Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Analysis on the Brilliancy of the Swiss School System

In America, we have high school drop outs.

The drop outs are those kids who just don`t fit the mold of going through some 3 years of high school. Sure some of them are those crazy druggy kids, but there are a lot of brilliant kids that leave high school... or stay in it and do horribly as it just isn`t there thing.


We are trying to fit all kids up to the age of 18 into a single mold... high school.

But with such a variety of teens, shouldn`t there be an alternitive in which they can still be successfull at life and not be dubbed failures for life?

In America, we have plenty of kids who just don`t have the will to keep going and doing hours of random sciences and math that won`t help them in the career they wish to pursue. Yet, it can be difficult for them to pursue the career of their choice without going through those 3 or 4 years of random studies.

This is where Switzerland gets brilliant.

Switzerland has an alternative.

Once you finish elementary school, you have to pick what level of education you want. Either you go to a school that is pretty much like a giant IB or AP school... or you can go to another school with studies at a level that is less intense.

What are the reults of the two schools? What happens? Where do you go from there?

Well.. you can only go to college if you pick the "smart" school. In America, it seems that college is essential to make a good living... yet that is not so in Switzerland. You can only do some 3 years of secondary education and make a fine living.

If you pick the lower option, you go to three years of "high school" and then, from there, you start a 3 year apprenticeship. With this, you go to school maybe 1 day a week... and in the meantime you learn a trade.

This is perfect for all those hands on learners or the students who just want to get started in life. Those kids who just don`t see the need to study the books much longer.

I think that system is brilliant. Students are not forced to continue in a busy high school education that will not help them further their education much. And even though they can`t go to college, it is no big deal.

But naturally there are flaws in the system that I have come to dislike.

In Inglemoor and America, you can pick your classes. In Switzerland you have no choice... you have a grade level (like Freshman or Senior) and each grade level has a set of classes that go with it. One class is up to you, but the rest are set in stone.

The pro? Well, it makes scheduling a whole lot easier.

The cons? You can`t move ahead or struggle. Everyone must move at the same pace. While some kids may be strong in a language and weak in math, they are all forced to remain at the same level. I see brilliant students in math finish quickly while other struggle with every thing the teacher says. Wouldn`t it be nicer to put them in different classes? Let the slow one go at an easier pace and the other learn as much as they can. We all have our strengths and weeknesses, and in this aspect, the Swiss are trying to fit all the students at the upper high school into one mold.

There are entirely other things I could write about comparing Swiss and American schooling (such as the number of classes, school hours, and going home for lunch) but I have a year to write about that.

What have I learned?

To every system there will always be something negative. And both systems have a lot to offer. As an American coming to the Swiss school, I find it a bit, well, constricting not having any choices. But for the Swiss, they know nothing else. They don`t think of a school where you can learn at different levels and speeds. It`s a bit more mechanical. Yet it works.

What are your thoughts on the Swiss school system? American? another system?

Note: When writing this, I am generalizing all of Switzerland... but honestly I write of Obwalden school system. I am sure there are other systems. Perhaps some have other choices? But this is the system I know.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rotex Weekend

Quote from Nelly:

"in summary: SEVERUS SNAPE!! real chocolate chip cookies, not being able to open windows without being yelled at, trampoline of death, vertical spooning, maggies incredible HILARIOUS stories, random hiking, good conversations, seeing everyone again, and just getting away! it was fuhhhh reaking cold tho!"

Yep... so true.

This weekend I had a rotary weekend, well, rotex.

It was amazing.

I went from Sarnen to Luzern and met up with people. And we went to Bern. Ramiro got in a sleeping bag and sang the worm song he wrote. It was crazy. Double decker train. And then we met up with the Bern kids and we headed to some random town.

Our train hit a person.... we were quite late because of that.

We arrived, it was cold, and we were in teams.

My team`s name was the, well, Granny Maggies.

I can tell, you are impressed.

It consisted of Fernando, Jorge, Jayme, and Liam.

We pretty much... did not dominate.

