Although some consider etiquette schools -- also known as finishing schools -- as remnants of an outmoded era that did not prepare young women for positions of power, today's finishing schools often teach young women more than how to hold a teacup, sit, dress and act. Now, Swiss finishing schools often include courses such as international diplomacy and business, and managing a household staff.
Institut Villa Pierrefeu
The Institut Villa Pierrefeu in Montreux opened in 1954, and is the last traditional Swiss finishing school. The school offers summer, fall and winter courses. Programs vary each semester, but courses include international business, diplomatic protocol and social etiquette, as well as table service and household management. The intensive summer course is three to six weeks' duration and is for students over 18. The summer program runs a certificate program of 26 hours a week of International Etiquette & Protocol and a diploma program of 36 hours a week.
Beatons High Society Secrets
Beatons High Society Secrets etiquette classes focus on learning the behavior expected in polite society. Set in the tiny Alpine village of Saas Fee, its courses include etiquette, dining etiquette, conversation, grooming and attire. The dining etiquette class is held in New York and London. Additional programs are also featured at other locations.
Surval Montreux in Montreux is an international girl's boarding school that offers several academic programs, a culinary arts program that focuses on cookery and pastry and an etiquette program that focuses on culture and customs.
Kathryn Esplin, a veteran copy editor, wrote for The Globe and Mail, The Montreal Gazette, and copy edited for Addison-Wesley, and several years for IDG. She holds a journalism degree from Medill and a B.A. in English from McGill. A memoir, "Of Things Human, Life, Remarriage, Death" was published in "Blended Families (Social Issues Firsthand)."