Today we see the rise of etiquette schools around the world from Africa to Asia. Their veritable explosion in China is a testament to that, for etiquette schools offer courses that help one straddle the cultural divide between east and west through acquiring cultural sensitivity and competence. Programs detail European customs and expectations both within the private and work domains as well as more specific courses such as British dining and how to conduct a royal afternoon tea, which are all hugely popular and constantly sold out.
The western world had etiquette schools in most cities; however, by the 1970's - 80's they had slowly closed their doors, with wider society feeling the schools had little to offer. What, they wondered, did schools like the longest standing finishing school is IVP, Switzerland, where Madame Neri and family have dedicated their lives to teaching European etiquette to international ladies, royalty, wives of diplomats, prime ministers and society notables, have to do with them? With the advent of the Internet, globalisation and screens, the way in which we communicate has evolved rapidly - and some would argue that it has devolved. Etiquette schools themselves have adapted to such a change and now offer the ever-popular cross-cultural courses such as Chinese etiquette, how to cope with bullying courses for teenagers, and basic table manners that are open to everybody.
We have seen figures such as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, transformed through their training in royal etiquette that improve their confidence, posture and body language and enable them to feel at ease and conduct themselves appropriately in a wide array of formal and non-formal events. Today etiquette and finishing schools are flourishing globally: migrants and business people in particular have sensitised themselves to the reality that the respect and understanding of other cultures are the keys to unlocking the capacity to integrate and work successfully with others, for both themselves and their children. In doing so, they gain knowledge, confidence and the capacity to find that competitive edge within business and social situations.
Etiquette and finishing schools are the schools of the future.
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