We went inside.

Lots of hanging out.

We ate lots of Amarettes cookies.

And then there was the bed issue. There was no no no room for everyone. So we had a bed made for some 8 or 9 people... I think we had 13 of us on it? I was quite warm that night.

Each group had to come up with an activity for the night. Games ranged from murder dance parties to human knots to charades to snazzy skits with Severous Snape (as Miss Nelly mentioned above).

And we sat around some more... and there was this crazy bench thingy with fire under it so it was quite quite quite warm.

And we had Alpermagronnen for dinner.

We all brought desserts.

And we all had fun on the trampoline.

Later that night everyoone was in bed, but I was not tired. So some of us went up to the guys rooms. And all of a sudden I went on this story mode. No details there.

Next day, woke up, ate, made sandwhiches, went for a hike, it was excessively cold.

Good times though, just talking with everyone about everything. Really refreshing.

And then we went home.

A rotex person drove me, Jorge, and Jessica home so we got home in around 1.5 hours instead of 3 hours.

That was my weekend.

Pics are here:

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pity Party for Maggie? Nay. What God is showing me.

I had a really really rough time the other day.

I could go into details... but I already wrote that blog.

I wrote my "pity for Maggie" such blog and don`t intend to post it.

Cause who wants to hear that crap?

Some friends and even my real Mom have helped me out and I am back on track.

But why not tell you what God is showing me and what I have gotten from this.

Last night, after I said good bye to my mom on IM, I started to cry and then pray.

And here is what I have gotten...

This is only just the beginning for me. I am going to be pressed from all sides like never before. I have a feeling that what I experienced was only a little part of the pain that I may feel here. There is going to be so much more. There are going to be many nights where I go to bed crying.

(I admit I am a bit scared)

And hence, I need to have God with me every moment.

I need to check my every action with him.

I need to put on my armor each day and head out with a smile on my face.

I gotta face each day

And God will be with me every moment.

I need to really humble myself. Just listen to others words and not defend myself. I need to put myself in a position of humility.


I was raised in a society quiet different from that.

I am here to learn humility.

I think.


Side note: Allison.. what is your email address??

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Afternoon and Evening with the Buchers


Went to church.

After church, had an invitation to eat with the Buchers.

It was refreshing more than you could believe.

The Buchers - amazing Christian family who is fluent in English.

Their two daughters walked home with me from the church to their house. They live 2 minutes from me, walking.

We had fajitas!

I drank apple juice... well tried to. In the end I threw up a bit in my cup from choking with laughter.

We played the Game of Life, in German.

I just had an amazing wonderful time... I loved it. Yep.

My Lemon Tart... they put the whipped cream on for me :P

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Luzern Fair... Mayssssa?

On Saturday, the 6th, I met up with Kyly and Becca in Luzern.

There were pirates, well, people just dressed like them, invading the bahnhof!

(My favourite song, a version of it, just came on the radio!)

Anyways... we walked outside and BANG there was a ferris wheel and the swing ride.

They went on the swing ride.

Kyly`s shoes came off and almost hit an old lady.

There was this crazy guy on the ride, well, a kid, and he sat there with his head on his hand in a bored position. He even yawned.

Gotta love them Swiss folks.

And I went to lunch for some random man`s 50th birthday.

Happy Birthday Man!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Interlaken... and Youth Group


In the morning, afternoon, I went to Interlaken with Becca, Kristen, and Amarette.

My goodness.

Mainly we were on the train all day. A couple hours there and back.

We took the Golden Rails Panoramic or something like that trail through the Brunig pass and up and around to Interlaken.

We got there and defnitly did a Migros run. Food is essential to live. I packed to sandwhiches and hence was able to purchase some chocolate and chippy like thingys for the group.

We searched and asked for a park... and found one. It was amazingly epically just a field.

I ate chocolate.

That was a weeeee bit crazy after that chocolate and it took quite some time to calm down :P

On the train ride home, I cried a bit. I listened to the Rainbow Connection. My Dad sings that song.... and I thought I heard him for a moment as I listened. But I wasn`t sad sad. Just crying. And then I could laugh and cry. And my friends said it was a bit scary. Hehe...

