Frequently Asked Questions


1. Are all the courses given in English?

Yes, all our regularly scheduled courses are taught in English. However, depending on the topic, the bespoke (tailor-made, specially organized) courses could also be taught in French and in Spanish.

2. Do you have online courses?

For the moment we do not offer online courses. Much of our teaching is “hands-on” in small groups. The daily interaction with the other students, who come from many different backgrounds and cultures, through their questions and comments at meals and outside of the regular classes, is also a very important part of what you can learn with us. 

3. Do you have a “Train the trainer” course?

We are not offering a certification or “Train the trainer” course because we feel that the subject matter is too vast. The people who want to teach etiquette and protocol come from so many diverse countries and backgrounds that it is not possible to have a standard certification or training course that would suit all, while still maintaining the level of quality we expect. Teaching international etiquette also requires a lot of background experience, extensive travel and a vast knowledge of general culture.

4. Do you accredit teachers of etiquette?

We do not provide any accreditation. Anyone who attends our courses will receive a “Certificate of Attendance” and if they attend the six-week “International Etiquette and Protocol course” and take the many tests and exams they can obtain a Higher Certificate, or a Diploma in International Etiquette and Protocol. This does not “accredit” them in the sense of being qualified to teach these subjects.

5. Can I teach after receiving the Higher Certificate or the Diploma?

Our courses are meant for participants who want to learn more about international etiquette and protocol for their social and professional life. These courses are not meant for people who then want to become etiquette teachers, but rather for those who want to use this knowledge in their daily life to feel more at ease with people from different backgrounds and cultures. To be able to teach, you also need to have teaching skills and experience.

6. Can I check if someone attended your school?

Only as a fact-check. You need to send us a request along with the materials in which someone is claiming to have attended IVP.

7. Do you confirm whether a person has obtained the Diploma or the Higher Certificate?

Yes, but only for people who publicly claim or write in their CV or on social media that they have studied at IVP. As we respect the privacy of our students, we do not reply if they have not already mentioned it themselves.

8. Is the IVP Diploma certified? Is it recognized worldwide?

No outside authority can “certify” our diploma because the Swiss education authorities do not recognise the diplomas of any private school in the country. Foreign colleges do not recognize our diploma either because it is not part of a standard university curriculum.

We are however recognised worldwide as one of the leaders in the field of International Etiquette and Protocol and the one with the broadest curriculum. 

9. Why are there practical exams and how are they marked?

The purpose (objective) of the practical exams is to see how well the student has assimilated and understood what she has been taught in both the theory and practical classes.

The grade (mark) is based on a detailed list of criteria to be fulfilled. This ensures objectivity from one student to another and from one course (year) to another. It can be that a whole group has high marks, or low marks, or marks ranging from high to low.

During the PEX (preparation for exams) classes and the regular classes, the student is informed as to what these criteria are (for instance for the table decoration and flowers: harmony of colors, originality and tastefulness of the design, good advance preparation, etc.). Feedback is given in a special session once all the students have completed their exams so as not to influence the ones who prepare them after the first ones.

The teachers obviously judge from a European point of view and aesthetic, as that is what students were meant to learn for the table setting, decoration and being a hostess at a dinner party. This might seem too strict or not appreciative enough of another culture’s perception of beauty or precision.

10. What if I want to attend the course but don’t want to take any tests or exams?

You can take the Higher Certificate or the Diploma Program for your personal development and enjoyment. At the end of the course you will receive a “Certificate of Attendance” mentioning the dates of your stay and the general subjects taken (Etiquette, International savoir-vivre, etc).

11. Do you offer private lessons with your teachers?

We provide one-to-one private lessons with our teachers during the regularly scheduled courses if a student wants to go more in depth with a subject or has difficulties understanding it. Online one-to-one lessons are only available to our alumni who might want to refresh or update their knowledge.

12. Difference between the short 1-week seminars and the 3 to 6-week courses?

It is obviously not possible to cover the same amount of subjects in one week as in six and we do need the 6 weeks of 36 weekly hours  in summer to cover our full curriculum.

The 1-week seminars were designed for participants who want to learn about a specific aspect of our curriculum and have little time available. It does not leave time for tests and exams as required for the Higher Certificate or Diploma. You do however get a Certificate of Attendance during these seminars. 

Subjects that we do not cover in the seminars are: Diplomatic and official Protocol; Detailed organization of receptions (Buffets, Cocktail parties, Garden parties, Barbecues, Picnics, Tea parties); Family receptions (coming of age celebrations, weddings, etc.); Practice and more detailed theory of formal and informal table service; History, tasting and service of teas, coffees, chocolates and herbal teas; Personal stationery;  Hotel etiquette; Business etiquette at the office; Organizing large business events;  Titles of royalty and nobility; and there are no floral art or table decoration lessons. 

During the 3 to 6-week International Etiquette and Protocol courses we also study 20 different countries with their culture and customs, and organize 5 ethnic meals to make participants aware of the many different ways one can eat apart from using cutlery.

13. Advantage of attending the one-week “European Art of Dining” seminar

This course is unique in giving you detailed insight into European customs and etiquette, especially when attending or hosting any meal. Living or travelling in Europe you will have noticed that there are many “codes” when communicating and interacting with people of different nationalities and regions. This course helps you understand them at a high social level and our teachers are very knowledgeable experts who can answer many questions, not just repeat what you can find in etiquette books. That gives you an advantage over other people who make unfortunate mistakes that can cost them a contract.

14. What are the ages and nationalities of the participants in the 3 to 6-week International Etiquette & Protocol courses in summer?

The minimum age is 18 and there is no upper limit. The age range varies from year to year though many participants are in the 24- to 40-year-old range. Nationalities also vary from year to year but there are always 15 or more nationalities from various continents.

15. What are the ages and nationalities of the participants in the one-week courses?

The minimum age is 18 and there is no upper limit. The age range varies from year to year though many participants are in the 27- to 55-year-old range. The nationalities vary from session to session.

16. Is there accommodation available at the school, or can I organize it myself?

You can choose to live at the school (in boarding school facilities) or choose to stay in an hotel or a B&B nearby. At the school, there are double or triple rooms each with their own bathroom, as well as single rooms where you share a bathroom with one or two other students. If you want a single room with your own bathroom, we have a few reserved at the four-star hotel next door.

17. What facilities does the school have?

2 Kitchenettes with fridge, microwave, rice cooker and kettle are available for the resident students. 2 Laundry machines and dryers are also available and the detergent is provided. And of course, irons and ironing boards on almost each floor. Wi-Fi is free of charge throughout our facilities.

18. Do you have a dress code at your campus?

To practice what we teach in theory, the dress code is “business smart” during the week. An elegant outfit is appreciated for the hostess exams and the graduation. A month before the course is due to start you will receive details with illustrations of the dress code.

19. I am vegetarian, can I attend the course?

Yes, you may attend the course. However, we ask our students to give us as much information as possible about their allergies and religious, ethical or medical restrictions in advance, so that we can take them into account when preparing the menus.

20. Do you have representatives in other countries?

We do not have representatives in other countries; we are based in Switzerland, although we have a vast alumni network from more than 120 countries.

21. Do you go abroad to teach?

Yes, for the bespoke courses we go to various countries and have already done so in the past.

22. Who were the famous people that attended your school?

Many famous people have attended our school, but we highly respect their privacy so we do not give their names. At the school, every student is called by their given name (forename) and their surname (family name) is not known to anyone else other than the management. This ensures that everyone is treated the same and people who are prominent in their country can relax and don’t have to worry about the motives of the other participants.