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Media Spotlight on International Schools

Why do expats send their children to International, English-speaking schools? Does this inhibit integration? How will these students and their families recognise the need to learn German? Integration agencies, school authorities and others in Switzerland pose these questions. These International schools appear to be supported, on the one hand, because expat workers are here on contracts and thus rarely clear on a departure date from Swiss life, and seem to roam the globe on international assignments. On the other hand, many expats apparently remain sceptical about the nature of the Swiss school system, says Julia Morais of the Zurich office for integration in an interview with the Zurich newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. This scepticism is often a distrust of state schools in general. However, many locals believe that children do not learn much about the country they are living in for a while when they are going to international Schools. In another interview with the Tages-Anzeiger Michaela Seeger of the Zurich International School recognises the language situation, but she also points out that, contrary to what some Swiss believe, International Schools regularly teach units about the country they are located in and also organise school trips to help their students learn about the country..

Find out more about this topic while reading about the International School of Basel in one of our next issues. The topic of expats learning German while living in Switzerland was previously examined in a Basel Journal article printed in 2012. In the article “You Speak English?” by our journalist Martin Pütter, he explored the following question: what does or does not motivate expats to learn German? Read the article in our archive.

By Stephanie Erni, English translation Martin Pütter and Mary Alakhdar

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