Top Nav Breadcrumb

Bringing different nationalities together

The Lycée Technique du Center in Luxembourg explains how it integrates students from all over the world successfully—and three alumni share their experiences

Students from Lycée Technique du Center in Luxembourg participated in a breast cancer solidarity run

The Lycée Technique du Center (LTC) in Luxembourg holds a special position in the country’s educational system. Luxembourg is a multicultural country with 48 per cent foreign nationals, comprising 170 different nationalities. And the school has a history of welcoming a high proportion of students who are migrants and creating an inclusive atmosphere.

Mariette Kauthen, IB Coordinator at the school, explains: “We were the first secondary state school to offer insertion classes in 1989 for our years 7 to 9, which allow recently arrived students from all over the world to start learning French or German. (These languages are traditionally taught to Luxembourgish students from a very early age.)

“Since 1999, we have offered insertion classes for years 10-13 with French as the language of instruction. The majority of our students cannot be integrated into the traditional Luxembourgish school system as they are not sufficiently proficient in German.”

The school became an IB World School in 2008, authorized to teach the Diploma Programme (DP), and this year it has 49 DP students of 15 nationalities. There are 93 nationalities in the whole school.

“Our insertion classes form the basis of all our integration work,” says Kauthen. “Similar to the IB, the school’s values include tolerance and open-mindedness. A respectful atmosphere has developed quite naturally, although we do also have a charter making our values explicit.”

DP students led a day of activities for children with disabilities

Kauthen says that the DP’s CAS (creativity, activity, service) component complements the school’s efforts of introducing students to Luxembourg’s culture, traditions and people. For example, in 2017 final year DP students organized a hike, baking contest, quiz and visit for the Senior Club Uelzechtdall with the goal of bringing together generations. And in September 2018, DP students organized a day of activities for children with mental and physical disabilities.

Moving to a new country brings many challenges for students and the LTC places great importance on making sure there is enough support available. “In the past, the school has taken action to help avoid deportation of several of our students, who had not yet received residency status,” says Kauthen.

“Students are well guided by their teachers, as well as the school’s psycho-social support service in matters regarding their academic performance, as well as their educational choices and emotional needs.”

DP students organized activities with the Senior Club Uelzechtdall

Here three alumni talk about attending LTC and what the DP has meant to them

Maria Eduarda de Morais Lopes

DP graduation: 2010; now working in architecture; came to Luxembourg in 2003

“I am 27 years old and was born in Brazil. In 2003, I moved to Luxembourg with my family. That’s when I started high school at the LTC. Arriving in a country where you do not know the language or the culture can be difficult. Fortunately, we were very warmly welcomed at school and this helped a lot in the adaptation process.

“When the DP was first taught at the LTC, I became a part of it. This was a challenge for both students and teachers, but again, we were very well supported, and overcame the challenges together. The DP was an experience that left a profound impression on me, allowed me to open up to others, to prepare myself for university and for the professional world. Obviously, the experience would not have been the same without the unwavering support of our teachers.

“After finishing high school, I started a first year of biology at the University of Luxembourg but changed path and switched to studying architecture in Brussels at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Once I had finished my degree, I pursued my studies with a complementary master’s degree in conservation and restoration of cultural heritage at the Université Catholique de Louvain. During these two years of specialization, I worked in parallel. And now I work in an architecture office in Belgium.”

Cynthia Kombe

DP graduation: 2011; now a lawyer (admitted to the Luxembourg Bar), came to Luxembourg in 2006

“After leaving the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the age of 14 for Luxembourg (a multilingual country with a completely different culture and education system), doing the DP was not only a preparation for university, but also for life. I had to work twice as hard to develop critical thinking (relevant in a society where fake news has become common), to open my mind through CAS, to learn from my teachers, but also from my peers. This DP has also helped to open many doors. Indeed, after graduating, I was able to join top universities and now practise as a lawyer in a global top-tier law firm.”

Miguel Carvalho 

DP graduation: 2014; now studying medicine (4th year); came to Luxembourg in 2004

I want to emphasize one key aspect of the IB, which is its ability to foster the potential of its students—not only their intellect, but also their personality as a whole. However, such a goal can only be reached by engaged professionals, and that’s exactly what the LTC provided. That’s why I am so grateful for their commitment and professionalism. They made me realize that despite my humble origins (I am the first of my large family to go to university), I’m able to achieve greater things.”