Here at Leysin American School in Switzerland we believe in the importance of experiential learning and creating a family-like atmosphere. LAS offers students the unique opportunity to experience boarding school life while learning about different cultures, gaining new skills, and interacting with our community from all over the world. In turn, we encourage our students to forge lifelong friendships and develop into innovative, compassionate, and responsible citizens of the world.
A core component of our boarding school curriculum involves cultural trips and many other out-of-classroom activities. These opportunities often center around our students’ studies, allowing them to experience different cultures and create lasting connections with their friends and faculty members. By nature, students at boarding schools forge strong bonds with the people around them, and traveling to different countries on cultural trips and developing skills outside the classroom promotes empathy, leadership, and problem-solving.
Our faculty members love the interactions they have with students while traveling. Our Dean of Students reflected that travel allows him to connect with students in a different way than at school. Last year he supervised a trip to Barcelona and one morning he and a student went on a run through the city together. What followed was a great conversation where they shared their interests and learned things from one another. Traveling facilitates a great rapport with others and allows students and faculty to connect on a deeper and more human level.
Our Alpine Institute trips also create a great connection between students and faculty, a connection which strengthens their bond even when they are back on campus. During these trips, students work on skills such as rope work, navigation, and first aid. These transferable skills encourage leadership, teamwork, and goal setting, and these trips always promote personal growth amongst students.
On cultural trips, students often feel so connected to their faculty leaders that they choose to spend mealtimes together rather than going off on their own. The social and emotional skills that are developed during these cultural experiences allow students to demonstrate leadership, empathy, and problem-solving; they lead their peers during activities, including students outside of their traditional friendship groups, and solving the inevitable challenges that crop up during travel.
After graduating, many former students stay in touch with the faculty that they bonded with and our alumni describe the LAS community as a family. By nature, boarding school life facilitates these fantastic connections, however, LAS encourages these bonds to an even greater degree with our travel and experiential programming. This feeling of a Global Family, shared cultural knowledge, and understanding one another on a deeper level are all connections that students would otherwise not be able to forge as profoundly solely in a classroom environment. We are proud to offer our students these opportunities and we are always so excited to see the deepened connections made between faculty and students upon returning from their travels.