Parent Name: Manuela Janda
Child Name and Age: Elisha, 13 and Zoe, 16
School Location: Main Campus
How did you first hear about your school?
GESS was recommended to me. My husband’s Austrian colleague and his wife knew about both GESS and the Swiss school and informed us about the good reputation the school had.
What factors played into your decision to send your child to this school?
For us, it was important to find the balance between German and English. Our children have never had English as the language of instruction, but they were always keen to learn proper English. On the other hand, our mother tongues are the language of our emotions. So the possibility for my children to learn German as a second language was an important consideration from a psychological point of view. The opportunity for my children to do the international baccalaureate diploma was also one of the key criteria for our decision.
Did you take a tour of the school before making your decision? What were your first impressions?
We took a short tour about four or five months before we applied. Our first impression was that the school clearly cares about the integration of the students. They also gave us a good feeling about the goals and the methods employed in the international diploma programme and they appeared to have a professional approach to education.
How did your child adjust to the school? Did the school take any special measures to help with the settling in process?
The children settled in surprisingly quickly. As a psychotherapist, I know of the challenges faced by 13- and 16-year-old girls who are entering an existing community, looking for new friends and managing the process of growing up and becoming an adult. The school took some effective measures starting from day one. For example, there was a welcome tour organised by fellow students for the newcomers – an important first step for integration into the group.
What in your opinion are the three greatest strengths of the school?
International baccalaureate diploma, international student and teacher body, and motivated staff.
How does the school include parents in the community?
Through many informative emails and events for parents to gather and communicate.
How does the school keep you informed about your child’s progress?
Back in Austria, we never had the feeling that we were fully informed about the progress of our children during the sessions we got to talk with the teachers – usually twice a year. At GESS the information dissemination is much better, accurate and timely. Definitely a plus point.
What is the number one thing you’d miss if you transferred your child to another school?
Hard to say – hopefully the new school will offer all the benefits of GESS.
What kind of child (or family) would you say would be the best fit for this school?
I believe that there is no “typical” child who would fit best. GESS seems to manage all kinds of children very well. A child with the ability to work on solutions, rather than learning from books by heart will have an advantage at GESS.
What extra-curricular activities or out of school programmes does the school offer that you have taken part in?
The children currently participate in Zumba sessions on a weekly basis.