Inspiring and challenging young minds: one school’s story

Located in the German city of Munich, the Bavarian International School (BIS) is one of only a handful of fully accredited IB World Schools. BIS members discuss their emphasis on lifelong learning.

Inspiring and challenging young minds: one school’s story
In this article, staff at the Bavarian International School explain how they help to create motivated, responsible lifelong learners who contribute to both the life of the school and wider society.

Welcome to the Bavarian International School (BIS)

Believe. Inspire. Succeed

These three words underline our culture of inspiring and challenging young minds to develop lifelong learners. We take pride in our open and inclusive community of expatriates and locals to achieve excellence in the classroom as well as outside it.

Location, location, location

We are located on two beautiful campuses in the northern part of Munich, the heart of Bavaria and – arguably – the business capital of Germany.Our City Campus Primary School, for preschoolers until grade 5, is housed in a freshly renovated building. The state-of-the-art facilities, with an indoor sports hall and a spacious outside playground, provide all the resources and space needed by our youngest pupils.Meanwhile, 20 kilometres to the north is our Haimhausen Campus. Its majestic 16th-century rococo mansion (the Schloss) combines with 21st-century classroom and sports buildings surrounded by spacious grounds and athletics fields. Here we have educational opportunities for children from three years old to 12th grade, along with a wide variety of after-school activities in sports, the arts and student societies.Our locations in the north of Munich are extremely convenient for relocating families. Many of the large international corporations in and around the city are found in this area. From Allianz to BMW, and from Linde to MAN, the German companies located here are global titans.But Munich also boasts a vibrant high-tech sector, with international companies like Eurofighter, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Oracle all having a significant presence. Most of all, frequent fliers will enjoy easy access to Munich International Airport, which is just 20 kilometres to the north of our Haimhausen campus.When many people think of Munich, they think of the largest folk festival in the world, the Oktoberfest, which takes place from the middle of September until the first weekend in October.However, the city offers some of the best cultural and entertainment opportunities all year round. For example, there is the museum quarter, which showcases masterpieces of the Renaissance at the Alte Pinakothek and breakthrough modern art at the Brandhorst Museum Munich is also home to many renowned music venues, such as the beautiful Munich Opera House, located in the city centre.There is a strong English-speaking arts community, and many international stars perform here during their world tours. Sports fans are not forgotten, as Munich is synonymous with FC Bayern and the Allianz Arena, which is just a ten-minute car ride from both our campuses.
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The jewel in Munich’s crown, however, is access to the natural wonders of Bavaria. Within a one-and-a-half-hour drive to the south, the Alps provide world-class skiing in winter and wonderful scenic hikes in summer. And thanks to the Alps, Munich is surrounded by turquoise lakes for swimming and other water sports, so that every outdoor activity is possible, including surfing on the Isar River in the middle of Munich.Last but not least, Italy is just a three-hour drive to the south, opening up endless opportunities for getting away on a long weekend or an extended vacation.

A truly international school community

We pride ourselves on our open and inclusive community. That is because we are a true international school, with 52 nationalities and over 40 mother tongues spoken in our halls.This community is supported by a vibrant parent-teacher organisation (PTO) that makes newcomers quickly feel at home in Bavaria. There are PTO language representatives for almost every major region in the world, to help parents during the orientation process and when they are settling in to their new homes.The PTO hosts numerous social events throughout the year – for both parents and students – so there is always something going on and opportunities to get involved.

The curriculum: an English-speaking IB school

BIS is an English-speaking International Baccalaureate school, combining unique academic rigour with an emphasis on students’ personal development. With over 150 full-time teachers and a student-teacher ratio of 1:7.5, students develop strong academic, social and emotional characteristics.BIS is one of the few fully accredited IB World Schools in the world. We offer a preschool education starting at age three, along with three IB programmes: the Primary Years Programme, the Middle Years Programme and the Diploma Programme. For the 2018/19 school year, we will be adding a fourth, the Career-related Programme.We are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the Council of International Schools (CIS). In addition, BIS is a member of the Educational Collaborative for International Schools (ECIS), the Association of German International Schools (AGIS), the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Internationale Schulen in Bayern (AISB), and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

Student services and success

Developing the whole student is deeply ingrained in our vision to develop motivated, responsible lifelong learners who make a difference to the world.Our academic curriculum is backed by a strong team of student counsellors at every stage, from the primary years to university admissions in the upper forms.BIS IB Diploma students routinely have a pass rate greater than 90 per cent (95 per cent in 2017), and 47 per cent of students are awarded a bilingual diploma (the world average is 29 per cent). The average IB Diploma points score in 2017 was 34.1, against a global average of 30.1.BIS students have won places at some of the world’s most prestigious universities, from Stanford and Harvard to Oxford and Cambridge. Our alumni have gone on to successful careers around the world as engineers, artists and entrepreneurs, and are eager to support fellow alumni in their university applications and career aspirations.The educational opportunities do not stop in the 12th grade. Munich hosts two of Germany’s most prominent research universities, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich (LMU), which many BIS graduates attend.In particular, BIS has a strong relationship with the TUM-MakerSpace, which offers special courses for our students. There are also numerous specialised universities – for example, Munich University of Applied Sciences – as well as private universities offering bilingual and international degrees, including the EU Business School.

A successful school past and a bright future

In 2016, BIS celebrated its 25th anniversary. Since opening our doors in 1991 with six children in a small rented office building, we now boast over 1,120 students and expect our student body to reach 1,350 by 2020.However, that is not including the plans we have for our Haimhausen campus and our STEAM Building. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and maths. It is an offshoot of the acronym STEM, which focused on the sciences and maths, without the arts.However, we strongly believe in interdisciplinary education that provides a broader perspective on the academic material and fosters creativity in the learning process. Such an innovative learning concept will enhance the learning of the traditional STEM disciplines and provide the much-needed bridge to students who, traditionally, would not be interested in pursuing a career in these areas.The building, which is being designed by world-renowned architects Perkins Eastman, will be the next chapter in BIS’s development.As we look back with pride at our achievements, we look forward to an even stronger future. Our vision for BIS is to make it a beacon of progressive and modern learning. We hope that you will visit us, whether you are just passing through the Munich area or considering a move to Germany. We welcome you to our community of learners.For further information about the Bavarian International School, visit
Relocate Magazine front cover Autumn 2017
Read more about international education in the Autumn issue of our magazine
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