount of money? As I said, I am willing to reside in a campus dorm. Hopefully someone can enlighten me on this, and maybe help me with some advices concerning the situation.
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Old 24.01.2010, 22:49
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

Hello there.
Quite honestly, if I wanted to continue my schooling in English, I would go for an English speaking country!

The International Schools here are very expensive, as you have seen. In many cases a firm which transfers staff to Switzerland will pay the fees. As the transfer is only 'temporary' and the family may well move on to another country after a couple of years it makes sense to have continuity for the children's schooling. Hence the IB course.

As far as I know, there is no living accomodation available in the ZIS. The children live with their parents in this area. That is why the school is here!

I hate to be a wet blanket, but I cannot see a way of doing it cheaply.
Maybe someone else knows more and comes up with a good idea.
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Old 24.01.2010, 23:11
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

Good evening my fellow friend.

Even though you're for an school to study in CH, may I ask what language would you prefer the most for it is not merely choosing a school, or an international school for your matter what matters but also the act of becoming part of the Swiss society. I might you that CH is a country of MANY languages, their German accent's....pretty butchered I might say but the french side however has got a wonderful french accent, quite delightful to the ear and on my opinion better than a parisian's accent for the swiss-frenchs don't their words like the parisians do; they talk slowly and cheerfully.
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Old 24.01.2010, 23:31
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

Thank you both. Julian, I am not exactly sure what you're asking me. Is it the language that I would prefer the most, not considering English? If so, then it would be French. I've been studying at school for awhile now (both now in Ireland and previously in Italy).

Anyhow, I found this website earlier: http://www.swiss-schools.ch/. In the "Find a school" section, you can select "Host family" under CATEGORY when doing your research. So maybe some of them take care of that aspect too?

I mean, there must be some other students whose drive is the same as mine, as some of these schools claim to have pupils of 50 different nationalities currently enrolled.

I am trying with ISL to see if there's anything that could prevent me from being admitted, and also asking about the accommodation situation.
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Old 24.01.2010, 23:47
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

Considering that it is English you wish to study surely you are best immersed in an English speaking culture? Which is exactly where you seem to be.
As International schools are for children who's parents are based in Switzerland I'm not quite sure what you wish to achieve trying to come alone?
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Old 25.01.2010, 00:10
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

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Considering that it is English you wish to study surely you are best immersed in an English speaking culture? Which is exactly where you seem to be.
As International schools are for children who's parents are based in Switzerland I'm not quite sure what you wish to achieve trying to come alone?
Maybe it's the way you have worded your message, but I get the idea that your image of my situation is a bit distorted - I am living with an host family here in Ireland, not my parents. Also, even though I can see your point about being immersed in an English-speaking culture, I still think that the 'International atmosphere' is better for non-native speakers. Here in Ireland, I am in a public secondary community school where the majority of students are Irish. Us 'foreigners' are just a few (majorities are Spanish and Polish), and, having experienced the 'international atmosphere' before, I can tell you that I much more prefer that one to the one I am currently experiencing. Hopefully you get the sense of what I mean.

What I'm trying to achieve is being closer to home and my family, just to mention one. After high school, I won't mind to enrolling to a English-taught University/College in the Confederation.
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Old 25.01.2010, 00:18
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

No I did understand that you may be living with a host family to study in Ireland, not your own family.
But I don't quite see that this would be applicable to Switzerland as English is not one of it's languages.
It would have you closer to home, but at quite an expense surely?
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Old 25.01.2010, 00:21
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

If you wanted to come here, stay with a host family and learn German or French you could certainly do that - but come here, stay with a family and learn English?

Not saying it can't be done, but to my knowledge there are no organizations facilitating such stays; you will probably have to do the legwork yourself to find a willing host family and arrange everything with them.

The analogous situation would be going to Ireland in order to stay with a host family and learn Polish. Sure, there are Polish-speaking families in Ireland, but no organized language exchange programs: it is expected that anyone wanting to learn Polish will go to Poland.
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Old 25.01.2010, 00:22
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

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No I did understand that you may be living with a host family to study in Ireland, not your own family.
But I don't quite see that this would be applicable to Switzerland as English is not one of it's languages.
It would have you closer to home, but at quite an expense surely?
Yes you are right. I can see your point.

But I must note that my family is also paying big money to have me here in Ireland.

It's complicated, really. I do, however, not plan on concluding my HS cycle in Italy, as I consider its school system to be completely worthless.
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Old 25.01.2010, 00:25
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

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If you wanted to come here, stay with a host family and learn German or French you could certainly do that - but come here, stay with a family and learn English?

Not saying it can't be done, but to my knowledge there are no organizations facilitating such stays; you will probably have to do the legwork yourself to find a willing host family and arrange everything with them.

The analogous situation would be going to Ireland in order to stay with a host family and learn Polish. Sure, there are Polish-speaking families in Ireland, but no organized language exchange programs: it is expected that anyone wanting to learn Polish will go to Poland.
Again, the point you have made is undebatable, but I am not looking to learn the language, as it is currently the language I speak everyday and in which I am tested at school.

A French-speaking family would be fine for me.
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Old 25.01.2010, 12:02
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

One other thing might be if you can really take another curriculum change so soon before taking exams and trying to get a university place, and what country would be best for your third level education?

Studying English with a host family in Ireland is a very normal and affordable way of studying English compared to trying to invent something here and using fee paying schools to do it. It just doesn't really make sense no matter what way you look at it. Even if you found a family to live with you still have to organise a school!
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Old 25.01.2010, 13:07
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

Hi there,

I think what you are really looking for is a Swiss boarding school, likely with curriculum in English from what I understand. I know of three in particular--Le Rosey, JFK, and Champittet (Lausanne), but there are many more. Google 'swiss boarding schools' and you will find. Swiss international school, is like other posters said, more for expats living here.

However, I'm sure you will not find much for less than 60,000 chf.
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Old 25.01.2010, 15:15
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

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Hi there,

I think what you are really looking for is a Swiss boarding school, likely with curriculum in English from what I understand. I know of three in particular--Le Rosey, JFK, and Champittet (Lausanne), but there are many more. Google 'swiss boarding schools' and you will find. Swiss international school, is like other posters said, more for expats living here.

However, I'm sure you will not find much for less than 60,000 chf.
I have already considered that scenario, but it is not a realistic one, as my family cannot afford paying those money. Had my family been that wealthy, a boarding school would no doubt be the best choice!

But thanks anyways.
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Old 04.02.2010, 08:51
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

I went to Aiglon College and was there for 10 years. Most people when discussing their time at a Swiss boarding school say that they enjoyed it but similarly couldn't wait to get out. Personally, I seriously wouldn't mind if I were back there right now. Granted, it is one of the more expensive schools but Aiglon is very good in relation to offering scholarships and other forms of financial aid. I know various people who do not pay the full tuition so it's a simple case of inquiring about it. I find Villars/Chesieres to be the most Swiss environment out of any of the other International schools in Switzerland. Leysin is nice, but it is a vertical town meaning getting to various parts of the town can be really quite tiring and it hasn't got the Swiss feel with the chalets and the like. Aiglon is primarily a British school so there will be no need to worry about continuing your studies in English. Almost all of the staff originate from Britain. Furthermore, you will meet people at Aiglon who will be life long friends, not to mention, assets. Having an incredibly International student body will benefit you later on in life as those you get to know at Aiglon will undoubtedly become influential in the future. Aiglon really is the best.
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Old 04.02.2010, 09:41
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Re: International Schools in Switzerland - tips for travelling student

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