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Indo Swiss Exchange program

Overview of visit to switzerland



The Indo-Swiss exchange programme took place from September 11 – 21, 2015.  This exchange took place between Kantonsschule Stadelhoffen, Zurich & Aditya Birla World Academy, Mumbai. 20 students (grades 11 & 12, A Levels and IB) along with 2 teachers participated in this exchange.

Objectives of the visit:
  • Learning about the culture, living conditions, job and education opportunities, political systems, landscape, geographical and other diversity of Switzerland through first-hand experiences

  • Developing an understanding and tolerance for people from a different culture, adapting to stressful situations, learning to be independent

Summary of trip:
The objectives of the trip were largely achieved, as follows:

  1. The students learnt about the federal system of government in Switzerland through a visit to an exhibition in Berne on the Parliamentary Elections 2015. They also met with the village president of an alpine village to understand how governance takes place at the micro level. This was followed by an active class discussion with the History teacher about how all Swiss citizens can be active members of political system and take decisions thanks to the referendum system.

    Students attended a career counselling workshop at Biz Oerlikon to learn about the educational system and career opportunities in Switzerland. The students had  a guided visit of the Baugewerbliche Berufschule apprentice training school to experience first-hand how the dual system of education functions, particularly the woodwork and plumbing departments. This knowledge of the Swiss education system was further linked to topics such as high employment rate, social security and government benefits, etc. in a classroom session.

    The students gained an insight into the great importance given to environmental protection in Switzerland, through a visit to the waste collection and incineration plant in Affoltern, the central water treatment center at Wasserversorgung Hardhof and a sewage plant at Klärwerk Werdhölzli.

    Students witnessed the landscape diversity and geographical formations of the country through a trip to the glaciers at mount Titlis, the Rhine falls and the Beatus caves. These visits were supplemented with notes and worksheets prepared by the Swiss students under the guidance of their Geography teacher. They also spent an afternoon building their team-building skills and overcoming their fears at the climbing park at Neuhausen.

    Students learnt about the history of the country and regional diversity through walking tours of the cities of Zurich, Berne and Lucerne and classroom sessions.

    The students visited the Frey chocolate factory, the Beyer Clock & Watch museum and an alpine cheese farm as these are industries commonly associated with tourism in Switzerland.

    The students also attended lessons in Biology, Physics and Italian to understand what the students’ daily school life is like. These classes were very interactive and they participated actively in the topics being discussed eg. They watched a clipping from an Italian movie in the language class and then discussed common superstitions in Italy, Switzerland and India.

  2. The students were exposed to various aspects of Swiss life through the observation and interaction with their host families, such as gender roles, the family unit, leisure activities, dietary habits, social etiquette, etc. While the differences in cultures were clearly evident amongst the students, they seemed to overcome them and established strong bonds with their host partners.

    The Indian and Swiss students sold Indian snacks and sweets in a fund raising sale to help the Swiss students raise funds for their visit to India. This was done in the initial part of the trip and helped bring the students closer together with a common goal.

    The Indian students showcased our school and Indian culture in a short programme in the school hall, where members of the Mercator Foundation, ch Foundation and other participating schools were also present. The show was very well presented and included an opening prayer, a song, dances and a presentation of our school video. This was followed by the service of hot Indian snacks and refreshments. The event was a huge success with the members of the various foundations, teachers and students joining in the ‘garba’ dance at the end. On popular demand from the Swiss students, this dance session continued for over an hour. During the sports lesson, the Indian students taught the Swiss class how to play the traditional Indian sports of ‘Kabaddi’ and ‘Kho Kho’. The games ended up being very competitive with all the students participating whole-heartedly.

    Some of the art students in our group prepared abstract paintings of Lord Ganesha, that were presented as gifts to some of the key people who had offered their services in making the trip a success. These works of art were much appreciated and the principal of the Swiss school even put one up on display at the entrance of their school.

Overall, the visit went off smoothly and the students are now looking forward to planning the Swiss students’ visit to India from 30th November to 10th December.