Home Education Children's Education A guide to Swiss boarding schools
Last update on October 09, 2020

Many expats in Switzerland send their children to private day or boarding schools, giving their children a high-quality education in a multicultural environment. We explain the advantages of choosing one of the many Swiss boarding schools for your children.

Benefits of multicultural, multilingual education

Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. In fact, the country is one of the leaders in encouraging multicultural education. With many expats adopting it as their home, Switzerland is becoming even more international; as a result, the drive for multicultural education has further increased.

This gives students of Swiss schools a measurable advantage. Many boarding schools in Switzerland are also bilingual schools, with lessons taught in the regional language and either French, German, English, or Italian. Researchers find that children who learn in a bilingual environment develop greater cognitive flexibility and have better social interaction skills.

The student bodies of Swiss boarding schools consist of pupils from around the world, making the educational experience truly global. The benefits of this are enormous: studies show that students who learn in culturally diverse schools develop a higher self-image and develop a stronger sense of both self and their role in society.

Swiss boarding schools: the advantages

Although state education in Switzerland is excellent (and also free), there are advantages to sending your child to a private boarding school. Boarding schools in Switzerland are respected around the world for their high academic standards and their international emphasis.

Living away from home has many advantages for students. It allows them to learn life-coping skills as well as to develop independence. Boarding school students also learn study habits and self-discipline to help prepare them for college.

The facilities at boarding schools are excellent — from libraries to sports, arts and music programs, students have access to a wealth of activities and educational opportunities. Class sizes are also smaller in boarding and other Swiss private schools, ensuring students receive more individual attention from teachers and mentors.

The schools are subject to cantonal law; each of the country’s 26 cantons run their own state education systems. However, they can offer the Swiss curriculum (Matura/Maturité), a foreign national curriculum such as British IGCSE/A Levels, or the International Baccalaureate. To read about the way the Swiss education system is organized, see Expatica’s guide to education in Switzerland.

Some of the best boarding schools in Switzerland

Below are some of Switzerland’s best-known boarding schools, some of which also provide non-boarding day programs. You can find a more comprehensive list here. Note that competition is high: there are long waiting lists with some of the most popular schools, so it’s important to apply early.

Further information

You can learn more about boarding schools in Switzerland via the Association of Swiss Private Schools.

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