Sorry about the lack of fotos... I am trying to be quick on the computer.

After that was youth group... one of my favourite times of the entire week! Probably the highlight.

Emmanuel led worship... and a lot of the songs were in English! Or had an English verison! I was quite the happy camper.

Also.. wow. I love my church. The youth group leader and her sister, they handed me something.... for my birthday, they got me my very own GERMAN BIBLE! WFJOWJFIFW.


I was happy into oblivions.

The message was on Ecclesiastes 7 or something... and all in Swiss German. Natanja helped me a bit with the trannslations as her brother spoke out the message.

Then we played Werewolf.. aka, Mafia. And I forgot how to play. But through their facial expressions, I understood most of it in Swiss German and the rest they explain in English.

I was a dorf... dorfer? Well, that is a villager in German.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Nach Basel

All the AFSers were headed to Basel... so naturally I had to impose mysefl upon them.

Me and Kristen and Amarette (Rotary Representatives :P) Joined us to head to the more so Northwestern Area of Switzerland.

Basel... sounds like an herb eh?


That`s right! Say it out loud. You know you want to.

Anyways, we had around a 1.5 hour, I think, hour train ride to our lovely town of Basel.

Lots of pics.

You all know me.. so naturally I will be vain and put up pics of myself. But trust me, I have hundreds more. Cause that is just how life lives...

See Mom? I am still as normal as ever.

We arrived in Basel... it was one sweeeet train ride. So beatiful!

And I was quite sick that entire day and felt like crap.

Anyways... Amarette, of Bernish areas, met up with us there.

We decided to catch a tram.

While the AFS folks bought tickets, I was amused with the pigeons.

And we went to the Market Platz.

I really can not pull off sunglasses.. I felt like a bug.

Bern is the best place for shopping.

Me and Amarette and Kristen went to a Kebab place (where else?) for lunch and ate by the Rine.. Rhyme, Rhyne. I don`t know how to spell it.

Then we took a ninja cool boat ride across the water where we saw the AFS kids again.

The boat dude sang for me!

And then we went shopping, of course, and I wish I had more money. Sigh. What a life. So many clothes. I found many items.. I ended up buying one shirt.

They picked out this shirt for me to try on.. sadly, it was not in my stupid stupid budget. But I don't think it would have kept me warm this winter. So I had to take a picture of it and let that be enough for me.


And we hung out at some fountain for a while.

It was overall a wonderful day... I should write more but it is 2:50 at night. I normally go to bed at 10:00... but tonight I am blogging a bit to get that out of the way way way. Cause it is in my head and I must get it out. For me. For you. For my foot.

First Swiss Sleepover

Yesterday I hung out with Madlen.

She is a girl from my church and very sweet.

We met in Giswil.

Her house is an amazing storybook house! Over 100 years old!

And they have 4000 chickens and lots of cows.

And it felt like a very loving home.

I loved it there.

I got to eat grapes straight off the vine!

They invited me for dinner... it was soo good. Afterwards we read the Bible. And then I was invited to spend the night. So I did. And so that evening me and her sister and brother played a crazy cool Swiss card game.

And they gave me a toothbrush.

And pajamas.

And her mom said I looked like one of her daughters.. that made me smile.

And then we slept.

And now I am cover in at least 20 (I wish I was exagerating) bug bites... but it was so worth it.

I loved it!

In the morning, I was invited for lunch but had to go home.

But inivted to come back.

That was an amazing night. So simple... yet that is what I neeed in my life right now.

Whoo Hoo for Hiking?

I went on a Rotary Weekend.

It was a bunch of Rotary people and me and Jessica.

Lots and lots of hiking.

I ate lots of food, it was good.

I enjoyed talking with Jessica.

We went to the beginning of the Rhine.

I ate chocolate.

Jessica busted her ankle and mine wasn`t exactly keen itself... so we made quite the pair.