Located on a lakefront in Salzburg in the Austrian Alps, St. Gilgen International School offers exactly the sort of boarding school experience parents imagine for their children. Not only is St. Gilgen surrounded by mountains with glass-fronted buildings facing the lake, but the school offers an international primary and middle school curriculum in English that leads to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma in the final two years.
Two hundred and fifty boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 18 are currently accepted at St. Gilgen. The four virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude underpin the school’s academic mission as well as the ethos for personal student development. Small classes and low student to teacher ratios are also maintained to ensure students receive individual attention and are able to develop their talents.
Location and facilities
St. Gilgen is located on the shores of Lake Wolfgangsee that was once home to Mozart’s mother. Students are encouraged to consider the village as part of the campus and can easily avail of the local restaurants, cinema and sports facilities that are a short walk or ride away. St. Gilgen itself fronts onto the lake and has numerous courtyards and a central café.
Excellent educational facilities enhance the academic atmosphere. The centerpiece of the facility’s infrastructure is the school library that is divided into three floors. The lower floor is the library itself. Above this is a reading room, with a media center on the lower floor. Furthermore, all students receive MacBook computers as part of their enrollment at St. Gilgen. Students can also avail of open floor spaces to study and practice spaces for music.
St. Gilgen village is known for its sustainable farming and forest management, and pupils live and study in a full four-season environment highlighted by local cultural traditions and annual art and music festivals. The school’s activities schedule makes full use of these annual events to complement the academic school year.
St. Gilgen offers a three-year primary school programme (grades 4 – 6) to prepare students for middle school. The focus during this time is on core subjects and helping students develop good learning habits. Students also develop a foundation in English and German language and culture. The Middle School programme (grades 7 – 10) prepares students for the International Baccalaureate Diploma. A positive attitude to learning is fostered during this stage of learning and students are encouraged to be creative, resourceful and actively involved in the school community.
The International Baccalaureate Diploma (grades 11 – 12) is a rigorous programme that equips students with the knowledge, discipline and academic skills needed to compete on an international level. At St. Gilgen performance is reported on a scale of one to seven, with upper-level (11th– and 12th-year) pupils graded against rigid international criteria.
St. Gilgen’s four boarding houses were originally hotels that have been converted to provide a homely atmosphere with ensuite accommodation in single or double rooms. Students have their own bed, lockable cupboard, desk and study chair, and storage space. Many rooms enjoy pleasant mountain and lake views from the balcony. Students share rooms where possible to encourage socialization and house parents and resident tutors are available to ensure give students individual attention and make sure they are relaxed and comfortable in the boarding work to establish individual character and confidence in each student, every measure is taken to ensure that students enjoy a safe, comfortable and relaxing environment.
Extra curricular activities and sports
Academics are balanced at St. Gilgen’s by providing a full array of physical, cultural and intellectual activities after lessons every day and all of Friday afternoon. The outdoor programme makes full advantage of the natural environment with swimming, kayaking, canoeing, waterskiing, hiking, climbing and snow sports to avail of. Music, theatre, choir, cinema, art, fashion, Model United Nations and other cultural activities are also available, including activities more suitable for younger children such as gardening, baking and Lego club.