Swiss Semester was founded in 1986 by Raymond Robbins and his wife, Lenita Robbins.
Mr. Robbins spent fifteen years as headmaster of University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and seven years as head of The American School in Switzerland in Lugano before founding Swiss Semester.
As a headmaster, Mr. Robbins recognized that sophomore year in most high schools was a “down” year. By creating a program that drew upon the challenges and the beauty of the mountains and learning opportunities of travel and very small classes, Swiss Semester would provide interested and qualified students with a transformative experience. Students could then use this new found independence and confidence to get the most of their high school and college experiences.
The Director of Swiss Semester, Kris Robbins (KR), is the son of the founders. He has been the director of the program since 1997 and has had the good fortune to have both of his daughters, Heidi and Liesel, join him during their sophomore years.
Prior to becoming the Director, KR worked with his father at Swiss Semester for two years and worked in independent schools in New Hampshire, Washington, and Massachusetts as a teacher, an assistant admissions director, business manager, and dean of students. KR and his wife, Kate, live in Hanover, New Hampshire during the off-season.
Since its inception, Swiss Semester has been located in Zermatt, Switzerland,(http://www.zermatt.ch/en) an outdoor paradise that epitomizes the security, stability, and natural beauty for which Switzerland is renowned.
Zermatt is a small alpine town at the end of a valley and at the foot of the Matterhorn in the German speaking part of the country even though the town shares its borders with Italy. The population (most speak French, Italian, and English along with Swiss German) of Zermatt is roughly six thousand and the town does not allow motorized vehicles.