Go Swiss, Go Canadian, Go UK, Go Global Boarding!

Considering applying to a US boarding school in New England, Mid-Atlantic or the west coast? If so, you may want to dust off your passport and explore international boarding school options. International boarding schools can offer your students an excellent academic, sports and extracurricular balance.

Switzerland, Canada and the UK offer some of the best-kept secrets regarding international options for high school, middle school, and yes, even elementary level boarding schools. Boarding schools in these countries deliver not only extraordinary educations, but also present co-curricular travel and cultural offerings that US boarding school simply cannot match.

Price points for tuition, particularly with Swiss boarding schools, can be significantly more expensive that US counterparts. Le Rosey, for example, an exclusive Swiss boarding school located near Rolle with a winter campus in Gstaad, is infamous for being the world’s most expensive boarding school with tuition north of $110,000 per year. This compared with a typical US boarding school demanding less than half of that expense.

Many flags hang around the dining halls as students from around the world study, dine, compete and reside together in a truly multicultural setting. Many schools count over 50 nationalities within their student and faculty populations. Despite many languages spoken on campus, students must find a common tongue in which to communicate. Curriculums range from the traditional AP, found at many “American School of (insert name of city),” to International Baccalaureate or IB, as it is commonly referred to. Students who may consider going on to university in the UK, may seek out one of the many international boarding schools with a traditionally British curriculum.

I worked with a student a few years back from Monaco who felt constrained by the limited extracurricular choices for girls in Monte Carlo. In her sophomore year she decided to go the international boarding school route and transferred to a Swiss school where she thrived both inside and outside the classroom. Formerly limited to just dance options, her Swiss boarding school offered rich options in the arts, music, athletics and community service. She took full advantage of all of the opportunities offered at her Swiss boarding school and was admitted to the Hunstman Program in International Studies and Business at University of Pennsylvania.

Students who attend boarding school outside of the US live the life of a boarder, but experience the added benefit of living in an international culture with the complement of a sophisticated student body composed of students from every corner of the globe. The combination of an independent school model with the benefit of a multi-cultural dimension, set in an international locale, simply cannot be duplicated among traditional US boarding schools. So, if you are thinking about boarding school, consider going global!

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