The Sotogrande International School lives up to its name. This Spanish boarding school located in Andalucia currently enrolls students of 40 different nationalities and runs a curriculum that embraces and promotes a global mindset.
Sotogrande’s is an International Baccalaureate (IB) program, a particularly attractive school for students who hope to pursue university degrees abroad, particularly in the United States. The IB Diploma at Sotogrande meets the standard program requirements, with an additional Creativity, Action and Service component meant to heighten student learning and understanding of the world.
Students here have the opportunity to study English to the point of fluency, and pursue academic interests that run the gamut from the arts, humanities, and languages to sciences and mathematics.
The aim is to cultivate in students a way of thinking that is based in reason and critical analysis.
Sotogrande’s doors opened in 1978 as an institution of learning that blended British teaching traditions with Spanish culture. The school welcomes students from the ages of three years old to 18.
In order to prepare students to live and work in the international arena, Sotogrande students travel regularly to places such as Morocco, India and Uganda.
When they are not traveling the world, boarding students reside on a campus nestled in the picturesque hills of southern Andalucia, Spain. They enjoy views of the Mediterranean Sea from the comfort of their own surroundings, and have access to one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.
Academics at Sotogrande are divided into the primary and secondary programs, the latter also being known as the Middle Years Programme. During these years, students can study English, arts and humanities, mathematics and the sciences.
The English program introduces pupils to a variety of literary styles, including poetry, prose fiction and non-fiction, drama and media. They also participate in different styles of performances and presentations in order to improve their communication skills.
Primary students still living at home with their families can partake in a special Spanish language program. This is an interactive partnership with a school in Quito, Ecuador, through which families learn right in their own homes while exposing their young learners to another language and culture.
Sotogrande takes care with all aspects of student life. Their excellent nursing services include immunization advice prior to enrollment, as well as long-term care, parental support in the event that their child should become sick or need medical assistance, and a new student check-up upon enrollment.
When it comes to personal development, the school ensures students are instilled with a long list of values that will hopefully lead to them becoming empathetic, curious and compassionate members of society.
Those students who live at Sotogrande are invited to participate in all campus activities, and the administration also prepares evening and weekend events specifically for boarders.
Anyone who wants to be involved but isn’t the athletic type may find the theater, choir and art programs more appealing.
Perhaps more than most schools, Sotogrande grants students the chance to travel extensively and enjoy experiences abroad that open their minds and help shape their global perspectives. In the past, Sotogrande students have taken history and arts trips to London, a science-themed trip to Geneva and a summer sojourn to an orphanage in Goa, India.
The campus is an active one as well, with sports such as horseback riding, paintball, tennis, football, basketball and rugby all options for students to play.
As is the case at any top boarding school, Sotogrande runs an excellent sports and fitness department, and strongly encourages physical activity among students. Sotogrande distinguishes itself with an outstanding and still-growing golf program.
The Sotogrande International Golf Academy is a fully-federated program and the school’s team made an exceptionally good showing on the tournament circuit in Andalucia in 2011.
Golfers have a host of resources at their disposal, including two chipping greens, two putting greens, a floodlit driving center with 72 booths, and a swing analysis center with SAM PuttLab analysis. They are also coached every day after school and are free to use the two courses at the Alcaidesa Golf Club.
Parental involvement is highly encouraged at Sotogrande, through consultations about students’ progress and through organizations like the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). The PTA holds regular meetings where parents convene to discuss the goings-on at the school, and they host events such as back to school parties and quiz nights where parents and teachers can socialize and get to know one another.
Sotogrande maintains that strong cooperation between parents and the administration will ensure the quality of their students’ lives.