I think that Elinor shows brilliantly how different cultures influnce and change each other. Right at the start, there's a great desire to be as 'English' as possible, expressed by Austrian girls, and yet AUstrain traaditions such as curtseying to adults is taken on without a comment and becomes part of the Chalet School universe. Very
interesting - not that one is better than the other, but we're shown what different people can learn from each other - not just 'told'. For me, this particular idea, that we can all learn from each other (and taken to it's (almost) extreme, that 'not all German are Nazis') is demonstrated so clearly at this point.
I think, too, that a strong ethos in the series is the importance of home life, and women's role within it, regardless of whether or not one later has one's own family. The stress on home-making, shown in various places within the school itself, and then when we get to see the working home lives of different characters in different countries, is implicit and explicit in Chalet School thinking.
Going back to curtseying, here's a quote from Mrs Sidgwick:
I have dined with a large family where eight young ones of various ages sat at an over-flow table, and did not disturb their elders by a sound. It was not because the elders were harsh or the young repressed, but because Germany teaches its youth to behave. The little girls still drop you a pretty old-fashioned curtsey when they greet you; just such a curtsey as Miss Austen's heroines must have made to their friends.
Yes, I know we're at least 20 later, and we're in Austria and not Germany, it what I find interesting is how this very un
-English tradition became part of what was intended to be, but its first pupils, a very English