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 a private day or boarding school for your children.
Benefits of multicultural, multilingual education
Switzerland has four national languages — German, French, Italian and Romansh — and it is one of the leaders in encouraging multicultural education. With many expats adopting it as their home, the country itself becomes even more international, and 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 have found that children who are taught 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 and live in a community of peers, as well as to develop independence and self-responsibility. 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 programmes, 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 — but 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 organised, 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 programmes. 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.
- St. George’s International School, Montreux: For boarding and day pupils aged 3-18.
- Le Régent College, Crans-Montana: Students are between 5-18 (day school for pupils 4-18).
- Lemania College, Lausanne: Student body is aged between 12 and 20.
- Aiglon College, Villars: Student body consists of children aged 9 to 18.
- Surval Montreu, Montreux: A small school for girls between the ages of 13 and 19.
You can learn more about boarding schools in Switzerland via the Association of Swiss Private Schools.
3000 Bern 7