Hello from Switzerland! A few days ago, the Dins arrived in the small city of Wohlen, located about 27 kilometers from Zurich. We continued a long cultural exchange tradition with Kantonsschule Wohlen, a public school there which serves as a bit of a combination between a high school and a college. We were paired up with students around our age who were in an English immersion class. These students generously provided us with home stays. The program was facilitated by Karen Reinhard-Adler at the Kantonsschule. We spent the afternoon getting to know the students while playing volleyball, soccer, and basketball!
The day after arriving (Friday), we went to school with our hosts. We first participated in a Q&A session where we talked about our experiences at a liberal arts college. The discussion also gave us a chance to better understand the Swiss education system, and how greatly it differs from ours. After a performance for most of the school, we had time to both sit in on our hosts’ classes and enjoy the wonderful sunny weather!
We then had a performance in Reformierte Church in Widen, a neighboring town. The church’s high ceilings made for an excellent acoustical space. An enthusiastic audience, as well as a surprise ceremony in which we were all given chocolate medals, provided for a truly memorable performance.
The weekend gave us a chance to spend more time with our hosts and explore Switzerland. On Saturday, several of us went on a day trip with our hosts to tour Zurich. We took a boat cruise across the beautiful Zürichsee and visited the city’s churches and shopping areas. A stop at a Läderach chocolate shop proved that Swiss chocolate lives up to its reputation. We then enjoyed a long session at a rooftop spa, where we comfortably overlooked Zurich during sunset! Others went with their hosts to Bern, Switzerland’s capital. They walked through its old architecture, touring a cathedral and visiting the city’s famous bear pit.
On Sunday, we went bowling with our hosts. Top scorers included Everett, Matt, and Jacques. Later on, some Dins ended up at a Swiss restaurant where we ate a delicious meal and actually ended up entertaining our waiter. We spent the evening truly assimilating into European culture by watching the Euro Cup! Go Switzerland!!
On Monday, students in the English immersion class were given the day off to take a day trip with us to Lucerne, a city southwest of Wohlen. The main destination was Mt. Pilatus, a peak in the Emmental Alps that overlooks Lucerne. We first travelled via cable car to a metal toboggan ride located about halfway up the mountain. Each of us rode solo down the path, with top speeds reaching over 40 km/hr! Don’t worry, all the Dins remain fully intact!
After hiking down some of the bottom of the mountain, we spent the rest of our time in Lucerne walking around the city center eating gelato near the Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre, a world famous concert hall. Overall, the Dins had a fantastic time in Wohlen. We would like to thank Karen, Kantonsschule Wohlen, our hosts and their families for welcoming us and showing us many of Switzerland’s cities!
Can’t wait to arrive in Strasbourg!
Daniel Giebisch #238