Excellence in serving international sports talents

Posted on 18th Oct 2022 in School News, Sport, Switzerland, International Schools

Interview with Mr. David Chapuis, Vice-Principal at St. George’s International School, Switzerland, on the Sport Etudes programme

Sport Etudes at St. George’s International School provides a balanced structure between the development of talents and academic life. Whilst sport is a key activity in the daily lives of all St. George’s students, we recognise and support the commitment required from students in practising high-level sports.

How did the Sport Etudes programme come into being?

The programme was officially launched in 2019, but things originally got started some ten years back with Ralph Boschung, a student with a keen interest in Formula Two who has since turned professional. If he was going to compete on a regular basis, he really needed a lot of flexibility; that gave me the idea of setting up the programme.

In what way is the Sport Etudes programme at St. George’s different from other schools?

Few private schools in Switzerland can offer such a full-scope, well-established sports programme; ours supports students in academic studies and sports training alike, giving them both time and plenty of flexibility in schoolwork so that they can practice their sport whilst ensuring a high level of academic achievement. We are the only school offering supervision that includes a Sport Etudes tutor in contact with outside institutions and our partners, along with a training centre that addresses these students’ particular needs. What is more, St. George’s International School has been accredited as an Athlete Friendly Education Centre by the World Academy of Sport (WAoS) – which has recognised no more than thirty or so schools in all.

How does this programme allow access to the best universities in the world?

St. George’s International School prepares students for the International Baccalaureate, a gateway to leading universities and colleges in Switzerland and worldwide. In 2020, despite Covid-related restrictions, the school achieved a one hundred percent pass rate on this exam, putting us in first place among the World Academy of Sports (WAoS)-accredited schools in Europe. A university careers advisor also helps students determine appropriate universities, their admissions requirements, and who to contact, before putting together a portfolio summarising their tournaments and sporting achievements.

How many students have joined the programme? What sports are represented?

There are currently 12 students in the Sport Study programme, practising skiing, tennis, equestrianism, hockey, golf, and soccer. They include two skiers from the Danish national team, a girl in the process of joining the French Olympic equestrian team, a future Swiss golf champion who is about to make the national team, and a young team B soccer player from FC Stade Lausanne Ouchy, Switzerland..

How are the student-athletes supported?

We work with professional trainers and the coach of the Swiss golf team Billy Karageorgakis for all our targeted and personalised fitness sessions. Former professional Swiss golfer Christophe Bovet and Stan Wawrinka’s former trainer Yannick Fattebert, also co-founder of the Sport Spirit, regularly give classes at the school. We also work with Marc-Henri Duc, head of the Villars ski school, and regularly welcome other athletes to share their experiences – one recent example is Croatian skiing champion Ana Jelušić.

This article first appeared in the 2022/23 edition of John Catt's Guide to International Schools, which you can read here: