The Mountain School

Leysin American School, Switzerland has more to offer than snow clad mountains and picturesque summers, discovers Simmran Kharas.

Last Updated: Aug 14, 2013, 18:17 PM IST

Leysin American School, Switzerland has more to offer than snow clad mountains and picturesque summers, discovers Simmran Kharas.

When I was told that I would be studying in the Leysin American School, Switzerland, at first I was confused and also scared. I`d have to not only leave the country but also be without my parents and close friends for the first time in my life. Taking the decision was a challenging task. Yet, I decided to go because it was a splendid opportunity.

Leaving home was one of the most difficult experiences in all my 17 years. Now after spending a year at Leysin, I can truly say that it was one of the best years of my life. Living amidst Swiss mountains, where the school is located, changed my outlook of life drastically. I grew in leaps and bounds, and became more independent and understanding. I learned things I never knew about, met people who influenced me, and saw places I never thought I would ever visit.

Living in a boarding school brings you closer to the people. It became tougher leaving these new friends than leaving my close friends back home. These people changed me and re-shaped my personality to a large extent.

I never experienced emptiness thanks to my amazing teachers who were always there for you. Our dorm head was like a mother to us. Anyone would open up with her. The school also has a faculty family system, where you interact with teachers who attempt to play the role of your parents and evidently succeed.

The school admits students from over 60 different nationalities. Since all of us study together, we get to interact with each other. These interactions form unbreakable bonds and friendships. The exposure was terrific! We also learn to live with discipline. But discipline doesn’t mean you are deprived of your freedom. You get enough opportunity to discover yourself.

We have something known as “travel weekends”, which enable students to visit different places subject to parental permission and satisfactory academic achievements. I got to travel to several exotic European cities. The school also took us on cultural trips, which were a combination of education and fun.

Living in a small town brought me closer to the locals. It also enhanced my French speaking skills. The snow-clad mountains were a different experience. During the winter, snow and the biting winds held us captive in the building. Beautiful to behold, snow was challenging to live with.

The summers were green and picture perfect though. The school also made skiing lessons mandatory. I learned how to ski in a matter of a few weeks and now I adore skiing.

Living in Leysin was life-changing. I acquired unimaginable amount of knowledge. I made mistakes and learned from them, did things I never knew I would have the courage to do and faced situations I never thought I could. I met individuals who changed my way of thinking. They taught me the most important lessons of life. The Leysin American School moulded me and shaped my personality further. It made me self-contained.