Beat Sommer Image Credit: Supplied

What does Hochalpines Institut Ftan (HIF) offer prospective students from the UAE?

At HIF Swiss International Boarding School and Sports Academy, students from the UAE will find international boarding school education in a spectacular alpine surrounding. Our students thrive on a sense of connectedness with the natural environment and the joy experienced in outdoor activities. Our school with its 225-year history is committed to the highest standards of teaching and individual achievement in a spirit of kindness and understanding.

How many expat students does the Institute have on its roles, could you share a demographic, how many do you have from the Middle East?

Our group of boarding students is currently relatively small, students from Europe, Asia and Russia enjoy HIF’s family-like environment. 

What are the courses that the Institute currently offers, are there any compulsory secondary European languages that expat students will need to learn once they enrol at the school?

HIF offers a range of programmes recognised by the world’s leading universities.  A bilingual programme (English-German) leads to the Swiss Baccalaureate-Matura. The school is a centre for the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). HIF is also a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme and pursuing authorization as an IB World School.

HIF Sports Academy is one of Switzerland’s leading sports schools and is an acclaimed Swiss-Ski Regional High Performance Centre for Alpine Skiing. Our students will study and learn in English, German and French. 

Please share some relevant details on the boarding facilities at the Institute and orientation courses that the school offers its expat students when they arrive at the school premises.

Our students live in one of the 70 bright study bedrooms (single or double) furnished in a modern attractive style. There are lounge areas for meeting with friends, a quiet and inviting learning space in the well-stocked media centre, a computer lab as well as a recess area with billiards table, football and table tennis tables. 

There is also a TV room and students are welcome to play on the grand piano in the auditorium. Our spectacular gym is equipped with a climbing wall, an athletic trampoline as well as outdoor trampolines. 

The school grounds have tennis courts and a football pitch where a volleyball net can also be set up. Our outdoor basketball courts, a halfpipe and a nearby downhill-freeride mountain bike parcours are frequently used by our boarders.

New students are guided through the first stages of their stay not only by the caring and welcoming pastoral staff, but also by their assigned student buddies, who will introduce them to all aspects of school and boarding life at HIF.

How often can expat parents visit their child in school, does the school offer a guardian or mentor programme or are all expat students expected to avail of the school’s boarding facilities?

Parents are welcome to visit their children over the weekends or whenever they are in the area. All expat students avail of the boarding facilities during school times. During holidays, students will return to their families to enjoy time back home. 

Please share some details on the Sports and Education Academies at the Institute and the benefits they provide to students.

Our HIF Sports Academy is open to any student with a passion for sport and strong academic ambitions. They can combine competitive or leisure sports with an international academic programme.

A team of teachers, pastoral staff and coaches helps them coordinate individual training sessions, competition schedules and study plans. Sport is a core element in the education of all HIF students. It promotes health and well-being but also resilience, self-discipline and team spirit — vital qualities for future leaders.

Our HIF Language Academy offers a programme of intensive language courses with up to 25 lessons per week, supplemented by individual tutorial sessions and curriculum enrichment activities such as sport, excursions and cultural events. The progress that students make will depend on the duration of the course. This can range from one month to one year.

What are the extracurricular activities that the Institute offers students?

Campus life offers golden opportunities to explore and to try something different. School plays, musicals, band, sports, Model United Nations, charity projects, leadership programmes, debating club and many other activities with like-minded colleagues will keep our students busy. The possibilities are virtually limitless — if students are prepared to make things happen.