Géraldine Dulex: A Star isn’t Born but Made

Géraldine Dulex is a Swiss and American alumna who graduated from Institut Montana Zugerberg in 2002. Today, you can find Géraldine in New York City, doing what she loves most, acting. Read on to learn more about our star.

 


09 April 2019
What brought you to study at Institut Montana Zugerberg? 
 
I grew up in Baar, Switzerland [a short distance from Zug] and after my first year at a local secondary school in Zug, I moved to New York with my family. When we returned to Switzerland after four years, I knew that I wanted to go back to the United States to study and I also knew that I wanted to do theatre. When I found out about the programme at Institut Montana Zugerberg, where I could earn a US High School Diploma and study the International Baccalaureate, which offered theatre, the decision was clear.    
 
What was your favourite class and why? 
 
Theatre Class with Mark Johnson, naturally. I learned a lot about all kinds of different theatre styles, we did fun physical exercises and we got to perform! It was here where I really started to appreciate theatre from all over the world. I also loved Theory of Knowledge with Mr. Valentino. I remember having some deep and challenging discussions that went beyond the classroom. I greatly enjoyed going to history class taught by two recent university graduates from the United States, German class with Mr. Hohmann especially when we got to read plays, as well as biology with Mrs. Faassen, which was challenging but I learned a whole lot. 
 
Were you a day student or boarding student? 
 
I was a day student. I drove my car to the Seilbahn Station and then took the cable car up to Mt. Zugerberg. My trip to school was very special and I never stopped appreciating the incredible view as the cable car took me up the mountain. On campus, I was mostly with my class, but on the cable car, I was with students of all ages and from all the sections (Swiss, International and at the time, Italian), there was a special bond between all of us. 
 
What was your favourite memory and why? 
 
Oh my goodness, there are so many! I was a teenager during my time here, and experienced everything a little heightened, I would say. ;) My highlights are the theatre performances, the basketball tournaments, the high school graduation party, but I think my most memorable experience was when I did my final presentation for my US High School Diploma. I was wrestling to understand why the self-consciousness of body images differed so greatly in the United States to Europe and tried to present a logical argument for my final presentation. The teachers asked tough questions as I stood in front of them defending something I was trying to understand more deeply myself. I felt utterly challenged but also knew that the teachers had my back, and I felt supported. What I learnt most at school was to challenge myself, sometimes maybe too far. But why not take the risk and potentially fail, especially when you have a supportive network? Just go for it!   
 
Did you participate in any clubs or activities? 
 
I did theatre and played basketball. 
 
What is the importance of studying in an international environment? 
 
The benefits of studying in an international environment are tremendous. First and foremost, you get to really know and grow with people from all kinds of different backgrounds. You get to learn about them, their home and culture, while experiencing life together on campus. This instantly creates a bond and empathy, which I think is essential in our global world today. If you have the chance to grow and study in an international environment like Institut Montana Zugerberg, then go for it, it promises to be a most enriching experience, it certainly was for me. 
 
How did Institut Montana Zugerberg prepare you for university? For your career? 
 
Again, to take risks and to aim high were some of the major lessons I learned here. I also think it made me take a closer look at who I am. I was from Baar and my local friends were all down in town, but I had studied at a German school in New York and was now with my new international friends on campus. I felt half local, half foreigner, and yes, that was okay. Everyone came with their stories and they weren’t ‘just’ one thing. I became friends with so many multi-facetted people and my world views truly broadened. I also have been able to draw from my enriching experiences at school and my friends’ stories that broadened my horizon. Especially in the study of people, which I consider acting to be, it has been most helpful. 
 
I also want to mention the network that this school has and actively cultivates. I went to an alumni reunion in New York last year and met the charming Siamak and his beautiful wife Samira, and through this connection, I got to host the Swiss Society Ball in New York. I also “crashed” Marc Forster’s film release party in Chicago once [another fellow alum who directed many films such as James Bond: Quantum of Solace]. Institut Montana Zugerberg was an instant connector and I had a most inspiring conversation with him. While I haven’t had the chance to work with him yet, he is definitely on the top of my list and I can’t wait until our paths cross again. Institut Montana Zugerberg is a magical place on a mountain in the beautiful Zug area, and it’s one of those life experiences that creates a special bond between people. 
 
How would you describe Institut Montana Zugerberg in five words? 
 
Supportive, demanding, multifaceted, international, community. 
 
What tips or advice would you offer to current students? 
 
I would say to really take in the cultures and stories of everyone. It is such a unique and stimulating environment that it’s nice to take a step back and just admire the many faces walking up and down Grosses Haus, our main building. I also think Zug and the surrounding cities offer wonderful opportunities to do fun things off the mountain and dive into Swiss culture. It’s that microcosm of internationalism in a city that is calmly bustling in its idyllic setting. 
 
What tips or advice would you give to someone who is an aspiring actor? 
 
Believe that what interests you is valid and deserves your full attention and dedication. I remember feeling that I took acting class at Institut Montana Zugerberg way too seriously. And yes, I was clearly the nerd in class, but now when I look back, there was nothing wrong with that. Believe in your path. Find a school that offers acting classes and never be afraid to ask questions. Everyone has to learn the answer at least once. The summer before graduating from Institut Montana Zugberberg, I did a summer programme at New York University. I was studying with people who were already in the professional world, and I learned so much, soaking in all the information. Know that the rejections are going to outweigh the jobs you get. Don’t dwell on it, do something you love, treat yourself and you’ll see life goes on. Something that has been of tremendous value to me is journaling, writing down my thoughts, experiences and dreams with as many details as possible. The more you know about where you want to be and what you want to do, the clearer your path seems to become. But don’t forget to live in the moment and to always listen to yourself and your dreams. You may end up going down paths you never knew existed or thought possible, or end up doing something completely different than you set out to do and that’s okay, which is something I have to remind myself of as well. But most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy life and be an informed and engaged human being in the world while you’re at it. 

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