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Swiss Exchange Program 2017 ​

At ABWA, we believe in exploring new places and cultures through travel and becoming global citizens with international understanding. In line with our philosophy, our students of Gr 11(AS & IBDP) participated in the Cultural Exchange Program with École des Arches school, Lausanne – Switzerland. 6 students and a teacher visited Switzerland from 21st -31st Dec, 2017. We were hosted by the Swiss students’ families, as was the case, during their trip to Mumbai in Diwali break, when they were hosted by Indian families.

We were welcomed to the school, where the students interacted with other Swiss students. They attended a TOK class and got to know about each other’s culture through a class activity. It was interesting to see how students stepped out of their comfort zones of speaking their native language and tried to reach out to their French counterparts in the best possible manner. In true sense, they surpassed language barriers to be global learners! They also got to attend a presentation on the world famous Swiss hotel management course!

Food is definitely an important part of culture! Students tried their hands at local cuisine by experimenting and delighting their taste buds with some ‘Raclette’ cheese at the special Christmas brunch at the school. Trying not to lose their bread in the ‘cheese fondue’ was another ‘appetizing’ experience. They also got to feast on some traditional Christmas delicacies during their Christmas dinner with the host families.

We enjoyed the colorful celebrations at the Christmas ‘Noel’ market in Montreux, nestled alongside Lake Geneva. At Laussane, through a guided city tour, we got to explore the Cathedral, town hall and other city monuments. It was fun to try virtual games at the Olympic museum at Ouchy, while marveling at other facts presented in an interactive way at the world class museum. Our visit to the Red Cross museum - Geneva was a touching one, with millions of stories of prisoners of war all around. It brought out the sensitive side of the students and they were seen making some donations there! The Jet D Eau, flower clock and the high end fashion stores lighting up the streets of Geneva were other picture perfect destinations.

We also visited the medieval town of Gruyere. We witnessed the history of the Gruyere region through a short film at the Gruyere castle. With their ‘Cheese tickets’, students were taken through the different stages of cheese making of the well-known ‘Gruyere cheese’! The beautiful rendition of the entire process from the Swiss cow’s point of view was enlightening and engaging. We could see, hear, smell, touch AND TASTE at this innovative museum cum factory! Another highlight was our visit to the Cailler chocolate mansion! The aroma of cocoa beans was truly inviting. We discovered the journey of chocolate and understood the different stakeholders and their contribution through an engaging audio. The audio visual journey ended with a tasting of lots of different varieties of the famous brand.

Experiencing snow in the Alps was on everyone’s bucket list. This wish got full filled when we went up in the mountains of small ski resort of Leysin and Les Paccots! The picturesque beauty of the snow clad mountains was truly mesmerizing. It was fun having snow fights, while experiencing snow fall. We also did snow activities of ‘Tobogganing’ and ‘Ice skating’! However it was ‘Skiing’ that caused the true adrenaline rush. It was challenging to ski considering the steep slopes and the limited knowledge students had on same, however they truly demonstrated the learner profile of ‘Risk taker’! The innumerable falls and yet the zeal to continue and learn, truly demonstrate the ‘never give up’ attitude of ABWA students!

The understanding and appreciation for Swiss culture was enhanced with this trip and more so, being Christmas, students got to partake in the bigger celebrations of the host families. Students were thrilled to receive many gifts and chocolates on Christmas day! Not to forget the fun times they had bonding with their friends – Swiss and Indian – and also the joy of exploring a new country on their own! Truly, on their way to become global citizens, with these kind of international opportunities and collaborations!!!