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Brillantmont International School Lausanne, Switzerland – 135 years of educating today’s young people.

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Brillantmont International School Lausanne, Switzerland – 135 years of educating today’s young people.

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A little earlier this year, Brillantmont International School in Lausanne, Switzerland, recently welcomed back over a hundred alumni to celebrate its 135th anniversary. The oldest had studied at the school nearly 70 years ago, whilst the youngest left very recently.

Yet, they all hold the school in great affection and happily mingled, sharing memories and anecdotes over a delicious raclette lunch in Brillantmont’s beautiful gardens. Wherever their lives have taken them, they share a bond with other alumni across the globe; their formative years were spent in the comfort of a family atmosphere which prepared them well for the modern world.

In 1882, Brillantmont was founded by the great-grandparents of the current owners, the Frei family. The school is unique as it is the only Swiss boarding school which has belonged to the same family for five generations. At Brillantmont, the sense of family is felt at every level: amongst the school Board, the Direction and the staff, many of whom have been at the school for ten, twenty or even thirty years or more, but above all, the sense of family is felt amongst the 130 strong student community.

Leaving home to enter boarding school can be a daunting prospect for even the most outgoing child. Our team work hard to ensure that every student coming to Brillantmont, whether for a summer course, a term or for several years, feels at home and part of the Brillantmont family. Feeling safe, secure, listened to and encouraged gives our students the confidence to grow, succeed and bloom into balanced, well-rounded individuals. This has always been our philosophy, right from the foundation.

The school archives make fascinating reading and document not only the school’s establishment in a district of Lausanne which at the time was covered in vineyards, but world trends and social changes. In 1882, Brillantmont opened with just eight students yet within ten years, enrolment had reached fifty, with students from countries as far flung as Barbados, India, Saigon, Argentina, Bohemia, Denmark and Australia. This is astonishing, considering transportation available at the end of the 19th century and that Alexander Bell’s greatest invention – the telephone- had been invented only fifteen years earlier.

Brillantmont is a privileged witness to geo-political changes and certainly our teachers draw on the student’s cultural diversity and rich backgrounds to enhance their lessons, preparing them not only to enter leading universities but to become global citizens. Living alongside people from other cultures, with different life experiences can transform the way we think about the world.

It opens our eyes to other traditions, other viewpoints and promotes inter-cultural understanding, as summed up by Larry, a US alum, “I credit Brillantmont in shaping me into the man I am today. Beyond the academics I became a more worldly person. I have a deeper appreciation of different cultures and people from all around the world. This is not trivial – it helps in business, diplomacy and creating lasting bonds with people of all different backgrounds.

His words illustrate that the founding principles of the Brillantmont of 1882 and still pertinent to the Brillantmont of 2017. Happy Birthday Brillantmont!

Key: Brillantmont International School, Lausanne, Switzerland 2017

Key: Brillantmont International School, Lausanne, Switzerland circa 1900

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