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Language and Culture

“If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world” - Wittgenstein

One of the highlights at Surval is celebrating our diverse international family.

Family here means a mix of cultures, customs, languages, religions, tastes, callings, interests… in short, a magnificent melting pot! It is not always easy to live in an international environment; and yet by taking the time to understand any differences, we are all best prepared to face the world beyond Surval.

Surval girls relish their immersion in the language and culture of Switzerland. We remain true to our roots as a famous Swiss finishing school and continue to include within our curriculum a popular programme of intensive French and Savoir-vivre: combining language, art, culinary arts and Etiquette, complemented by a rich schedule of international travel. Our girls develop excellent understanding of nationalities, cultures and languages and respect for each other.

All Surval girls benefit from this unique programme, refreshed and remodelled to support and equip modern young women for their next steps and the outside world.

A Surval girl can walk into any room – interviews, conferences, social situations – anywhere in the world and know how to conduct herself.

This ‘globalising’ of our girls is not just what is taught in the classroom, it’s our way of life.

Etiquette at Surval

We are proud to be one of the only schools in Switzerland to include Etiquette in our curriculum. Etiquette at Surval explores:

  • Personal organisation and presentation
  • Cultures and customs around the world
  • Table manners around the world
  • Dress codes
  • Posture
  • Personal style and colour analysis
  • Manners around the world
  • The art of conversation
  • Invitations: how to address an invitation, how to invite and reply
  • Restaurant manners
  • Hosting formal events
  • Formal table service
  • Hospitality

Language at Surval

English and French are the principle languages taught and spoken within Surval. 

Girls can study for IGCSE English as a Second Language, TOEFL and other English qualifications from PET through to IELTS.

For further studies in French, as well as A Level, we also offer DELF (Diplôme d'études en langue française – French Language Diploma).

All students who study the French Language at Surval, from Foundation Year to the Swiss Gap Experience, are given the opportunity to achieve at least one DELF qualification.

The DELF is part of the CEFR (the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), the six common levels of which (from beginner to advanced, A1 to C2) are widely accepted as the global standard for grading an individual’s language level proficiency. Achieving a B1 or above in the DELF opens doors to students who aspire to study in French-speaking Switzerland.

Students sit the appropriate DELF level for their ability, rather than their age, making it highly flexible. Girls who come to Surval for one year only, regardless of the Grade in which they enter, can achieve their Diploma at their respective level. We are proud to offer all students who take French Language at Surval the opportunity to achieve Diplomas in this globally recognised qualification.

Girls also have the option to study additional languages including German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish, which can be taken at a conversational or exam level.

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