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«I came to Freies Gymnasium Zürich because I am from a multicultural family and wanted to have a bilingual education. Being bilingual enables me to navigate the world with confidence.

I feel particularly at home in Freies Gymnasium Zürich because my teachers support me in my efforts to be independent. Learning to take responsibility will help me a lot in my future life.

I don't yet know exactly what career I would like to pursue later. I could imagine becoming a computer programmer, for example, because I love working on the computer. »

Marlon Koch (13), 2nd Class of the Bilingual Progymnasium

«My favourite subject is Biology because I'm fascinated by water creatures. That's why I would like to be a marine biologist later.

I particularly like the fact that Freies Gymnasium Zürich isn't too big – everybody knows everybody.

It's strict but that means we learn something. I attended the preparatory class and then transferred to the lower school of the Gymnasium. The preparatory class helped me to develop the skills to meet the challenges of the Gymnasium.»

Linus Folini (13), 1st class of lower school of the Gymnasium

«I chose to attend the Freies Gymnasium Zurich because it combined my two wishes of not wanting to forgo an excellent Swiss education and wanting to be at a school where my native English was taught at a mother tongue level.

The thing I enjoy most about being at this school is how much you learn from your teachers inside the classroom, but almost more importantly how much you learn from your classmates outside of it, about different cultures, traditions and views.

I would recommend this school to anyone who wants to be challenged to achieve their goals and personal best, while receiving support and guidance every step of the way.

For my professional life I can imagine to become a medical doctor.»

Kiki Laino (Bilingual Progymnasium)

Interview with talented young filmmaker Gion Hunziker

«When and how did you develop your passion for video filming?»
Four years ago, my cousin and I filmed each other skiing. We cut short clips from the film material for a souvenir of the holiday. That’s how my fascination for filming began.

«To what extent does your school, Freies Gymnasium Zürich, enable you to indulge this passion?»
I volunteered when the school was looking for a keen filmmaker for the FGZ jubilee celebrations. I had already made some films in the meantime and every film you get involved in gives you the chance to learn something new.

«Do you have any ambitions to work in the film business after your Matura graduation?»
I could absolutely imagine working in films and would seriously like to make a career out of something that I love and find so challenging.

«What would you say has been your most remarkable film project so far?»
My cousin and I produced the videos for the Achtusig clothes label. The film for the 3rd collection was the biggest and most work-intensive project that I have been involved in so far.

«You documented the jubilee summer party and the environmental project "FGZ für Züri". What was the most challenging aspect of these projects?»
In both projects, each scene was like a snap-shot. If the setup, the light or the subject wasn’t right, the shoot was useless because I couldn’t just film it again.

«What do you appreciate most about your school?»
I really like the open-minded, positive atmosphere in the entire school. The support that I received from the school during the film projects helped me a lot in my work.

Gion Hunziker (17), 5th class gymnasium

[Translate to English:] «As a multilingual family, we wanted our children to perfect languages and be at home in the world.

Freies Gymnasium Zurich provides this whilst offering strong programs across the board, all in a setting of traditions. Its strengths are its dedicated teachers and the personal responsibility and accountability expected from each student. In short it is personalised education at its best.»

Chris and Beatriz Boedtker (parents of 3 children)

«We chose Freies Gymnasium Zürich because we are impressed by the personal atmosphere in the school. School management and teachers work closely together with students and their families.

FGZ prepares its students very well for the future by paying considerable attention to both the academic subjects and the human aspect in its dealings with them.»

René Henri Bodmer (father and former student of Freies Gymnasium Zürich)

«As we both attended Freies Gymnasium Zürich, we are familiar with the quality and advantages of this school. It is extremely important to us that our two children receive the best possible support on their journey to becoming adults. We also appreciate the close and high level of contact with the teachers who support, encourage and challenge their students to achieve their full potential.»

Marianne Baltensperger Folini and Martin Folini

«On the one hand, Freies Gymnasium Zürich provided me with a solid education and an excellent preparation for my academic career. On the other hand, attending a school where key values, such as open-mindedness and tolerance were lived out on a daily basis contributed greatly to my personal development. What is more, I made many true friends for life.»

Noemi Gerber (Matura 2002

Short biography

Bettina Schneebeli comes from Zurich. Her musical education began when she started learning the violin at the age of eight. She attended Freies Gymnasium Zürich from 1995 - 2002 and graduated in the «Economics» study profile. Later she studied voice with Prof. Jane Thorner at Zurich University of the Arts.

She attended song classes with Daniel Fueter, Hans Adolfsen and Jens Fuhr, as well as master classes with Francisco Araiza und Luana DeVol.
As part of an exchange programme, she studied acting for one year in the Theatre Department of Zurich University of the Arts and is also the recipient of the Armin Weltner Stiftung scholarship awarded by Zurich Opera House.

She has appeared as a soloist in various concerts in Switzerland and abroad. Some highlights include Bach's «Magnificat» directed by Peter Eidenbenz in Zurich and F.Hidas’ «Requiem» under the musical direction of Bernhard Winter and Jochen Stitz in Germany.

On the opera stage, her roles have included Ericlea («Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria»), Aloès («L’Étoile»), Mrs. Todd («The old maid and the thief») and Ghost («Unglücklichsein») with the TZARA ensemble.

As a member of the international opera studio of Zurich Opera House, she has sung the roles of Bridesmaid («Freischütz»), Wowkle («La fanciulla del West»), Rossweisse/Flosshilde («Der Ring für Kinder») and was a soloist in Heinz Spoerli's Bach-Ballett under the direction of Marc Minkowski.

She had her debut as Tebaldo («Don Carlo») at the Zurich Opera House under the stage direction of Sven-Eric Bechtolf and the musical direction of Zubin Mehta.

Extract from the interview on 3 June 2013
«I particularly liked the class spirit in my last two years before the Matura examinations and the close friendships that I made during this time, which I still enjoy today.

At FGZ I learned how to work hard to achieve my goals.
What's more I still appreciate the fact that the lessons and the subjects that I studied were so varied meaning that I had a broad-based education which I could build on in the course of my studies.»

Short biography

Marc Faber, born in Zurich in 1946, is the author and publisher of the monthly investment newsletter «The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report» which is read all over the world. You can find his website here.

Marc Faber is the author of many books and an investment expert of worldwide renown. He has been married to his wife Supatra for around 30 years and is the father of a daughter. The Faber family now live in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand. Marc Faber has an office in Hong Kong. One of his passions is his collection of Mao memorabilia (he has one of the most significant collections in the world).

From 1958 to 1964 Marc Faber attended Freies Gymnasium Zürich. He then studied Economics and achieved top marks in his PhD at the age of 24. The major stages in his business career:

1970 – 1978: White Weld & Company in New York, Zurich and Hong Kong

Since 1973: resident of Hong Kong

1978 – 1999: Managing Director of Drexel Burnham Lambert

1990: Founded Marc Faber Ltd (Hong Kong)

From the school records (teachers' conferences)

1 June 1960: «constantly engaging in tomfoolery, one of the best in oral work, interested in the material».
19 February 1962: «organised a chess tournament, plays chess all the time and does not do any school work».

Extract from the interview on 23 May 2012, on the occasion of his visit to FGZ

«Why did you attend FGZ at that time?»
«To start off with we grew up in Geneva where we spoke French. When we moved to Zurich, our mother wanted to find a school for my brother and myself where the teachers really had the time to look after us.»

«What did you like about FGZ?»
«I'm not exaggerating when I say that I was in a super class. Not super because of our schoolwork but because of the close friendships that we formed with each other. These friendships still exist. We have regular reunions and some of our "old" teachers also attend.»

«In what way did you benefit most from FGZ for your later life?»
«At that time FGZ was a very strict school and we got a lot of homework. This meant that I learned how to work hard and to prepare for exams. Because I was always getting into trouble, I was constantly being "punished" which meant that I had to spend my free afternoon cleaning the school. To this day I know how to clean the floor.»

«Would you recommend FGZ to others?»
«At FGZ I got to know a different kind of leadership. At the time I experienced this as modern and open to new ideas. If I lived in Switzerland now, I wouldn't hesitate to send my children to FGZ. When I recently (editor's note: on the occasion of the «FGZ im Gespräch» event with Marc Faber in May 2012) visited the school in its attractive premises – when I was at school FGZ lessons took place in the old St. Annahof building – I felt just the same as in the old days, like a student during the holidays  – or like a cleaner.»

Short biography

Alex Rübel was born in 1955. From 1967 to 1974 he attended the preparatory class A and then type A Gymnasium of Freies Gymnasium Zürich, gaining his Matura diploma in 1974. He studied Veterinary Medicine and from 1980 – 1991 he was Assistant and then Doctoral Candidate and Senior Assistant at the Clinic for Zoo Animals, Exotic Pets and Wildlife of the University of Zurich. He has been Director of Zurich Zoo since 1991.

Extract from the interview on 3 March 2012

«Why did you go to FGZ at that time?»
«Because of my father who was a teacher at Freies Gymnasium Zürich.»

«What did you particularly like about FGZ?»
«The fact that it was a co-ed and had a family-like atmosphere. The school really feels like a family and the students feel at home in this atmosphere (editor's note: Alex Rübel's son also attended Freies Gymnasium Zürich).

«In what way did you benefit most from FGZ?»
«I really benefited from the broad basic education that I received. What's more, I still have a large circle of friends from this time.»

«Would you recommend FGZ to others?»
«Yes, I do recommend FGZ because the school offers a good atmosphere in which students can gain their education. In addition, the teachers do not just teach, they are really there for the students when they need them.»

Short biography

Elisabeth Mann was born on 24 April 1918. Known in the family as Medi, she was the fifth child and the youngest daughter of Katja and Thomas Mann. She grew up in Munich in their upper-middle class family and then followed her parents into exile in Switzerland in 1933 where she attended Freies Gymnasium Zürich, gaining her Matura diploma in 1935. Elisabeth Mann was a German-Czech-Canadian expert in maritime law and an ecologist, as well as an author. In 1970 she was the sole female founder member of the Club of Rome and played a significant role in drawing up the maritime agreement of 1982. Elisabeth Mann died on 8 February 2002.

For further information: Wikipedia

Short biography

Emil Landolt was born on 23 September 1895. He was a Swiss politician and President of Zurich City Council from 1949 to 1966.

Emil Landolt attended Freies Gymnasium Zürich from 1908 and was a Matura graduate of 1914. After school, he studied law and was employed by the Cantonal Finance Department in 1922. In 1923 he was an auditor at the District Court of Winterthur, from 1925 Cantonal Tax Commissioner in Zurich and eight years later Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce. From 1935 he was the President of the Appeals Commission of the Canton of Zurich.

In 1942 Emil Landolt was elected to Zurich City Council where he headed up the Education Department. In 1949 he was elected President of the City Council by the people of Zurich. He was soon known by the nickname  «Stapi». He resigned from office in 1966. Emil Landolt died on 18 April 1995.