Early on Saturday morning, after a long overnight flight, the six Singaporean students were greeted by smiling faces and school’s banners. The students and their parents had been communicating over Skype and social media, and now the moment had finally arrived to meet face to face. After the necessary paperwork was completed, the six students and their host families left to enjoy their two weeks of sport vacation together.
Having visited many places in Switzerland and experiencing real cold in the mountains of Switzerland, it was then time to experience school life. This program is, in contrast to the Australian exchange which is primarily regarded as a language exchange, focussed on culture. The visiting students’ school timetable was a combination of visiting regular classes with their host brothers and sisters, attendance at bilingual lessons and thanks to the support and creativity of some of our regular teachers, they were given interesting tutorials in maths, the sciences, as well as the history and economics of Switzerland.
“As a host parent, it's a pleasure seeing the kids (guests and hosts) hang out after school, being comfortable with each other and feeling at home. They laughed and enjoyed teaching each other new card and board games."
Mother of Julian Frey, M43
A highlight of the Exchange Programme was of course our visit to the Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolateria:
"On March 2nd, we went to Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolateria to make chocolate, which was a fun filled and eye opening experience! After arriving by taxi, we washed our hands thoroughly and wore aprons, before being introduced to different types of chocolate. Each group had an individual chef who taught us how to creatively design an Easter bunny and small pieces of chocolate. Much to everyone’s delight, we could bring home as much chocolate as we liked! As Vanessa Jaquemet stated, “It was a refreshing and new experience that I certainly wouldn’t mind repeating." Also, everyone thought that the chocolate making session was fun and interesting. Personally, I enjoyed every single moment of it as it was extremely rare to be able to learn how to make chocolate from a Swiss company that sells one of the world’s finest chocolate bars and truffles. Eventually, we headed to the vegetarian and vegan restaurant “Tibits” for lunch and the wide array of food was stunning and very palatable! Finally, we would like to thank Fiona Schmidt, Herr Sprüngli, Herr Müller and everyone who organized this wonderful trip for us six Singaporean exchange students. Thank you for making this possible, we loved it!"
Melissa Yip, staying with Louisa Boyens, M42
All too soon, we all met again at Zürich airport early on the morning of Saturday 11th March. After long, heartfelt goodbyes and some tears our Singaporean guests left us for warmer and dryer weather.
“I would have never thought that you could gain from an exchange that lasted only a month (so far) such a good friend, like my exchange student, Lara."
Imogen Doran, M43
"Thank you, Hitakshi for the fun time. We'll never forget the two Marry Poppins ;) We hope you will always remember the Maloya Snake, which is actually not an animal, but still able to knock, at our window the whole night, like we will always remember the thousands of snakes in Singapore after rain."
Leonhard Schaffner, M43
We look forward to seeing them all again and meeting their families on our return visit in April.