Geza Scholtz on International Friendships

Our next alumni feature will be a 3-part series. In this first instalment, Geza speaks about his experience with us at Institut Montana.

13 June 2019

Geza Scholtz is your typical Institut Montana student. His mother is from Hong Kong, his father is from Hungary but he himself was born and raised in Switzerland and thus considers himself as Swiss. He studied with us for eight years which when he thinks back on, felt like forever. We like to believe it was a good forever. He graduated in 2001 to go on to the University of Zurich to study dentistry which he still practices today. Here is his experience during his time with us: 
What brought you to study at Institut Montana Zugerberg?  
My dad had gone to a boarding school himself and believed it was a good experience. So naturally, it was something that my brother Andre and I also had to experience.  
Why did you choose the program of study that you did? What were the overall benefits? 
Since I was at a Swiss primary school, studying the Swiss Matura was the natural choice and allowed me to explore my medical career at the University of Zurich. 
Were you a day student or a boarding student?  
I was a boarding student and at the time, no one liked being there which is totally normal. But when I look back on my time there, it was actually a really great experience. The friends that I met during my time there I still see quite often and it’s also where I met my current best friends. The thing is, when you are there, you bond with people in a different way than people you meet at any other stage in your life. When you are 12 or 13, and living with people for five to six years, a strong bond is created since you go through similar experiences, you get punished together, you eat the same food, etc. I would say it’s almost like getting another brother and it’s a beautiful thing. The bond that we create during our time at the school is so strong that even if you don’t see someone for five or ten years, it doesn’t matter. You are able to always reconnect and it’s as if no time ever passed.   
Did you participate in any clubs or activities? 
I played basketball the whole time I was there, sports in general was probably my favourite class. At the time, we also had a jazz bar which I ran, as well as a disco every second Friday and a cinema. It was really cool because I was able to steer these events and it gave me a certain sense of power.  
What is the importance of studying in an international environment?  
You make connections with people from all over the world and I stay in touch with a lot of them. It’s really great because if I fly here or there, I know that there’ll always be an Institut Montana student somewhere ready to welcome me. Like I said before, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t see the person for 10 years, you can just call them and say like, “Hey! I’ll be in your area this day.” And they will be excited and organise everything from pick-up to almost your whole itinerary so that you can just have a great trip and a great experience with this friend as you reconnect.  
If someone was considering studying at Institut Montana, what would you tell them? 
Definitely go! Maybe you will miss out on certain things that happen at home, but studying at Institut Montana gives you something different and more unique that not everyone can experience. It’s this whole process of learning and living together that develops into something that is just great to have. 
How did university differ to Institut Montana? 
I went to medical school for my first two years and it was pretty tough. I knew I was going to have to study a lot when I chose medical school but it got to the point where for one or two months on end I would wake up early, go to the library and stay there until 10 or 11 at night and just go back home to sleep. I was still able to balance my activities with my studies at Institut Montana but medical school was a different level.  
What tips or advice would you offer to current students? 
What is really nice about Institut Montana is that it is out in nature and there are a lot of things that you can explore and do in nature. Nowadays, I see so many people on their computers or mobile phones and we are just keeping our faces in front of screens more than ever before. The beautiful thing about our school is that you can go out and experience nature by sledding, running, hiking, biking, and anything else you can think of. You’re able to take a break from your screen and go out on an adventure. During my time, we didn’t have phones, and something I notice is that we don’t even look out at the window anymore. For instance, let’s say you’re on a bus, when you look out the window, you’re able to give your brain more time to dream, think and to process because you are not distracted by anything else, you can just think. I notice it with myself even, that I am just always occupied with my phone, so I stop dreaming and thinking because I am instead just reading on my phone. This has made me stop thinking about life, projects and ideas because I focus on my phone too much. Maybe the only time you have now to think is before you go to sleep since we are now always occupied with all this access to information.

So, make sure you take the time to put down the screen and explore your surroundings, especially in nature. Make dreaming and exploring your top priorities. 

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