The United Lisbon International School is an innovative school opening this fall in Parque das Nações in Lisbon. United Lisbon offers an internationally recognized English-based program from early childhood (3 years old) to grade 12.
Dr. Nils Remmel, Founding Head of United Lisbon, talked with Dispatches Europe about the school, and how it meets the educational (at the academic and personal level) needs of the modern student.
Dr. Remmel, tell us a bit more about how you became part of United Lisbon:
I am originally from Germany but my wife is Portuguese, and I have a very strong relationship to Portugal. I graduated with a PhD in management from University St. Gallen (Switzerland), a leading European business school, and eventually became the director at Institut Montana Zugerberg, a leading boarding school in Switzerland.
United Lisbon for me is a project that I am deeply connected to, because it is so much more than just an academic program.
How is United Lisbon different from other international schools in Portugal?
Our vision is to “empower and inspire the younger generation for a sustainable world.” Our holistic program merges an academic education that’s recognized around the world, with a modern approach focusing on sustainable values and personal development, so that our students can thrive.
Our goal is to also teach relevant skill sets, such as adaptability and agility, and help to create a society that is responsible and equitable. At United Lisbon, we want to inspire students and guide them along their journey in life, and then send them to the best universities in the world.
United Lisbon is a school involved in active learning. We can’t continue teaching children the way we have been doing in the past. At United Lisbon, we have modern classrooms that focus on student-centered learning, where students are very much involved in their lessons, and are given opportunities to design their own projects.
The learning spaces are open and flooded with light, and we also have creative spaces such as a theater and art studios, as well as a modern gym. The location of United Lisbon in Parque das Nações is ideal; not only is it in close proximity to large global corporations such as Microsoft, but also to the Interactive Science Museum (Pavilhão do Conhecimento), the Oceanarium and the Camões Theater.
Students will get opportunities to participate in ocean learning programs such as marine sustainability and biodiversity directly at the Oceanarium with access to experts in the field, and experience their classes in a real-life context.
Who is behind the concept of United Lisbon?
The school is backed by the Stern family, who are the founders and owners of the Martinhal Family Hotels & Resort. United Lisbon is an extension of their concept, which focuses on family and the next generation making a positive change in the world.
United Lisbon is managed by the International School Services, with headquarters in Princeton in the United States. ISS works with over 500 international schools around the world, and promotes international education by creating schools that focus on the individual student and their future.
What is the type of curriculum offered?
Our curriculum leads to the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and Advanced Placement, and is taught in English. We accept students from early childhood (3 years old) up to Grade 12. Students from every part of the world, whether from Singapore, Japan or Brazil can make a seamless transition into United Lisbon because of the way that our curriculum has been created.
As a side note, we contribute to the educational programs of public schools by making ours accessible to them.
What is the admission process?
It depends on whether the family is already here, or is planning to move to Lisbon. We ensure that we meet each family and student, preferably in person, because it helps us to understand the background of the student to see what kind of learner they are.
We can accommodate up to 1,000 students for the whole campus. However, during the first year, we are only taking 150 students so that we can focus on creating and shaping the community and the learning process. In our second year, we will add Grade 10, and in the third year, Grade 11.
What is the opening date?
The 14th of September 2020 is the official opening day – the first day of school – but we will be ready in June and will be spending a month with the instructors.
Who are the instructors?
All our instructors are international, usually American; are fully qualified; and have had global experiences in teaching. With ISS’s network, we were able to recruit the right teachers, as well as create partnerships with technological companies.
What are the tuition fees?
The tuition fees are on par with other international schools: the annual costs per year for early childhood is around 10,000 euros, and goes up to 20,000 euros for the upper grades. There are additional fees for the meal and transport allowance. You can find out more on our website.
About the author:
A graduate of Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif., Liina Edun has a background in psychology and a career in writing and content management.
Having lived most of her life as an expat, she is currently located in Lisbon.
See more on Dispatches here about Portugal.
See our Lisbon archive here.